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U of M medical researchers awarded funding

November 24, 2014 — 

Three researchers from the College of Medicine have been recognized by the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation (MMSF) for their contributions to improve the health and well-being of Manitobans.

Dr. Julie Ho, an assistant professor in internal medicine — sections of Nephrology and Biomedical Proteomics – received the MMSF Dr. F. W. Du Val Clinical Research Professorship Award. It is valued at $170,000, over a three-year period. The MMSF will contribute $50,000 per year (toward the recipient’s salary).

MMSF award recipient

Dr. Julie Ho

“Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with end-stage kidney disease,” Ho explains in summarizing her proposed research “Developing Renal Allograft Surveillance Strategies: From Implantation to Late Post-Transplant.”

According to Ho, when the transplant fails, patients are forced to go back to dialysis, which is associated with a lower quality of life, higher health care costs and a higher risk of death. Kidney transplant failure commonly results from injury related to different types of inflammation, such as rejection.

“Although there may be treatment options available for different types of inflammation in the transplant, such as increasing anti-rejection medications, they may not work if the inflammation has damaged the kidney transplant too badly,” says Ho.

Her research goal is to develop different urine tests that can diagnose these conditions early in the injury process so that effective treatment can be started before kidney transplant scarring, dysfunction or failure occurs.

She adds: “This could lead to personalized medical care to help keep the kidney transplant working for as long as possible. This research will look at three important types of inflammation that occur throughout the lifespan of a kidney transplant, in order to develop a better program of care for kidney transplant patients.”

College of Medicine Associate Dean (Research), Peter Nickerson [MD/ 86] thinks every Manitoban can potentially benefit from the MMSF’s funding of medical research and learning, “medicine is a field that is constantly evolving; there is always more to learn and new breakthroughs waiting to be discovered.  The College of Medicine recognizes the MMSF’s support and truly values the longstanding partnership.”

Since 1971 the MMSF has contributed over $19 Million to health-related research and education in Manitoba. The awards are operated in partnership with Manitoba Blue Cross.

Dr. Tomislav Jelic, a resident in emergency medicine (PGY-5), is recipient of the 2014 R. Samuel McLaughlin/MMSF Research and Education Fellowship Award in Medicine.

MMSF award winner, 2014

Dr. Tomislav Jelic

This award is co-sponsored by the MMSF and the McLaughlin Foundation with each contributing $25,000. In 2014 the Dean’s Fellowship Fund at the University of Manitoba is also contributing $20,000, valuing this year’s award at $70,000.

This award aims at enhancing the scholarship of the College of Medicine through the training of future clinical faculty members in the areas of research and medical education.

Jelic will complete his training in an advanced Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Fellowship Program through the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department (Toronto). POCUS is a revolutionary way medicine is being practiced. It provides a more rapid diagnosis allowing the correct management to be started in patients who present with undifferentiated shock. POCUS is a new subspecialty of emergency medicine in Canada with only four programs available nationwide.  Training is not available in Manitoba. Upon completion of his fellowship, Jelic plans to bring his newly acquired skills and knowledge back to Manitoba to help train the next generation of emergency medicine physicians.

The recipient of the 11th Annual MMSF / SBRC Richard Hoeschen Memorial Award is College of Medicine Alumnus, Versha Banerji [MD/02].

Banerji, departments of internal medicine and biochemistry & medical genetics, received $4,000 in funding to support the project of B.Sc. (Med) student Rebecca Lang; Banerji is the supervisor on the project entitled “Modulating Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 (GSK-3) in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).” The MMSF and St.-Boniface Hospital Research have each contributed $2,000 towards this award.

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