Niroshica Mohanathas, (L), and Katherine Bak, trainees at the KITE Research Institute at UHN, will each receive $35,000 per year for three years to support their doctoral studies. (Photo: KITE Research Institute)

Congratulations to Niroshica Mohanathas and Katherine Bak, trainees at the KITE Research Institute at UHN, for being named recipients of the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, (NSERC) Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) award.

The scholarships are bestowed annually on exceptional doctoral students at Canadian research institutions.

The CGS D program supports and promotes research excellence in a wide variety of disciplines and broad fields of health; natural sciences and engineering; and social sciences and humanities; by providing recipients $35,000 per year in funding for three years to support candidates' doctoral studies.

Niroshica's research explores the impact of age-related hearing loss and hearing aids on balance with the goal of preventing falls in older adults. She will use KITE's virtual reality simulator, StreetLab, to evaluate how healthy older adults and older adults with age-related hearing loss, who wear hearing aids, can listen while balancing – a common challenge for older adults.

Katherine studies how age-related hearing loss impacts driving performance. Her project aims to test the driving performance of older adults with hearing loss using KITE's state-of-the-art driving simulator, DriverLab, to recreate a variety of everyday driving tasks.

Both Niroshica and Katherine are members of the Multisensory Integration in Virtual Environments (MIVE) Laboratory and PhD students in the University of Toronto's Department of Psychology.


Michael Caesar has been recognized as a Top 50 Data Analytics Professional. (Photo: UHN)

Congratulations to Michael Caesar, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at UHN, for being recognized as a Top 50 Data Analytics Professional.

This award was presented in July at the Senior Data & Analytics Summit to data and analytics professionals across industries and across North America who have had considerable impact on their organization, made strong contributions to their professional community, and displayed innovation and exceptional leadership in their role.

Michael is also adjunct faculty with the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), University of Toronto.

Dr. James Scholey is leader of the team that has received funding to help advance innovations in diagnosis, treatment and care for millions of Canadians affected by chronic kidney disease (Photo: UHN)

Congratulations to Dr. James Scholey and the team leading the Can-SOLVE CKD Network. The largest-ever kidney research initiative in Canada is entering its Phase 2 with a total funding of $11.8 million – $3.75 million in new funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) matched by more than $8 million raised through the generous support of more than 60 partners.

The funding will help advance innovations in diagnosis, treatment and care for millions of Canadians affected by chronic kidney disease. Can-SOLVE CKD Phase 2 is focused on mobilizing the findings of projects launched during the network's first five years.

To date, Can-SOLVE CKD has undertaken 18 research projects based directly on patients' experiences and priorities. Nine of these have been selected through an internal review process for implementation during Phase 2.

Funding will support project teams to effectively move innovative kidney health solutions into health care policy and practice across Canada. Read more in the consortium's press release.


Drs. Tak Mak, (L), and Trevor Pugh are Senior Scientists at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. (Photo: UHN Research)

Congratulations to Dr. Tak Mak and Dr. Trevor Pugh, Senior Scientists at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, for receiving Canadian Cancer Society awards.

Dr. Mak received the 2021 Lifetime Contribution Prize; and Dr. Pugh received the 2021 Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize. Each awardee receives $20,000 to support their research program.

Dr. Mak has been a prominent figure in the fields of immunology and molecular and cellular biology for more than 40 years. He is best known for cloning the genes of the human T cell antigen receptor and using genetically modified research models to elucidate the function of the first immune checkpoint regulator, CTLA-4. His group's discoveries advanced our understanding of immune responses, paving the way for today's immunotherapies, including immune checkpoint blockade, CAR-T therapy and TCR-T therapy.

Dr. Pugh has published a number of a high-profile studies in translational cancer genomics research. Some of his major contributions include demonstrating the power of early and routine circulating tumour DNA testing to predict and monitor response to cancer immunotherapy, inventing a hybrid-capture method for immune repertoire profiling, and developing genome technologies and software to support clinical genomic testing. 

Dr. Fei-Fei Liu has been appointed Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research (Photo: Princess Margaret Cancer Centre)

Congratulations to Dr. Fei-Fei Liu for being appointed Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research for a term of four years, effective September 1, 2022.

Dr. Liu is one of Canada's leading cancer researchers and clinical research specialists. She has worked for more than three decades as a clinician scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at UHN, where she is a Senior Scientist, Chief of the Radiation Medicine Program and Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Her recent focus on long-term toxicities of cancer therapy has led to several reports on these side effects – work that will contribute to improved treatment decisions, including fatigue, radiation fibrosis and lymphedema in cancer survivors. Together, her work has led to the filing of three patents and the publishing of over 200 original scientific articles.


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