2016 Lawson Impact Award Recipients
Scientist Career Award
Distinguished in many areas of medicine and nephrology, Dr. William Clark has gained international recognition for his observational studies, randomized clinical trials and treatment of kidney patients. Most recently, he has gained world-wide attention for his work examining the increased risks of initiating dialysis treatment early. Dr. Clark’s career as a clinician-scientist spans over three decades. His work has explored many issues, including the role of platelets in kidney injury resulting from diseases of the immune system such as lupus nephritis or glomerulonephritis. He also studied the application of plasma (blood) exchange and dialysis to improve the treatment and health of people suffering from kidney injury. In addition to his clinical and research successes, Dr. Clark was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his charitable work, which notably includes initiating and managing two major fundraisers as well as being Honorary Cabinet Member (Ontario) of The Kidney Foundation’s New Challenge Campaign.
Dr. Steve Lownie is a neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist, with a primary interest in vascular diseases of the brain. He is honoured for his recent publication titled, “Catheter Based Selective Hypothermia Reduces Stroke Volume During Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Swine,” published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery. Hypothermia has been studied and applied for many years as a way to prevent tissue damage after ischemic insults to the brain or other organs. With current treatments, doctors have about 2-3 hours after a stroke begins to administer the drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, which breaks up the blood clots that cause a stroke. Timely treatment is crucial; for every hour lost in stroke treatment, the brain loses neurons equivalent to more than three years of normal aging. Dr. Lownie and his team have developed a dual lumen catheter which provides a safe way to selectively cool a brain hemisphere, instead of the entire brain. Selective brain cooling may increase the number of people who can benefit from these newer stroke treatments by protecting the brain for a few more extra precious hours. With cooling, doctors could potentially increase the treatment window to five or six hours, resulting in better patient outcomes for hundreds of stroke patients.
Dr. Joseph Gilbert Research Contribution of the Year Award
Dr. Fred Dick is senior author of the award winning publication “Haploinsufficiency of an RB-E2F1-Condensin II Complex Leads to Aberrant Replication and Aneuploidy” published in the July issue of Cancer Discovery. A leading cancer research, Dr. Dick is recognized for his expertise in retinoblastoma (RB) protein. The Cancer Discovery publication makes important contributions to the understanding of the involvement of the retinoblastoma gene product in prevention of genomic instability. Given the prevalence of mutations that impact the function of the retinoblastoma gene product in many cancers, the finding has broad implications – both for understanding the underlying basis of cancer and for instructing cancer treatment.
Kaitlin Al and Samantha Whiteside are graduate students working in Jeremy Burton’s laboratory. In addition to their research work, Kaitlin and Samantha are the organizers of Talks on Fridays (TOFS), a weekly seminar series for students, as well as Executive Members of the Lawson Association of Fellows and Students (LAFS). Their contributions to these two important student programs have had a profound impact, resulting in improved attendance and camaraderie among students, staff and researchers.
Swati Mehta is a research assistant in the CORRE rehabilitation research group at Lawson. Throughout her time at Lawson, Swati has demonstrated great vision and leadership qualities, mentoring numerous students. Swati’s CV is an impressive tour de force, listing over 30 first or second author publications, nine invited lectures and authored 32 international, 18 national and 48 provincial poster presentations. She has won numerous awards including the Canadian Institute’s for Health Research Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Doctoral Graduate Scholarship in both 2014 and 2015.
Staff Award of Excellence
Richard McClelland is Operations Lead of the Cancer Clinical Research Unit. During his short time in this role Richard has achieved a number of significant successes, transforming the function and attitude of the unit. Richard is highly respected by all staff and under his leadership, productivity and morale has increased. He continually exceeds expectations and is a key leader in Lawson’s cancer research enterprise.
Industry Partner of the Year Award
Merz Pharma Canada Ltd. is a specialty healthcare company that develops and commercializes innovative, high-quality treatment solutions in aesthetics, skin care and neurosciences. They have partnered with Dr. Mandar Jog, Director, Movement Disorders Program, LHSC, to provide incobotulinum toxin for injections into patients suffering from essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Used in conjunction with the kinematic laboratory based software developed by Dr. Jog’s team, Merz Pharma Canada’s involvement has facilitated commercial development of the software and the formation of a start-up company, Movement Disorders Diagnostic Technologies (MDDT Inc.). Furthermore, phase 2 clinical trials of this intervention are underway and the research team is preparing for phase 3 trials, none of which would be possible without the ongoing support of Merz Pharma Canada Ltd.
Community Partner of the Year Award
Mike Schlater, CEO of Domino’s Pizza Canada, has made a career of supporting Canadians. He has supported charitable causes in healthcare and research, education, and Canada’s vulnerable populations. Here in London, his donation to the Pediatric Neurology Division at Children’s Hospital has been a game changer for the neuroscience program. His donation has allowed the development of pediatric neuromuscular and epilepsy care into a comprehensive clinical and research program that addresses priority needs, supports funding gaps, and has leveraged additional gifts in support of children’s health. As a direct result, many children in our region and beyond will benefit greatly through better care, better access to care and better scientific knowledge through research.