Research Grants in Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in Canada


Celiac Canada /Coeliaque Canada has two annual research awards.Applications must be submitted on or before April 30th, 2024. Winners will be announced July 3rd, 2024.

Dr. J. A. Campbell Research Main Award $25K

A grant to a maximum of $25,000 is offered by Celiac Canada for research projects in Canada of a scientific, applied science, and/or medical nature relevant to celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and/or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or the socio-economic implications of delayed diagnosis and/or living with this conditions.  We are open to all types of relevant research and is not restricted to medical research.

2023 Main Award Recipient

Dr. Maria Ines Pinto-Sanchez et al., a gastroenterologist and Director of the celiac clinic at McMaster University.

Dr Sanchez and an acclaimed team across Canada will conduct the world’s first randomized controlled trial to evaluate effect of late vs early introduction of gluten-free oats on symptomatic, serologic (blood test) and disease activity in patients newly diagnosed with celiac disease.

Young Investigator Award $5k

Download the YI Grant Overview and Application Process

The Dr. J. A. Campbell Young Investigator Award of $5,000 for any kind of research into Celiac Disease and / or Gluten Sensitivity is available to students and those who have recently completed degrees.

For the next three years, we are particularly interested in research that is geared towards investigating vulnerable populations or under-investigated communities related to celiac disease such as individuals who are impoverished, food at risk, newcomers, racialized and/or indigenous communities; however, applications are not limited to this subject area.

2023 Young Investigator Grant Recipient

  • Mark Wulczynski, a PhD student working to understand diet-host-microbe interactions at McMaster University under the supervision of the internationally acclaimed Dr. Elena Verdu in the department of Medical Sciences.
  • “Investigation of dietary fibre and microbial interactions in celiac disease”
  • Mark is looking at the role microbial fibre metabolism in the small intestine and its potential therapeutic application in patients following a GFD.

2022 Young Investigator Grant Recipient

Sara Rahmani is a PhD candidate at the School of Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University, supervised by Dr. Elena Verdu (Medicine) and Dr. Tohid Didar (Mechanical Engineering). Sara’s research focuses on unraveling the inflammatory triggers and how other environmental triggers and drivers of celiac disease, such as opportunistic bacterial pathogens, influence these pathways. Her long-term goal is to engineer a high throughput preclinical screening tool for novel drugs in CeD.

2021 J. A. Campbell Research Grant Recipient

 Heather Galipeau’s research, Phd at McMaster University, focuses on gnotobiotic mouse modeling and organoid modeling to investigate dietary antigen-host immune interactions in chronic inflammatory diseases, like celiac disease. Specifically, she is researching how bacteria modulate host responses to the dietary trigger of celiac disease, gluten, focusing on early events that trigger disease development. Her long-term objective is to develop therapies to prevent or treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

2020 Awards

Main Award

Drs Jenna K. Dowhaniuk and Catharine Walsh Pediatric Celiac Symptom Index: Development of a patient-reported outcome for children with celiac disease for assessment and monitoring of CD-related symptoms in children with CD – the Pediatric Celiac Symptom Index.

Young Investigators


Alexandra ClarizoCharacterization of a Novel Gluten Sensitivity Model to characterize this novel mouse model and identify microbial metabolic outcomes of gluten peptides that specifically bind to DQ2.

Katherine Pohoreski – ABC, easy as 123, simple as gluten-free? Knowledge and adherence in adolescents with celiac disease – to investigate the relationship between patient knowledge and adherence to the GFD in a local outpatient population of adolescents with CD

Impact Statement

Dr Elena Verdu, MD, PhD

“When I started as a new investigator at McMaster University, and given my previous training in gastroenterology in Argentina and Europe, I decided to build a research program in translational research in celiac disease. I realized this was an unmet need in Canada. My vision was to establish a bidirectional program connecting discovery research with clinical translation.

Looking back, it was a bold and ambitious objective, as no other Academic institution in Canada at the time, had such program.

 I found myself in dire straits obtaining national funding mainly due to misconceptions in the way celiac disease was perceived. The first peered review funding I obtained for realizing my dream of building a long-term research program in celiac disease was the CCA’s James A Campbell Research Grant. The CCA Professional Advisory Council (PAC) understood the need for such research, and this seed grant was fundamental in allowing me to build a solid base, from where to grow. Today, the Farncombe Institute at McMaster University houses a thriving basic-clinical program in celiac disease, with the first adult celiac clinic in Canada. It is a well-known fact that celiac disease receives proportionally less funding than comparable conditions in gastroenterology, and this has undermined building research programs in celiac disease, not only in Canada, but worldwide. Despite this, we have made significant strides in understanding disease mechanisms, additional environmental modulators, challenges faced by patients with celiac disease that highlight the need for research in better therapies. This has been possible by a combination of dedicated clinicians and researchers, and institutions like CCA, that despite difficulties continue to find ways to support research in celiac disease. Please keep these initiatives alive, because it is the only way we can continue to attract investigators and physicians dedicated to celiac disease research and patient management. Thank you CCA’s James A Campbell Research Grant for believing in my vision!”

