The inaugural CAN Young Investigator is Dr. Ed Ruthazer from McGill University

Dr. Ed Ruthazer rapidly established himself as one of Canada’s most outstanding young scientists.

Dr. Ruthazer obtained his undergraduate degree from Princeton (1988) in biology and East Asian studies and his PhD in neurobiology was from University of California at San Francisco (1996).  After his PhD, Dr. Ruthazer received postdoctoral training as an NSF-JSPS International Research Fellow at Osaka University in Toyonaka Japan (1997-1998) then at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the laboratory of Dr. Holly Cline.

Research Focus:  

Dr. Ruthazer is a developmental neurobiologist who has focused on synapse formation.  He uses state-of-the-art microscopy to image specific synapse formation in the visual system to understand how maps of retinal projections are formed and refined by activity.  Ed studies the mechanisms that shape the cells that compose the developing nervous system by in-vivo time lapse imaging of axonal, dendritic and glial branch dynamics.  In addition an important tool is targeted gene expression to delineate the interactions between neural activity, synaptic adhesion molecules and transcriptional mechanisms. Using these approaches Dr. Ruthazer has made fundamental contributions our understanding of how the nervous system develops the correct synaptic connections that are crucial for the functioning of the brain.


The scientific output by Dr. Ruthazer since his appointment as an independent investigator has been exceptional. He has published in many respected scientific journals and is the senior author of 2 Neuron papers. Dr. Ruthazer is the recipient of several competitive awards, including the National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, the 2004 and 2007 Young Investigator Awards from NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression), and the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award. In addition to grant support from the Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR), and the EJLB Foundation Scholar Research Program, Dr. Ruthazer currently holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair. He has been an invited lecturer in Portugal, Japan, and the U.S.  A particularly impressive feat for such a young investigator has been his participation as an instructor in the most prestigious courses in Neuroscience around the world including a Banbury course, funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Cold Spring Harbor campus, the Woods Hole Neurobiology summer course and the Neurophotonics course at Laval University – an attestation of not only Dr. Ruthazer’s stature in the community but also his outstanding communication skills.

In summary we are delighted to award this inaugural CAN Young Investigator award to Dr. Edward S Ruthazer.