Connections >> March 2012

21 March 2012

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:


Research with Impact

MSFHR People

Introducing Dr. Diane Finegood, president & CEO

On March 1, MSFHR welcomed Diane Finegood as our new president & CEO. An internationally recognized expert in obesity and diabetes, Diane brings to her new role leadership skills honed during her time as scientific director, Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and as executive director of The CAPTURE Project.

Initially trained as a chemical engineer, Diane has moved from a basic science researcher looking at the causes of diabetes to a leader in the scientific community who applies systems thinking to complex population health issues.

“The opportunity at MSFHR came at an ideal time for me,” says Diane. “The Foundation is at a key point in its evolution as an agency that not only funds, but helps to translate, the results of health research.”

“I saw an organization experiencing significant success — excellent staff, a stellar track record, a strong reputation and great relationships in the community — and I wanted to be part of it.”

For the next few weeks, Diane will learn as much as she can about MSFHR and the issues and opportunities facing the organization. While she hasn’t yet defined all of her long-terms goals, she is clear that MSFHR needs to focus on activities of most value to its stakeholders, including government, the research community, and the health-care sector.

“I love problem-solving,” notes Diane. “I’m excited to work with MSFHR staff and board to help the organization be the best it can be and to increase our capacity to turn research results into health and health-care solutions for BC.”

Great response to 2012 MSFHR Scholar competition

The 2012 MSFHR Scholar competition is underway! We received 109 letters of intent from exceptional researchers across a broad spectrum of health disciplines — and after the March 23 full application deadline, our peer-review panels will, after a rigorous review process, recommend funding their top choices. We expect to announce in late June our new award recipients who will join the ranks of the more than 300 MSFHR Scholars we’ve funded since 2001.

Still time to complete KT needs assessment survey

If you produce or use health research evidence in BC, we want to hear from you. MSFHR recently launched an online survey to assess knowledge translation training and resource needs across the province. We’re collecting responses from health researchers and people who use research evidence in their work to help us and our partner organizations design future KT training opportunities and materials of greatest value to the BC health research community. The results of this survey will be published on our website next month.

Learn more about MSFHR’s KT activities

Using knowledge translation to improve community health

MSFHR recently partnered with the UBC-based Peter Wall Solutions Initiative to support the evaluation of community health research programs. By funding knowledge brokers for two PWSI health-related projects, we are supporting the development, implementation and evaluation of KT strategies and activities.

MSFHR/Mitacs partnership addresses health-sector research challenges

A new internship pilot project offered by MSFHR and Mitacs-Accelerate is supporting graduate students to bring innovative solutions to health research challenges. The program brings together a health-care organization and an academic institution to fund an intern who will undertake a four-month research project in the health sector. Interns learn to apply the latest research tools and innovations to real-world issues, while partner institutions gain the benefit of novel solutions to challenging problems.

Research with Impact

  • Study supported by MSFHR funding finds potential treatment to block hepatitis C infection
    A new study supported by MSFHR funding has identified a potential treatment for hepatitis C (HCV) that could benefit more than 170 million people worldwide living with the virus.UBC researchers, including 2006 MSFHR Trainee award recipient Andrea Olmstead, developed an “inhibitor” drug to decrease the size of fat droplets in liver cells, which HCV requires to form new virus particles. By blocking this replication process, the inhibitor prevents HCV from multiplying and infecting other liver cells.

    The UBC team’s findings were published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

    >> Read the full study

MSFHR People

  • Dr. Robert Holt
    Dr. Rob Holt, 2004 MSFHR Scholar, was a senior author on a study that uncovered the first evidence of a link between human colorectal cancer and the bacterium Fusobacterium. It made Time Magazine’s top 10-list of medical breakthroughs in 2011.
  • Drs. Helgason, Loewen, Rosin, and Shah
    Dr. Cheryl Helgason (2003 Scholar), Dr. Christopher Loewen (2006 Scholar), Dr. Miriam Rosin (2003 Research Unit) and Dr. Sohrab Shah (2011 Scholar) recently received Canadian Cancer Society innovation grants.
  • Dr. Erica Frank
    The American Council of Preventative Medicine honoured Dr. Erica Frank (Research Advisory Council member) with their 2012 distinguished service award.