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Debbie McKenzie, PhD

Associate Professor


Biological Sciences


The major research focus of my lab is chronic wasting disease (CWD), a prion disease affecting deer, elk and moose. Prions are unique pathogenic agents, consisting primarily, if not solely, on misfolded conformations of a normal host protein. We are using a number of different model systems, ranging from cell-free to cell culture to primary neuronal cultures to whole lab animals, to address questions regarding the etiology and pathogenesis of CWD. Research is performed in the state-of-the-art Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases. My research focuses on: 1) the role of Prnp genetics on susceptibility to prion infection, 2) CWD strains, 3) role of metals in prion infection, 4) prion disease intra- and inter-species transmission and 5) development of biomarkers for prion diseases.