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CCARM Recognized with Renewed NSERC Funding

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) recently invested more than $13.7 million in new funding to Manitoba Researchers, including three from the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine: Drs. Michel Aliani, Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka.

Aliani’s NSERC-funded project looks at flavor formation and heat reactions in meat products supplemented with pulse flours. This research will help inform ways to potentially adjust enzymes that react adversely to cooking heat for instance, the effects of which can compromise the ideal flavor profile preferred by consumers. His state-of-the-art flavouromics laboratory will be building a database of flavor precursors and attributes as a way to add further value to the pulses market and help expand the selection of healthy, sustainable and desirable food products for consumers.

Taylor’s NSERC Discovery program studies the role of dietary zinc and dietary lipids (fats) in immune cell function and metabolism and is also investigating the effects of dietary fats on fat cells and immune cells in fat tissue. The research program will train 4 graduate students and 5 undergraduate studies and will build capacity in Canada for fundamental research on nutrition and metabolism, and the biology of immune cells and fat cells.

Zahradka is looking at adiponectin — a hormone secreted by fat tissue that helps keep the liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas and blood vessels healthy. When a person becomes obese, their fat cells no longer make as much adiponectin and it’s been suggested that the negative effects of obesity are caused by a lack of adiponectin. One of the key functions of adiponectin is to help control blood sugar (glucose) levels. This means that adiponectin works with insulin in controlling glucose production by the liver. Less adiponectin in obesity may be the reason insulin levels have to increase to keep glucose levels in check. We have been studying how insulin works to control glucose for over 25 years, but no one has looked at how adiponectin helps. It’s hoped this project will provide the first mechanistic evidence of a direct interaction between insulin and adiponectin in the regulation of glucose production by the liver and add to our understanding of the cellular processes that are critical for efficient liver function.

Outstanding Undergrad Credits Teacher for Inspiration

Bradley Feltham, CCARM Research Assistant, was recently recognized as an outstanding undergraduate student in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at U of M, and in-turn, he formally recognized his supervisor, Dr. Miyoung Suh, for teaching excellence at the 2019 Student-Teacher Recognition Reception. The annual event celebrates the teacher-student dynamic so imperative for long-term success.

“No words can describe the dedication she provides to her students,” commented Feltham during his speech at the event. “Dr. Suh has been one of the most influential figures in my career in academia, igniting my love for research. Teachers like Dr. Suh deserve credit for the awards their students receive because no amount or type of award can be given for what they do – it is absolutely priceless.”


Bradley Feltham receives award

Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) Phase 2 funding announcement includes MB Researchers.

Congratulations to Dr. Ben Albensi, one of five Manitoba-based researchers collaborating with 300 other Canadian scientists on 19 research teams to help prevent, treat and cure age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

The government of Canada recently announced an investment of $46 million to CCNA from 2019-2024, primarily from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and 11 other partner organizations, including the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC), the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) and Brain Canada.

At a glance

CCNA is the largest initiative in dementia research ever undertaken in Canada; for Phase I, CCNA-affiliated members have managed to successfully leverage 1.5 times their initial allotted funds from other organizations, totaling $49 million. In its second phase of funding, CCNA will bring together over 310 researchers from 39 universities in eight provinces across Canada, and these researchers will continue to leverage funding and foster collaborations with other international studies on dementia.

CCNA’s mission is to foster research collaborations across disciplines and universities to understand, manage, and treat age-related cognitive decline and dementia which impact over 400,000 Canadians today, and will impact as many as 1.5 million Canadians by 2031. To accelerate and synergize research nationwide, CCNA researchers work under three research themes (Prevention, Treatment and Quality of Life) within nineteen research teams, exploring a range of topics that include new projects CCNA has also implemented a unique observational cohort study. The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) is the only cohort study in the world that is collecting a wealth of data on seniors in different types and severities of dementia. To date, 800 people have been included in this study across Canada. CCNA aims to leverage the eventual release of COMPASS-ND data to collaborate with other provincial, national, and international studies, including the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI), the Consortium for the Early Identification of Alzheimer’s Disease – Quebec (CIMA-Q) and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), Dementia’s Platform UK, the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), and World Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS). A multidisciplinary group of six Manitoba based researched spread across five of the 19 CCNA teams, are members of CCNA (2% of the membership) CCNA is also dedicated to encouraging future generations of scientists to become involved n dementia-related studies and supports four trainees across the province.

Five University of Manitoba researchers contributes to the success of CCNA: Drs. Benedict Albensi, Barry Campbell, Verena Menec, Michelle Porter, and Phillip St. John.

ICS Students dominate CSHRF Awards

Four students representing labs from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences here at St. Boniface Hospital Research, swept up honours in three of the major award categories, and in the oncology category. The awards were issued at the 32nd Annual Canadian Student Health Research Forum at HSC, June 10-14.

Not only did the ICS students dominate in terms of winning major awards, but Navid Koleini also took home the most prestigious prize of this event — The E. L. Drewry Memorial Award, the highest honour conferred upon a senior doctoral student of Max Rady College of Medicine.

“Indeed, I am very humbled having received the Drewry memorial award! It wouldn’t be possible without tireless efforts and great mentorship from my PhD supervisor Prof. Elissavet Kardami,” Navid exclaimed shortly after his win.

All the recipients are as follows:

Navid Koleini (Kardami Lab) The E. L. Drewry Memorial Award, & the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation Cardiovascular Award.

Chantal Asselin – Caroline A. Cope Award for Excellence in Oncology Research (Jassal Lab & Singal Lab)

Ejlal Abu-El-Rub – Manitoba Medical Service Foundation PhD Award – (Dhingra Lab)

Glen Sequiera – Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba Pediatrics & Child Health Award (Dhingra Lab)

Congratulations to all!

Pictured above [L-R]: Glen Sequiera, Ejlal Abu-El-Rub, Chantal Asselin, Navid Koleini

Hoops from the Heart — Slam Dunk!

The 11th Annual Hoops from the Heart event was another great success with 150 inner city youth experiencing fun, food and fitness with top university athletes from U of W and U of M at the Duckworth Centre on May 29, 2019.

“This is just a great way for us to promote cardiac activity, let the kids interact with some of the athletes and coaches, and just have fun together in an environment they may not be exposed to otherwise,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director St. Boniface Hospital Research, and a founding member of the group that first came up with the idea in 2008.

From small beginnings, the event has grown exponentially since it began working with the support of Basketball Manitoba and in coordination with Winnipeg’s Youth Alliance program. The result? Hoops from the Heart has now raised enough money to offer two, $20K basketball scholarships: one for the University of Winnipeg; and one for the University of Manitoba.

“It’s great to see the success of our fundraising efforts, but it’s even better knowing that over the past eleven years 1,000 kids have had a chance to see the inside of a university and maybe give them the idea that ‘hey, maybe I could come here too one day’,” Pierce added.

Participants watched a men’s and women’s basketball game, which included an all-star lineup from both Universities, including a handful of pros. Skills drills, t-shirts and a free basketball to take home, rounded out the evening for each of them. Many thanks to all the sponsors, especially Boston Pizza and The Clay Oven for donating the delicious eats!

Another Big Win in Texas for a St. B Research Student-Alumni!

Congratulations to St. Boniface Hospital Research alumni, and University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine B.Sc. student Ryan Ramjiawan, who took 1st place for Oral Presentation at the National Student Research Forum in Galveston, Texas on April 20th. Ryan’s achievement is exceptional given this is the largest student-run medical conference in North America with some of the top talents from the best schools across the US and Canada. Ryan’s competed in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry category, which had the largest number of presenters.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the B.Sc. Med Program and am very grateful for the ongoing guidance and support of Drs. Grant Pierce and Pavel Dibrov, as well as all of the other supporting members of their respective laboratories,” Ryan said.

“To win a major NSRF category in Galveston is huge,” said Executive Director for Research, Dr. Grant Pierce. “We’re very proud of Ryan’s accomplishment, which has continued a tradition of students from our lab who have won major awards at Galveston where the competition is incredibly fierce. Bravo Ryan!”

World-class team of researchers at St. Boniface help grow MB’s Agri-sector

As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Principal Investigators at St. Boniface Hospital and the University of Manitoba and The University of Winnipeg will receive $651,570 in new funding to look at ways dietary flaxseed can cure broken hearts in women with breast cancer; improve memory function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease; reduce blood pressure; and validate flax oil as an economically affordable anti-inflammatory.

At a news conference hosted at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechsten Research Centre, Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Ralph Eichler, and Member of Parliament for St. Boniface – St. Vital, Dan Vandal, shared aspects of a joint vision by government to invest in the long-term success of Manitoba’s agriculture based on scientific research.

“St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre has a world-class team of researchers who are keeping our province on the competitive edge,” said Vandal. 

“Manitoba continues to be a hub for research and innovation which benefits farmers, food processors and many other stakeholders,” said Minister Eichler.

“We are excited by the opportunity afforded by the Federal and Provincial governments to our five Principal Investigators here at St. Boniface Hospital to determine if flax can significantly help in the fight against disease and create an economic impact to boost Canadian agribusiness,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital.

Pierce explained that flaxseed’s health benefits have been vastly understudied which has led to low public awareness and under-consumption.  But he’s confident research can demonstrate those health benefits and ultimately motivate more consumers to choose dietary flax products that are convenient and affordable. “The opportunity to collaborate with major flax companies in Manitoba, like Pizzeys’ Ingredients, gives us another exciting opportunity to produce important information that will advance the flax field,” he added.

Pizzey’s Ingredients Flax Beverage is a breakthrough advancement for dietary flax, providing an easy and delicious way to consume over 30 grams of flax on a daily basis. In the growing market of non-dairy “milk” products, including almond, soy, and coconut milk the demand for these plant-based beverages continues to be driven by their increased health benefits. 

Congratulations to these Principal Investigators and their teams as they embark on their CAP funded flaxseed research.

  • Dr. Benedict Albensi – “Effect of dietary flaxseed on memory and cognition”
  • Dr. Harold Aukema, Dr. Carla Taylor & Dr. Peter Zahradka – “Cost-effectiveness analysis of anti-inflammatory effects of flax oil”
  • Dr. Luc Clair – Health Economist, “Economic and societal impacts of adopting a flax milk regimen to combat disease”
  • Dr. Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva – “Effects of flax milk on arterial hypertension”
  • Dr. Davinder Jassal – “Preventing broken hearts in women with breast cancer”
[L-R] Dr. Harold Aukema, Principal Investigator, Nutrition and Lipid Mediators; Dr. Luc Clair, Principal Investigator, Ag/Health Economist; Dr. Benedict C. Albensi, Principal Investigator, Synaptic Plasticity and Cellular Memory Dysfunction Lab; Dr. Delfin Rodriguez Leyva, Principal Investigator, Translational Cardiology; The Honourable Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital; The Honourable Ralph Eichler, Minister of Agriculture; Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital; Dr. Davinder S. Jassal, Principal Investigator, Cardiovascular Imaging, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Manitoba Cardiovascular Leader Inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

St. Boniface Hospital Research is proud to celebrate Dr. Naranjan S. Dhalla’s induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, at a ceremony held in Montreal, Quebec, on May 2, 2019.

Dhalla was recognized along with five other Canadian medical heroes for their lifetime contributions and superior accomplishments as pioneers in their field. This honour caps Dhalla’s 50-year career advancing knowledge, resources and international collaborations in cardiovascular sciences and education.

BIOlab Receives Boost

RBC Youth BIOlab has awarded its fourth, 3-year grant totalling $198,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for science outreach and mentorship efforts to Indigenous students across Manitoba.

“We’re pleased this funding came through because it will help us continue to operate and pursue collaborative partnerships with remote communities here in Manitoba for mentored projects with Indigenous youth,” says Stephen Jones, RBC Youth BIOlab’s Director and a 2018 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Engineering, Technology and Medicine (STEM).

