Jacob’s Ladder honours Dr. Berge Minassian, MD CM, FRCP (C) as recipient of the Norman Saunders Jacob’s Ladder International Research Prize for 2014.

Dr. Minassian graduated from McGill medical school and obtained his training in Neurology from UCLA. He returned to Canada and trained in paediatric epilepsy with Dr. Carter Snead, and genetics with Drs. Lap-Chee Tsui and Stephen Scherer. During his training, he wrote a seminal paper on epilepsy surgery and in time discovered the two causative genes for Lafora disease, the severest and fatal form of adolescence-onset epilepsy. Dr. Minassian has the rank of Professor and directs a lab with nine trainees and technicians at SickKids. His lab has helped discover seven disease genes, including four for epilepsy. His most active research area is the unraveling of the pathogenesis of Lafora disease. His lab has disclosed a novel pathway of regulation of glycogen synthesis involving the Lafora disease genes. Dr. Minassian’s group has made seminal contributions to Rett and Angelman syndromes, the most common forms of mental retardation with epilepsy. His lab also discovered the first two canine epilepsy genes. Dr. Minassian holds the University of Toronto Michael Bahen Chair in Epilepsy Research and co-directs a nationwide epilepsy project funded by Genome Canada involving whole genome sequencing of 2000 epileptic patients to identify the genetic bases of epilepsy and intractable epilepsy.