Douville named sixth Chancellor’s Research Chair

Dr. Renée Douville, Associate Professor in biology at UWinnipeg

Dr. Renée Douville, Associate Professor in biology at UWinnipeg

The University of Winnipeg today announced Dr. Renée Douville, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, as the sixth Chancellor’s Research Chair.

In the Douville research laboratory at The University of Winnipeg, the research program is focused on developing an understanding of how human endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which reside in our DNA and are normally dormant, become re-activated in certain neurological diseases. Dr. Douville’s lab has discovered a novel ERV protein with neurotoxic potential; their work aims to determine the protein’s association with neuronal damage and inflammation in the brain.

“The Douville lab team is committed to pursuing research that will translate into improved quality of life and care for patients with virus-associated brain disorders, like ALS and schizophrenia.  By studying viruses incorporated into human DNA, we are discovering the complex way our bodies fight viruses and how these processes contribute to neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease — a first step towards developing novel therapeutic strategies,” said Dr. Douville.

“We are delighted to recognize Dr. Douville’s research program with the sixth Chancellor’s Research Chair,” said Dr. Neil Besner, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UWinnipeg. “Her work and that of her team contributes to a vital research initiative in health studies; Dr. Douville joins a distinguished group of researchers at UWinnipeg to hold this significant award. We wish her every continued success with her work.”

Dr. Douville will take up this three-year position in Fall 2016.The Chancellor’s Research Chair is open to all UWinnipeg tenure-track faculty members and carries an award of $7,500 per annum. It was approved by the Board of Regents in May 2011.

The first five Chancellor’s Research Chairs were: Dr. Craig Willis, Biology; Dr. Angela Failler, Women’s and Gender Studies; Dr. Melanie Martin, Physics; Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Business and Economics; and Dr. Kevin Walby, Criminal Justice.

Dr. Douville completed her PhD in Immunology at the University of Manitoba. After reading the novel Darwin’s Radio, she developed a passion for human endogenous retroviruses, and continued postdoctoral studies in this field at Johns Hopkins University in Neurology. Her second postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University focused on the innate immune response against human retroviruses.

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