“We’ve been working with Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake First Nation) since last year, and we hosted their Gr. 8 students at the BIOlab recently with great success. This funding will help support our ongoing liaison efforts, travel and accommodation expenses, so that we can continue nurturing a long term partnership with the support of the Cross Lake Education Authority and other partners in the First Nations education community,” he adds.

Jones and Greg Halcrow, Director of Education for Cross Lake Education Authority, both believe the RBC Youth BIOlab’s Indigenous Outreach program can serve as an implementation model for science skills capacity-building in northern communities across Canada, so that future health centres can potentially recruit staff from the local populations.

“It’s really about inspiring kids with the idea that they can pursue a career in science or a related field and not have to leave home. Lives and families would benefit and our communities would ultimately be strengthened,” says Halcrow.

Inspiring youth towards a love for science and discovery since 2005, the RBC Youth BIOlab has hosted more than 60,000 students in grades 8-12 in Western Canada’s #1 research intensive hospital. Youth BIOlab participants experience content well beyond the school curriculum, with access to research scientists studying real world health problems in a state-of-the-art biomedical facility.

“Many kids have experience with disease in their own families, and we want to help them develop meaningful connections to the science behind health. If students can have positive experiences with science and medical research at a young age, we can nurture some long-term interest not only in the field, but also in personal health,” Jones adds.

“The RBC Youth BIOlab is a hub of activity year-round,” says Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital. “From its small beginnings as a science literacy outreach program 14 years ago, interest and popularity has grown and the need for funding has only increased exponentially. We’re grateful for the support provided by organizations like NSERC – it makes a difference.”

MB Schools Science Symposium, Gold Medal Winner

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences student under Dr. Mike Czubryt, Leah Schwartz, was awarded a Gold Medal for Most Outstanding Individual Project Award at the Senior Level at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium on April 27-28.

Leah was also selected as a Doctors Manitoba Award delegate to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick in mid-May. Leah is the third student from Dr. Czubryt’s lab to represent Manitoba at the Canada-Wide Science Fair and its second Sanofi Biogenius winner.

“Leah received outstanding hands-on mentoring from Raghu Nagalingam, a PhD student in my lab, and we are so proud of her recent accomplishments.”

Best of luck Leah – you are doing Manitoba & St. Boniface Hospital Research, very proud!

Small Beginnings Become Significant Over Time

Dr. Singal accepting his 25th Anniversary Pin, presented by Vince Barletta, President & CEO of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

After 25 years of personal donations to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation (SBHF), Dr. Pawan Singal was recognized for his steadfast contributions at the SBHF Donor Appreciation Breakfast held on April 12, 2019.

“I have always believed that everyone has the capacity to give something, even the smallest amount. Over time, it can make a significant impact in the lives of others,” he said.

Dr. Singal’s personal philosophy of volunteerism and community involvement has been celebrated widely, along with several other individuals who were recognized at this event, each of whom serves as inspiring role models of philanthropic leadership.

President’s Student Leadership Program

PhD students Kevin Boreskie and Jacqueline Hay, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management and part of Dr. Todd Duhamel‘s research group in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, were among twenty-seven successful candidates from across Manitoba selected to participate in the first cohort of the University of Manitoba’s President’s Student Leadership Program.

The President’s Student Leadership Program is unique in Canada and is strategically important for Manitoba’s business community and economy, aiming to develop future leaders in various sectors for the province.  Jacqueline and Kevin are both examining the role of physical activity and cardiovascular health. 

Congratulations Kevin & Jacqueline!  

For more details, please visit UM Today.

Dhingra receives Duhamel Innovation Award

Dr. Sanjiv Dhingra, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, received the 2019 Ronald Duhamel Innovation Fund Award on April 13 at the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s annual Donor Appreciation Breakfast.

“When the science gets recognized, that’s more motivation to work even harder,” said Dr. Dhingra.

The late Ronald J. Duhamel (1938-2002) was a long-serving Senator and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg/St. Boniface. Established in 2004 by his family and friends, the Ronald Duhamel Innovation Fund Award promotes innovation and leadership in advancing health care at St. Boniface Hospital.

Vote live today for Kevin Boreskie at the 3MT Western Regionals in Prince George!

Kevin Boreskie took 1st place in March at the University of Manitoba’s 3MT competition, which qualified him to represent today in the Western Regionals in Prince George B.C.!

The People’s Choice award means we can all watch and participate online, so be sure to set your clock and vote for Kevin starting at 2:30 PM CST on April 17, 2019.

Singal’s Efforts Honoured during National Volunteer Week

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, Dr. Pawan Singal, Principal Investigator Cell Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences for St. Boniface Hospital Research, was recognized by the Pakistan-Canada Cultural Equation of Manitoba, the Manitoba Historical Society and the Borden-King Institute for his excellence and achievement in volunteer activities in Manitoba. 

It was noted that Dr. Singal has been an instrumental supporter of the India Centre for Academic Business and Community Excellent, the University of Winnipeg, the India Association of Manitoba, and an accomplished fundraiser, who has helped advance many projects in Manitoba.   

Congratulations Dr. Singal!  

CCARM Leadership Confirmed to 2022

Congratulations to Dr. Carla Taylor and Dr. Peter Zahradka, who have both accepted a three-year renewal as Team Leaders, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM).

Dr. Taylor is Principal Investigator, Metabolic Nutrition, CCARM, Professor Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba and Adjunct Professor, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba. She is currently an Associate Editor for Lipids and has completed the maximum two terms as an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Nutrition. Dr. Taylor’s research has been recognized through two major awards: the International Life Sciences Institute Future Leader Award in Nutrition in 1996 and the Canadian Society of Nutritional Sciences – Centrum Foundation New Scientist Award in 2005.

Dr. Peter Zahradka is Principal Investigator Molecular Physiology, CCARM, Professor Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology & Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, and Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba. Over his seven years as Team Leader, he helped the unit grow from its original 3 scientists to 12 scientists who now occupy the entire second floor. From 2012 to 2018, he also served as head of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease in the Department of Physiology, a role that fits well with his research program.

CCARM’s vision is to add value to agricultural commodities and finished products through innovative functional food and nutraceuticals research. The CCARM research program aims to translate positive results from basic laboratory science into new and safe dietary supplements and food products that will directly impact the health of the Canadian public.

Our best wishes to Drs. Taylor & Zahradka for their continued success leading the CCARM team here at St. Boniface Hospital Research!

Rapid-Fire Research Symposium 2 Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Rapid-Fire Research Symposium, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), designed to challenge trainees to present their research in 7 minutes! The symposium included a career development session, as well as a networking and awards reception for all the participants, their supervisors and a few special guests. Many thanks to the organizers, Dr. Thomas Netticadan and Dr. Samantha Pauls, with help from Chelsey Walchuk, Susara Madduma Hewage and Susan Zettler.

Dr. Taylor and Chantal Asselin
[L-R] Dr. Carla Taylor and Chantal Asselin

1st place: Chantal Asselin
Lab Affiliation: Dr. Davinder Jassal / Dr. Pawan Singal
Research project: Flaxseed prevents broken hearts in the breast cancer setting

Dr. Heather Blewett and Chelsey Walchuk
[L-R] Dr. Heather Blewett and Chelsey Walchuk

2nd place: Chelsey Walchuk
Lab Affiliation: Dr. Miyoung Suh
Research project: Eggs for eyes: Lutein and omega-3 enriched egg consumption improved the eye health of healthy Caucasian older adults

Anne Marques-Mendonça and Dr. Peter Zahradka
[L-R] Anne Marques-Mendonça and Dr. Peter Zahradka

3rd place: Anne Marques-Mendonça
Lab Affiliation: Dr. Harold Aukema
Research project: Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on sex differences in fat tissues in the rat

Dr. Champa Wijekoon and Mihir Parikh
[L-R] Dr. Champa Wijekoon and Mihir Parikh

4th place: Mihir Parikh
Lab Affiliations: Dr. Grant Pierce / Dr. Thomas Netticadan
Research project: Flaxseed helps to reduce irregular beats and injury after a heart attack

Schwartz takes First Place

Congratulations to Leah Schwartz, a University of Winnipeg collegiate student working in the Czubryt lab, for her First Place win in the Sanofi Biogenius Manitoba Regional Competition

Leah has been working on her project “Regulation of Periostin Gene Expression by Scleraxis,” since last summer, mentored by Raghu Nagalingam, PhD student and supported by Dr. Nina Aroutiounova, the senior technician.  She is now set to represent Manitoba at the national competition this May in Toronto.  

The Sanofi Biogenius Canada Competition fosters young minds and talent by challenging participants to carry out groundbreaking biotechnology research.  Well done Leah!  

Photo Source:

PC Caucus Members Take a Tour

We’re always pleased to host new visitors, in this case, 3 MLAs from St. Norbert, Fort Richmond and Transcona stopped by today to learn more about our work in food sciences, cardiovascular research and student discoveries at the RBC Youth BIOlab.  

Thanks for spending the morning with us Jon, Sarah and Blair! 

PC Caucus with Steve Jones
Teaching Liaison, RBC Youth BIOlab Jeunesse, [Centre] and Dr. Grant Pierce,
Executive Director of Research St. Boniface Hospital [R]
Steve Jones demonstrates what he teaches students in the Youth BIOlab

Dr. Carla Taylor, Team Leader of the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, speaks about their research to the PC Caucus

St. Boniface Research Student Places FIRST in 3MT Competition!

Congratulations to our very own Kevin Boreskie who placed 1st in last night’s 3MT competition at St. John’s College. The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Graduate Studies held its Three Minute Thesis competition on March 18 and saw 14 challengers run through 3 heats and a wildcard round to explain their research in three minutes or less. 

“I’m very grateful to have been selected given the cool and diverse research that was presented. A big thank you to Dr. Duhamel, the Duhamel lab and the SBRC for their support,” he said.

Kevin’s win explained his research on physical activity and exercise measures as prognostic tools to predict risk for cardiovascular disease.  His first-place finish here means he qualifies to compete in the Western Regional 3MT competition on April 17 at the University of Northern BC.

Duhamel and Boreskie
Dr. Todd Duhamel [L] and Kevin Boreskie

Significant Federal Investment in Health Care Research Celebrated

Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South met with researchers today at the University of Manitoba to celebrate their achievements and learn more about their innovative, wide-ranging research projects. Included among the 16 U of M affiliated researchers who were awarded funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in late January, are Benedict Albensi, Mike Czubryt, Ian Dixon and Paul Fernyhough, all Principal Investigators here at St. Boniface Hospital Research. 

“I extend my warmest congratulations to the scientists receiving funding today,” said Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South. “The research you are doing, on topics ranging from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to heart disease and Indigenous health, holds great promise for improving the health and quality of life of Manitobans today and for decades to come.”

“These researchers are doing cutting-edge studies that are a testament to the outstanding calibre of transformational research conducted at the University of Manitoba and at our affiliated partner organizations,” said Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President, Research and International, and Distinguished Professor, University of Manitoba. “I congratulate them on receiving these research funds in a highly competitive environment.”

For more, visit

Acosta awarded Most Promising Student of the Year

Congratulations to Crystal Acosta, PhD Student supervised by Dr. Hope Anderson, for receiving the Most Promising Student of the Year Award from the BioScience Association of Manitoba (BAM) at its annual gala event on February 28 at the Millennium Centre.

The awards celebrate the strength and collaborative growth of Bioscience professionals and companies in Manitoba. BAM’s mission is to enable commercial success for Manitoba’s bioscience companies by acting as a catalyst for innovation, by expanding the sector’s skills and workforce development, and by leading with one unified voice to create local and global engagement.

Congratulations again from everyone here at St. Boniface Hospital Research!

