Three VPC trainees receive 2018 VCHRI Rising Star Awards

Date Posted: 
2018-05-29
2018 Rising Star Awardees

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) supports tomorrow’s research leaders with the Top Graduating Doctoral Student Awards and the Rising Star Awards. These awards recognize outstanding contributions by VCHRI research trainees to research excellence, service as role models, and other contributions to the VCH research community.

In the 2018 competition, three VPC trainees received Rising Star Awards. The full list and article is on the VCHRI website; excerpts of VPC awardees are below.

Ninadh D'Costa
Supervisor: Dr. Alan I. So
Area of research: Experimental Medicine

Ninadh is described as a leader in her laboratory. Her colleagues say she is a great nucleus for the research team and has become a valuable resource as the lab’s "go-to person". Notably, she has been highly commended for the sheer volume of her work and productivity at this early stage of her career. Ninadh’s project in metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (mRCC) attempts to decipher the development of resistance after treatment with therapies targeting angiogenesis (sunitinib, first-line therapy for mRCC).

Ninadh believes the ease of collaboration at her research centre is a principal reason for her success: “Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) is the leading research centre for prostate cancer and genitourinary cancers in Canada. It is a state-of-the-art facility with open lab space, which fosters friendly lab discussions and close bonding among colleagues. At VPC, one can easily approach and talk to a professor walking down the lab corridors. This is important as collaborating with other labs is our greatest strength at the centre.”

Gillian Vandekerkhove
Supervisor: Dr. Alexander Wyatt
Area of research: Experimental Medicine

Gillian has been described by her peers and supervisor as a charismatic and hard-working team member. She has demonstrated not only excellent communications skills, but outstanding leadership. Her supervisor notes that most of the recent undergraduate co-op students under her guidance and stewardship have done fantastically well. Gillian is actively involved in coordinating several crucial aspects of projects in her lab. At the Vancouver Prostate Centre, she studies the genomics of advanced genitourinary cancers. Her research utilizes minimally-invasive blood draws, often referred to as liquid biopsies. From these standard blood draws, she is able to profile the circulating tumor DNA present in patients’ bloodstreams enabling clinicians to deliver a more personalized treatment plan to their patients.

Gillian’s advice to trainees is to take advantage of the multidisciplinary environment at VCH: “I am fortunate to work in partnership with research scientists, bioinformaticians, clinicians and pathologists. Trainees should aim to make the most of the expertise and diversity of fields around them.”

Evan Warner
Supervisor: Dr. Alexander Wyatt
Area of research: Genome Science and Technology

Evan has impressed his colleagues through his seamless integration into the laboratory team. He is noted by his peers as being an ambitious scientist and ambassador for the team. He is very well-liked and great for team morale. His research with the Vancouver Prostate Centre has been focused on the genes that repair DNA damage and their role in prostate cancer progression.

Evan finds the most rewarding aspect of health research is the multifaceted, collaborative approach needed to drive meaningful research. He finds himself working with pathologists, clinicians of varying specialties, and researchers with diverse backgrounds. He says, “Health research is a field that demands a focused effort from many different people, and it is extremely gratifying to be a part of that experience.”

A World Class Centre

The Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) has a track record of success that has earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most respected cancer facilities. It is a National Centre of Excellence and a designated Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.

Events

Father's Day Walk Run for Prostate Cancer https://www.thefathersdayrun.ca/

Father's Day Walk Run fundraiser - June 19, 2022

Our Centre has two fundraising teams (Burnaby and virtual) in The 2022 Father's Day Walk Run for Prostate Cancer on June 19, raising funds for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC - more information at the hyperlinks

Employment

Work at the Vancouver Prostate Centre

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Representative regulatory network for a single androgen regulated gene. Using multiple experimental approaches can characterize the complex interplay between different DNA switches to turn genes on. Image taken from VCHRI News original story.
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