Posted October 24, 2011
by Léora Rabatach
Dustin Anderson is the winner of this year’s Governor General’s Gold Medal Award at the doctoral level. This is one of the most prestigious awards that a student in a Canadian educational institution can receive.
Along with supervisor Ray W. Turner and co-supervisor Gerald Zamponi, Anderson was central to the team discovering a link between two separate classes of ion channels that would normally be expected to work against one another, in terms of modifying electrical excitability. Instead, Anderson found that they actually work in tandem to affect nerve impulse generation in the brain - helping brain cells communicate with each other.
In addition to providing scientists with a more accurate picture of electrical regulation in neurons of the cerebellum, this groundbreaking research redefines how scientists view the control of neurons that express these ion channels throughout the brain. In the future, this could lead to advances in drug therapies for a number of neurological and movement disorders.
Anderson is part of the Leaders in Medicine Program at the Faculty of Medicine’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute. He completed his PhD in June of 2011, and is now in his first year of medical school at the University of Calgary.
For more than 137 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. Anderson will receive the award at a convocation ceremony at the University of Calgary on November 10, 2011.
For additional information on the GGGM Awards: