Fellow in Focus: Alastair Cribb, FCAHS

Drugs can affect humans and animals in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. Adverse drug reactions can be both serious and difficult to diagnose, which is why Dr. Alastair Cribb has focused his research on adverse drug reactions, and hopes his research will lead to improved safety assessment of drugs and chemicals, and ultimately to an improved safety of drugs in general.

Dr. Cribb, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, studies drug and chemical toxicity at a molecular level in both humans and animals. His research specifically focuses on antimicrobials, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticonvulsants. By comparing how drugs affect both individual humans as well as different species of animals. Dr. Cribb hopes his work will help explain the mechanisms behind drug toxicities and their genetic determinants of susceptibility, as well as determining better and faster ways to diagnose and treat adverse drug reactions.

“My interest in comparative medicine and linking human and veterinary medicine is what led me to the University of Calgary in 2006,” says Dr. Cribb.

Dr. Cribb is the founding Dean of the University of Calgary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), the fifth veterinary college in Canada. He led the development of its new and innovative DVM program, which began in 2008, and guided its new graduate and research programs which began in 2006, along with new CAHS Fellow, Dr. Jay Cross. UCVM aims to graduate an increased number of skilled veterinarians able to adapt to the changing demands of food animal industries, environmental and wildlife health, public health, and biomedical research, as well as forging new collaborative research areas in comparative medicine.

“Our DVM program is unique in that it integrates students into community clinical practice, while at the same time providing a strong background in research skills,” says Dr. Cribb. “In their third year, all students will complete a research project, while in the fourth year, students get to work off-campus with the veterinary community in Alberta through the Distributed Veterinary Learning Community.”

Dr. Cribb previously held a Canada Research Chair in Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Prince Edward Island and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 1998. He founded the PEI Health Research Institute and was on CIHR’s inaugural governing council. Dr. Cribb is currently serving as Chair of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment.

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