IODE War Memorial Scholarship Award Recipients for 2020/2021
At the 120th Annual Meeting held virtually on May 21, 2020, IODE Canada announced the winners of three IODE War Memorial Scholarships for doctoral study. The value of the awards are $15,000 each for 2020-2021.
IODE Canada instituted the IODE War Memorial Scholarship program in 1918 to commemorate Canadians who sacrificed their lives or were permanently disabled while fighting for Canada. Today, applicants must be Canadian citizens, in their second year of a doctoral program at a Canadian or Commonwealth university and are selected for academic achievement and potential.
Elina Cook, Queen’s University
Elina Cook completed her HBSc in Human Biology and MSc in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. She is currently completing a combined MD-PhD at Queen’s University. Elina is studying clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). CHIP seems innocuous, consisting of mutated bone marrow stem cells producing a larger proportion of blood cells than normal. Surprisingly, CHIP also increases the risks of developing cardiovascular issues, stroke, diabetes, and of overall mortality. Elina work postulates that CHIP is more likely to emerge in a pro-inflammatory environment that promotes disease, and is analyzing cohorts of older adults and mice, and their inflammatory markers to understand this connection. Ms. Cook completed part of the work as a visiting scholar for three months at the University of Oxford.
Elina extra-curricular interests revolve around advocating for and creating improved research support on various levels (Canada-wide for MD-PhD trainees, Queen’s undergraduate medicine-level, Queen’s University-level). She has also volunteered in science outreach for youth through various activities (heading Toronto- and Kingston-wide middle school science days, visiting 36 high school classes to inspire them to pursue STEM through Let’s Talk Science, organizing academic activities for at-risk youth at the Hospital for Sick Children). Finally, she has enjoyed meeting with patient populations and giving informative talks on current research (e.g. being an invited speaker at Light the Night Walk and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada Patient Education Session). Elina aims to become an independent, translational, molecular cancer clinician scientist.
Caitlyn Gallant, Brock University
Caitlyn Gallant received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Psychology at Brock University. Through her research, Caitlyn hopes to facilitate community reintegration and improve pathways to care for disadvantaged populations. Accordingly, her dissertation is entitled: “Investigating predictors of complex mental health challenges among children and adolescents seeking community-based care”. Caitlyn's research takes a holistic approach to mental health to examine how neurocognitive and neuroemotional functioning, as well as environmental and social factors, contribute to comorbid and multifaceted mental health needs. Ms. Gallant has also assisted in the assessment and rehabilitation of individuals living with mental health challenges through a placement in the mental health unit at the St. Catharines hospital and she is currently the Brock University Campus Representative for the Canadian Psychological Association and a member of the Psychology Graduate Student Social Committee. In the future, Caitlyn aspires to register as a Clinical Neuropsychologist and provide mental health services in rural regions where access to care is limited.
Daniel Kwon, University of British Columbia
Daniel Kwon received his BSc in Chemistry at the University of British Columbia in 2014 where he did research in chemical synthesis of molecular therapeutics for cancer and osteoporosis treatment. Daniel then completed his MSc in Chemistry at the Simon Fraser University in 2016 with a focus on the total synthesis of complex polyketide natural products with anti-cancer properties. He subsequently enrolled in the MD/PhD program at the University of British Columbia in the field of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine. Daniel is in his fourth year of the program and second year of his PhD. Mr. Kwon doctoral work is focused on the development of new imaging and radiotherapeutics agents targeting elements that shape the tumour microenvironment. Specifically, he is targeting a receptor called CXCR4, which enables a wide variety of cancers to spread aggressively and resist chemotherapeutics. Daniel research has identified several radiopharmaceuticals that can be used for imaging to potentially identify cancer patients with this receptor for diagnostic and prognostic purposes. Furthermore, these agents, armed with the correct radioactive species, could be used to deliver destructive radiation selectively to the sites of the tumor for precision therapy. Daniel is currently applying these radiopharmaceuticals to image and treat mantle cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that responds poorly to treatment today. Based on his research, Mr. Kwon received the top prize at the Canadian Student Health Research Forum in 2019, judged by a panel of Canadian Gairdner Laureates and Speakers. Daniel was the UBC MD/PhD student representative in the 2019-2020 and is the Managing Editor of the UBC Medical Journal.