Wear Red Canada Day – February 13, 2019

Are you going to wear RED?  You should!  Join the rest of Canada this Wednesday, February 13, for WEAR RED CANADA Day.  A celebration across the country to raise awareness about women’s heart health and cardiovascular disease in women. 

Dr. Olga Toleva’s work on interventional cardiology and women’s heart health research will be showcased during her talk at the Samuel Cohen Auditorium at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre from 12pm – 1pm on February 13. Admission is free and all are welcome. 

Visit for more info and events.

Albensi, Czubryt, Dixon and Fernyhough receive Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funding totalling more than $3.5M.

In an impressive demonstration of successful funding applications, four Principal Investigators at St. Boniface Hospital Research have been recognized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for outstanding efforts in their respective fields of study and will receive financial support totalling more than $3.5 million over the next five years.

“The average scientific research funding rate across the country is only about 15%, so we are well above the national average,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital. “It’s a very competitive landscape, with hundreds of applications from institutions across Canada entering these competitions every year, so this is an outstanding testament to the fact that we have some of the best researchers in the country.” 

The Projects and their Goals

Dr. Albensi

Benedict Albensi, Principal Investigator, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; Professor Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Project: Sex-based differences associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease
Funding: $725,985

Women have a higher risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and it’s not known why. Differences in cellular mechanisms (genetics, metabolism), hormonal changes, and/or lifestyle factors between men and women may be at the root cause, but no one knows for sure. This study aims to bring a clearer picture into view of the biological processes underway in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Currently my lab is recognized as a leader in Alzheimer’s research in Manitoba. This new funding will position us to be a leader in Canada and across the world. More importantly though, it will bring a fresh understanding to why women acquire Alzheimer’s at higher rates. This new understanding will pave the way for us to develop sex-specific and effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Albensi.

Dr. Czubryt

Michael Czubryt, Principal Investigator, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; Professor and Associate Department Head of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba.
Project: Targeting scleraxis to combat cardiac fibrosis
Funding: $1,017,450

Cardiac fibrosis is a stiffening of the heart caused by many forms of heart disease. Fibrosis dramatically increases the risk of death and disability independently of other risk factors (up to 17 times), yet no treatments for cardiac fibrosis are available to patients. Czubryt’s laboratory has identified a protein (scleraxis) as a powerful cause of fibrosis, and initial data indicates that interfering with scleraxis can reduce fibrosis. This study will further probe this relationship in the hope of finding new treatments for fibrosis.

“This new investment in our work means that we can recruit additional people to do research in the lab, including new students, and significantly increase the pace of discovery towards new treatments for cardiac fibrosis to help Canadians,” said Dr. Czubryt. 

Czubryt shared that this funding will allow his team to investigate the mechanisms by which some currently-approved medications show beneficial effects on fibrosis – studies that are critical to being able to re-direct these medications to combat fibrosis as front-line treatment.

“We will also test the ability of a novel gene therapy developed in our lab to treat and reverse cardiac fibrosis, he added. 

Czubryt expressed his gratitude to lab members past and present that have helped drive forward the research conducted to this point. He was particularly appreciative for the support he’s received from funding bodies such as CIHR, the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, and the contributions of colleagues at St. Boniface Hospital Research and the University of Manitoba. 

“And I definitely need to thank my wife and son who provide incredible support and understanding at home – including going without vacation last year as I worked on developing this project!” he said.

Dr. Ian Dixon

Ian Dixon, Principal Investigator, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; Professor of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba.

Project: Ski is a negative regulator of cardiac fibrosis
Funding: $684,675

Patients surviving a heart attack or those with hypertension develop chronic heart disease. These patients make too much collagen in their heart muscle, wherein non-muscle cells called myofibroblasts secrete excessive collagens, which stiffens the heart. Too much collagen leads to cardiac fibrosis, which results in weak muscle contraction and relaxation. There is currently no treatment for cardiac fibrosis or any specific cardiac drugs approved to fix cardiac fibrosis.

In recent years Dixon’s work found a new protein called Ski which turns off this over-deposition of matrix in diseased heart cells and made progress on how Ski actually achieves this positive change. His lab is now poised to extend its understanding of how Ski corrects cardiac fibrosis and this study aims to bring about the design new Ski-based therapies to treat cardiac fibrosis for the prevention of heart failure.

Dr. Dixon is grateful for this funding, “Since the early 90’s our lab has been interested in finding ways to slow cardiac fibrosis and the associated progressive loss of heart function in heart disease.  Ultimately we want to find new ways to coax proteins already present in cardiac cells to provide effective treatment for heart failure.”  

With an injection of this magnitude from CIHR, Dixon anticipates the next five years of work will allow his lab to prove the efficacy of Ski’s beneficial actions to quell heart disease and therefore bring Ski to the fore as a molecule whose structure can be exploited to facilitate new drug development.  

“My lab-mates continue to inspire and motivate me with their insights and commitment, and I would also like to thank my wife and children for their unwavering support,” he added. 

Dr. Fernyhough

Paul Fernyhough, Director & Principal Investigator, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Manitoba.

Project: Muscarinic receptor antagonism as a novel mechanism for sensory nerve repair
Funding: $1,090,125

Objective Diabetic sensory neuropathy and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) are neurodegenerative diseases characterized by loss of nerve fibers in the skin. Both diseases cause significant pain and eventually lead to sensory loss. The impact of these diseases on human health is enormously damaging and there are no therapies. Recent work in Fernyhough’s lab has uncovered an endogenous signaling pathway in neurons that negatively modulates nerve fiber growth of sensory neurons. This study will enable the lab to broaden in scope and permit this therapeutic approach to be performed in a wide range of distal dying back neurodegenerative diseases.

“The funding allows a 10 year project to keep developing in the area of drug discovery for neurological disease. Phase 2 clinical trials are underway, however, we are still unclear as to the basic neurobiology underpinning the action of several drug classes we are studying,” Dr. Fernyhough explained. 

His hope is that if the studies are successful, they will aid in understanding the mechanism of action of antimuscarinic drugs and their ability to drive nerve repair in a variety of diseases. 

“Next steps involve the development of a range of transgenic mouse strains that will permit interrogation of role of G protein coupled receptors, including the muscarinic receptor, in controlling axonal regeneration under normal conditions and in disease (such as diabetes),” he shared.  

Dr. Fernyhough expressed gratitude for St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s continued support.

To help build Indigenous capacity in science & health-related fields

Super excited and grateful!   The Manitoba Metis Heritage Fund announced that proceeds from its spring fundraising gala will be invested in our very own RBC Youth BIOlab here at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre! 

Thank you to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation team who facilitated this opportunity – we are so pleased to be recognized by the Metis community this way. Working with Indigenous educators across Manitoba is a priority for the Youth BIO Lab, as a way to bring more students and teachers to our facility to explore and experience real biomedical science.

2018 CCARM Service Recognition Awards

Dr. Peter Zahradka and Dr. Carla Taylor with Frank Sarzynski, St. Boniface Hospital Property Management.

Dr. Taylor with Piotr Szczepaniak & Gilbert St. Godard from St. Boniface Hospital Housekeeping.

Congratulations and thank you to our property management and housekeeping personnel. Frank, Piotr and Gilbert are always going the extra mile for us and in recognition of their efforts, all three were acknowledged with a Service Recognition Award from CCARM.

Pauls Receives 2018 Bohnet Award

Samantha Pauls (Postdoctoral Fellow, co-supervised by Drs. Harold Aukema, Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka) was awarded the 2018 Dr. Heinz Bohnet Travel Award in Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease by the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, earlier this month. Congratulations Sam!

Dr. Ross Feldman named to Order of Canada

Congratulations to Dr. Ross Feldman, Medical Director of the WRHA’s cardiac services program, and a Principal Investigator at St. Boniface Hospital Research, for his appointment to the Order of Canada.  

The Order of Canada recognizes individual Canadians for their “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” Dr. Feldman was one of 103 Canadians, and four Winnipeggers, newly named to the Order, most notably for “his leadership in the prevention and control of hypertension in Canada.”

“I’m really honoured to be included among the ranks of astronauts, giants of industry, and the Tragically Hip,” Dr. Feldman said. “There are only about 3,000 living Canadians in the Order of Canada, so it’s very humbling.”

“This is such a well-deserved recognition of Dr. Feldman’s superior achievements as a clinician, researcher and community role-model. St. Boniface Hospital is proud to have someone of this caliber leading our Cardiac Sciences program, and we wish him our sincerest congratulations,” said Martine Bouchard, President and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital.

“Dr. Feldman’s sustained pursuit of innovative research into hypertension and the clinical leadership he has shown throughout his entire medical career embodies the ideals associated with this honour: to make a better Canada. We are fortunate to have him as a leader and mentor,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of St. Boniface Hospital Research.

A major focus of his efforts has been in the prevention and control of hypertension in Canada, and specifically in the knowledge translation of optimal treatment approaches for hypertension management.  Among past leadership positions, Dr. Feldman served as President of the Canadian Hypertension Society.  He was the first Chair of the Steering Committee of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program, now Hypertension Canada’s Guidelines.  As well, he served as the founding president of Hypertension Canada, leading the process of integrating the efforts of the Canadian Hypertension Society, Canadian Hypertension Education Program and Blood Pressure Canada into what is now the second largest cardiovascular disease not-for-profit agency in Canada.

He is the author of more than 200 original manuscripts, reviews and book chapters. His clinical research focuses on the management of hypertension and specifically the development of innovative strategies to improve blood pressure control. His major fundamental research program focuses on the elucidation of novel cell signaling mechanisms of vascular regulation/dysregulation linked to the development of hypertension and atherosclerosis- especially related to elucidation of the determinants of heart disease in women.

Originally from Southern Ontario, Dr. Feldman received his medical degree from Queen’s University, his training in Internal Medicine at University of Toronto and a fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Feldman held prior faculty positions at the University of Iowa, College of Medicine in Iowa City, University of Western Ontario in London (where he served as the Chair, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and also as the Scientific Director of the Robarts Research Institute) and Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he served as Professor and Chair of the Discipline of Medicine.  In August 2017, Dr. Feldman joined the WRHA as Medical Director of the Cardiac Science Program and the University of Manitoba as a Professor of Medicine.

Rapid Fire Research Symposium – returning in Spring 2019!

Rapid Fire Research Symposium

Celebrating Excellence in Research!

March 29, 2019
12:30 PM – 5:00 PM


CCARM’s 2nd Rapid Fire Research Symposium will be returning in Spring 2019!

Come for the fun! Come for the food! Most of all, come for the challenge!

Free Admission – Complimentary Snacks.

A perfect event for networking and career development.

Save the Date!   Registration details to be posted in early January.  


Minister of Science tours the Youth BIOlab

We were thrilled to host a visit from the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science & Sport, who toured our RBC Youth BIOlab and met some Grade 8 students from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation learning all about cell cultivation. St. Boniface MP, Dan Vandal also stopped by! What a great morning for everyone here at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre.

Group photo

Dr. Bram Ramjiawan, Director of Research, Asper Clinical Research Institute; Stephen Jones, Youth BIOlab Jeunesse Coordinator; the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science & Sport; Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface – Saint Vital


The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science & Sport speaks with grade 8 students from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation


Meghan Kynoch, Education Liaison, Youth BIOlab Jeunesse providing the lesson to students

#1 Research Hospital in Western Canada – 7 years running Top 5 in Canada since 2012

For the 7th year in a row, the St. Boniface Hospital is among Canada’s leading research hospitals, taking the #1 spot in western Canada and ranking in the Top 5 nationally, according to data released today by Research Infosource Inc. Canada’s source of R&D intelligence.

“Most people may not realize the calibre of activity here, but it is truly noteworthy. I am happy we ranked well again this year, but I’m even more proud of the people who got us here — a skilled and passionate team of scientific investigators whose high standards continue to attract significant funding,” says Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research for St. Boniface Hospital.

