Treliving Chair in Women’s Mental Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Liisa Galea is a world-renowned expert on how sex hormones influence brain plasticity and memory in males and females, with a focus on dementia. Although sex differences exist in many brain diseases, research targeting sex as a factor in brain health has been scarce and often ignored. Her research is vital in filling this knowledge gap, specifically in understanding how sex and hormones influence neuroplasticity in females. Dr. Galea’s research is essential for developing tailored treatments for brain disease in both women and men.
“Like many of us, my family has been touched by dementia. My mom suffered from dementia as a result of a combination of Parkinson’s-like disease and chemotherapy. I was struck by how quickly the dementia set in.
“Because I am interested in why and how females have increased susceptibility to disease than males, I was really intrigued to learn that two-thirds of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients were women. Why is that? Is it just because they live longer? Do we need to treat the disease differently if it manifests differently in men versus women? Then I realized that not many researchers took a careful look at the biological outcomes between males and females, and this was something that was important for me to dive into.
“Biomarkers in middle age at a point where it might be better to intervene in AD are really important. What can we tell people to do at this crucial time point to protect their brain health? Is there a way to reverse the earliest stages of AD, and what biomarkers do we need to screen for to do this?
“The Support of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has allowed me to mobilize quickly to buy new equipment, obtain new models, and to employ a team of young scientists. In short, these funds accelerated discovery in the type of research we do, speeding up to find answers to the questions we are asking.”
Listen to Dr. Galea explain the difference between sex and gender and why it is so critical to consider in scientific research here.
To learn more about the Galea Lab, click here.