Tier II Canada Research Chair in Prion Disease Research
PhD (Molecular Biotechnology)
Preferred method of communication
Please contact the faculty member directly at the email or phone number listed above. If you are not able to reach them, the faculty assistant listed below may be able to help.
Phone:+1 (403) 210-6150
Research and teaching
- Infection Biology
Research / Scholarly Activities
We use cell culture and animal models to study the molecular and cellular biology of prion infections. Prions are unique pathogens that consist solely of a misfolded isoform of the cellular prion protein PrPc, denominated PrPSc. Prominent examples for prion diseases are Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids. Our research program addresses the question how prion infection interferes with neuronal metabolism, and how this may lead to neurodegeneration. Furthermore, we use peptide aptamers for interference with prion propagation and for characterization of the PrPc-PrPSc binding interface. Another focus of research is CWD and aims to understand the molecular basis of the unusual peripheral distribution and shedding of CWD prions, e.g. in saliva, urine or feces. The long-term goal of our research is to translate basic research into novel diagnostic or therapeutic targets to combat prion diseases.
Dr. Gilch obtained her PhD in Molecular Biotechnology in 2009 from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She undertook postdoctoral studies on the molecular and cellular biology of prion infection at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Wyoming in Laramie, USA. In 2013, Dr. Gilch joined the UCVM Faculty as Assistant Professor and TierII Canada Research Chair.