St. Boniface Hospital has always recognized the power of the research discoveries and potential interventions the talented cardiac, brain, food sciences and clinical research teams are pursuing.  “It’s great to see the numbers stack up again from across the country showing our strength in research and the leading position we hold. Very proud day for Grant’s team – congratulations!” says Martine Bouchard, St. Boniface Hospital President & CEO.

In affiliation with the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, St. Boniface Hospital Research has four dedicated research programs: the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders; the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM); and Clinical Research.  It boasts 30 laboratories, 250 staff, served as training ground for more than 450 students and is also home to the RBC Youth BIOLab Jeunesse —a space for students and teachers to explore and experience real biomedical science in a world-class research center.

About Research Infosource Inc.
Research Infosource Inc., a division of The Impact Group, publishes Canada’s Innovation Leaders, which includes Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List, Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List, Canada’s Top 40 Research Hospitals List and Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges List.

Pierce Receives Distinguished Professor Honour

Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital, was named Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba’s Fall 2018 convocation. “Dr. Pierce’s reputation as an outstanding teacher, mentor and role model is internationally recognized and we proudly celebrate this well-earned addition to his academic pedigree,” said Martine Bouchard, President & CEO, St. Boniface Hospital.

The honour recognizes excellence and outstanding achievements of members of the academic staff in research and scholarship, or in creative professional activity, and a significant teaching record.

[L-R]David T. Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba; Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital; Harvey Secter, Chancellor, University of Manitoba

Dr. Grant Pierce with his wife, Gail Pierce

Schultz presents at Canadian Cardiovascular Congress

As reported in the Ottawa Heart Institute’s blog, The Beat, Dr. Annette Schultz was at this year’s Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC) in Toronto, where she shared her thoughts on how First Nations people continue to be disproportionately represented in health care. “We need to look at the system and how the system is now failing First Nations people when it comes to heart disease.” Schultz, a principal investigator at St. Boniface Hospital Research, registered nurse, and associate professor with the College of Nursing Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Manitoba, was in Toronto this past weekend to present her research findings comparing clinical outcomes and physician follow-up between First Nation and non-First Nation patients after index angiography in Manitoba.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President visits St. B.

The Research Without Borders team was delighted to visit with the outgoing Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (BGU) President, Dr. Rivka Carmi, who stopped in Winnipeg briefly on October 16 as part of a whirlwind farewell tour across North America, prior to her official retirement.

The group enjoyed a chance to celebrate the unique partnership between St. Boniface Hospital Research and BGU and check in on their BGU partners, as well as thank Dr. Carmi for her leadership as one of the founding visionaries of the Research Without Borders concept.

“Dr. Carmi’s contributions to biotechnology initiatives, innovative research approaches and of course, the collaborative partnership we have with BGU, are a legacy of inspiration for others. She will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of working with her,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital.

[ Pictured above L-R] Mr. Sheldon Zamick, Winnipeg President, Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Winnipeg; Mr. Mark Mendelson, CEO, Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Dr. Larry Hryshko, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Electrophysiology; Mr. Zach Ostrove, Executive Director, Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Winnipeg; Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital; Dr. Rivka Carmi, President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; Dr. Harold Aukema, Principal Investigator, Nutrition and Lipid Mediators; Dr. Hope Anderson, Principal Investigator, Vascular Biology; Dr. Paul Fernyhough, Director, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders; Dr. Carla Taylor, Team Leader, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine; 
Dr. Jeffrey Wigle, Principal Investigator, Vascular Development; Dr. Peter Zahradka, Deputy Team Leader, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine

Tappia appointed to advisory team

BioMark Diagnostics Inc., an oncology-focused company with advanced near-to- market diagnostic technologies designed to improve patient outcomes recently announced the appointment of Dr. Paramjit Tappia to its scientific advisory team.

In the company’s media release, President and CEO Rashid Ahmed said, “We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Tappia into our scientific advisory team. His achievements in scientific and clinical research space will be a major asset to BioMark. Dr. Tappia’s expertise in regulatory and clinical research brings depth and practicality as we begin to commercialize and position our technology for different oncology applications and potential linkages with other leading global institutions.”

“Biological markers are urgently needed to improve early detection, diagnosis and measuring response to treatment for cancers at large. BioMark’s technology platform could be a critically important tool for clinicians and the medical institutions”, says Dr. Tappia.

BioMark has hand-picked a proven, global enterprise team of scientists, engineers and medical professionals to help commercialize its innovative technology and to increase prediction and accuracy in the diagnosis of cancers by following and incorporating the highest regulatory, clinical and scientific standards.

Congratulations Dr. Tappia on this notable appointment!

Molson Women’s Heart Health Collaborative Conference

Pictured here (back row, l-r): Dr. Davinder Jassal, St. B., Dr. Pawan Singal, St. B., Dr. Grant Pierce, St. B., Dr. Ross Feldman, St. B., Dr. Todd Duhamel, St. B., Dr. Marie-Pierre Dube, MHI. (Front row, l-r) Dr. Celine Fiset, MHI, Dr. Simon de Denus, MHI, and Dr. Julie Hussin, MHI.

Researchers from the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) and St. Boniface Hospital Research, met in Winnipeg for a full day’s conference on October 2, 2018, to launch a two-year collaborative effort to undertake new research projects looking at ways to better understand heart disease in women.

Funded by a generous donation of $2.5M from The Molson Foundation, this first of its kind partnership between research institutions in Canada will allow each team to make advances in specific fields of research such as the early signs of heart disease in older women, sexual differences in blood fat levels, heart disease and breast cancer, heart disease and kidney injury in women, and the treatment of high blood pressure in women.

“Through their generous donation, The Molson Foundation has created an avenue for bringing two powerhouses together in heart research, St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, and the Montreal Heart Institute. The Molson Foundation has shown once again what an incredible community supporter they are,” stated Dr. Grant Pierce, St. Boniface Hospital Executive Director of Research.

Singal receives honorary doctorate

Congratulations to Dr. Pawan K. Singal who received the University of Winnipeg’s highest academic honour, Doctor of Laws, at today’s 114th Convocation at the Duckworth Centre.

Dr. Singal was presented with the degree by Sylvie Albert, BA, MBA, PhD, and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at The University of Winnipeg.

Dr. Albert referenced Dr. Singal’s extraordinary scientific research and educational career, but also his dedication to community reflected by his commitment to the India Centre for Academic, Business and Community Excellence — a partnership between The University of Winnipeg and the India Association of Manitoba.

Immediately following his award, Dr. Singal opened the convocation proceedings with an inspiring commencement speech to the Class of Fall 2018 — more than 300 new University graduates in science, arts, education, business administration and kinesiology — by sharing his thoughts on leadership, success and the importance of always pursuing new goals in life.

Learn more from our prior announcement.

Dhalla named to Canadian Hall of Fame

St. Boniface Hospital Research is extremely proud to share the news that Dr. Naranjan S. Dhalla will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) in recognition of his 50-year career advancing knowledge, resources and collaboration in the realm of cardiovascular sciences.

The CMHF celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world and fosters future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs, scholarships and awards. Dr. Dhalla is now the seventh Manitoban to join this esteemed group of Laureates and is widely considered one of the most influential leaders in promoting cardiovascular research at both a national and international level.  As the Founding Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, his contributions to the success here at St. Boniface Hospital Research cannot be understated.  He was the first inductee into the St Boniface Hospital Hall of Fame in the Albrechtsen Research Centre in 2011.

“Dr. Dhalla is an innovative leader who created and grew a number of institutions and organizations that have world-class status in cardiovascular research.  To have him as a long-standing member of our faculty here at St. Boniface Hospital Research and now as a Laureate in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is an honour of the highest degree,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital, “We send our heartiest congratulations to him.”

“Our research facility here at St. Boniface Hospital is internationally recognized as one of the premier institutes in biomedical cardiovascular sciences, and it wouldn’t have existed at all without Dr. Dhalla’s role as the founding Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. He is extremely deserving of this award and we are thrilled to celebrate this honour,” said Martine Bouchard, President & CEO, St. Boniface Hospital.

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Laureates are individuals whose contributions to medicine and the health sciences have led to extraordinary improvements in human health. Their work may be a single meritorious contribution or a lifetime of superior accomplishments. Pioneers in their field, they are role models for Canadians and an inspiration to our youth to pursue careers in the health sciences.

“Dr. Dhalla is known for his commitment to developing and advancing the careers of Canadian research trainees and scientists and elevating their profile internationally. His founding of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences and the International Society for Heart Research, with strong Canadian representation at the leadership level, truly established our country’s scientists as internationally influential,” said Dr. Henry Friesen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus University of Manitoba.

Dhalla will be formally inducted with five other Canadians at a ceremony held in association with McGill University Faculty of Medicine on May 2, 2019, in Montreal, Quebec.

This designation makes him the seventh Manitoban in history to be recognized as a Hall of Fame Laureate, joining Dr. Bruce Chown, Dr. Henry Friesen, Dr. Arnold Naimark, Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg, Dr. Allan Ronald, and Dr. F. Estelle R. Simons.

Hewage and Kaur receive studentship awards

Congratulations to Susara Madduma Hewage (left) from the Siow lab for receiving the Mark and Pat Smerchanski Studentship Grant for PhD, and to Ramandeep Kaur (right) from the Moghadasian lab who received the Frank and Jeanne Plett Endowed Studentship for MSc. Both students are a part of the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM).

The Mark and Pat Smerchanski Studentship and Frank and Jeanne Plett Endowed Studentship Awards are supported by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

Monteris Medical, Inc. celebrates major milestone

One of the Albrechtsen Research Centre’s original start-up companies at St. Boniface Hospital, Monteris Medical, Inc.® celebrated a major milestone this week — 2,000 patients in the U.S. and Canada have now received treatment using the company’s NeuroBlate® System since its market release in 2013.

The technology uses robotically controlled laser thermotherapy with MRI-guided laser light to ablate brain lesions. Since its founding in 1999, Monteris Medical’s sole focus is to help medical professionals treat patients suffering from neurological diseases like epilepsy and brain cancer through minimally invasive surgical options.

“The Albrechtsen Research Centre here at St. Boniface Hospital has a proven track record for incubating and launching successful biotech companies. It’s great to see hundreds of physicians in dozens of hospitals across North America using the Monteris technology to help those with brain tumours. We couldn’t be prouder,” said Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital.

More info (PDF)

Dr. Suh on TEDxWpg

Listen to Dr. Miyoung Suh share her inspiring TEDxTalk, “Farming to the Sky: A Game Changer for Health in the North” on how vertical farming systems could transform the way Canada’s First Nations people access fresh, healthy foods and potentially improve nutritional outcomes for Indigenous peoples. “We all live under the same Canadian sky, and yet most people remain unaware of the struggles facing our First Nations communities,” she told a TedX Winnipeg audience this June.

In her talk, Dr. Suh, Principal Investigator at St. Boniface Hospital Research with the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders (DND) as well as the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) and Associate Professor, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, posits that vertical, hydroponic farming systems commonly used in high-density countries such as South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands could be a viable solution to provide affordable and nutrient-rich vegetables to isolated northern communities.

Research project receives $300,000

With a generous $300,000 donation reflecting a sister’s legacy of caring towards her autistic brother, research led by Dr. Harold Aukema, Principal Investigator, Nutrition and Lipid Mediators, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research In Health and Medicine (CCARM), received a significant injection of financial support from the Dyck Family, owners of BrettYoung Seeds.

