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Interview with Dr. Marc Ronald Del Bigio

Interview with Dr. Marc Ronald Del Bigio

Photo of Dr. Del Bigio

A renowned neuropathologist at the Manitoba Institute of Child Health and the University of Manitoba, Dr. Marc Ronald Del Bigio graduated from the U of M’s Faculty of Medicine in 1982. After completing an internship in mixed surgery in 1983, he earned a PhD in the Department of Anatomy and then completed a two year residency in neurosurgery at the U of M. In 1989, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Anatomy for six months at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1990, he was a resident in anatomical pathology at the U of M and subsequently spent two and half years in the Department of Neuropathology at the University of Toronto. From 1993 to 1994, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in Paris, France, and later spent a six month sabbatical at the Neuroimmunology Group, Montreal. He has numerous academic appointments including a full professorship in the Department of Pathology at the University of Manitoba.

In 1985 as a PhD student, Dr. Del Bigio received an MMSF grant of $4,500 to conduct a study of intracranial pressure changes in rabbits with hydrocephalus and was subsequently awarded $15,000 by the Foundation to investigate hydrocephalus in young rats. A collaborative study in 2002, also funded by the MMSF, explored the role of glutaric acid in brain damaged infants. His research into hydrocephalus and injuries in the immature brain earned him a Dr. F. W. Du Val Clinical Research Professorship Award for three years from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2004.

"The Foundation has provided me with funding at many stages in my career and I feel that their contributions helped me get to where I am now," says Dr. Del Bigio.

He held the Professorship until January 1, 2004 when he was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neuropatholgy, a seven-year grant that enabled him to hire two research associates, one with surgical expertise and one with molecular biology skill. He also received a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant for $300,000 to establish a Brain Biomechanics Laboratory which includes a microhardness testing apparatus. Dr. Del Bigio says the instrument is one of the most highly sensitive in the world and will help him to determine the mechanical properties of normal and diseased brain at different stages of development. Establishment of the laboratory will facilitate collaborations between medical scientists, neurosurgeons engineers, and mathematicians so that the physical properties of the brain can be measured directly and used to develop analytical models that can be used to predict the progression of brain damage or need for treatment based on imaging.

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