Inaugural prize recognizes innovative research that may lead to improved drug therapies for bipolar disorder and other mental illness


OTTAWA (October 28, 2015) – The Royal has named Dr. Jean-Martin Beaulieu the inaugural recipient of the Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research which supports Canadian early-career researchers in mental health and encourages them to continue to pursue their research in Canada. The annual prize provides $100,000 to support the recipient’s research activities.

Dr. Beaulieu is a researcher and an associate professor in the department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Laval University. Through his research, Dr. Beaulieu is seeking to gain a better understanding of how Lithium – a common treatment for bipolar disorder – works at a molecular level with the hope of developing new and better treatments for mood disorders and other mental illnesses.

“Mental illness is one of the major challenges of the modern age. The path to better mental health is through research; only by broadening our knowledge of the brain and exploring new approaches to care can we help the millions of people who suffer every day.”
– George Weber, President and CEO of The Royal

“The Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research encourages young researchers to pursue discovery and innovation that will lead to breakthroughs in mental health care. It is our pleasure to award the inaugural prize to Dr. Jean Martin Beaulieu, a talented researcher who is already making outstanding contributions in the area of mental health,” Mr. Weber added.

Dr. Beaulieu was selected to receive the Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research by an international panel of mental health experts led by Dr. Zul Merali, President and CEO of The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research.

“One of the key goals of the Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research is to recognize and promote research in a way that will increase our understanding of the mind and bring better health to people living with mental illness. Dr. Beaulieu’s research has the potential to do exactly that,” says Dr. Merali. “Dr. Beaulieu has taken a commonly used but not fully understood medication – Lithium – and examined how it actually works in the brain. He has already contributed to new understanding of the drug and is working on new therapies based on that knowledge. His work embodies the scientific rigor, innovative thinking, imagination and originality that our selection committee was looking for.”

The Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research was established in early 2015 with a $1 million gift to the Royal from the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada. This is the first time the prize has been awarded; the competition will continue to occur once a year for the next 9 years, providing $100,000 of undirected funds to each annual recipient. More information about the prize is available at

See All News