York professor appointed Canada Research Chair

York Professor Georg Zoidl has been appointed Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 

Zoidl, a professor at York since July 1 in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science & Engineering, and a member of York’s Centre for Vision Research, is examining the functions of nerve cells in the brain and the visual system as a means to understanding overall brain activity in health and disease.  

Left: Georg Zoidl

As a Tier 1 CRC, Zoidl will receive $1.4 million over seven years. The CRC is part of a package of CRC appointments announced recently at the University of Guelph by Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state (Science and Technology).

“Our government is investing in the people and ideas that will keep Canada at the forefront of the global economy,” said Goodyear. “The Canada Research Chairs are helping to develop, attract and retain the world’s top researchers here in our country.”

In all, the government announced an investment of $203.9 million to fund the appointment of 253 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 56 Canadian degree-granting postsecondary institutions.

“I am delighted that Professor Georg Zoidl has joined York University as the Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience,” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation at York University. “Through the CRC program, York is building on its research strengths and enhancing opportunities for graduate training.”

Zoidl's research explores the communication processes in the brain that contribute to disease-causing conditions. Even small changes in communication between these nerve cells might get amplified over a lifetime and will be at the heart of a wide spectrum of diseases. 

Zoidl is addressing the role of electrical communication in the visual system and the brain using genetically altered zebrafish, which have a brain and eyes utilizing the basic communication principles found in humans. He uses high-end imaging tools with careful molecular and cellular manipulations to track how information flows into the living brain or eye under health and disease conditions, with a focus on epilepsy and ischemia. His research will foster insight into the molecular and cellular basis of epilepsy and could ultimately lead to improved treatment for stroke.  

Zoidl came to York from the Faculty of Medical Science at Ruhr-University Bochum in Bochum, Germany.

For more information, visit the Canada Research Chairs website.