Lab Canada

Health research scientists win $150,000 prizes in new competition

London, ON – Three researchers at the Lawson Health Research Institute have won the newly established Lawson Innovation Prize.

The prize competition was announced in March and challenged all researchers affiliated with the institute or its community outreach programs to showcase research offering the potential to improve our understanding of the origins, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of diseases encountered within the scope of service of London Health Sciences Centre and St Joseph’s Health Care, London.

The review committee decided to award two prizes of $150,000 each, available over three years. As well, the principal investigators received a one-time cash award of $10,000.

Scientists Dr Ian Cunningham and Dr John Denstedt jointly won the first award. They will be furthering their studies on the compositional make-up of kidney stones to develop strategies to alleviate suffering for kidney stone patients.

“I’m very excited and grateful to the Lawson Innovation Fund for funding this important study,” says Dr Cunningham. “Preliminary results from this study are suggesting that this technique of studying stone composition is so important – we may have an opportunity to change how stones are analyzed around the world.”

The winner of the second prize is Lawson scientist, Dr Richard Kim and colleagues, who will be exploring the use of pharmacogenomics, or personalized medicine, to tailor treatment of colon cancer patients and thereby decreasing the occurrence of negative side effects.

“The intent of the prize was to create solutions to ‘big’ health research questions that typically involve a multi-skilled, multi-disciplinary approach that builds on existing or planned infrastructure, equipment or human resource investments by Lawson,” says Dr David Hill, scientific director at Lawson. “The research being conducted by Drs Cunningham, Denstedt and Kim is pivotal in pushing forward our ability to deal effectively with health issues for which the London hospitals have a mandate for care.”

The institute says it hopes to hold the competition on an annual basis.