MSFHR announces 2015 Trainee award recipients

Forty-eight* exceptional young investigators will receive Trainee awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research to support post-doctoral study at BC institutions.

The award recipients, selected from a highly competitive pool of 231 applications, represent a bright future for health research in British Columbia. Their innovative projects span a broad range of disciplines and will help to address important health challenges for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Thirteen of this year’s awards will be jointly funded in partnership with BC-based health charities, health authorities, and not-for-profit organizations. MSFHR is pleased to partner with the following organizations to support research directly relevant to their respective mandates:

  • AllerGen
  • BC Cancer Foundation
  • Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation
  • Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation
  • Rick Hansen Institute/International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

With a maximum term of three years, MSFHR Trainee Awards support highly qualified researchers at the post-PhD and post-health professional degree stages to prepare for careers as independent investigators. By supporting the training of these researchers, BC is well positioned to retain them as future health research leaders.

Since 2001, MSFHR has invested more than $38 million in funding more than 1,200 Trainee awards that build on Dr. Michael Smith’s legacy of support for up-and-coming scientists.

*Number updated August 31, 2015

MSFHR, BC Cancer Foundation partner to support research

More than 23,000 British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and one in three British Columbians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. These sobering figures demonstrate a pressing need for research initiatives to develop improved treatment solutions that will directly benefit the health of patients.

Since 2005, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has partnered with the BC Cancer Foundation to support promising young scientists engaged in leading-edge cancer research. To date, this partnership has invested more than $285,000 in support of 11 exceptional trainees working in all areas of cancer research.

For the 2011 Research Trainee competition, four researchers have been jointly funded by MSFHR and the BC Cancer Foundation:

  • Dr. Vincenzo Giambra is working to identify cancer stem cells in a type of blood cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). The goal is to develop a drug that specifically targets and kills these cancer stem cells, causing the cancer to regress.
  • Dr. Kevin Bin Liang Lin is researching the role of a particular gene, Ahi-1, in the development and progression of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This knowledge will be applied to develop better diagnostics and eventually better treatments for patients with CML.
  • Dr. Alicia Tone is investigating how endometriosis-associated inflammation can influence the development of ovarian cancer by studying the specific role that the ARID1A gene plays in inflammation. This study will help improve our understanding of how endometriosis may be linked to ovarian cancer, pointing to the development of new preventive strategies.
  • Dr. Joanna Wegrzyn Woltosz is researching the molecular mechanism of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and identifying targets of a new drug currently used in MDS treatment. The findings of this study will suggest novel steps towards the development of better therapies that will improve quality of life and increase survival for MDS patients.

About the BC Cancer Foundation

The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge. As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, the BC Cancer Foundation enables donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. Research is funded with the goal of finding solutions.

As an independent charitable organization, the BC Cancer Foundation raises funds exclusively for the BC Cancer Agency that support innovative cancer research and compassionate enhancements to patient care.

Visit to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.