Biographies of CIHR Gold Leaf Prize winners
CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact
British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
Since 1992, the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS has been providing care and treatment for those living with HIV. Its influence stretches from the molecule to the community, from work on clinical trials of HIV drugs to educating health care professionals throughout the province to promoting evidence-based policy to help protect people from contracting the virus.
Undertaking, monitoring and sharing the latest research and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS is another way the Centre is a key resource for the 13,000 British Columbians who are living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS continues to be a major challenge confronting the health care system. In B.C. alone, 350 people are newly infected with HIV every year, while more than 75,000 Canadians currently live with the virus.
The Centre’s impact isn’t limited to the province, however. Researchers affiliated with the Centre were at the forefront of establishing Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy as the international standard of care, and to date, the Centre’s clinical and research staff have published more than 450 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
The prize will be accepted on behalf of the Centre by its director, Dr. Julio Montaner, past President of the International AIDS Society.
The CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact is awarded to an individual or team for health research with a proven impact on health outcomes, practices, policies, and/or on the health system.
CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Discovery
Dr. John Dick
Dr. John Dick is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University Health Network; a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto; the Director of the Program in Cancer Stem Cells at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; and the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology.
Dr. Dick’s research is focused on seeing inside the “black box” of leukemia, with the goal of better understanding how molecular pathways differ in the blood systems of healthy people and those with the disease. Armed with this knowledge, he hopes to develop treatments to disrupt the molecular process that leads to leukemia and ultimately prevent it from occurring.
Dr. Dick is well known for his pioneering work on cancer stem cells, which marked a major shift in cancer research. His cancer stem cell hypothesis gave rise to the idea that certain cancer cells could persist in the body after radiation and chemotherapy, causing new tumours to grow and leading to the spread of the disease. His research holds the promise for improved treatments and quality of life for the two in five Canadians who will develop cancer in their lifetimes.
This prize is awarded to an individual or team whose research findings are unique, inspirational and break new ground, significantly influencing knowledge in their field.
CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator
Dr. Gregory Steinberg
Dr. Gregory Steinberg is a Professor in the departments of Medicine and Biochemistry at McMaster University, a Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Obesity, the J. Bruce Duncan Chair in Metabolic Diseases and the Co-Director of the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster.
Dr. Steinberg’s research is focused on understanding the molecular pathways controlling the metabolism of fat and sugars and how hormones such as insulin and serotonin regulate these effects. His translational research program has also revealed novel mechanisms by which exercise and commonly used medications improve health. His ultimate goals is to develop new preventative strategies and treatments for the interrelated metabolic diseases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Dr. Steinberg’s work has great relevance for Canada, where 6 million people are obese and over 10 million people have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
CIHR is committed to helping develop the next generation of great scientific minds. This prize is awarded to an investigator at the beginning of their career who shows great potential and is expected to continue to produce research of exceptional merit.
CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement
Dr. Charlotte Loppie
Dr. Charlotte Loppie is a Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria, and the Director of the university’s Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement. The Centre provides a supportive environment for students, researchers and communities to engage respectfully in research activities aimed at addressing the health disparities experienced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.
Dr. Loppie’s guiding principle is to be of service to the Indigenous communities who will benefit from her research. To that end, she has made it her life’s work to bring Indigenous peoples into research projects that touch their lives. Her goal is to empower communities, build research capacity and tackle the health disparities faced by Indigenous peoples.
She partners with First Nation communities, regional and national Indigenous organizations, health charities and government bodies on a range of projects.
Her research interests include Indigenous health inequities, Indigenous HIV/AIDS, barriers to accessing the social determinants of health, racism and cultural safety, cancer among Indigenous peoples, research capacity-building and the sexual and reproductive health of Indigenous women, among others.
This prize is awarded for transformative leadership in patient engagement. CIHR believes strongly in the importance of making patient engagement part of the research process. This prize is awarded to an individual or team that collaborates with patients, advances patient engagement as a priority and focuses on outcomes that are important to patients.
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