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Dr. Samuel Weiss

About the Director 

Samuel Weiss, PhD, is a Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine’s Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary.  An Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist, he received his BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University and his PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Calgary.  He is the inaugural and continuing director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary whose mission is to translate innovative research and education into advances in neurological and mental health care.  The Hotchkiss Brain Institute is now a world class research institute of 450 scientists and trainees, along with 300 professional staff. 

Dr. Weiss’ own explorations into the brain have changed the fields of developmental neurobiology and neural regeneration, and have earned him one of the world’s most prestigious medical science awards, a Gairdner International Award.  Dr. Weiss was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2009, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2014. 

In 1985 (Nature 371:717), together with Dr. Fritz Sladeczek, Dr. Weiss discovered the metabotropic glutamate receptor - now a major target for pharmaceutical research and development for neurological disease therapies.  In 1992 (Science 255:1707), Dr. Weiss discovered neural stem cells in the brains of adult mammals.  The groundbreaking discovery that dispelled dogmas that the brain cannot regenerate, has led to new approaches for brain cell replacement and repair. Dr. Weiss’s current research focuses on transformed brain stem cells that give rise to malignant gliomas. It is hoped that studies of the comparative distinctions of neural and glioma stem cells will shed new light on how to treat the currently untreatable malignant gliomas. 

Dr. Weiss has authored nearly 100 publications, holds over 20 patents in the neural stem cell field and has founded three biotechnology companies in this area.  He sits on numerous national and international peer review committees.  He currently chairs the International Scientific Advisory Boards of the NeuroDevNet Network of Centres of Excellence (UBC) and the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, as well as the International Research Advisory Board of the University Health Network (Toronto).