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Graduate student seeks answers to neurodegenerative diseases

September 19, 2012

Graduate student seeks answers to neurodegenerative diseases
Andrew Maciejewski is studying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, thanks to the support of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Andrew (Andrzej) Maciejewski admits he cannot unravel the mysteries of neurodegenerative diseases alone.

"Western is one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities, combining expertise from various fields," said the Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient. "The facilities and resources, including scholarships, available at this institution have made the large scope of my project feasible."

Andrew, who is working towards his master's in Biochemistry at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, studies the interactions of prion protein with other molecules and their effect on neurodegenerative disorders. His findings may play a major role in understanding the progression of such diseases.

"By studying how these molecules interact, we are hoping to design agents that disrupt this interaction and may serve as an effective therapy in Alzheimer's disease."

Andrew enjoyed pursuing his undergraduate degree at Western in biochemistry. His summers spent working in laboratories gave him a chance to follow his curiosity and fostered a passion for scientific research.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program recognizes exceptionally talented graduate students who are seeking solutions to enhance the world. This matching fund opportunity allows private sector partners to participate in the creation of scholarships for graduate students for only one-third of the cost. Under the OGS program, an expendable contribution of $5,000 from donors will leverage an additional $10,000 in government funds to fully support one $15,000 award.

Andrew says the OGS award helped immensely to finance his research. Additionally, the funds made it possible for him to attend an international conference relating to his research and to interact and exchange ideas with leaders in the field.

Andrew adds that scholarships assist students in coping with the financial debt they incur by pursuing higher education, allowing them to become better qualified before entering the workforce.

After completing his education, Andrew intends to pursue a career in research-intensive fields, either in academia or industry. He plans to transfer into the PhD program at Western and continue his important research.

To learn more about the OGS program, visit:

This article appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of Impact Western
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