Weiss, Dr. Samuel

2002 Alberta Science, Recipient

Dr. Samuel Weiss, a prominent Alberta researcher, turned the medical world ”on its ear” with a significant discovery that allows for the generation of new brain cells. This is a significant advance for people who have suffered strokes or head and spinal injuries, as well as those affected by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s or multiple sclerosis. Dr. Weiss, a professor of cell biology and anatomy at the University of Calgary, found a neural “stem cell” that grows new brain cells. Over the past decade, he’s worked to identify specific signals that tell the stem cells when to divide and direct new cells to a brain injury site. The underlying idea is that the damaged brain can be repaired through a simple medical procedure. Dr. Weiss has been able to document such claims by research on rats, in conjunction with the Canadian Stroke Network. Dr. Weiss’s research has attracted funding from a variety of reputable sources, including the Alberta Science and Research Authority, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. His work has gained a great deal of attention in the medical science community, as well as the media. Dr. Weiss is a member of two Canadian Networks of Centre’s of Excellence, and Chair of the Genes and Development Research Group. He also chairs the Neuroscience grant review committee for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Moreover, he’s founded two biotech companies -- Neurospheres and Stem Cell Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Weiss is internationally recognized by his peers and community and is one of the most celebrated researchers in Alberta.