Student Name: Lukasz Wlodarek
Country of Origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Pre-MSc/PhD Education: Bachelor of Science (Honours) in neuroscience from Brock University
Recent Research Experience: Prior to beginning my studies at the University of Toronto, I investigated the effects of a miR-21 mimic on stem cell-like ependymoglial cells within the newt regenerating spinal cord in Dr. Robert Carlone's developmental neurobiology lab. At around the same time, I also heavily contributed to the synthesis and classification of a mononuclear lanthanide single molecule magnet with promising potential for data storage at the molecular level, under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Pilkington.
Current Research Experience: Realizing that the mammalian central nervous system possesses inferior regenerative capacity when compared to reptilian models, I instead focused my efforts on exploring the concept of biological rejuvenation (age-reversal) for enhancement of global function in geriatric animals. Currently, I am completing my doctorate degree in Dr. Ren-Ke Li's experimental therapeutics lab at Toronto General Research Institute's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine. Here I am using young bone marrow stem cells to rejuvenate cognitive function in aged rodent brains. So far, I have demonstrated that young, but not old, bone marrow stem cells improve neuronal physiology and hippocampal-dependent learning and memory in 24-month-old mice. In the future we hope to apply this novel stem cell therapy to various different neurodegenerative disorders in the hopes of slowing down or completely eliminating the progression and onset of age- and disease-induced cognitive deterioration.
Why Faculty of Medicine: The University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine has incomparable connections with various teaching hospitals and research institutes. As a result of this, the Department of Physiology attracts world-renowned physicians and scientists who strive to facilitate a learning environment designed to produce the leaders of tomorrow.
Future Education Plans and/or Career Goals: Research and development biotech companies that focus on combating aging and associated diseases.
Contact Ambassador Lukasz Wlodarek