Innovative Research Fund Recipients


We committed to changing the face of research through our Innovative Research Seed Grant Program. We hope our collective efforts will impact the outcome of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and help improve overall patient survival.

At the present time, private funding still remains the only hope for a cure and this means our call to action is stronger than ever. By spurring creative and cutting edge ideas, the Research Innovation Fund tackles the underfunding in pancreatic cancer research.

2014 Innovative Research Grant Recipients

We're committed to attracting new talent and supporting research leaders within the field in hopes of building a critical mass studying this disease.

Below are the recipients of our inaugural competition:

Sachdev Sidhu 

 Dr. Sachdev Sidhu - University of Toronto  ($100,000)

Study - Development and characterization of synthetic antibodies against pancreatic cancer targets

Dr. Sidhu was recruited to the University of Toronto in 2008 after spending ten years as a Principal Investigator at Genentech, Inc., where he led the development of phage-displayed synthetic antibody libraries that have since proven to be a rich source of valuable reagents for basic research and potential therapeutics. Dr. Sidhu’s interests lie in the relationships between protein structure and function, and he is an expert in phage display technology and structure-based and combinatorial protein engineering. His research has been instrumental in establishing greatly improved technologies for therapeutic antibody development using high throughput screening and structure-guided phage library construction. In 2010, Dr. Sidhu led the creation of the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC), an integrated laboratory with a state-of-the­art, high throughput antibody platform that can be applied to the generation of therapeutic-grade antibodies against virtually any protein. The TRAC has enabled the generation of thousands of antibodies with desired characteristics of affinity and specificity. In 2014, Dr. Sidhu’s expertise and innovation in the therapeutic antibody and protein engineering fields was acknowledged with an award from the Canadian Government to open the Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB), as part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Dr. Sidhu was also granted the University of Toronto’s Inventor of the Year Award in 2012. 

Igor Stagljar

Igor Stagljar - University of Toronto ($100,000)

StudyElucidation of aberrant K-RAS signaling pathways in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) using MaMTH, a novel proteomics technology 

Igor Stagilar is a Croatian-born Canadian scientist who currently works as a Professor of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at Donnelly Centre at the Medical School of the University of Toronto.

Amongst his most significant scientific achievements to date is the development of two proteomics technologies called MYTH (Membrane Yeast Two-Hybrid) and MaMTH (Mammalian Membrane Two-Hybrid). This has led to many groundbreaking discoveries and the elucidation of functions of various membrane proteins involved in human health and disease. His current work focuses on mapping of protein interactions and molecular networks of numerous proteins of therapeutic importance as well as understanding the mechanisms of drugs relevant for various types of cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Janel Kopp
Dr. Janel Kopp - University of British Columbia (($100,000)

Study Cellular Origins of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Dr. Janel Kopp is a newly recruited Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She is also an affiliate member of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and a team member of the Pancreas Centre BC. Dr. Kopp’s laboratory research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of pancreatic cancer.

Ralph Da Costa

Ralph DaCosta - Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair in Cancer Imaging ($100,000)

Study - Synchronous radiotherapy enhancement of pancreatic cancer with xray induced photodynamic therapy and oxygen generating nanoparticles 

Dr Renouf

Dr. Daniel Renouf - BC Cancer Agency ($100,000 - $50,000 PCC and $50,000 BCCF*)

Study The effects of neoadjuvant metformin on  tumour cell proliferation and tumour progression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 

Daniel Renouf is a medical oncologist at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver Centre, and an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, Department of Medicine. 

He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Alberta and completed his internal medicine and medical oncology training at the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Cancer Agency.  He undertook further training in early drug development and gastrointestinal oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital and the University of Toronto, and obtained a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. 

Daniel’s research interests include developmental therapeutics, genomics, and biomarker development within gastrointestinal cancers, with a focus on pancreatic cancer.  He is the leader of the BC Cancer Agency Phase I program, and is the Co-Director of Pancreas Centre BC.  

* Note - thanks to the BC Cancer Foundation's (BCCF) matching program - this study was co-funded


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