Chemistry prof receives Early Researcher Award from province

Chemistry Professor Derek Wilson has been awarded $100,000 in funding under the Ontario government’s Early Researcher Awards program.

York West MPP Mario Sergio made the announcement Tuesday. York University’s research investment of $50,000 will match the funds for the award.

The Early Researcher Awards program helps promising, recently appointed Ontario researchers Derek Wilsonbuild research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and technicians. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent. Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards investment will support 71 projects and 334 researchers and their teams across the province.

Left: Derek Wilson

Wilson is researching why and how misfolded protein “amyloid plaques” form in the brain and disrupt normal brain activity – a process that can lead to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Wilson’s team will conduct molecular level studies, which reveal the chemical interactions and structural features of proteins that cause them to misfold and clump together. Ultimately, his research aims to understand the underlying causes of neurodegenerative diseases and help identify new approaches for treatment.

“This funding is crucial for young researchers,” said Wilson, a chemistry professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who is also a member of York’s Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry and York’s Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions. “I am grateful to the provincial government for supporting our research.”

“The Early Researcher Awards program is a prime example of the province’s ongoing commitment to strengthen and support globally competitive research being conducted at the University,” said Robert Haché, vice-president, research & innovation, at York University. “The awards recognize cutting-edge research that is undertaken by researchers early in their careers, as they seek effective solutions to real-world challenges.”

“We’re proud of the remarkable talent we have at York University and the exceptional work our Toronto researchers do,” said Sergio. “Their contributions are making the world a better place, starting right here with new ideas and jobs in our community.”

“Some of the world’s best researchers work here and across Ontario. Their ideas fuel job creation and economic growth, and our government is proud to support them,” said Glen Murray, Ontario minister of research & innovation.