(L-R) Vince Barletta, President & CEO; Chad Dyck; Dr. Harold Aukema, Principal Investigator, Nutrition and Lipid Mediators with the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research; Jackie Dyck; Dr. Amir Ravandi, Principal Investigator, Cardiovascular Lipidomics, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; Lloyd Dyck; Dr. Grant Pierce, Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital; Erik Dyck

The project is looking at ways to better classify autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on biomarkers evident in the blood, potentially improving the ability to treat the specifics of a disorder historically reliant on behavioural assessments alone. The project is a part of Research Without Borders, an interdisciplinary collaboration between research teams at St. Boniface Hospital Research and Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Singal to receive honorary doctorate

Dr. Pawan K. Singal will receive the University of Winnipeg’s academic title of Honorary Doctor of Laws, at a ceremony to be held at the University’s 114th Convocation on October 12, 2018.

Dr. Singal, Ph.D., DSc, FACC, Professor of Physiology, University of Manitoba, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, and Principal Investigator, Cell Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, directed the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences from 2007-2017.

About Dr. Singal

After 3 years in Saskatoon, Canada, as a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Medical Research Council, Dr. Singal joined the Physiology & Pathophysiology Department at the College of Medicine, the University of Manitoba, as a lecturer, rose through the ranks and has been a Professor since 1990. He served as Associate Dean for the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba. He is also the holder of the Naranjan S. Dhalla Chair established by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. Internationally known for his work on oxidative stress and heart failure, Dr. Singal has made significant contributions in the understanding of the sequelae of heart failure. He has published 285 papers, has co-edited 31 books and trained more than 100 students, fellows and visiting scientists. He has received more than 90 national and international recognitions. The University of Manitoba has established an award in his name called ‘Pawan K. Singal Award for Graduate Students in Cardiovascular Sciences’. His name has been added to the Wall of Fame in the University Center at the University of Manitoba recognizing his outstanding teaching skills and research.

Congratulations Dr. Singal!

University of Winnipeg Media Release

University of Winnipeg

Dr. Pawan K. Singal, an internationally renowned cardiovascular researcher, educator, and community leader will receive an honorary degree at The University of Winnipeg’s autumn convocation on Friday, October 12.

Singal is a professor of physiology and has served as the director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Manitoba. As a researcher, Singal has made significant contributions to understanding the mechanisms of heart failure due to chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of cancer patients — research with the potential to improve cancer treatment outcomes.

Singal’s commitment to community and cultural understanding is reflected in his commitment to the India Centre for Academic, Business and Community Excellence — a partnership between The University of Winnipeg and the India Association of Manitoba. The India Centre works to raise awareness in Canada and India about the common outlooks and values that promote democratic and culturally diverse societies.

“The University of Winnipeg is proud to recognize Dr. Singal for his passionate commitment to cardiovascular research and his efforts to create cross-cultural understanding,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor. “His work is an important example of community leadership in action.”

For more information please visit

– 30 –

UWinnipeg is noted for academic excellence, Indigenous scholarship, environmental commitment, small class sizes and campus diversity. UWinnipeg is committed to improving access to post-secondary education for all individuals, especially those taking non-traditional paths to university.


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:

Jassal receives CSCI/RCPSC honour

Dr. Davinder Jassal, Principal Investigator, Cardiovascular Imaging, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; Professor of Medicine, Radiology, and Physiology and Pathophysiology, and Section Head, Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences University of Manitoba, is the recipient of the CSCI/Royal College 2018 Henry Friesen Award and Lecture.

The award is presented annually to a Canadian scientist, MD or Ph.D. who is notable for her/his contribution to biomedical or related research and who is actively involved in research at a Canadian university.

The award is sponsored by The Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation (CSCI) and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).

Congratulations Dr. Jassal!

Czubryt appointed to CCAC Board

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Czubryt,  Principal Investigator, Molecular Pathophysiology Laboratory, and  Professor, Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences University of Manitoba, on his appointment to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

The CCAC oversees the development and implementation of guidelines for the ethical use of animals in research at institutions across Canada and conducts site visits to confirm compliance. Institutions receiving grant funding from the Tri-Council (CIHR, SSHRC and NSERC), as well as a number of other partner organizations (e.g. Heart & Stroke), are required to adhere to these guidelines as a condition of funding.

Arora: “NEW” approach shows potential to improve cardiac surgery outcomes

With advances in healthcare practices improving overall life expectancy, there has been a resultant higher prevalence of older patients undergoing complex cardiac procedures – often with poorer postoperative results. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology by Dr. Rakesh Arora, Principal Investigator, Heart Failure Therapy, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, discusses a 3-way approach to “pre-condition” elderly patients for better surgery outcomes. The “NEW” approach is targeted toward improving nutritional status (N), exercise capacity (E) and worry reduction (W).

Read the full abstract:

Modirrousta receives 2018 Hoeschen Award

Dr. Mandana Modirrousta, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders and Director of the Neuromodulation and Neuropsychiatry Unit, is one of two recipients of the 15th Annual Richard Hoeschen Memorial Award.

The Manitoba Medical Service Foundation and St. Boniface Hospital Research sponsor this award annually in honour of Richard Hoeschen. They have contributed $1000 each to Dr. Modirrousta to help offset operating expenses for the supervision of a B.Sc. student.

Dr. Mandana Modirrousta is supervising B.Sc. student Hanna Stirton for their project, “The Role of Lipid Biomarkers in Treatment Response to Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Major Depressive Disorder.”

For more information about the award, please visit

Adlimoghaddam awarded CIHR-CCNA travel

Congratulations to Dr. Aida Adlimoghaddam (Albensi lab) on receiving a CIHR-CCNA travel award to present her Alzheimers dementia work at the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging meeting in Montreal in October.

The CCNA vision is to bring together the best of Canadian research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases affecting cognition in a collaborative and synergistic space. The CCNA includes research in Alzheimer’s disease and research collaborations with those working on other neurodegenerative diseases and promotes high impact, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration through a pan-Canadian approach, positioning Canadian researchers to lead and participate in a new wave of national and international initiatives with congruent goals.

Vandal visits Cytophage Tech students

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, visited the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre yesterday morning to meet with two new students from Cytophage Technologies Inc.

Students Brooke Sidney and Tiffany Penner (shown left to right in above photo) spoke to Mr. Vandal about their roles at Cytophage, which entail characterizing bacterial resistance to bacteriophages.

(L-R) Mr. Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface – Saint Vital; Dr. Bradley Cook , Research Scientist, Cytophage Technologies Inc.; Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital

Cytophage Technologies Inc. is a Winnipeg based company that has developed a unique technology to synthesize bacteriophage, which can bind to and kill multiple bacterial strains. Utilizing this technology, Cytophage is striving to develop a solution to the rise in antimicrobial resistance around the world.  Cytophage was the recipient of the Canada Summer Jobs program grant, allowing the company to have two summer students from the University of Manitoba.

Modirrousta depression research study featured on CBC

The research of Dr. Mandana Modirrousta, Director, Neuromodulation and Neuropsychiatry Unit, St. Boniface Hospital, and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba was featured recently on CBC News. She is currently looking for 64 Manitobans with “treatment-resistant depression” to take part in a research study that may include access to a groundbreaking treatment for depression.


Dr. Modirrousta’s research focuses on improving and expanding the application of neuromodulation as an investigational as well as a treatment tool.  Her research in the Neuromodulation and Neuropsychiatry Unit attempts to understand how to optimally use brain stimulation techniques to treat neuropsychiatric disorders.



CBC Story

Dr. Mondana Modirrousta

Pierce appointed U of M Distinguished Professor

The title, Distinguished Professor, will be conferred by the University of Manitoba on Dr. Grant Pierce at a convocation to be held in October. Dr. Pierce is one of 3 people who will receive the honour this year, and join 22 other academic staff members who hold the title.

Distinguished Professors are academic staff who have demonstrated outstanding distinction in research, scholarship, creative endeavours, professional service and teaching. They are appointed by the University’s Board of Governors on the recommendation of a Distinguished Professor Selection Committee, chaired by the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor.

Congratulations Dr. Pierce!

Rodway receives multiple awards

Lisa Rodway, MSc student, co-supervised by Drs. Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka, has been awarded a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Graduate Scholarship from CIHR for her MSc studies. This award provides recognition and funding to students early in their academic research career, providing them with an opportunity to gain research experience, as well as to provide a reliable supply of highly skilled and qualified researchers.

Rodway also received the APNM Undergraduate Research Excellence Award for her senior thesis project. This award recognizes outstanding senior undergraduate students who are enrolled in exercise science and nutrition major programs at participating Canadian universities and colleges. The awards are presented on an annual basis.

Also, Rodway was presented with the Dr. Elizabeth B. Smith Convocation Prize from the University of Manitoba. Valued at $1050, this award is for an undergraduate student who has completed the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Science (Human Nutritional Sciences) degree program with high academic standing and will be proceeding to graduate work with a research focus on nutrition at the University of Manitoba.

Congratulations, Lisa!

Nick Shepel Award to Crystal Acosta

Congratulations to Crystal Acosta (Supervisor: Hope Anderson), who has been awarded this years’ St. Boniface Hospital Foundation – Nick Shepel Travel Award. This award will help to cover the travel costs associated with Crystal’s attendance at the national Society for Neuroscience Meeting to present a research poster.

The Nick Shepel fund was established by the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders, St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, to honor Nick Shepel who was an outstanding researcher, friend and leader. Nick was a true inspiration to his laboratory partners and brought fire, humor, and a desire to always excel. His insistence to always try better has had a permanent effect on his lab mates and peers. Nick led by example and taught that detailed preparation and execution of experiments ensured reliable results.

The purpose of this fund shall be to recognize a young investigator (specifically in the neuroscience area) by providing an annual award(s) to support travel costs associated with the applicant’s attendance at an upcoming national/international conference where the applicant is presenting a poster or oral presentation.

Study warns of significant dementia increase

The number of Manitobans living and affected by dementia is projected to dramatically increase, according to a study recently published in Neuroepidemiology (Karger). The largest increase is projected to occur in the 75–84 years of age group with a growth of 98.83% by the year 2035, while for ages 85+ a 61.36% increase is estimated. The study, entitled “Future Trends and the Economic Burden of Dementia in Manitoba: Comparison with the Rest of Canada and the World” was authored by Drs. Benedict Albensi and Aida Adlimoghaddam of the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre.

The study

Suh receives FAFS Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Miyoung Suh, Principal Investigator, Nutrition and Neurological Diseases, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders and the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, has received the inaugural Faculty of Agricultural and Food (FAFS) Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Suh will receive $2,500 to support funding for her choice of teaching or research activities.

The University of Manitoba’s FAFS Excellence in Teaching Award was established to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching mandate of the Faculty.


Seminar: The Effects of Cannabis in the Workplace

Intrinsic Analytics is hosting a seminar on “The Effects of Cannabis in the Workplace” on June 26th, 2018. The seminar will gather eminent speakers from Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Taylor McCaffrey LLP and Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba. This seminar will take place in the Samuel Cohen Auditorium of the Albrechtsen Research Centre at St. Boniface Hospital, 351 Taché Avenue, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Substance use, impairment and how it impacts safety in the workplace are key issues for every employer. The purpose of this seminar is to highlight best practices and the necessary tools to address these issues, especially in light of the upcoming legalization of cannabis.

Please complete the registration form and either email or fax to 204-258-1490 at your earliest convenience.

For additional information please contact Intrinsic Analytics at 204-258-1500.

4800 students visit Youth BIOlab in 2017/18

The St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre’s RBC Youth BIOlab hosted over 4800 students, and saw another 2700 in Manitoba schools note this year, 35% of which were “en francais” !

Since the Youth BIOlab started full time outreach in 2005, teachers Steve Jones and Meghan Kynoch have seen over 60,000 students from across Manitoba, with 23,000 of those through the Youth BIOlab since opening in 2013. This year also saw some new initiatives with mentored science projects for First Nations students that ended up going to Canada-Wide Science Fair, while Meghan also traveled to Cross Lake First Nation to lay the foundation for a major outreach partnership for the next 5 years.

Congratulations Steve and Meghan!

