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Health research awards salute Canadian researchers


Ottawa, ON – Four health science researchers and three organizations in the field have received prestigious awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

These awards are synonymous with exceptional, internationally recognized, cutting-edge research,” says Ujjal Dosanjh, federal minister of health. “Each recipient has demonstrated exceptional creativity, a willingness to overcome challenges, and the ability to embrace new concepts all in the pursuit of new knowledge.”

The following individuals and organizations were recognized for their outstanding contributions to improving the health of Canadians:

– Dr Sergio Grinstein (head, cell biology research program and holder of the Pitblado chair in cell biology, Hospital for Sick Children) is the recipient of the Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, which recognizes innovation, creativity, leadership and dedication to health research. Dr Grinstein is an outstanding biochemist, physiologist and cell biologist with many years of achievements.

– Dr Hong Ling (assistant professor, department of biochemistry, University of Western Ontario) is the recipient of the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New Investigator Award, which is awarded to Canada’s brightest young health researchers at the beginning of their careers. Dr Ling has been described as an “upcoming star in the field of DNA repair”.

– Dr John R Evans (chair, Canada Foundation for Innovation) is the recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership qualities and support by individuals for health research. Dr Evans has played a central role for more than 35 years in the health, research and innovation sectors.

– The Canadian Neonatal Network (CNN) is the recipient of the Knowledge Translation Award, which recognizes an exceptional individual or team currently involved in a collaborative health research or development project that aims to advance and expand the understanding of knowledge translation. CNN conducts multidisciplinary collaborative research to improve outcomes and quality of care delivered to newborn infants in Canada and translates that research into evidence-based practices.

– The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (CPRF) and AstraZeneca Canada are the recipients of the Partnership Award, which recognizes partnerships that bring health research communities together to create innovative approaches to important research questions. CPRF and AstraZeneca have created a partnership designed to support and encourage young researchers in mental health and addictions.

– Dr Roberto J. Botelho (postdoctoral fellow, department of cellular and molecular medicine, University of California, San Diego) is the recipient of the Jean-Franois St-Denis Fellowship in Cancer Research, which honours the memory of CIHR’s former deputy director, the late Dr Jean-Franois St-Denis. The award recognizes a highly rated fellowship awardee who intends to undertake postdoctoral training in the field of cancer research and who is dedicated to science and discovery as Dr St-Denis was in his lifetime.

In addition, through a partnership with federal research agencies such as CIHR, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has established the CIHR Career Awards. These awards recognize and support outstanding researchers by providing institutions with the infrastructure that is essential for researchers to carry out their research projects. Up to $1 million is available, on an annual basis, to support infrastructure components for the recipient and finalists of CIHR’s Michael Smith Prize in Health Research Award. CFI will be announcing the Career Awards early in 2005.

The awards were presented at a special ceremony on November 24 by Ujjal Dosanjh and Dr Alan Bernstein, president of the CIHR. The awards were also given in collaboration with the Health Charities Coalition of Canada and the Council for Health Research in Canada.