David Westaway, PhD

Adjuct Professor, Department of Neurology

David Westaway joined the Prusiner lab as an Adjunct Professor. Prior to joining IND, David was a professor and the inaugural director for the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases (CPPFD) at the University of Alberta, BC Canada. David and his lab at CPPFD developed a unique research center with an integrated vivarium and ensuite instrumentation areas, for hosting analyses of both contagious and non-transmissible neurodegenerative diseases. 


David is not new to the IND. He was once a postdoc for the Prusiner Lab and was one of the original discoverers of the prion gene encoding PrPC in 1985. Since then his lab at CPPFD has defined the glycoproteins encoded by the paralogous genes known as Doppel and Shadoo, and, in conjunction with Dr. George Carlson, created TgTau(P301L)23027 mice with florid 4-repeat tauopathy (in neurons, glia and oligodendrocytes), neuronal loss and behavioral impairment. 


At the IND, David works closely with our drug discovery team, including our animal facility, with the goal of developing small molecule therapies for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. He uses his unique knowledge of prion mechanisms to design, develop, and use rodent transgenic models to study prion strains as part of our IND drug discover mission. David also helps create new disease models and optimize existing ones for further use in demonstrating efficacy of candidate molecules. 



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