Ph.D. Professor and Director
Dr. David Westaway is a molecular biologist with a special interest in the use of genetically engineered “transgenic” mice to recreate and understand human neurologic disorders. After obtaining PhD in Biochemistry at the University of London he completed postdoctoral training with two Nobel Laureates, Harold Varmus and Stanley Prusiner, both at the University of California San Francisco. In 1994 Dr. Westaway moved to the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Toronto. There his lab created the TgCRND8 line of transgenic mice, a robust model of early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. TgCRND8 mice are widely used in over forty Alzheimer’s Disease labs in the USA and Europe, as well as in the drug development programs of several pharmaceutical companies.
In 2006 Dr. Westaway moved to the University of Alberta where he is appointed as Professor (Neurology) and Director of the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases.
Dr. Westaway’s research in prion biology has focused on the genetic basis of disease susceptibility, metal-binding properties of PrP, and two new members of the PrP protein family called doppel and shadoo. His current work is directed towards an understanding of 1) the roles of the PrP, shadoo and chaperones in prion disease, 2) common features in the pathogenesis of prion disease and Alzheimer’s Disease and 3) novel roles of cellular prion proteins in protecting neurons against irreversible damage.