Please read more about the program in the 2017/18 Youth BIOlab Activity Report.

Feldman awarded Mastership in ACP

Dr. Ross Feldman, Principal Investigator, Women’s Health, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; and Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Cardiac Sciences Program, WRHA, was recently made a Master of the American College of Physicians. The Mastership was conferred at the 2018 ACP Internal Medicine Meeting in New Orleans from April 19-21, regarded as the premier scientific meeting in internal medicine.

Masters (MACP) comprise a small group of highly distinguished physicians who have achieved recognition in medicine by exhibiting a preeminence in practice or medical research, holding positions of high honor, or making significant contributions to medical science or the art of medicine. Mastership is considered a special class of membership in the American College of Physicians.

Congratulations Dr. Feldman!

Koleini picks up awards in Edmonton

Navid Koleini, MD., PhD Candidate (Kardami Lab) won a travel award and best presentation award at the recent 10th Canadian Oxidative Stress Consortium in Edmonton, Alberta, for his poster entitled “Elimination or neutralization of endogenous high molecular weight FGF-2 increases cardiac resistance to Doxorubicin-induced damage”.

The Canadian Oxidative Stress Consortium (COSC) aims at advancement of research and education in oxidative stress in health and disease. Oxidative stress has implications for a broad range of disorders including ischemia-reperfusion injury, stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s), spinal cord injury, sepsis, inflammation and respiratory diseases, etc. Initiated in July 1999 by Dr. Ashok Grover (McMaster University), with support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the COSC consists of researchers from about 50 laboratories from 15 different universities in Canada. Its goal is to foster research collaboration among these laboratories, to provide better training opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows working in them and to foster closer ties between its members and the pharmaceutical industry.

Congratulations Dr. Koleini!!

Goldberg wins 2018 Mitacs Social Entrepreneur Award

Postdoctoral Fellow Erin Goldberg (Aliani Lab) will receive the 2018 Mitacs Social Entrepreneur Award. The Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards celebrate those who have ventured into entrepreneurship and turned their research into an innovative business or business idea.

Together with partners she met during her years at the University of Manitoba, Goldberg has developed a “first-of-its-kind nutritional support beverage that is a healthier and better-tasting alternative to traditional in-hospital meal replacement drinks, recently under criticism for their high sugar content and highly-processed ingredients”. Their formula has earned, a prestigious award and $5,000 from Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit organization that partners companies, government and academia to promote Canadian research and training.

In recognition of the ongoing success of her start-up and its work to address an important gap in the in-hospital nutrition sector, Goldberg — a postdoctoral fellow at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre in Winnipeg and one of three co-founders of Winnipeg-based ViTal Functional Foods Inc. — will be presented the Mitacs Social Entrepreneur Award tonight (June 5) at a ceremony in Montreal.

Mitacs Press Release
Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards
Winnipeg Free Press article (Paywall)
CTV MedicalWatch

Dhingra wins Mayo/St. B collaborative funding

Dr. Sanjiv Dhingra, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; Assistant Professor, Regenerative Medicine Program, Department of Physiology, University of Manitoba will receive funding for a collaborative research project with Dr. Martin Rodriguez-Porcel of the Cardiovascular Department of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The award ($250,000 US over 2 years) is for the project entitled “A Novel Immunomodulatory Hydrogel to Prevent Rejection of allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Heart”.

The award is from the CANUSA (CANADA-USA) RESEARCH PROJECT, which was created with funds generously provided by the Asper Endowment Fund. The mandate of the fund is to promote the growth and collaboration in cardiovascular research between St. Boniface Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. The fund supports health related cardiovascular research in the basic, clinical and/or applied health areas to be conducted either at the St. Boniface Hospital or at Mayo Clinic or at both institutions during the term of the funding.

The project was cited for excellence of the proposal (innovative, impact on the field, feasibility), excellence of the applicants, collaborative science, and the potential to lead to future successful grant applications such as NIH or CIHR.


Steve Jones makes Free Press front page!

Congratulations to Steve Jones, Teaching Liaison, RBC Youth BIOlab Jeunesse, who is featured in today’s Winnipeg Free Press. Steve recently received the Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Award, which honours “exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers for remarkable achievement in education, and for commitment to preparing students for a digital and innovation-based economy”. Writer Jane Gerster and photographer Ruth Bonneville spend the morning watching Steve in action, teaching students from Stonybrook Middle School, Steinbach.

Steve will also be appearing as a guest of CTV Morning Live, scheduled for Thursday, May 24.

Free Press Article

St. Boniface Member of Parliament Dan Vandal presents Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence Award to Steve Jones


R30 poster competition

One of the highlights of the R30 conference was the poster competition; the first St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre event to draw participation from students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians of all divisions, and other institutions as well. There were 49 posters displaying basic research and clinical research findings. Seven prizes were awarded to participants of the R30 poster competition. They were PhD students Youjia Du and Yvette Shang from CCARM; Postdoctoral Fellow Xavier Louis and Research Associate Ashim Bagchi from ICS; MSc student Kevin Boreskie from ICS; and two teams of high school students (1) Storm Malcolm and Marla Malcolm and (2) Torrie Spence and Shauntay Malcolm.

The R30 poster competition was organized by Dr. Jeffrey Wigle and Dr. Thomas Netticadan.

Congratulations to all!

Research alumni enjoying Jets playoff run

The St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre has been home to scientists from many countries over 30 years. Do you ever wonder what they think of Winnipeg – the climate, the people… the Jets?

CBC featured the experience of two of our alumni, with respect to the Jets recent playoff exploits. Xavier Louis is a postdoctoral fellow in the Wigle laboratory, and Sijo Joseph is currently a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

(Photo credit: Travis Golby/CBC)

Pierce to be inducted into the Order of Manitoba

Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research, St. Boniface Hospital, will be invested into the Order of Manitoba (OM) for 2018 at a ceremony in July. The province’s highest honour, the OM recognizes Manitobans who have enriched the social, cultural or economic well-being of the province.

Dr. Pierce’s research in cardiovascular medicine has brought scientific acclaim to Manitoba through his participation in a series of studies to stop or reverse heart muscle disease or blood vessel wall injury. He helped develop the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and helped found the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, both at St. Boniface Hospital.

The latest group of OM inductees includes seven men and five women, including David Barnard, Michael Belhumeur, Jacqueline Blay, Barbara Bruce, Dr. Sara J. Israels, Robert Kristjanson, Bernice Marmel, Bill Loewen, Robb Nash, Ken Opaleke, and Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg.

Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon said the honourees have a passionate commitment to the community. “The impact of their leadership has made a unique mark on this province and its people with achievements that both impress and inspire,” she said in a release.

Appointments to the order are made on the recommendations of an advisory council. Once invested, members are entitled to use the initials O.M. after their names and will have their names placed on permanent display in the Manitoba Legislative Building. The 12 honourees will be inducted into the Order of Manitoba at a July 12 ceremony at the legislature.

Congratulations Dr. Pierce!


Winnipeg Free Press

Youth BIOlab Jeunesse teacher Stephen Jones receives Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Stephen Jones has received national recognition for his program Youth BIOlab Jeunesse, which hosts 5000 students/year within the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. The Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Award honours “exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers for remarkable achievement in education, and for commitment to preparing students for a digital and innovation-based economy”.

The former medical researcher set up a state-of-the-art laboratory in 2013 at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre to help youth develop meaningful connections with cutting-edge science and technology. To date, the program has served more than 50,000 students.

“This is a remarkable achievement and recognition for Steve, and for the program” says Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research for St. Boniface Hospital. “Through Steve’s hard work developing both program and partnerships, he has developed something that is unique in North America”.

“This is one of only 17 awards across the country for STEM teaching, so it’s a huge and humbling honour” says Jones. “I’m grateful for the constant support and enthusiasm for the program. Meghan Kynoch and I couldn’t do all that we do without the support of the Research Centre, Foundation and Hospital”.

Supporting Health Literacy through Science Education

The St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre Youth BIOLab Jeunesse is a space for students and teachers to explore and experience real biomedical science in a world-class research centre. Built with support from Manitoba Education, The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, Youth BIOLab Jeunesse opened its doors to students in Spring 2013, and works in partnership with Manitoba school divisions and with the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to connect St. Boniface Hospital and St-Boniface Hospital Research to classroom learning.

For more information:

Youth BIOlab Jeunesse
Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

R30 a resounding success!

R30”, a celebration of 30 years of research at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre, was held this past weekend (April 20/21).

The event began with a reception at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where over 200 attendees of the following day’s conference “Back to the Future: 30 Years of Health Research by Alumni of the Albrechtsen Research Centre” would pick up their ID badges and meet with past colleagues. This was followed by a tour of the Museum, and more reminiscing that went well into the evening!

Saturday’s conference was jam-packed with 27 presentations (10 minutes each) from alumnus of the Research Centre; many of whom travelled to Winnipeg from one of 13 countries represented!

The conference was followed by the R30 Gala Dinner and Dance, held in the spectacular new Winnipeg Convention Centre City View Ballroom. Congratulatory messages were received via video from:

  • The Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
  • The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of Canada
  • The Honourable Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba
  • The Honourable Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for St. Boniface, Government of Canada
  • The Honourable Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Government of Canada
  • The Honourable Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James Assiniboia-Headlingly, Government of Canada
  • His Worship Brian Bowman, Mayor of Winnipeg

The Honourable Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, Province of Manitoba added his greetings in person.  Mayor Bowman was also in attendance.

The evening was emcee’d by Winnipeg comedian Big Daddy Tazz, and featured spectacular aerialists/acrobats “Momentum”, videos highlighting achievements through the years, as well as moving recollections by Dr. Arnold Naimark and Dr. Henry Friesen. Over 700 people attended!

The award-winning Danny Kramer Dance Band kept people on the dance floor until the end of the evening.

MP Vandal represents Albrechtsen Research Centre in House of Commons

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, characterized St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre in glowing terms in the House of Commons this afternoon.

“World class is a term often used to refer to the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. World class because it attracts researchers from around the world. World class because it makes important scientific breakthroughs, like the recent PEG-2S antibiotic, which can help in the global fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria” said Vandal, during his member statement yesterday. He added, “I am really disappointed I can’t be there on Saturday, but I will be there in spirit celebrating with them. Happy thirtieth anniversary to the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre”.

Letter from Marisa Panagia

St. Boniface Hospital Executive Director of Research Dr. Grant Pierce shares a letter he received recently from Marisa Panagia, wife of Dr. Vincenzo Panagia – one of our original 5 cardiovascular researchers. Dr. Panagia, MD, PhD, was Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Manitoba, and Principal Investigator of the Membrane Biology laboratory at the Centre. Dr. Panagia passed away at the age of 61 in 2000. In his honour, The Vincenzo Panagia Distinguished Lecture Award was established by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and is given to an investigator whose work is internationally recognized as being at the cutting-edge in any field of cardiovascular sciences.

Dear Dr. Pierce,

Thank you very much for inviting my sons and I to come to Winnipeg for this very important celebration of the foundation of the research center at St. Boniface. Unfortunately, we all have obligations that prevent us from attending. But I did not want to pass up this occasion without at the very least sharing with you my reminiscences of the Center’s first decade.

I still remember very well the vivid and intense emotions felt by everyone who partook of this great adventure in Research – the primary researchers, of course, but also the wives and children who congregated and met at the St. Boniface Research Center over the years, and for various events including many of the International conferences organized there.

I have very clearly in my mind all the young doctors and students involved in moving to the new location. Many areas of research expertise were innovated in this ambitious place, and after a few short years the research center became a hub of international exchange where many researchers from around the world would come to work and learn, exchange ideas and expertise, but also lives.

It was always a joy for me to prepare a lot of Italian food for everyone, and to enjoy many dinner celebrations together in order to relax from all the catecholamines procured by the many, many, many funding applications!

