Leadership Award for Fellows & Students: Karnig Kazazian

PhD candidate Karnig Kazazian recognized for his research in the area of neural recovery

Karnig Kazazian is the 2022 recipient of the Lawson Leadership Award for Fellows and Students.

Kazazian is a PhD candidate in Neurosciences at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and is currently training with Dr. Teneille Gofton, a Neurologist at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and Associate Scientist at Lawson. Kazazian and Dr. Gofton are researching neurological outcomes and measurements of neural recovery in critically ill patients with brain injuries in collaboration with Dr. Adrian Owen, Lawson Scientist and Professor at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

“When I started my Master’s and I was exposed to patients with severe brain injuries in the ICU, I realized there was no way to predict if someone would wake up from being in a coma,” says Kazazian. “I wanted to change that.”

Kazazian is currently working on a study that aims to measure and map the brain activity of patients in a coma within the ICU at LHSC’s University Hospital. 

“We have two goals; One is examining if the brain responds to different types of stimuli to see if that can help us predict if someone is going to wake up and go on to have a positive neurological recovery,” explains Kazazian. “The second goal is to detect and diagnose conscious awareness by using bedside imaging techniques.”

The research team is using an optical imaging device called functional near-infrared spectroscopy and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure blood flow in the brain in response to different kinds of stimuli to see if they can predict outcomes in unresponsive patients.

Karnig Kazazian
Karnig Kazazian, Leadership Award for Fellows & Students winner

Dr. Gofton, who is also an Associate Professor in Neurology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, nominated Kazazian for this award because of his passion to improve patient care through research.

“Karnig has a passion for all things associated with research.  He likes to think outside the box to see how different project and research can align to enhance outcomes,” says Dr. Gofton.

Dr. Gofton says he is also a great student leader when it comes to mentoring other trainees and showing them how amazing and fulfilling research can be.

“It means a lot to me to be recognized with an award like this,” says Kazazian. “It validates all the work we are doing and shows that other people think the research we have embarked in is important as well.”

The Lawson Impact Awards celebrates hospital-based research that makes a difference by advancing scientific knowledge and applying it directly to patient care. With Awards in eight categories, the annual event honours Lawson scientists, staff, trainees and partners who demonstrate excellence.

Congratulations Karnig Kazazian, and to all our 2022 Lawson Impact Award winners.

Karnig Kazazian & Dr. David Hill
Karnig Kazazian & Dr. David Hill, Lawson's Scientific Director