CAIP: Neuroscience/Prions

Executive Summary
It is widely recognized throughout the world that given our aging populations, we need renewed efforts to reduce the impact of chronic diseases and promote quality of life. The potential burden on our health and social services is staggering if we do not act now to create new knowledge and approaches in neurosciences to confront these issues. Alberta's Universities have accepted this challenge, and the proposed Campus Alberta Innovates Chairs will provide a coordinated effort to address these important problems.

Four Chairs will be created in the priority area of 'neurosciences/prions'. Research conducted by these Chairs spans the gamut of understanding from molecular mechanisms producing diseases to the early diagnosis of symptoms in our most vulnerable individuals. This breadth of knowledge is essential in developing new techniques for the early detection and prevention of chronic diseases.

The University of Calgary is proposing two Chairs that complement each other in the areas of Healthy Brain Aging, and Child and Youth Mental Health. The Chair in Healthy Brain Aging will improve our understanding of the linkage between dementia and cerebral vasculature, with a focus on vascular health. The second Chair in the area of Child and Youth Mental Health with have two major foci – the understanding of psychoses and depression, and the prediction, prevention, and diagnoses of mental illness in young people. These Chairs will leverage the activities of several leading research centers – the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, the Calgary Institute for Population and Public Health, and the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging.

The University of Lethbridge and the University of Alberta are proposing two Chairs that also complement each other, in that they will strive to discover the diverse mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases, including genetic, epigenetic, and prion-related processes. The University of Alberta is proposing the Chair in Structural Biology of Protein Misfolding Diseases. This Chair will investigate the biochemical and biophysical aspects of protein misfolding diseases with an emphasis on neuropathogenic material. The Chair will catalyze new research at the Centre for Prions and Misfolding Diseases and take advantage of the new infrastructure and laboratories at the CPPFD. The proposed CAIP Chair at the University of Lethbridge will also focus on molecular and cellular mechanisms, but will link these mechanisms to their effects on memory and cognitive processes. This Chair will be part of the highly acclaimed Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neurosciences at the University of Lethbridge.

Together these four Chairs will provide a coordinated provincial effort that enhances the extensive ongoing research in the area of neurosciences and mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative disease. It is important to emphasize that the proposed research areas of these new Campus Alberta Chairs have been carefully designed by leading scientists from our three institutions to maximize our efforts in confronting the wide-reaching challenge of maintaining healthy aging populations.

The University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge invite individuals with internationally recognized academic and leadership skills in the following areas of the Neuroscience/Prions Theme to apply for nomination to a Campus Alberta Innovation Chair:

Brain Health and Dementia (U of L) - Filled

Child and Youth Mental Health (U of C) - Filled

Healthy Brain Aging (U of C) - Filled

Structural Biology of Protein Mis-Folding Diseases (U of A) - Filled

A brief description of the proposed area of investigation for each chair, and who to contact for more information, is available by clicking the chair title above. 

We encourage applications from world leaders whose accomplishments have made groundbreaking impacts, including the application of research findings for social and economic benefit. The successful candidates must propose a program of research that demonstrates excellence, originality and innovation, and is of the highest quality. Additional requirements include a PhD and a superior record of, or demonstrated potential for, attracting and supervising graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

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