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:
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 - University of Toronto ($100,000)
Study - Elucidation 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.
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
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. 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
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
* Note - thanks to the BC Cancer Foundation's (BCCF) matching program - this study was co-funded