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

Ph.D. Students Masters Students Research Staff
Pantea Azadpour Elyn Rowe Anna Wilkinson
Emily Button* Lexi Busse Sophie Stukas
Tiffany Cameron Jasmine Gill Jerome Robert
Asma Bashir* Tara Caffrey
Jianjia Fan
Jennifer Cooper
David Baron
Andrew Agbay

Trainee Awards

Year Name Award
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

  • Button, EB et al.. 2021. Development of a novel, sensitive translational immunoassay to detect plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) after murine traumatic brain injury.. Alzheimers Res Ther. doi: 10.1186/s13195-021-00793-9.
  • Stukas, S et al.. 2021. Characterization of CSF ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) as a biomarker of human acute traumatic spinal cord injury.. J Neurotrauma. doi: 10.1089/neu.2020.7352.
  • Chen, LYC, Hoiland, RL, Stukas, S, Wellington, CL, Sekhon, MS. 2021. Assessing the importance of interleukin-6 in COVID-19.. Lancet Respir Med. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30600-7.
  • Robert, J et al.. 2020. An in vitro bioengineered model of the human arterial neurovascular unit to study neurodegenerative diseases.. Mol Neurodegener. doi: 10.1186/s13024-020-00418-z.
  • Stukas, S et al.. 2020. The Association of Inflammatory Cytokines in the Pulmonary Pathophysiology of Respiratory Failure in Critically Ill Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019.. Crit Care Explor. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000203.
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