News at Medicine - April 2018 - Multiple awards for biomedical graduate students

Multiple awards for biomedical graduate students
April 24, 2018
Within the span of two weeks, four prestigious honours with the combined value of approximately $90,000 were awarded to graduate students in the Division of BioMedical Sciences.
The graduate students are all part of Dr. Mani Larijani’s laboratory, where they study DNA/RNA-mutating processes involved in the genesis and progression of cancer, as well as in immune response and evolution of viruses.
David Huebert, a second year PhD candidate, was awarded the best oral presentation at the 20th Annual Aldrich Awards ($500) for his talk “3D Protein Modelling as a Tool for Understanding HIV Viral Mutation Research.” David’s talk was judged to be first out of 134 presentations covering a diverse range of topics, by trainees from across the university. 
Third year PhD candidates Faezeh Borzooee and Mahdi Asgharpour were each awarded two year doctoral Cancer Research Training Program fellowships from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute with funds provided by the Terry Fox Research Institute ($18000/year).  Ms. Borzooee’s award is for research into the role of DNA/RNA-editing enzymes in anti-tumor T Cell-based immune response, and Mr. Asgharpour’s award is for his research into discovering novel anti-tumor roles of DNA/RNA-mutating processes in breast cancer.  
First year M.Sc. candidate Erynn Button was also awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council masters scholarship ($17,500) for research into understanding the relationship between genome mutations and DNA/RNA-editing enzymes.  
“It is tremendously rewarding to see four of my graduate trainees succeed in highly competitive external funding at the same time. It is a well-deserved recognition of their dedication to discovery, and key support for their continued future contributions to cancer research. These are incredibly smart students driving cutting edge projects and we can’t wait to see what important new insights they will bring forth,” commented Dr. Larijani proudly.
Photo (l-r): Faezeh Borzooee, Dr. Mani Larijani, David Huebert, Mahdi Asgharpour with a slide from Mr. Huebert’s award-winning presentation, depicting representative molecular structures of the cancer-causing DNA/RNA-mutating enzymes. Photo by Justin King.