I take this occasion to greet with joy and love all of Enzo’s friends and colleagues and I wish to all the newcomers that they enjoy the great opportunities to work and study with some of the best researchers in the world that are there.

To the young who didn’t meet my husband, I wish to pass on to you his words about the life of the researcher: work hard, be honest with yourself and your colleagues, don’t get discouraged, and with God’s help you will feel at peace.

Enjoy your celebration and and congratulations to all.

Marisa Panagia

Thanks and Congratulations from Dr. Meir Kryger

Dr. Meir Kryger, Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary) and Clinical Professor of Nursing, Yale University School of Medicine, sent a video message of thanks and congratulations to St. Boniface Hospital Research on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of research at St. Boniface Hospital. Dr. Kryger headed the sleep laboratory, one of the original programs of research to move into the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre in 1987.

Dr. Kryger, a pioneer of sleep research, is currently a professor in the Yale School of Medicine and chief editor of the most widely used sleep medicine textbook, Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine.

Why we give: National Leasing

National Leasing, an equipment-leasing company based in Winnipeg, contributed $15,000 in June toward the purchase of a Quantitative PCR Thermocycler.

The machine uses heat to create and accurately measure up to a trillion copies of an original chain of DNA in just a couple of hours, explained Dr. Michael Czubryt, Principal Investigator, Molecular Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, in whose lab it is housed.

“It allows us to do far more samples than we used to be able to do, faster, and with fewer resources,” he said.

Dr. Czubryt and his team can use the machine with patient samples or as part of studies into fibrosis of the heart and cell loss following heart attacks and strokes.

“It’s a device that’s widely applicable,” he said. “It’s highly flexible, highly sought-after and has been a tremendous addition.”

“It works kind of like a programmable pressure cooker you have at home, in that it controls temperature very precisely, for a precise amount of time.”

Global features Pierce research

Reporter/writer/broadcaster Greg Mackling features Dr. Grant Pierce’s research on drug-resistant bacteria in his article “Winnipeggers researching antibiotics alternative to fight growing bacteria immunity”.

“They are commonly prescribed to help fight infections but antibiotics are slowly becoming ineffective and researchers in Winnipeg are trying to find a solution. “We are becoming resistant to them,” Dr. Grant Pierce, the executive director of Research at Albrechtsen Research Centre at St. Boniface Hospital said. “the bacteria will no longer be killed by the antibiotic. The bacteria resists it, pump out the antibiotic, and it is no longer effective.”

Last year the World Health Organization sounded the alarm over a lack of new antibiotics capable of combating bacteria. “The WHO identified multi-drug resistance in bacteria as one of the three greatest threats to life today,” Pierce told Global News.

Click here to read the full article:

Feltham receives UMSU Award for Indigenous Community Leaders

Congratulations to Mr. Bradley Feltham, who has received an UMSU Award for Indigenous Community Leaders scholarship from the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU). Feltham is a Student/Research Assistant in the Suh laboratory for Nutrition & Neurological Diseases (Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders and the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine).

Mr. Feltham completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Memorial University: A Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Nutritional Biochemistry and a Masters in Biochemistry, investigating the effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on brain function. Now at the University of Manitoba, Bradley is a high-achieving undergraduate Human Nutritional Sciences student, and a dedicated advocate for improved healthcare access for Indigenous peoples, especially those in Northern, rural, and remote communities in Canada. He is a member of both UMASA (University of Manitoba Aboriginal Students’ Association) and NECO (Nutrition Education and Community Outreach), and has been an Indigenous liaison on council. Most notably, Brad is working closely with the NECO team to collaborate with UMASA for Indigenous Awareness Month in March – which is also Nutrition Month – through the ReconciliACTION campaign. He is also organizing a cultural competency lecture workshop for HNS students to better prepare our student body as future health professionals working with diverse populations.

Alumni News…

Dr. Rushita Bagchi (formerly of the Czubryt lab), has been formally accepted to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting in Lindau, Germany this coming June. There will be 600 delegates from around the world (84 countries), and 43 Laureates meeting with them over the course of a week. Dr. Bagchi is the first delegate from the University of Manitoba (she was selected as the nominee for 2016 at the Canadian Student Health Research Forum, held in Winnipeg each June).

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings foster the exchange among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines. The meetings focus alternately on physiology and medicine, on physics, and on chemistry – the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines. An interdisciplinary meeting revolving around all three natural sciences is held every five years. The scientific programme of each Lindau Meeting is based on the principle of dialogue. The different sessions – lectures, discussions, master classes, and panel discussions – are designed to activate the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experience between and among Nobel Laureates and young scientists.

Congratulations to Dr. Bagchi for this amazing opportunity!

Additional Information:

Dhingra: CIHR $749K grant

Dr. Sanjiv Dhingra, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, was recently awarded a 5-year, $749,700 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The grant will support Dr. Dhingra’s research studying the mechanisms of transplanted stem cell rejection and determining strategies to increase post-transplantation survival in the heart. Support through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is intended to l help Canadian researchers study the full spectrum of health issues affecting the lives of Canadians.

Dr. Dhingra is also an assistant professor in the Regenerative Medicine Program at the University of Manitoba as well as director of the Canada/Italy Tissue Engineering Laboratory (CITEL) at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. He recently received a Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.



University of Manitoba news release
CIHR Announcement
CIHR Funding Dhingra (.docx)

Alan Bernstein visits St. B Research

Internationally recognized molecular biologist Dr. Alan Bernstein visited the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre this morning. Hosted by Executive Director of Research Dr. Grant Pierce, Dr. Bernstein took part in a roundtable discussion on the topics of artificial intelligence and stem cell research. Dr. Bernstein is President of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research (CIFAR), and former President & CEO of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

Dr. Bernstein is the recipient of major awards and honours, including the Order of Canada, election to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada and the Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award. In 2017, he was awarded the Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research, which funded his visit.

(L-R: Dr. Grant Pierce, Dr. Alan Bernstein, Dr. Aubie Angel, Dr. Naranjan Dhalla)

Kirshenbaum to receive Professional Achievement Award

Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum (Director Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Gene Biology, Professor, Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, Canada Research Chair, Molecular Cardiology, University of Manitoba, Director of Research Development Rady Faculty of Medicine) is among 5 recipients named in this year’s University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Awards. The awards are given to accomplished community builders and leaders and who have made an indelible impact both within Manitoba and around the world.

From the announcement: “Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum’s research may sound like science fiction, but the advances he has made in human health are very real and the implications have had a global impact. His discovery that several of the world’s deadliest diseases – cancer, heart disease, vascular disease – can be treated by “switching off” select cells is a major leap forward in medicine.”

The award will be presented at the University of Manitoba’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration of Excellence, Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, May 10, 2018.

Congratulations Dr. Kirshenbaum!

CCARM awards

Pema Raj and Samantha Pauls

Directors of the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) have initiated awards to recognize trainees and staff who have provided exemplary service to CCARM:

2017 CCARM Trainee Service Recognition Awards:
– Samantha Pauls – for assistance with the Rapid-Fire Symposium
– Pema Raj -– for assistance with the Rapid-Fire Symposium

2017 CCARM Staff Service Recognition Award:
– Susan Zettler – for outstanding assistance to CCARM faculty and trainees

Congratulations to the recipients for 2017!

Adlimoghaddam wins ADDF Scholarship

Dr. Aida Adlimoghaddam (Albensi Laboratory) has won a 2018 Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) Young Investigator Scholarship (USA Alzheimer’s group), one of only 30 worldwide. The award will be given out at the Feb 2018 meeting in Washington, DC, USA.

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is to rapidly accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. Founded in 1998 by co-chairmen Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is the only charity solely focused on finding drugs for Alzheimer’s.

Congratulations Dr. Adlimoghaddam!

Acosta awarded CAUT Fellowship

(From the CAUT Bulletin)

Crystal Acosta, a PhD candidate under Dr. Hope Anderson, Vascular Biology, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, has been awarded the 2017 J.H. Stewart Reid Memorial Fellowship. The fellowship, established by the Canadian Association of University Teachers(CAUT), recognizes and funds a graduate student from a Canadian university that has demonstrated academic excellence.

Crystal holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Manitoba. She has published her research in several peer-reviewed journals and delivered a number of presentations at international conferences. As a doctoral student, Crystal was fortunate to be supported by Research Manitoba, as well as the J.G. Fletcher PhD Fellowship from the University of Manitoba. Other awards and distinctions include the Smerchanski Endowed Studentship Grant from the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and the Dr. Mark Nickerson Graduate Entrance Scholarship in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the University of Manitoba, among others.

Crystal is investigating the physiological mechanisms that regulate the structure, mechanical properties and function of brain-penetrating arterioles in health and cardiovascular disease. “A large proportion of heart failure patients develop cognitive decline and dementia,” she says. “The literature suggests there is indeed an association between heart failure and neurodegeneration, but more study is required to identify underlying mechanisms.”

Crystal has been a fixture in student governance for the past three years at the University of Manitoba, serving on the executive of the Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association. She also has a continued interest in community outreach through her work with the Manitoba Neuroscience Network.

Caligiuri receives U of M Dissertation Award

The University of Manitoba Dissertation Awards, the University’s most prestigious honour for master’s and doctoral dissertations, were presented to Drs. Caligiuri, Ens, Polfus and Watt at the Faculty of Graduate Studies inaugural 2017 Spring Reception.

“The Faculty of Graduate Studies is proud to present the Distinguished Dissertation Awards each year to recognize truly exceptional doctoral research,” said Dr. Todd Mondor, Vice-Provost(Graduate Education) and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Bestowed annually since 2001, the award recognizes master’s and doctoral recipients who have made remarkable contributions to their fields.

Dr. Stephanie Caligiuri was an MSc /PhD Candidate in Cell Biology (Dr. Grant Pierce) at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Learn more (PDF)

Clair: $30,000 MMSF Grant

Dr. Luc Clair, Principal Investigator, Ag/Health Economist, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research In Health and Medicine (CCARM), and Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Winnipeg, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation.

The goal of CCARM’s clinical and basic science research is to study disease processes, investigate the therapeutic properties of functional foods and natural health products, and develop safe interventions (diet, supplements, etc.) that will improve the health of the Canadian public. Dr. Clair’s work supports this research by looking at the cost-effectiveness of these interventions once implemented outside of the research setting and in the general public and health care system; his primary role is to estimate the economic impact of proposed interventions on the health care sector, the agricultural, and agri-food sector. The award is for his project, “Estimating the Relationship Between Cardiovascular Health and the Use of Neurodegenerative Pharmaceuticals”.

The MMSF supports health–related research and education in Manitoba in partnership with Manitoba Blue Cross.

Congratulations Dr. Clair!

MMSF News Release (attached)

Ella Thomson earns $30K Order of the White Rose scholarship

(From UM Today Alumni)

On December 1, 2017, Polytechnique Montréal presented the third annual Order of the White Rose scholarship to Ella Thomson, an electrical engineering graduate of the University of Manitoba. This $30,000 scholarship, created three years ago, is awarded annually to a Canadian woman engineering student who wishes to continue her engineering studies at the master’s or doctoral level in Canada or elsewhere in the world.

It’s not the frist time you’ve seen Ella in the news.. she has also attracted attention for her research into the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in degenerative diseases (Albensi Lab) for which she received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Ella’s desire to conduct research into neurodegenerative disorders was sparked by volunteer work that she did with patients with developmental disabilities, as well as wanting to understand the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease, with which her great aunt was living. After completing a research exchange at Hochschule Ravensburg Weingarten in Germany, she will enter the PhD program in biomedical engineering at Stanford University in California.

Congratulations Ella!

