Daiana Becker-Santos (holding award) with fellow poster winners (l-r): Dr. Andrew Mungall, Huang Huang, and Dr. Andrew Fielding.
Four Terry Fox-funded trainees shared three spots for top honours for best poster presentations at the TFRI's 2nd annual scientific meeting in Vancouver May 13-15. It was the first time the competition was held, with over 60 posters submitted.
First place went to graduate student Daiana Becker-Santos of the BC Cancer Research Centre and the Vancouver Prostate Centre for her presentation titled "ERG Overexpression Induces EMT in Prostatic Epithelial Cells in an Integrin-Linked Kinase-Dependent Manner."
"It was a very rewarding experience to attend the Terry Fox Research Institute annual meeting, and to interact with scientists with diverse backgrounds who share the same enthusiasm for cancer research," said Becker-Santos. She was thrilled to present her work to top researchers and clinicians in the field and to get feedback from them. "I was also really impressed by the excellence of the research that was presented by the trainees during this meeting - which shows that the future of cancer research is very promising."
With fellow researchers, and under the supervision of Dr. Shoukat Dedhar (Integrative Oncology, BC Cancer Research Centre) Santos is investigating the molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of aggressive prostate cancer. "We have made exciting discoveries about promising therapeutic targets that we hope will be translated into the clinic in the future. We certainly have challenges to face ahead, but we are all very motivated, especially by Terry's story, to continue to work on the fight for the cure."
From the submissions, 12 presenters were selected to make short presentations to the full group who attended the meeting.
"The judges and I were very pleased with the excellent quality of the posters and the presentations that were made," said TFRI president and scientific director Dr. Victor Ling. "Clearly, there is a lot of talent within this group and the work they are undertaking will not only help to keep Canada at the forefront of cancer research and innovation, but make a difference in our clinics and hospitals for the benefit of patients everywhere. TFRI is very pleased to recognize these outstanding young researchers."
Graduate student Huang Huang of the University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Christine Allen) placed second with his presentation on "Multimodal Liposomes with Combined CT and Optical Imaging Capabilities for the Detection of Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma."
Sharing third place were two other trainees from the BC Cancer Research Centre: Dr. Andrew Fielding ("A Critical Role of Integrin-Linked Kinase, ch-TOG and TACC3 in Centrosome Clustering in Cancer Cells"/ Dr. Shoukat Dedhar supervisor) and Dr. Andrew Mungall ("Recurrent DNA Mutations in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas Reveal Candidate Therapeutic Targets"/Dr. Marco Marra supervisor).
Feeling both grateful and fortunate for a great working environment and for support from the Terry Fox Foundation, Santos says she was returning to the lab "even more inspired" to continue her research.