Peter Henry St. George-Hyslop Medicine

World authority on the genetics of Alzheimer disease

The Story

Dr. St. George-Hyslop, internationally acclaimed geneticist and physician, received his medical degree from the University of Ottawa in 1976. Further, he did post-graduate work in internal medicine and neurology at the University of Toronto. He conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School where he also became an instructor in molecular genetics and neurology from 1987 to 1991. In 1991, he was appointed to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and was promoted to Professor in 1996. He became a Director of the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases in 1995. St George-Hyslop is also a practicing neurologist and attends in the ward at the University Health Network teaching hospitals.

Dr. St George-Hyslop has published more than 200 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals, such as Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, and Science; he is one of the most cited authors in the field of Alzheimer's disease research. Dr. St George-Hyslop’s research has earned numerous awards and prizes.

His research on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease has made a significant impact on the field of molecular and biochemical research. In addition to his work on Alzheimer's disease, Dr. St George-Hyslop has made major contributions to the understanding of several other genetic diseases, such as Parkinson's, motor neuron disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob/mad cow disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating neurological illnesses characterized by progressive loss of memory and the ability to conduct everyday activity. It is caused by the disappearance or shrinkage of brain cells that are replaced by dense, irregularly shaped spots, or plaques. This disorder affects approximately 10% of the population over age 65. In Canada, more than 200,000 people have Alzheimer's disease and it is estimated that more than 750,000 Canadians will have the disease and related disorders in 30 years. No cure for this illness is known.

In 2000, St George-Hyslop, and his team of researches identified a key protein that causes nerve cell degeneration. This new development followed their early discoveries in 1995 of the genes responsible for the early onset of Alzheimer disease. Although more studies and tests are required, these findings could lead to a new drug that would regulate the progression of Alzheimer disease.


Peter St George-Hyslop’s biography, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Department of Medicine and Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, U of T

Alzheimer Society of Canada

Solving the Alzheimer Enigma

Image: Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The Person

July 10, 1953
Nairobi, Kenya
Family Members
  • Wife: Vera
  • Daughters: Nicola, Frances, and Sara
Favorite Music
Other Interests
Restoration of vintage sports cars
Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Research Institute
  • DSc (medicine) University of Ottawa, 1976
  • MD Royal College of Physicians of Canada
  • Gold Medal in Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, 1993
  • Became a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, 1995
  • Medical Research Council Scientist Award,1996
  • Michael Smith International Scholar Award for Excellence of the Medical Research Council, 1997
  • Howard Hughes Foundation International Scholar Award, 1997 and 2002
  • Distinguished Scientist Award of the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation, 1999
  • Giacchino da Fiore Prize, 2000
  • Shared the Neuroscience Research Excellence Award from the Japan Neuroscience Society, 2001
  • Distinguished Scientist Award of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2001
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2002
Last Updated
April 8, 2015
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