Read the full story

CCARM “bean art” on display at Kesay

It may be the largest art installation of its kind, or at least the most unusual;  six 4’ x 4’ artworks, each representing aspects of Manitoba’s agricultural past, present and future, from Ox and plow to a spectacular rendering of the St. Boniface Hospital Albrectsen Research Centre (home of the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Resaerch in Health and Medicine, or CCARM). Not made from acrylic or oil or watercolor paint, just… out of beans.

And Manitoba-grown beans, to boot.

The artworks were produced by the Communications & Media Services team at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre for a CCARM conference held this past summer. 4 of the 6 canvasses are on display (and on sale, with proceeds to St. Boniface Research) at Kesay Design Centre, 693 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg.

We are so happy to be selected to show these two fantastic pieces from the “Breaking new ground” collection at our design studio! Created by Bill Peters, Robert Blaich, and Joseph Pilapil, of the Communications & Media services department at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. These pieces were made from pulse crops grown in manitoba and studied in CCARM labs. The proceeds of these two pieces will be used to help support the ground breaking research at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre! #breakingnewground #art #groundbreaking #stbonifaceresearch #support #manitoba #research #charity #artwork #crops #local #winnipeg #traditional #classic #highend #homefurnishing #design #designgoals #interiordesign #designinso #lifestyle #inspiration #style

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BMO Scholarships announced

Congratulations to Dr. Navid Koleni [Left] and Ms. Chantal Asselin (Msc) candidate [Right] on being awarded $17,000 BMO Scholarships, for research excellence reflected by the students’ academic record, publications and research ability.

The St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and BMO Financial Group established the BMO Financial Group Research Scholarship for Excellence in 2013. Funds for the scholarships were made possible by a $250,000 gift from BMO Financial Group with a $250,000 matching grant from St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. The scholarship supports students employed at the I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute or the MacLean Building at St. Boniface Hospital Research during their graduate studies.

About their research:

Increased intraventricular pressure (for example due to aortic valve stenosis or hypertension) can lead to cardiac enlargement and eventually heart failure. A definite understanding of the mechanisms and also approaches to mitigate its complications are yet to be elucidated. Dr. Koleini is studying the roles of the FGF-2 protein with two functionally distinct isoforms, in cardiac response to increased intraventricular pressure caused by trans-aortic ligation. His studies are intended to expand knowledge on the biological activities of FGF-2 isoforms in the setting of cardiac pathology, and may set the stage for antibody-based therapies aiming to attenuate mortality in heart failure patients and increase their quality of life.

Cardio-Oncology is an evolving discipline that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and management of cancer patients who are at risk of developing heart problems as a result of their cancer treatment. As breast cancer remains a significant clinical problem, chemotherapy continues to be a routine treatment strategy for this patient population. Doxorubicin and Trastuzumab are two of the most effective anti-cancer drugs available for women with breast cancer. However, these two anti-cancer drugs may lead to heart failure in as many as 8000 Canadian women annually. Dietary interventions represent another complementary approach for the treatment of women with breast cancer. Approximately 30% of breast cancer patients use flaxseed. Ms. Asselin and her research team will explore the means by which flaxseed can prevent the anti-cancer drugs Doxorubicin and Trastuzumab from damaging the heart in the breast cancer setting. The results of this program will have a significant impact on improving the cardiovascular outcomes in women with breast cancer in Manitoba.

Dhingra receives Young Investigator Award

Congratulations to Dr. Sanjiv Dhingra, Principal Investigator, Cardiac Regeneration and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, on recently receiving the Young Investigator Award – Basic Science from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Created in 1970, this award is presented to a young investigator whose clinical science activities are in the areas of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Dhingra is also an assistant professor in the Regenerative Medicine Program at the University of Manitoba as well as director of the Canada/Italy Tissue Engineering Laboratory (CITEL) at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre.

Kehler to receive student achievement award

Congratulations to Scott Kehler (Duhamel Laboratory), who has been selected as a recipient of the Dean of Graduate Studies Student Achievement Award, from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The award recognizes outstanding performance as a graduate student for academic excellence, leadership, teaching ability volunteerism and mentorship.

Kehler will receive a citation certificate along with a $1000 cash award at the annual Faculty of Graduate Studies awards reception on November 30, 2017.

19th Annual Dr. Naranjan Dhalla Cardiovascular Awards: 2017 Recipients

Since 1999, the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre has held an annual Awards Day to celebrate excellence in cardiovascular research. Twelve awards have been established to recognize the contributions of individuals at various career stages, from summer and graduate students to world-leading experts in cardiovascular medicine.

Twelve individuals were honoured on November 2 by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. The 19th annual award event recognizes leadership and success in promoting cardiovascular research and education, lifetime achievements in research, and young scientists who are in the early stage of their academic life.

The Institute’s awards program is produced in collaboration and cooperation with University of Manitoba, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, and Heart & Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.


The event opened with presentations from several internationally regarded scientists, including:

Dr. Antoine Hakim

Dr. Antoine Hakim, Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Peipei Ping

Dr. Peipei Ping, Los Angeles, USA

Dr. Steven Houser

Dr. Steven Houser, Philadelphia, USA

Dr. Lynn Megeney

Dr. Lynn Megeney, Ottawa, Ontario


Dr. Antoine Hakim

Dr. Naranjan Dhalla, Distinguished Professor, University of Manitoba [Left] presents the Robert Beamish Leadership Award to Dr. Antoine Hakim (Ottawa, Canada)

Dr. Peipei Ping

Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum, Director, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [Left] presents the Ken Bowman Research Achievement Award to Dr. Peipei Ping (Los Angeles, USA)

Dr. Steven Houser

Dr. John Foerster, St. Boniface Hospital Research Executive Director of Research (1986-2006) [Left] presents the John Foerster Distinguished Lecture Award to Dr. Steven Houser (Philadelphia, USA)

Dr. Lynn Megeney

Dr. Pawan Singal, Principal Investigator, Cell Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [left] presents the Vincenzo Panagia Distinguished Lecture Award to Dr. Lynn Megeney (Ottawa, Ontario)

Mr. Greg Mackling

Vince Barletta, President & CEO, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation [Left] presents the Jack Litvack Exemplary Service Award to Mr. Greg Mackling (Winnipeg, Canada)

Dr. Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin

Dr. Michael Czubryt, Principal Investigator, Molecular Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [Left] presents the Arnold Naimark Young Investigator Award to Dr. Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin (Winnipeg, Canada)

Dr. Gauri Akolkar

Dr. Michael Czubryt,Principal Investigator, Molecular Pathophysiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [Left] presents the Henry Friesen Young Scientist Award to Dr. Gauri Akolkar (Ottawa, Canada)

Mr. Abhinav Dhingra

Dr. Ross Feldman, Medical Director of the Cardiac Sciences Program [Left] presents the Sr. Jacqueline St-Yves Award for Best Paper to Illana Minuk accepting on behalf of Mr. Abhinav Dhingra (Winnipeg, Canada)

Ms. Krista Filomeno

Allison Kesler, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation [Left] presents the Heart and Stroke Foundation Award for Masters Student to Ms. Krista Filomeno (Winnipeg, Canada)

Dr. Elissavet Kardami, Principal Investigator, Muscle Cell Biochemistry, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [Left] presents the Kalwant Dhalla Research Technician Award to Dr. Nina Aroutiounova (Winnipeg, Canada)

Mr. Thomas Meier

Dr. Thomas Klonisch, Head, Anatomy and Cell Sciences, University of Manitoba [Left] presents the T. Edward Cuddy Student Research Award to Natalie Landry accepting on behalf Mr. Thomas Meier (Winnipeg, Canada)

Ms. Zeinab Roveimiab

Dr. Jeffrey Wigle, Principal Investigator, Vascular Development, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences [Left] presents the James S. McGoey Student Research Award to Ms. Zeinab Roveimiab (Winnipeg, Canada)


Duhamel receives CSEP Young Investigator Award

Congratulations to Dr. Todd Duhamel, Principal Investigator, Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, who was recently recognized by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) as the recipient for this year’s Young Investigator Award in recognition of “novel contributions to the field of exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation”. This recognition is presented annually to an outstanding CSEP member who has an excellent reputation throughout Canada and has achieved notable international recognition.

“I was humbled to receive such recognition from the scientific community. My success is a reflection of the outstanding people in my research group and my strong connection with the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Hospital and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba” says Duhamel.

Photo credit to Kim Babij (FKRM Communication Officer, University of Manitoba).


Rapid-Fire Research Symposium

(L-R Afroza Ferdouse, Jaime Clark, and Danielle Lee)

The Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Medicine’s inaugural Rapid-Fire Research Symposium was held October 25, 2017.

The “Best Presentation” & “People’s Choice” awards went to Jaime Clark (PhD student supervised by Drs. Carla Taylor & Peter Zahradka). 2nd Prize was awarded to Danielle Lee (PhD student supervised by Dr. Hope Anderson) and 3rd Prize was won by Afroza Ferdouse (MSc student supervised by Dr. Harold Aukema).

The event was chaired by Dr. Thomas Netticadan, with co-chairs Samantha Pauls and Pema Raj and their assistants Roxanna Koohgoli, Susara MaddumaHewage and Sue Zettler. Presentations were adjudicated by Jessay Devassy, Matthew Nosworthy, Xavier Louis and Samantha Pauls.

The symposium also hosted guest speaker Tracey Maconachie of the Life Science Association of Manitoba. Symposium sponsors included the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine & Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

St. Boniface among best in Canada for heart surgery outcomes: The Canadian Institute for Health Information

(From CBC News Manitoba) The Canadian Institute for Health Information looked at patient outcomes and re-admission rates after the most common kinds of heart surgery in its survey of hospitals in nine Canadian provinces. It released the results of that survey on Tuesday.

St. Boniface Hospital’s cardiac sciences program had some of the highest scores in all markers, including low rates of patient mortality, low rates of re-admission after surgery, and high patient volumes for angioplasty, or cardiac catheterization surgeries.

CBC article
Report (PDF)
Winnipeg Free Press article (Paywall)

St. B Researchers highlighted on CTV’s MEDICALWATCH

Two St. Boniface Hospital Researchers have recently been highlighted on CTV’s “MEDICALWATCH”, hosted by reporter Michelle Gerwing:

Dr. Gordon Glazner, Principal Investigator, Cellular Neuropathology & Neurodegeneration, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders, speaks about his Alzheimer’s Disease research, and the impact his grandfather had on his research career. See video.

Dr. Heather Blewett, Principal Investigator, Human Nutrition and Immunology, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, speaks about her most recent clinical trial on dietary peas, and their impact on blood sugar. See video.


mite achimowin (Heart Talk): First Nations Women Expressions of Heart Health

The mite achimowin (Heart Talk): First Nations Women Expressions of Heart Health study is now online.

The project brought together six First Nations women from across Manitoba to participate in learning circle discussions to explore and express their experiences related to their own heart health or caring for a relative with a heart health issue. From these discussions, the women produced digital stories (3–5 minute videos) touching upon various themes affecting First Nations heart health including: transitions from traditional to westernized lifestyles and diets; the trauma of residential schools; racism; access to medical care; culturally unsafe health care; subjugation of culturally-rooted medicines, and economic and geographic marginalization.

Their website, the videos, as well as a featured podcast can be viewed here:

The videos have been presented to over 200 undergraduate students in medicine and nursing at the University of Manitoba. The students then participated in facilitated dialogue sessions so they could share their thoughts on the videos and discuss ways to integrate Indigenous concepts of mite (heart) knowledge and patients’ experiences with biomedical knowledge and practice.

The project team included co-investigators Dr. Annette Schultz, Principal Investigator, Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Nursing Research; Lorena Fontaine (University of Winnipeg); and project coordinator Lisa Forbes. The research team acknowledges research collaborator Ivan Berkowitz, who enthusiastically introduced Lorena and Annette to each other and encouraged the mite achimowin project even in his final days. The study received funding from the CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Aboriginal People’s Health Institute) and SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) through the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network in partnership with Nanaandawewigamig.