Connections >> November 2014

26 November 2014

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.

In this issue:



MSFHR launches 2015 Trainee Award competition

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is pleased to launch the 2015 Research Trainee Program – Competition for Post-Doctoral Fellowship Awards.

This funding competition is open to applicants who are eligible to hold a post-doctoral fellow position at a BC-based host institution for the duration of the Research Trainee Program – Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award. Host institutions must have a signed memorandum of understanding with MSFHR.

At the time of application, applicants must commit at least 75 percent time to research training; this commitment does not include holding a full-time paid research position. Health professionals with active clinical service must commit at least 50 percent time to research training.

Competition guidelines are now available on MSFHR’s website.

Note: The MSFHR ApplyNet system will open in early February 2015 to accept applications to this competition. Full application instructions will be posted at this time.

Letters of intent must be submitted by March 17, 2015. The deadline for receipt of full applications is April 20, 2015.

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BC Alzheimer’s Research Award Program announces awardees

Five BC research teams have been awarded funds to study Alzheimer’s disease thanks to a new $7.5M funding partnership between MSFHR, Brain Canada, Genome BC, and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation.

The award recipients, announced November 21 at a special presentation hosted by the funding partners, include three teams from the University of British Columbia and two from Simon Fraser University.

The creativity and vision of these teams offers hope for the 70,000 British Columbians living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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Dr. Samuel Aparicio named 2014 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize winner

Breast cancer researcher Dr. Samuel Aparicio has been named the winner of the fifth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.

Dr. Aparicio’s research program encompasses the fields of cancer genomics, mouse genetic models, high-throughput screens, and translational breast cancer research.

“Dr. Aparicio is an internationally recognized breast cancer and genomics scholar who has led landmark studies that have revolutionized the field of molecular oncology,” says Dr. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president & CEO. “His research projects, including the world’s largest global study of breast cancer tissue, have had far-reaching impacts on diagnosing and treating breast cancer.”

Created in honour of MSFHR’s founding president & CEO, this award is given to a British Columbia researcher whose work in health research is internationally recognized and has significant impact on advancing clinical or health services and policy research.

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MSFHR-RHI partnership a key investment in BC spinal cord injury research

Spinal cord injury and its accompanying loss of mobility have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of more than 86,000 Canadians.

Although this condition remains difficult to treat, advances in research have led to therapeutic breakthroughs that are changing what it means to live with spinal cord injury.

At the leading edge of research into spinal cord injury is the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI). Based at Vancouver’s Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, RHI is committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries.

Since 2006, RHI has partnered with MSFHR to support four researchers, including 2014 Scholar Award recipients Christopher West and John Kramer.

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Minimal-risk model a milestone for ethics harmonization in BC

BC has taken a significant step towards a more efficient and coordinated research ethics review process.

On December 1, a new model for harmonized ethics review of minimal-risk studies will begin pilot implementation in December, representing a major milestone in the ongoing BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI). The model has been endorsed by the senior leaders of the partner organizations for a six-month pilot implementation across their research ethics boards.

By allowing researchers to submit a single ethics application, regardless of the number of BC jurisdictions involved in a project, the new minimal-risk model will reduce the research team’s administrative workload and allow applications to be more efficiently reviewed and approved.

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KT workshop offers new skills and perspectives

The Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT™) workshop co-hosted by MSFHR and Genome BC earlier this month was highly successful and drew a great mix of participants across all research pillars.

The two-day workshop, led by Drs. Melanie Barwick and Donna Lockett, was open to 2014 MSFHR Scholar Award holders and their teams, and individuals who are part of research projects funded by Genome BC.

The workshop allowed participants to develop a fundamental skill set and competencies around creating and implementing a KT plan that can help generate research impact, promote research utilization, and ensure that research findings reach the appropriate audiences.

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Fostering collaborations in digital health research

MSFHR is co-hosting a one-day interactive forum scheduled for February 5, 2015, that will bring together the sectors involved in developing, implementing, and delivering digital health solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges for:

  • Youth with mental health conditions (ages 11-25)
  • Supporting seniors with complex care needs in their homes
  • Other areas consistent with health system priorities and the new Directions for Health Research in BC

We invite interested individuals to learn more and register at

Registration is free of charge, but space is limited.

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Spark >> A BC Health Research Blog

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