Meet: Carmela Tartaglia, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Co-lead

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Meet: Carmela Tartaglia, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Co-lead

Why did you choose your profession?

I love investigating what aspects of our brains make us the social beings we are.

What’s your role with ONDRI?

I’m the co-lead on for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD) and I’m on a member of the Patient and Community Advisory Committee (PCAC).

Why is working with ONDRI important to you?

It’s important to foster collaborations across the province and internationally. ONDRI brings together researchers from different areas and provides an opportunity to build new collaborations.

Tell us about your current research.

I spend most of my time thinking about ways to detect disease early on at the pathological level. I have parallel multi-modal biomarker programs in FTD and in possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In FTD, I try to find ways to differentiate tau from TDP-43, the two main causes of FTD. In former professional athletes who have suffered multiple concussions I try to find ways to detect chronic traumatic encephalopathy in vivo. I also look at changes in personality and their neural subtracts to see whether this might be a way to detect disease earlier on.

What is your hope for the future in your area of focus?

To find a way to detect disease at an early stage where we could intervene.

Where were you born and raised?

Schefferville, Quebec until I was 13 and then I moved to Montreal.

Where have you lived? What’s your favourite place?

Schefferville, Quebec; Montreal Quebec; London, Ontario; and San Francisco, California. I love San Francisco. It’s feels like a big city but it’s a manageable size. It’s also close to nature but also metropolitan. There aren’t too many cities where you can run from the bay to the ocean in one run.

What were your interests growing up?

Film and photography.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life?

My brother taught me to laugh whenever you can.

What makes for a great workday?

Meetings with my students where we get to discuss their research.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Passionate, chocolate lover, and noisy walker (I do have a heavy step).

What has been the most enjoyable in your life?

There are way too many things to mention but it was surreal to experience being a medical student in Nunavik and Kenya.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I laugh very easily. Right now, it’s The Colbert Report.

What do you most look forward to?

Seeing new places.

What exciting things are happening in your life this year?

I recently welcomed a puppy into my family.

What are your hobbies?

I run a lot.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I love Down by Law.

If money was no object, what would you do all day?

Pretty much what I do now but I would bring my puppy to work.

Are you planning any trips in the near future?

Yes. Vancouver, Victoria, London, United Kingdom, Chile, New York, and Brazil.

What’s the first place you would recommend to someone who is planning a trip that has never traveled before?

San Francisco.