Professor Peter St. George-Hyslop
Department of Medicine and Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative DiseasesAppointed a University Professor in 2003
Dr. St George-Hyslop is one of the outstanding physician-scientist working in the field of neurodegenerative disease. His scientific work has led to ground breaking discoveries in the understanding of a number of neurodegenerative diseases. He has made a series of seminal scientific discoveries that have elucidated the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and that have identified key molecules necessary for a novel form of protein processing (termed "Regulated Intramembranous Proteolysis") that is used in many important cellular functions, including signal transduction during embryogenesis. His pioneering work in the identification of genes causing inherited forms of AD and the use of molecular genetic techniques to understand AD enabled him to show conclusively that AD is a phenotypically similar, but etiologically heterogeneous illness, an observation that has profoundly influenced the design of clinical and basic research studies of AD, first by helping to resolve a controversy that had plagued the field for decades, second, by altering the paradigms used to search for disease-causing genes by focusing the searches on subgroups of pedigrees with a single etiology. His work has had an even greater paradigm-shifting impact on clinical research studies which now routinely use genetics as a co-factor in investigating outcomes. Subsequently, Dr. St George-Hyslop mapped and cloned four additional genes associated with AD and more recently he has mapped another, as yet unidentified, AD gene to chromosome 12, as well as a new locus in or near the nicastrin gene on chromosome 1. In addition to his work on AD, Dr. St George-Hyslop has made major contributions to the understanding of several other genetic diseases. He has played a role in the mapping, cloning and/or characterization of genes causing neurofibromatosis, Wilson Disease, Hyperkeratosis, polycystic kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Machado Joseph Disease/spinocerebellar ataxia type 3, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Dr. St George-Hyslop's research on the genetics of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) has had a major impact on this field and has established him as a leading international authority. His research has been published in the leading peer-reviewed journals, including numerous papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, and Science and he is one of the most cited authors in the field of AD research. His stature in the field is further indicated by the numerous prizes and awards he has received, including the Metropolitan Life Award for Medical Research in 1987, the Gold Medal in Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1993, a Medical Research Council Scientist Award in 1996, the Potamkin Award of the American Academy of Neurology in 1996, the Michael Smith International Scholar Award for Excellence of the Medical Research Council in 1997, a Howard Hughes Foundation International Scholar Award in 1997 and again in 2002, the Distinguished Scientist Award of the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation in 1999, the Giacchino da Fiore Prize in 2000 and a Distinguished Scientist Award of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2001. In 1995 Dr. St George-Hyslop was elected to membership in the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation and in 2002 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Dr. St George-Hyslop received his Medicinae Doctoris (Primum cum Laude) from the University of Ottawa in 1976. He first joined the University of Toronto in 1991 when he was appointed to the Faculty of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. He was promoted to Professor in 1996. He is also a practicing Neurologist who attends in the ward regularly at the University Health Network teaching hospitals. Since 1995 he has served as Director of the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases.