The Victoria Longitudinal Study (VLS)

The VLS is a long-term, large-scale, and multi-faceted longitudinal investigation of human aging. Incorporating biomedical approaches, leading-edge technologies, and epidemiological perspectives, the VLS evaluates and tracks actual cognitive and health trajectories leading to outcomes that can be classified as normal, resilient, exceptional, impaired, or dementia. Our studies examine these differential brain and cognitive changes as a function of interactions among multiple “biomarkers” of both risk and protection. Among these dynamically interacting biomarkers are those representing selected aspects of biological, health, genetic, metabolic, vascular, lifestyle, physical fitness, cognitive activity, sex/gender, and demographic domains.



The VLS operates in two favourable locations in western Canada. The overall research, administrative, data collection, archives management, and lab headquarters of the VLS are in beautiful and booming Edmonton, the capital city of the Province of Alberta. Many of our dedicated longitudinal participants regularly visit our continually active VLS lab in lovely Victoria, on Vancouver Island, off the coast of the Province of British Columbia.


Leadership and Collaborators

Dr. Roger A. Dixon is the long-serving VLS Director and Principal Investigator. Dr. Dixon is the recipient of two consecutive terms of the prestigious NIH MERIT Award (2002-2007; 2007-2012) for VLS research. Dr. Stuart MacDonald (Associate Professor, UVictoria) is the Co-Investigator of the VLS. Dr. G. Peggy McFall (Research Associate, UAlberta) is the Assistant Director of the VLS. We gratefully acknowledge the expert contributions of our stellar panel of consultants. These include Drs. Kaarin Anstey (Australian National University), Lars Bäckman (Karolinska Institutet), Richard Camicioli (UAlberta), Ian Deary (University of Edinburgh), Christopher Hertzog (Georgia Tech), Scott Hofer (UVictoria), Jack McArdle (University of Southern California), and Brent Small (University of South Florida).



Since its inception in the late 1980s, the VLS has been continuously funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The latest NIH grant will fund the VLS from 2013-2018 (NIH R01 AG008235; PI: R.A. Dixon). The VLS has also benefited from supplemental funding from numerous other sources, including AHFMR, Alberta Health Services, Canada Research Chairs, CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, STINT, other NIH grants, and the Universities of Alberta (Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine) and Victoria.


Integrative Activities

The VLS actively participates in provincial networks (Campus Alberta Neuroscience), national networks (Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging), and international longitudinal initiatives (IALSA).


Further Information

In the 2000s Roger Dixon, Stuart MacDonald, and David Hultsch met regularly in Edmonton and Victoria to plan new VLS initiatives and to work on research reports. Stuart has taken over as Co-Investigator for the Victoria Lab. Dave retired in 2011.

VLS dinner at the Atlanta Fish Market, April 2014.

From left around table: Shraddha, Correne, Shannon, Peggy, Kaarin, Paul, Stuart, Chris, Roger, and Brent.

©2018 Victoria Longitudinal Study