Connections >> January 2013

31 January 2013

Connections is MSFHR's monthly e-newsletter. Each issue highlights the top MSFHR news from the past month and showcases the impact of research we've funded.

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In this issue:

2013 Trainee competition now open

Earlier this week, MSFHR launched a new funding competition for trainee awards for post-doctoral fellows.

Of note, MSFHR has allocated 20 percent of the total funding specifically to the clinical, health services, and population health research themes to encourage applications from areas where BC needs to build capacity. Also new this year is a research area for knowledge translation science with funding available across all research pillars.

New look for MSFHR website

MSFHR is thrilled to announce the launch of our brand new website. We've spent the past several months overhauling to better showcase our ongoing work to strengthen health research in BC. We're excited about the changes, and we are confident they will make for a better experience, whether you're using the site to search for new funding opportunities, learn about MSFHR programs and initiatives, or keep up to date on health research in BC.

We welcome your feedback on our new website — please consider completing this brief survey. Your feedback will help us make further refinements to the site.

Connections readership survey

Thanks to all those who responded to our Connections readership survey in the November and December issues. We've reviewed the comments and are very pleased with the positive response from our readers.

We received lots of helpful feedback, including some great suggestions for how we can improve our newsletter. This input will help us achieve our goal of delivering engaging, high-impact stories about MSFHR and the community we support.

Congratulations to the winners of our prize draw — your Starbucks gift cards are in the mail!

If you missed the survey but would like to share your thoughts on Connections, please email We would love to hear from you.

Moving forward with BC's SPOR SUPPORT Unit

Representatives from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the BC Ministry of Health participated in a workshop hosted by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) earlier this month focused on CIHR's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Units.

SUPPORT Units are one element of SPOR. They are intended to be regional centres of excellence that can stimulate, facilitate, support and enhance the conduct of patient-oriented research. Several units are planned across the country, including one that serves BC.

Mining data to better understand multiple sclerosis

Dr. Helen Tremlett (2004 Trainee; 2007 Scholar) and Dr. Elaine Kingwell (2002 Trainee – PhD; 2011 Trainee – Post-Doctoral Fellow) are two members of the UBC PiMS* Research Group who are using a set of data unique to our province to attempt to quantify many commonly held perceptions about multiple sclerosis (MS) and its impact on people with the disease.

BBC names MSFHR-supported study a top discovery of 2012

A BC Cancer Agency study that re-classified breast cancer into 10 distinct subtypes has been named one of 2012's medical news highlights by the BBC. The study, published in the journal Nature, analyzed tumour samples from more than 2,000 patients and identified new categories of breast cancer cells that correlate with disease progression and survival. This new understanding of breast cancer will help researchers and physicians develop more effective treatments tailored to each subtype. The study was co-led by Dr. Sohrab Shah, a 2011 Scholar and Research Advisory Council member.