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TFRI News | January 26, 2024

TFRI supports the next generation of cancer researchers in Canada

The Terry Fox Research Institute has co-funded six Master’s and PhD students and one postdoctoral fellow as part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s inaugural Research Training Awards. Master's and PhD students will receive between $17,500 and $30,000 for one to four years, to be matched by CCS, for a total contribution from TFRI of $269,883. The postdoctoral fellow will receive a total of $214,000 over three years, with equal contributions from TFRI and CCS.

“We are proud to fund emerging talents in the field in order to foster the next generation of promising cancer investigators,” says Jim Woodgett, TFRI President and Scientific Director. “We believe that this investment in early research excellence is vital to shaping the future cancer research landscape, and we hope that in doing so we can accelerate the innovative research required to achieve Terry’s dream of a world without cancer.”

TFRI-funded trainees are located in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, and will focus on diverse cancer types, including B cell lymphoma, glioblastoma, osteosarcoma and cervical, colorectal, pancreatic and hereditary cancers.

The award recipients and their project titles are:

  • Alyssa Cristea (McGill University) for: Leveraging myeloid-lymphoid interactions to target obesity-associated colorectal cancer liver metastasis
  • Erik Ensminger (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) for: Early detection of hereditary cancer through liquid biopsy cell-free DNA analysis
  • Wajih Jawhar (McGill University) for: Unraveling the role of EZHIP in osteosarcoma
  • Laura Mah (University of Calgary) for: Developing multitargeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for glioblastoma
  • Erica Mandato (McGill University) for: Detecting HPV ctDNA through liquid biopsy as a novel approach to cervical cancer screening and monitoring
  • Gillian Savage (BC Cancer) for: Engineering tissue-resident memory CAR T cells for treatment of extranodal B cell lymphomas
  • Dr. Noor Shakfa (Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute) for: Investigating tumor immune multi-cellular environments to inform therapy selection in pancreatic cancer

About the Research Training Awards

The Canadian Cancer Society and its partners launched the Research Training Awards in 2023 to support the recruitment and training of cancer research trainees at the Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral levels in hopes of strengthening Canada’s future cancer research ecosystem.

CCS-TFRI Research Training Award Winners

Top row: Laura Mah, Wajih Jawhar, Gillian Savage. Bottom row: Erica Mandato, Alyssa Cristea, Dr. Noor Shakfa