Dr. Andrew Tasker named CHR Researcher of the Month

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Dr. Andrew Tasker

Canadians for Health Research (CHR) have named Dr. Andrew Tasker its Researcher of the Month. Dr. Tasker is a Professor of Neuropharmacology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Atlantic Veterinary College. He is also the Jeanne and J.Louis Lévesque Research Professor in Nutrisciences and Health.

A profile on the CHR website plots the twists and turns of Dr. Tasker’s impressive career, from his first posting as a post-doctoral researcher examining the neurological effects of analgesic drugs on chronic pain at AVC. His focus shifted abruptly after a small group of people in Montreal developed neurological symptoms, including seizures and amnesia, after eating contaminated PEI mussels. They had contracted amnesic shellfish poisoning, caused by a deadly toxin known as domoic acid.

Dr. Tasker shifted his research focus to study how domoic acid adversely affects the brain. He became an internationally recognized expert in this area. His research grew and expanded to include other brain disorders. Today, he and his team are trying to identify biomarkers that signal the early development of many brain diseases, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, and autism. They hope to unlock the mysteries of brain function and, ultimately, find ways to cure or prevent neurological diseases.

The article also tracks his involvement with the development of NA-1, a stroke medication The Globe and Mail calls the first “blockbuster” drug from Canada since insulin.

“I’ve always been more interested in asking and answering questions,” said Dr. Tasker in the article. “At UPEI, I have the flexibility to try new ideas and maintain a good work-life balance.”

Congratulations, Andy!

Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
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