The Rare Diseases: Models & Mechanisms Network has been established to catalyze connections between people discovering new genes in patients with rare diseases, and basic scientists who can analyze equivalent genes and pathways in model organisms. Catalyst Grants fund projects that will allow rapid confirmation of potentially disease-causing genes, and fuel pilot studies to improve understanding of how specific gene mutations cause disease. It is intended that collaborations across the Canadian biomedical community will expedite the understanding of disorders, enabling the design of new therapies to the ultimate benefit of those affected by rare diseases.

Network Routemap

Clinicians submit a newly discovered disease gene to the Clinical Advisory Committee (CAC). If approved, CAC sends the human gene to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Bioinformatics Core, which will attempt to match a new disease gene to as many model organism researchers the genes that model organism researchers have self-declared in the Network Registry. The SAC will then invite model organism researchers to submit a 2-page application which will be reviewed within a week. For successful applications, the SAC will invite the clinician to establish a connection with the corresponding model organism researcher. Following a successful connection, the model organism lab will be connected to the clinician and receive $25,000 to seed immediate collaborative experiments. For more information, see REGISTER AS A MODEL ORGANISM INVESTIGATOR and SUBMIT A DISEASE GENE TO ESTABLISH A CONNECTION.


  • The RDMM Summer Newsletter is now out!  Read more..
  • Congratulations to Robert Hamilton, Yoav Bolkier, James Dowling & Ian Scott on their catalyst grant! Read more..
  • RDMM catalyst grant awardees Clara van Karnebeek and Xiao-Yan Wen have published an article in Nature Genetics: “NANS-mediated synthesis of sialic acid is required for brain and skeletal development”. Read more..
  • The RDMM Spring Newsletter is now available! Read more..
  • The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC) 2016, July 13-17, Orlando, FL. Read more..
  • ASHG 2016, Vancouver, BC, October 18-22, 2016. Read more..
  • The deadline for the RDMM/Dravet Open Call is approaching! Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Dave Dyment and Dr. Steffany Bennett on their catalyst grant! Read more..
  • UPDATE: RDMM/Dravet Open Call for Applications. Read more..
  • The Rare Diseases: Models & Mechanisms is featured in the November issue of Nature Medicine. Read more..
  • Congratulations to the Network’s Recent Catalyst Grant Recipients! Read more..
  • How Genome Sequencing Creates Communities Around Rare Disorders Read more..
  • DIA 2016 52nd Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, June 26-30, 2016. Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jan Friedman and Dr. Daniel Goldowitz on their catalyst grant! Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Clara van Karnebeek and Dr. Philippe Campeau on their catalyst grant! Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Clara van Karnebeek, Dr. Xiao-Yan Wen and Dr. Sarah Hughes on their catalyst grant! Read more..
  • The CBC features a story which explores how a pharmaceutical company set the price for the world’s most expensive rare disease drug. Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Peter Kannu and Dr. Benjamin Alman on their catalyst grant! Read more..

More news >


  • Genes Added: 5593
  • Number of researchers registered: 420
  • Number of researchers registered with genes: 269
  • Number of genes added unique: 4950
  • Number of Catalyst Grants Awarded: 39



Models & Mechanisms Network