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July 2013

A positive impact on Alzheimer’s disease

Currently, there are an estimated 500,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease or related memory disorders. This number is expected to grow drastically with Canada’s aging population, with a projection of one million Canadians suffering from the disease by the year 2038.

For Chemistry undergrad Fernando Eguiarte-Solomon, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, coming to Canada for a 12-week Mitacs Globalink internship to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease research was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I wanted to seize the opportunity to contribute to research that could have a major impact. I felt that a Mitacs Globalink internship would be an enriching experience and make for a very interesting summer, and this has proven to be true.”

Alongside Dr. Margaret Fahnestock from McMaster University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Fernando is examining brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a molecule that is critical for nerve cell survival and function, which has proven to be dramatically reduced in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Research on Alzheimer’s disease has progressed significantly and is nearing a point where memory deficits can be treated, improving the quality of life for patients and their families,” said Fernando.  His research will work towards determining the mechanisms that lead to decreased BDNF levels, with the ultimate goal of preventing the decline of learning and memory deficits.

“Mitacs Globalink not only allows students to learn and engage in top notch laboratories with novel techniques, but also provides opportunity to share and collaborate with expert minds.”

Image: Alfred Pasieka / Science Photo Library


Mitacs would like to thank the following government and international partners, in addition to our full and associate university partners, for their support of Globalink in 2013: Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior of Brazil, the China Scholarship Council, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.