Dr. Avi Chakrabbarty

Professor, University of Toronto

Avijit (Avi) Chakrabartty was born in Kolkata but raised in Edmonton, where he attended the University of Alberta to obtain his BSc degree in Med. Lab Science and his MSc degree in Experimental Pathology.  He completed his PhD in Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in 1990. Avi was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University where he held a fellowship award from the Medical Research Council of Canada. It was at Stanford, where he developed an interest in protein folding and worked on both theoretical and experimental aspects of the helix-coil transition in polypeptides. In 1994, Avi took up his position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto and Senior Scientist at the University Health Network. The central focus of Avi’s lab is protein misfolding and disease. The inability of cellular machinery to clear misfolded proteins is a recurring theme in many diseases that run the gamut from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. They are concentrating on neurodegenerative diseases:  Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), prion disease, and transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis disease. Their research endeavours involve two approaches. First, they invented a novel technique, which is termed STOMP, to investigate microscopic pathologic anomalies in neurodegeneration that are ≥ one cubic micron. STOMP combines two-photon microscopy with photochemical affinity labelling and mass spectrometry. Second, they have utilized protein structure based design methods to produce therapeutic/diagnostic antibodies and small molecules for ALS, prion disease and TTR amyloidosis. Avi has published one hundred scientific papers and holds several patents on therapeutic and diagnostic methods to combat protein misfolding disease.  He has consulted for and had sponsored research contracts with the following theranostic companies: Neurochem Inc., Caprion Inc., Amorfix Ltd., and Prothena Inc.  His most recent company collaboration with Prothena has resulted in 5 patent application and an Investigational New Drug Application set for Dec. 2017. Avi has also received several awards including the Annual Boehringer Mannheim Canada Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Research, the Stuart Allan Hoffman Memorial Prize Awarded for Excellence in Graduate Research in Clinical Biochemistry, the Medical Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Premier’s Research Excellence Award, Presented by the Ministry of Energy, Science, and Technology, Government of Ontario, and the David G. Dewar Research Award, Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Dr. Avi Chakrabbarty Grants