News at Medicine - July 2012 - Heart and Stroke Foundation Scholarship for grad student

Heart and Stroke Foundation Scholarship for grad student
July 4, 2012
The 2012 Keith Griffiths Memorial Heart and Stroke Foundation Graduate Scholarship was awarded June 29 to Brian Roome, a graduate student in the Faculty of Medicine.

The presentation was made by brothers Tony, Dave and Chris Griffiths, sons of the late Keith Griffiths, with Steve Keats, interim chief executive office of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. The event was hosted by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Medicine.

The scholarship is now valued at $1,500, an increase of $500 over last year. It is made possible through the generous contributions of members of the family of the late Keith Giffiths, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

After suffering his first stroke in 1993, Keith Griffiths made a remarkable recovery with the help of family, physicians, nurses and rehabilitation specialists in St. John’s He dedicated the next 14 years of his life to promoting greater awareness of stroke, supporting stroke survivors and encouraging healthier lifestyles.

Mr. Roome is a master’s student in the Division of BioMedical Sciences, supervised by Dr. Jackie Vanderluit.  His project involved developing a model of reproducible focal ischemic injury in the mouse brain, which includes behavioural tests which measure functional deficits. This is relevant to stroke research because an injury modal is required for neural regeneration experiments using neural stem cells. Since neural stem cells have the ability to regenerate lost neural tissue in the event of ischemic stroke, testing the effect of pro-survival proteins on the survival of these steam cells is a logical progression.

Mr. Roome presented his research findings at the centre for Stroke Recovery annual general meeting in Ottawa in May 2012. He will also be presenting a poster at the Canadian Stroke Congress 2012 in Calgary, taking place in October.

In addition to his master’s project, Mr. Roome co-organized the Brain Storm 2012 competition, affiliated to the Brain Bee. High school students from across the province competed for a trip to the national competition.
“By engaging future students and cultivating their interest in neuroscience, specifically neural regenerative therapies, I hope to help recruit new student to a career in stroke research,” he said.

From left:  Dave Griffiths, Tony Griffiths, Brian Roome, Chris Griffiths and Dr. Don McKay, a member of the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.