Dr. Cheryl Wellington

Principal Investigator

B.Sc. [Microbiology] (University of Alberta), Ph.D. [Microbiology] (University of British Columbia)
Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia


Research Interests

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Dr. Wellington’s major research interests are on both genetic and environmental factors that modulate risk for Alzheimer Disease (AD), the most common dementia. An increasingly recognized environment risk factor for dementia includes a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Current projects include understanding how injury severity, number of injuries, and age at injury all affect dementia risk, and understanding how the neuropathology and clinical presentation of TBI-related syndromes overlap with classical dementias. Over two million TBIs occur annually in North America, with rapidly increasing public concern over the long-term effects of concussion on brain health during development and aging. Existing animal models of TBI, however, fail to replicate the mechanics of most real-life human TBIs, which are caused by sharp, angular and/or linear accelerations or decelerations of a freely moving intact head.

Photo courtesy of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Photo courtesy of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Working with biomechanical engineers at ICORD, Dr. Wellington and her colleagues have developed a transformative new model of rodent closed head TBI, called CHIMERA (Closed Head Injury Model of Engineered Rotational Acceleration) that was specifically designed to overcome the caveats that limit the translational relevance of existing TBI models. CHIMERA’s innovation lies in its ability to generate, in a biomechanically controlled and reproducible manner, a wide range of TBI severity with completely free head movement, where head motion analyses are integrated with behavioral and neuropathological outcomes.

Current Lab Members

Master Students PhD Students Postdoctoral Fellows Research Associates Research Staff
Honor Cheung Jennifer Cooper Dr. Bethany Kondiles Sophie Stukas Anna Wilkinson
Tali Romero Tetiana Poliakova Dr. Mehwish Anwer Jianjia Fan Carlos Barron
Mohammad Ghodsi Dr. Tom Cheng Megan Harper
Andrew Agbay

Trainee Awards

Year Name Award
2023 Jennifer Cooper
  • Graduate Scholarship, Alzheimer Society of Canada
  • Graduate Scholarship, CIHR
  • Young Faculty Award, Alzheimer Disease and Parkinson Disease
2019 Elyn Rowe
  • Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship, CIHR
  • Faculty of Medicine Scholarship, UBC
  • Mock Grant Proposal Winner, Bright Focus Foundation: Alzheimer’s Fast Track Workshop
  • Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP), Doctoral Award, Alzheimer Society of Canada
  • YWCA Women of Distinction Award Nominee, Yang Women’s Christian Association
2019 Emily Button
  • Travel Fellowship, Alzheimer’s Association International Conference
2019 Pantea Azadpour
  • Faculty of Applied Science Graduate Award
2016 Iva Kulic
  • Weston Brain Institute Rapid Response Grant (Weston Brain Institute)
2016 Jerome Robert
  • Weston Brain Institute Rapid Response Grant (Weston Brain Institute)
2016 Emily Button
  • Top 3% of CIHR Doctoral Award (CIHR)
2016 Asma Bashir
  • CIHR Masters Scholarship (CIHR)


Recent publications

  • Cooper, JG et al.. 2024. APOE ε4 carrier status modifies plasma p-tau181 concentrations in cognitively healthy super-seniors.. Alzheimers Dement. doi: 10.1002/alz.13804.
  • Criado-Marrero, M et al.. 2024. Age dictates brain functional connectivity and axonal integrity following repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries.. bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/2024.01.25.577316.
  • Poliakova, T, Wellington, CL. 2023. Roles of peripheral lipoproteins and cholesteryl ester transfer protein in the vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia.. Mol Neurodegener. doi: 10.1186/s13024-023-00671-y.
  • Cooper, JG et al.. 2023. Age specific reference intervals for plasma biomarkers of neurodegeneration and neurotrauma in a Canadian population.. Clin Biochem. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2023.110680.
  • Stukas, S et al.. 2024. Pediatric reference intervals for serum neurofilament light and glial fibrillary acidic protein using the Canadian Laboratory Initiative on Pediatric Reference Intervals (CALIPER) cohort.. Clin Chem Lab Med. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2023-0660.
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