Maximillian Fiander

Killam Predoctoral Scholarship Recipient

Dalhousie University

I am interested in the mechanisms underlying cell death in neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. These disorders have several common features, including inflammation and oxidative stress in the central nervous system (CNS), that cause impairments in cellular energy production which can lead to cell death. Therefore, one potential avenue to treat neurodegenerative disorders would be to reduce inflammatory activity in the CNS, as well as improve cellular defence against oxidative stress by activating antioxidant pathways.

Dietary intake of flavonoids, compounds that are found in many brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, has been shown to reduce risk for neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Flavonoids have also been shown to exhibit profound anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. For these reasons, flavonoids have attracted attention as potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

The aims of my research are to examine the therapeutic effects of combinations of flavonoids in experimental models of multiple sclerosis and to understand the mechanisms by which these compounds are able to protect against neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. Ultimately, I hope that my research will result in a better understanding of the therapeutic potential of flavonoids for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Upon completion of my scholarship term, I intend to continue to pursue a career in the biomedical sciences as a physician and/or researcher.

Being a Killam Laureate
It is an honour to be named a Killam scholar and to be a part of the legacy of Izaak and Dorothy Killam.  The financial support provided by the Killam scholarship means that I am free to devote all of my efforts and focus toward my research.

Why Dalhousie?
I chose to begin my graduate studies at Dalhousie because of the wealth of high-calibre basic and translational research opportunities at the university. The Brain Repair Centre, a partnership between Dalhousie, Capitol Health, the IWK Health Centre, and National Research Council, has really established Halifax as an important hub of neuroscience research in Canada.

After hours?
I have volunteered in local hospitals in various capacities for several years. Additionally, I have been engaged in student politics as the president and vice-president of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Society at Dalhousie. Finally, music and sports have always been a big part of my life and I have been engaged in intramurals and various and musical groups at Dalhousie.


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