Professor Richard Wilson is an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Senior Scholar at the University of Calgary studying the biological cause of SIDS.
Wilson has studied neuroscience for over 25 years, published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers and runs an active research laboratory investigating cardiorespiratory control. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the Neurobiology Program at the University of Sussex before completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow on brain-silicon interfaces. Dr. Wilson then completed postdoctoral training at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Calgary studying systems neuroscience. Dr. Wilson is passionate about neuroscience and neuroscience training. He is driven to end SIDS by understanding the neuroscience of cardiorespiratory control. Wilson’s long term goal is to invent a novel perinatal screening program for SIDS based on the biological mechanisms of this devastating disease.
Thanks in part to funding from the SIDS Calgary Society, Dr. Wilson’s team have discovered that a brain signalling molecule called PACAP is critical for survival of neonatal apneas. Wilson’s group found that PACAP plays an important role in adapting the cardiorespiratory system to cope with apneas and revealed rare variant in the gene coding PACAP in some SIDS victims. Recently, Wilson discovered a unique property of a subset of PACAP containing brain cells that may be critical in SIDS and offers hope for a new non-invasive perinatal screening paradigm.