Elena Verdú, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator, Professor, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine McMaster University

Jocelyn Silvestre

“Receiving the JA Campbell Young Investigator Award when I was a medical student has shaped my career. At that point, I knew I was interested in gastroenterology research, but had not considered studying celiac disease. Now, more than a decade and a pediatric residency, post-doctoral research fellowship and gastroenterology fellowship later, I am building my own research team with a focus on celiac disease.

Early support of the JA Campbell Young Investigator Award, and subsequent funding from the JA Campbell Award to Dr Donald Duerksen that provided essential pilot data for the Manitoba Celiac Disease Cohort have been pivotal in shaping the clinician-scientist who I am today. The availability of these philanthropic awards is particularly critical for celiac disease which has long been relatively underfunded by traditional government and industry granting mechanisms.”

Jocelyn Silvester, MD PhD FRCPC, Director of Research, Celiac Disease Program, Boston Children’s Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Previous Research Awards

Dr. Diana Mager (2019) – Assessment of feasibility and uptake of a gluten-free guide for Canadian children and youth in clinical and community settings

Listen to a podcast about this guide

Natalie Riediger (2018) – Characterizing dietary gluten avoidance in the Canadian pediatric and adult population

View an infographic summarizing her study.

Dr. Alberto Caminero-Fernandez (2016) – Specific Probiotic-Based Strategy For Gluten Detoxification

Read more about his work.

Abadi, Valerie (2013) – Development of a Physiopathological Mouse Model of Celiac Disease

Read a summary of her research.

Mager, Diana (2012) – How do parents and child’s perceptions of quality of life affect dietary adherence to the gluten free diet and nutritional intake in children with Celiac Disease?

View a presentation of her findings.

Greenblatt, Ellen (2009)
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in a Canadian Population of Women with Unexplained Infertility

Mager, Diana & Turner, Justine (2008)
A Prospective Study of the Effect of Vitamin D and Vitamin K Deficiency on Bone Metabolism and Bone Accrual in Children and Adolescents with Celiac Disease

Verdú, Elena (2007)
Using HLA-DQ8 mice to analyze the development of celiac disease and other gastrointestinal illnesses.

Leroux, Jean-Christophe (2003)
Polymers as gliadin binders: an innovative strategy to prevent interactions of celiac disease peptides with the gastro-intestinal mucosa

Young Investigator Awards

Adriana Mudryj, MSc, PhD (2019) – Against the Grain: The nutritional impact of dietary gluten avoidance in the Canadian population.

Click here to learn about the results of her study. 

James A King (2018) – A systematic literature search on prevalence of celiac disease globally and develop the Alberta Celiac Disease Surveillance Cohort

Click to hear his results.

Aber Alzaben (2016) – Gluten Free-Food Guide for Canadians

Justin McCarville (2014) – Role of Human Celiac Gut Microbiota in the Breakdown of Oral Tolerance to Gluten

Rajani, Seima (2013) – Serological Diagnosis of Celiac Disease at Stollery Children’s Hospital: a Pilot Study

Wiepjes, Michelle (2011) – Role of the Serine Protease Inhibitor Elafin in Gluten-Related Disorders

Slemmer, J. (2010) -Epidemiology of Celiac Disease in PEI

Pinier, Maude (2010) – Ability of a polymeric binder to control Celiac Disease

Gunn, Beth (2009) – Prevalence of Celiac Disease in a Canadian Population of Women with Unexplained Infertility

Silvester, Jocelyn (2007) – Survey of Canadian Gastroenterologists about Long Term Follow-up Care of their Celiac Patients.

Zelin, Jenni (2001) – The role of the family physician in the diagnosis and management of celiac disease.

Who is Dr. James Alexander Campbell

In recognition of Dr. James A. Campbell’s contributions and dedication to the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA), a research fund was named in his honour – The J. ALEXANDER CAMPBELL RESEARCH FUND.

Dr. Campbell had an extensive background in the field of nutrition. He worked in the Federal Department of the Agriculture, the Drug Directorate of the Department of National health and Welfare, and became Director of the Nutrition Bureau, health Protection Branch in 1972, where he was officer-in-charge of the Nutrition Canada Survey. Dr. Campbell received several distinguished awards for his many contributions in the field of Nutritional Science.

Dr. Campbell’s contributions to the Canadian Celiac Association began in 1980, as advisor to the Ottawa Chapter, and then as Chairman of the Nutrition Committee (now Professional Advisory Council). He contributed articles for our handbooks and newsletters, and led discussions with the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and the Health Canada concerning the improper use of the term gluten-free on food labels which set the standard for what may be labelled as gluten free in Canada today.

Dr. Campbell designed the first Canada-wide study of persons with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, and carried it through to completion, CCA is proud to say that this survey was the largest ever done world-wide at its time. He was one of the contributors to CCA’s Pocket Dictionary on the Acceptability of Foods and Food Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Diet which is still in use today.

Dr. Campbell was awarded Honorary member of Ottawa Chapter, and in 1988 was named Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Celiac Association. His work stands as a cornerstone to the support that CCA continues to provides to the gluten-free community.

The J. Alexander Campbell Research Fund is used to continue the valuable work begun by Dr. Campbell, investigating and reporting on all aspects of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, and to encourage others in the field who share this interest.

Modified from the original text provided by Bev Ruffo

 Revised: November 25, 2020

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