David Westaway, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurology
David Westaway received his PhD in molecular genetics from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the UK. He went on to study retroviruses as insertional mutagens at UCSF, under the guidance of Harold E. Varmus, MD. He pursued a further postdoctoral fellowship studying prion diseases with Stanley B. Prusiner and was one of the original discoverers of the prion gene encoding PrPC. From 1994 to 2006 David held faculty positions at the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto; here he worked with Drs. Peter St George-Hyslop and Paul E. Fraser to create the TgCRND8 mouse model of Abeta amyloid deposition and, in 2000, performed the earliest studies using Abeta antibodies to remediate cognitive deficits in Alzheimer Disease mice. From 2006 to 2022 Dr. Westaway was the Director of the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases at the University of Alberta, Canada. During this time his lab defined PrP conformers and paralogs, as well as pathological conformers of tau generated spontaneously in Tg(P301L)23027 mice, a mouse transgenic line created with Drs. George A. Carlson and Mikio Shoji.
David joined the IND in 2022. David uses his knowledge of prion mechanisms to design, develop, and use rodent transgenic models to study prion strains and to profile small molecule interventions devised by the IND drug discovery program.