Connections >> March 2015
Latest MSFHR News
- Dr. Adeera Levin named 2015 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize winner
- 2015 Trainee competition update
- CIHR provides feedback on BC SUPPORT Unit business plan
- BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative annual evaluation completed
- Evaluation report highlights InspireNet's impact and value
- Deadline extended for flu policy evaluation
- National HSPR vision and strategy launched
Moving into the future of health research
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is excited to launch a new strategic plan that will inform our approach to supporting BC's health research enterprise over the next five years.
Recognizing that the context for health research has changed significantly since our founding in 2001, the plan lays out a vision for sustaining BC's international reputation for excellence in the face of constrained resources and a prevailing need for greater accountability and efficiency.
At the core of the new strategic plan are three goals to guide our work:
- People: Maintain a base of excellent health researchers who advance knowledge and help inform decision-making in BC
- Responsiveness: Increase responsiveness of the health research enterprise to BC priorities
- Coherence: Increase coherence through coordination and collaboration across BC's health research enterprise
Dr. Adeera Levin named 2015 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize winner
Internationally renowned kidney disease researcher, Dr. Adeera Levin, has been named the winner of the sixth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.
Dr. Levin has made significant contributions to the understanding of the determinants of kidney health and disease and has ensured this knowledge is shared with patients and their health-care providers to improve clinical care and quality of life.
Dr. Levin is the head of the Division of Nephrology at UBC and consultant nephrologist at Providence Health Care. She also serves as the executive director of the BC Renal Agency which oversees the care and planning for kidney services in BC.
2015 Trainee competition update
The deadline to submit letters of intent for our 2015 Trainee Award competition has now passed (we received a total of 266 letters of intent), and we would like to remind applicants of the next steps.
Full applications must be submitted to MSFHR by Monday, April 20; however, your host institution may have an earlier internal deadline for submission. Applicants are encouraged to contact their host institutions to confirm deadlines and inform supervisors and referees of these dates.
CIHR provides feedback on BC SUPPORT Unit business plan
On January 29, a small team presented the BC SUPPORT Unit business plan to a CIHR international adjudication panel. In early March, CIHR shared feedback from the panel — acknowledging the plan's strengths, and noting some weaknesses to be addressed — and approved start-up funds for the unit.
BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative annual evaluation completed
A new evaluation of the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative has been completed, presenting findings on activities, outputs, and outcomes from September 2013 to July 2014.
The evaluation employed a mixed-method approach. Data collection involved surveying BCEHI stakeholders as well as undertaking interviews with a small subset of respondents to explore their views in greater depth. Documentary material provided by the BCEHI was also reviewed.
This year's evaluation expanded the sampling frame to over 1,800 individuals compared to 209 in the prior year, and targeted a broader mix of stakeholders in terms of roles and affiliations with BCEHI.
Evaluation report highlights InspireNet's impact and value
InspireNet, an online platform funded by MSFHR, has played an important role in fostering collaboration between BC researchers and practitioners, according to the findings of a new evaluation report.
With more than 3,700 members from across the academic and health care sectors, InspireNet is a powerful tool for building connections and finding common ground among disparate individuals who are otherwise unlikely to collaborate. Once connected, the report found, these individuals were supported to work more efficiently through time and cost savings made possible by the digital platform.
Deadline extended for flu policy evaluation
MSFHR is requesting applications for a research project that will evaluate the effectiveness of British Columbia's province-wide influenza prevention policy. One research team will be selected to receive a maximum of $360,000 in funding for a period of up to three years.
The deadline for applications has been extended to April 30, 2015. Full application instructions and guidelines are available on MSFHR's website.
National HSPR vision and strategy launched
A pan-Canadian vision and strategy for health services and policy research is set out in a new document launched March 2 by CIHR.
The document represents the culmination of a year-long collaborative process led by CIHR's Institute of Health Services and Policy Research and involving stakeholders from across health care, as well as provincial funding organizations and health charities. The organizations share a belief that the challenges facing the health care system are best addressed through a common vision and collaborative approach.
- BC Cancer Agency researchers Steven Jones (2003 Scholar; 2008 Senior Scholar) and Marco Marra (2001 Scholar; 2006 Senior Scholar) were part of a global team that recently published a map of the human epigenome that will provide new insights into the links between DNA and diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The outcome of the project, called the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Epigenomics Consortium, was published in February in a special issue of the journal Nature.
- "Integrative analysis of 111 reference human epigenomes" – Nature
- "SFU researchers help map human epigenome in global effort to fight disease" – Vancouver Sun; March 16
- New research led by Simon Fraser University professor David Vocadlo (2006 MSFHR Scholar, 2014 BC Alzheimer's Research Award recipient) could open the door to better treatments for cancer and Alzheimer's disease by revealing how the sugar O-GlcNAc regulates proteins in cells. Vocadlo's team recently published its findings in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Razieh Eskandari (2013 MSFHR Trainee) was among the team members who contributed to the research.
- "O-GlcNAc occurs cotranslationally to stabilize nascent polypeptide chains" – Nature Chemical Biology abstract
- "Results of research into protein stabilizer could lead to curb in cancer, Alzheimer’s" – Vancouver Sun; March 16
- Canada could save more than $7 billion annually by adopting universal public drug coverage, according to a new study led by UBC researchers Steven Morgan (2004 MSFHR Scholar) and Michael Law (2011 MSFHR Scholar). The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, presents data to show that such a system would yield substantial savings to the private sector with little increase in costs to government.
- "Universal drug plan would save billions, UBC researchers say" – CBC.ca; March 17