Education, Teaching and Training

A critical mandate of the Tanz CRND has been to train the next generation of physicians and scientists. This has been conducted at many levels. It has involved the day-to-day scientific mentoring of PhD, MSc, BSc students at the bench by all of the Tanz CRND principal investigators. It is also involved the mentoring of clinical residents and fellows at the bedside by the clinically qualified Tanz CRND investigators including Lili-Naz Hazrati, Lorraine Kalia, Tony Lang, Peter St George-Hyslop and Carmela Tartaglia. The educational mandate has also been conducted through teaching in formal courses, including teaching at Continuing Medical Education events, formalized award-winning graduate and undergraduate courses within the cognate academic departments, and the Tanz CRND’s own lecture and seminar series. The latter have included over 380 lectures, as well as the Diane Charlwood Memorial Lecture, which is the Centre’s annual keynote lecture.

Tanz-CRND also faculty play administrative leadership roles in Graduate education across the University. Examples include Howard Mount, who is Director of Education and senior Graduate Coordinator in the Institute of Medical Science (IMS). IMS is the largest graduate program in the Faculty of Medicine, with more than 500 research faculty and 480 masters and Ph.D. students.  He oversees graduate supervision, course development, approval and evaluation across the spectrum of health science disciplines. He is creating novel curriculum for Canada’s first professional master’s degree program in Translational Health Science Research and serves on provostial working groups to set University-wide standards and guidelines for curriculum evaluation. In addition, Howard Mount, Janice Robertson, Gerold Schmitt-Ulms, Anurag Tandon and Lili-Naz Hazrati have served in a variety of leadership roles in the University’s Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, the Royal College Clinician Investigator Program, the Knowledge Media Design Institute and CIHR training grant programs.

As a result of this rigorous and diverse educational program, the Tanz CRND has “graduated” at least 121 postdoctoral fellows, 46 PhD and MSc Graduate Students, as well as at least 105 Undergraduate Students. Crucially, the majority of the Tanz CRND graduates have stayed in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, either in clinical medicine or scientific research or both.

Many of these graduates have taken-up independent academic positions in leading academic institutions around the world. At least 23 hold Professorial positions, including 11 at the Associate and 7 at the Full Professor level. 9 hold senior positions in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  Indeed, a Tanz CRND graduate has set up one of the most successful Canadian biotech venture capital companies (Genesys Capital).  Another holds a senior position in scientific publishing in the frontline scientific journal, Nature Medicine.  At least 3 have become important members of national/international policy-setting bodies.

The diverse nature of how the Tanz CRND graduates have successfully impacted care and management of patients with neurodegenerative diseases in different countries around the world attests to the broad and intense intellectual environment that they were exposed to during their mentorship.