The Alberta Prion Research Institute’s purpose and overarching mandate was to: 

  • Build and support world-class capacity for prion and protein folding research;  
  • Encourage the production of excellent research and its use for the advancement of knowledge and the development of industry and policy; and  
  • Develop highly qualified people in these areas. 

Prions, which can be characterized as misfolded proteins, can manifest in ways that represent a threat to human and animal health and the agricultural industry. Found in the brains of mammals, prions can cause infectious diseases of the nervous system. The Prion Institute’s targeted funding for fundamental and applied prion research supported more than 50 researchers and industry partners in addressing the challenges posed by prion-related diseases.  

Since 2005, the Prion Institute was integral to attracting researchers to get involved in prion science, leading Alberta to become world-renowned as a major centre for research in these diseases. The institute’s investments over the years created a strong prion research infrastructure and an international network to carry on this work. 

Having successfully achieved its mandate and with its funding concluded, the Alberta Prion Research Institute wrapped up its operations on March 31, 2022. The Prion Institute website offers an archive of historical funded projects

Continued Funding 

Alberta Innovates remains committed to funding prion science in priority sectors through the Agricultural Funding Consortium and through targeted programs. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in elk, deer, and other cervids, a focus area of the Prion Institute, has been identified as a continued priority. Ongoing funding is provided under the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Research Program, which recently invested $1.25 million in research related to understanding and managing the spread of CWD.