Philip Zeman is well on his way to changing the world around him. As a scientist and an athlete, he experiences the world in both a thoughtful and visceral way. His message of continued discovery of self and the world through science, adventure and the human spirit is inspiring. His scientific curiosity and unconventional way of facing challenges with a leap of faith makes Philip the Indiana Jones of neuroscience.
Philip studied Engineering and neuroscience research, eventually combining the fields of Engineering, Biology, and Psychology to obtain an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at the University of Victoria. In 2007, he travelled to Belize to work with optometrists to give the gift of clear vision to over 1200 people, overcoming the language and cultural barriers he faced with imagination and a sense of humour. In 2008, Philip and a friend from France bicycled from Victoria, BC to St. John’s Newfoundland in a trip that lasted 57 days, and covered 7,600 km. During that summer Philip discovered the resilience of the human body and how bone and muscle outlast aluminum and steel.
Philip has also discovered that he could combine his love of mountains with his career path developing new ways to learn about the brain. He used brain dysfunction caused by low air pressure at altitude to help design equipment for measuring brain disorders. Having faced Acute Mountain Sickness and seen a friend nearly die of it, Philip resolved to better understand this dangerous illness. He brought scientific equipment to Kilimanjaro and collected brain and body data to help him create an education program for altitude tourists to improve their chances of a healthy and safe ascent when climbing mountains.
Philip is continuing to pair his science with practical applications to address human needs. Currently, he is steering the development and testing of early detection techniques for Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder and by doing so is paving the way for the development and testing of new efficient diagnostic methods for other brain-related illnesses. He believes that early detection is paramount for understanding the true cause of these illnesses, identifying treatments and eventually cures, and improving our quality of life. In this effort, he is reaching out to the community for support and collaborating with multiple organizations internationally.
The challenge of discovery: using Alzheimer's research to refashion the way we do brain science
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