U of M Rady grads to meet with Nobel laureates
Two outstanding medical researchers who earned doctorates at the University of Manitoba have been selected to network with Nobel laureates at a prestigious scientific conference.
Dr. Rushita Bagchi and Dr. Forough Khadem are among 600 scientists under the age of 35 chosen to participate in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany from June 24 to 29.
This year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is dedicated to physiology and medicine. Participants, who must be exceptional students, doctoral candidates or post-doctoral researchers, are nominated by academic partners of the Lindau organization.
Bagchi and Khadem are the first scientists from U of M to be nominated by the U of M-based Canadian Student Health Research Forum (CSHRF). They earned their nominations by winning the Canadian Institutes of Health Research national research poster competition at the CSHRF.
Bagchi won in 2014 and Khadem in 2016. They had to wait until this year to attend the Lindau Meeting because the conference doesn’t always have a medical theme.
The 600 Lindau participants represent 84 countries and are 50 per cent female. They will attend scientific sessions and exchange ideas with 42 Nobel laureates.
“Congratulations to Dr. Bagchi and Dr. Khadem for this significant honour,” said Dr. Brian Postl, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and vice-provost (health sciences). “They have brought credit to the U of M with their research excellence and show remarkable promise for future contributions to medical science.”
Bagchi completed her PhD in physiology and pathophysiology in 2016 at the Max Rady College of Medicine in the U of M’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. She received the E.L. Drewry Memorial Award, the highest research award given to a senior doctoral student at the college, as well as the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation Award for excellence in research in cardiovascular biology.
She is now conducting research as a postdoctoral fellow in cardiology at the University of Colorado.
“I’m enthusiastic to learn about what inspires Nobel laureates – challenges they have faced, their attitude towards life and their approach to science,” Bagchi said. “I’m also looking forward to engaging interactions with brilliant trainees from all over the world, and hopefully setting the foundation for future research collaborations.”
Khadem earned her PhD in immunology in 2016 at the Max Rady College of Medicine. Her research contributed to new knowledge of host-pathogen interactions in leishmaniasis, a deadly tropical disease. She identified a novel vaccine/drug candidate against the disease and published her findings in eight peer-reviewed journals.
Khadem is now a business development specialist in Winnipeg at Mitacs and Western Canadian Innovation Offices, where she works to connect academia and industry.
“I’m very honoured and humbled to be selected to connect with Nobel laureates and other young scientists at this prestigious meeting,” she said. “I will cherish the experience forever.”
Both Bagchi and Khadem said they particularly look forward to meeting Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian-American molecular biologist who is a 2009 Nobel laureate for co-discovering the enzyme telomerase.
The two U of M alumni are among five Canadian participants nominated by the CSHRF for this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The other three are from Dalhousie University, Université de Montréal and University of Toronto.
Funding for the young researchers to attend is provided by the CSHRF.