Critical Care  

Congratulations to the Michener Institute of Education at UHN team, led by Maria Tassone, Karen Chaiton and Mohammad Salhia, for winning the 2021 Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education in recognition of their program was an education collaboration led by Michener with partners from across the hospital, long-term care, community care, and post-secondary systems to build a customized education portal that curated the most current, relevant, and emergent education content on COVID-19.

Today, more than a year since its launch, now boasts an impressive 49 educational packages. They include: resources for hospitals, pediatrics, long-term care, and a suite of resources related to vaccination, pandemic planning, COVID-related operational planning, compassionate care, infection control, post COVID-19 syndrome, team-based models of care, and team wellness and resilience.

The site now has more than 16,000 learners registered in Ontario.

The Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education is an annual award that recognizes those people who inspire, advocate and enable education in healthcare.

Dr. Alex Vitkin  

Congratulations to Dr. Alex Vitkin who has received the 2022 SPIE G.G. Stokes Award in Optical Polarization.

Dr. Vitkin is an engineering physicist/biomedical engineer by training, with further specialization in medical physics and applications of lasers in medicine. He is currently a medical physicist and Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Dr. Vitkin is also professor of Medical Biophysics and Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on diagnostic and therapeutic uses of light in biomedicine and holds several patents in the field.

Dr. Vitkin was selected for the award in recognition of his extensive contributions to tissue polarimetry, including advanced methodology developments for sensitive/robust Stokes and Mueller measurements, polarimetric computational and analytical platforms, and biomedical applications ranging from cardiology and regenerative medicine to glucometry and breast cancer margin assessment.

The SPIE G. G. Stokes Award in Optical Polarization is presented for exceptional contributions to the field of optical polarization. The International Society for Optics and Photonics presents 21 SPIE awards each year representing a wide range of singular achievements across light-based sciences and technologies, honouring transformative advancements in areas including medicine, astronomy, lithography, optical metrology, optical design, and community leadership.

Beyond Chemo  

Congratulations to Drs. Amit Oza, Jonathan Irish and Brian Wilson, who have been named winners of the Agnico Eagle Beyond Chemotherapy Grand Challenge for their project "First-in-Human Porphysome Nanotechnology for Precision Tumor Ablation and Surgical Guidance."

Porphysomes are a first-in-class nanomedicine discovered at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with unparalleled theranostic utility. In the context of cancer surgery, porphysomes allow surgeons to visualize disease with intra-operative fluorescence imaging to perform disease resection with supreme precision. Increased surgical precision through this type of intraoperative imaging can reduce disease recurrence, and improve overall patient outcomes.

Understanding the opportunity that exists to improve patient outcomes across a spectrum of solid tumour cases, this project aims to replace imprecise cytotoxic therapies with nanotechnology-based, image-guided, targeted tumour destruction. With excellent progress made in non-human trials, the team will work towards the first in human porphysomes nanotechnology treatments for cancer surgery patients.

The Princess Margaret Grand Challenges were launched at PM in 2020 with winning projects selected under four categories: Beyond Chemotherapy, Intercept Cancer, Digital Intelligence and The Human Touch in Cancer Care.

The team on this project also includes: Gang Zheng, Stéphanie Lheureux, Patrick Veit-Haibach, Rebecca Wong, Nidal Muhanna, Marcus Q Bernardini, Kazuhiro Yasufuku, Robert Weersink, Sangeet Ghai, Nathan Perlis, Raymond M Reilly, and Michael Valic.

Canada Research Chairs  

Congratulations to Drs. Daniel De Carvalho, Thomas Kislinger and Sonya MacParland for receiving new or renewed funding from the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program.

Dr. Daniel De Carvalho, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Cancer Epigenetics and Epigenetic Therapy (renewal), is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His research is focused on new therapies for colorectal cancer. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. This Chair will help advance his research on a new strategy to stimulate the immune system to target cancer called "viral mimicry." The process involves activating the production of molecules that trick the immune system into seeing cancer as an infection that needs to be destroyed. Dr. Carvalho will also advance the development of blood tests to monitor and diagnose colorectal cancer using epigenetics combined with machine learning.

Dr. Thomas Kislinger, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cancer Precision Medicine (advancement), is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret and a world leader in the application of proteomics and biomarkers for cancer treatment. He is also Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Funding from this Chair will enable his team to advance anticancer therapies that can be tailored to individual patients. His program will achieve this by developing advanced mass spectrometry-based approaches to rapidly identify the proteins present in blood, combined with "cell surface capturing" technologies to take snapshots of the surface of cells. He will explore these approaches to identify aggressive prostate, head and neck, and ovarian cancers.

Dr. Sonya MacParland, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Liver Immunobiology (new), is a scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and an emerging world leader in liver biology. She is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP) and Immunology at the University of Toronto. Funding from this Chair will enable her team to study the cellular basis of liver disease and to harness populations of cells identified within the liver to promote liver health. This work will build on Dr. MacParland's role in leading the first international effort to create a publicly available single-cell and molecular-level map of the human liver, which is providing unprecedented insight into how the liver functions. Her team will build on these discoveries to develop nanoparticle-based therapies as well as strategies to modulate immune cells to treat viral-related liver disease.

The results were announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, during a virtual event on Jan. 12. The funding results were for the CRC 2020-2022 cycle and represented a total of approximately $151 million to support 188 new and renewed Chairs at 43 research institutions across Canada.

Dr. Kathleen Sheehan  

Congratulations to Dr. Kathleen Sheehan, Staff Psychiatrist, Medical Psychiatry at UHN's Centre for Mental Health, and Assistant Professor, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at University of Toronto, for being awarded The CIHR-CPA Glenda M. MacQueen Memorial Career Development Award for Women in Psychiatry.

Dr. Kathleen Sheehan is a principal investigator on research projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Her clinical work and research work focuses on the care of individuals with co-occurring physical and mental illnesses, with a special interest in quality of care.

There are significant barriers for clinical psychiatrists to develop academic research programs leading to an underrepresentation of clinical psychiatrists among academic mental health researchers, with a corresponding loss of the unique patient-oriented perspective they bring. Women clinical psychiatrists are at an even greater disadvantage, given the additional societal pressures that may contribute to further reducing the amount of time they have available to devote to pursuing academic research. The CIHR-CPA Glenda M. MacQueen Memorial Career Development Award for Women in Psychiatry is a career development award to support the early-stage development of women who will lead the future of academic psychiatry.

Created to honour the late Dr. Glenda MacQueen and acknowledge her contributions to research, training, clinical service and mentorship, the award provides $100,000 and recognition of future women leaders of academic achievement in mental health. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, through the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA), funds the award, in collaboration with the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA).

Dr. Sheehan is the inaugural recipient of this new award.

Dr. Wendy Tsang  

Congratulations to Dr. Wendy Tsang for being awarded a 2022 Escalator Award from Women As One.

Dr. Tsang is a cardiologist and clinician investigator at the Toronto General Hospital, where she is Head of the Complex Valve Clinic at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. An Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, she also serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography and is a member of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeon's Area of Focused Competency subcommittee in Adult Echocardiography. She currently holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada National New Investigator Award. Her research focuses on congenital and valvular heart disease, 3D echocardiography, and artificial intelligence.

The Escalator Awards aim to fortify the pipeline of women leaders by "escalating" a highly qualified group of women cardiologists through targeted funding, mentorship and networking. Each year, Women as One provides recognition and financial support to award winners in select focus areas. By giving more visibility to women in cardiology, we hope to develop a more equitable workforce for the future.

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