Dr. Lillian Siu

Congratulations to Dr. Lillian Siu who has been announced as the esteemed recipient of the 2024 David Karnofsky Memorial Award from The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

This prestigious recognition is a testament to Dr. Siu's unparalleled dedication and contributions to the field of oncology and cancer research.

Dr. Siu is the Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Bras and Family Drug Development Program at UHN's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and holds the BMO Chair in Precision Genomics.

Dr. Siu's research focus is in the area of new anti-cancer drug development, particularly with respect to phase I trials and head and neck malignancies. In addition to her active research in early phase clinical trials, she has been leading genomics initiatives and immuno-oncology trials.

Together, the three programs of drug development, cancer genomics and tumour immunotherapy form a triad of synergy that supports the institution's core vision to deliver precision cancer medicine.

Dr. Siu will be delivering her award lecture at the 2024 ASCO meeting Opening Session on June 1, 2024 in Chicago.

UHN's inaugural CIHR REDI Award recipients, (clockwise from top left), Drs. Sumaiyah Rehman, Laura Whittall-Garcia, Ying Meng, and Diana Morales Castro. (Photo: UHN Research Communications)

Four UHN trainees have received awards to support their transition to independent research careers.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced the recipients of the Research Excellence, Diversity and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award.

The REDI award is designed to increase diversity among science and medicine faculties by helping research trainees from underrepresented groups successfully transition into faculty positions.

Four UHN trainees have been awarded funding from Phase 1 of the competition, known as the “mentored phase." These trainees will annually receive $20,000 in research allowance and a $70,000 stipend for up to three years, as well as access to mentorship and career development opportunities.

UHN's REDI Award recipients are:

  • Dr. Laura Whittall-Garcia, postdoctoral researcher at UHN's Schroeder Arthritis Institute (mentored by Dr. Joan Wither). Dr. Whittall-Garcia's research applies an advanced technique called imaging mass cytometry to develop predictive tests for kidney disease in people with systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease associated with widespread inflammation and tissue damage.
  • Dr. Diana Morales Castro, clinical fellow at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (mentored by Dr. Eddy Fan). Dr. Morales Castro's research combines pharmacology, anesthesiology and critical care medicine to evaluate how the long-term use of sedative drugs affects people with acute respiratory distress syndrome. The goal of her research is to optimize sedation among hospitalized patients while decreasing sedation-related complications.
  • Dr. Ying Meng, postdoctoral researcher at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (mentored by Dr. Gelareh Zadeh). Dr. Meng's research focuses on applying therapeutic ultrasound in treating a syndrome called neurofibromatosis type 1, which is characterized by the development of tumours in the nervous system and increased risk of cancer. Dr. Meng is developing a blood-based test, aided by focused ultrasound to detect precancerous and cancerous tumours that could promote early detection and intervention.
  • Dr. Sumaiyah Rehman, scientific associate at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (mentored by Dr. Catherine O'Brien). Dr. Rehman's research examines how tumour cells evade death by chemotherapies and targeted agents, causing disease relapse and metastasis. The insights gained from this research will enable the development of improved diagnostic and prognostic tests and strategies to prevent relapse and metastasis.

In a few years, these researchers will be eligible to apply for Phase 2 funding, known as the "independent phase." If awarded, they will receive salary support, operational funding and faculty mentorship to support their transition to independent research positions.

Congratulations to all awardees!


Congratulations to Professor Sherry Grace, (L), and Dr. Kristin Musselman of UHN's KITE Research Institute for receiving the KITE Innovation and Impact Award for outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

The award, which is chosen by a committee of peers, is bestowed annually on one KITE senior scientist and one scientist whose research and activities demonstrate a significant impact in their area of expertise. These contributions include changes to policies, standards, best practice guidelines, or the dissemination of resources to the research community.

Prof. Grace, a KITE Senior Scientist, Director of Research in Cardiac Rehabilitation at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and professor with the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, focuses her research on access and quality of outpatient cardiovascular care – in Ontario and around the globe, and optimizing quantity and quality of life (including mental health) of cardiac outpatients.

Prof. Grace's work involves promoting their participation in cardiac rehabilitation, which is an outpatient chronic disease management program. She works to overcome their barriers to participation – from increasing capacity to deliver services to ensuring programs better engage heart patients.

Dr. Musselman, a KITE scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, focuses her research on optimizing everyday functional movements, such as walking and reaching.

Dr. Musselman's research includes training effective balance reactions in adults with spinal cord injury, and studying whether wearable sensors can detect those at risk of falls. She also studies the effectiveness of functional electrical stimulation to improve arm function in young children with cerebral palsy.


Congratulations to Dr. Robert Hamilton on his appointment as holder of the Fleck/Tanenbaum Chair in Prostatic Diseases at UHN, a joint hospital-university endowed named chair between UHN and the University of Toronto (U of T), for a five-year term, effective November 1, 2023.

The Fleck/Tanenbaum Chair in Prostatic Diseases was established in 1997 thanks to generous lead gifts from founding donors, James D. Fleck and the late Joseph M. Tanenbaum, as well as additional funds provided by other donors. The purpose of the chair is to support scholarly activities relating to prostatic diseases.

Dr. Hamilton is a member of the Division of Urology within UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery and Division of Surgical Oncology, and an associate professor at U of T, whose primary practice is at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He is a renowned surgeon-scientist specializing in urology, minimally invasive and robotic surgery, as well as cancers and other conditions of the bladder, kidney, prostate, testes and related urological organs.

Dr. Hamilton completed his medical school and urology residency at U of T. During residency, he completed a Masters of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a research fellowship at Duke University. Before joining the faculty, he completed a fellowship in urologic oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City.

Dr. Hamilton's clinical practice focuses on management of genitourinary malignancies, with particular focus on prostate and testis cancers, including minimally invasive surgical techniques. His research interests focus on the epidemiology of urological malignancies and biomarkers in risk and progression of these diseases.

Thank you to the founding donors and their families, and all donors, for their remarkable philanthropic contributions.

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