By Rebecca Eras
Posted June 26, 2007
Dr. Naweed Syed, professor and head, Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Calgary, has received official Fellowship with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), the highest honour the Royal College can bestow. As a researcher, Dr. Syed’s fellowship is quite prestigious, since the College traditionally reserves fellowships to distinguished clinicians, rather than basic scientists.
“In the eyes of the fellowship committee, the published work of a scientist has to be a lot better than that of a highly-qualified physician,” says Dr. Andrew Leung, clinical associate professor, Department of Paediatrics, and current RCPE Fellow who nominated Dr. Syed one year ago.
Dr. Syed’s research is focused at defining how networks of brain cells are put together during development to control rhythmic behaviors, such as respiration and locomotion after birth. His most significant contributions were to reconstruct the respiratory network in a cell culture dish and to develop single brain cell transplantation techniques in animals. Most recently, in collaboration with a group in Germany, he developed brain chip interfacing technologies that offer the potential for future brain controlled prosthetic devices. His research has been published in several prestigious journals such as Nature, Science, Neuron and Journal of Neuroscience and these studies have been highlighted in the Time Magazine, Discovery Channel and Globe and Mail etc.
Dr. Syed has received numerous awards and distinctions recognizing his research and academic contributions. Before coming to U of C in 1988, he obtained his PhD in Neurophysiology at the University of Leeds, England. He began teaching medical (MD), graduate (MSc, PhD and undergraduate (BSc) students at U of C in 1991. From 2002 to 2007, he was an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Scientist and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Investigator. Dr. Syed has also been the recipient of the Parker B. Francis Fellowship (USA) and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (USA).
The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh considers contributions to the biomedical field if they are significant to patient care and adhere to medical ethical conduct. The College’s membership extends over 10,000 fellows, members, associates and affiliates in 86 countries, covering 55 specialties, and currently has 5,212 fellows worldwide.