Francis Hane, PhD

Francis Hane, PhD, completed his PhD in biophysics at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Zoya Leonenko, PhD. Dr. Hane's PhD research focused on the aggregation of the amyloid-beta protein (implicated in AD) at the level of a single molecule using atomic force spectroscopy. Atomic force spectroscopy is a nanoscale technique used to probe the interactions between two molecules. An apt analogy is a fish hook stuck on the bottom of a lake with the fisherman pulling up on the rod. Eventually, the hook dislodges and is freed. Atomic force spectroscopy measures the force of pulling apart the molecules, and is similar to the fishing rod, but on a nanoscale. Since completing his PhD, Dr. Hane has worked in the lab of Mitchell S. Albert, PhD, the inventor of hyperpolarized (HP) gas MRI. Dr. Hane has been applying HP gas MRI to a variety of diseases including pulmonary inflammation and Alzheimer's disease.

"Ever since I was a young boy I was interested in science. I was the kid with a poster in my school locker explaining Einstein's famous mass-energy equivalence equation, E=mc2!

I remember my first experience with Alzheimer's disease. Our neighbour, Hans, an elderly gentleman and avid horticulturalist, suffered from it. The disease slowly robbed him of his ability to care for his garden and his wife [and] as his disease progressed, he could no longer care for himself. Little did I know that one day I would be studying ways to help millions of people who suffer in the way that Hans and his family did. The generous support of the BrightFocus Foundation and its donors are key ingredients in making progress."