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Barbara (Dee) Ballyk (Anatomy) was won the 2013 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Life Sciences award.

Gopal Bhatnagar (CardSurg) has received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Outstanding work in the community.

Gideon Cohen (CardSurg) has been appointed as Division Head of Cardiac Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre effective March 10, 2013.

Ren-Ke Li (CardSurg) has had his CRC Tier 1 Award renewed.

Fuad Moussa (CardSurg) has assumed the role of Director of Undergraduate Surgical Education at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, starting February 1st. Fuad will use his enthusiasm and vision to ensure students have an outstanding and memorable learning experience on their rotations

Subodh Verma (CardSurg) has been named the recipient of the 2013 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Gold Medal Award in Surgery. This award is given annually to one surgeon in Canada across all surgical disciplines who has demonstrated excellence as an academic surgeon and whose work has made a significant impact and resulted in a paradigm shift. Specifically, Subodh was recognized for spearheading his research team to their recent success at identifying a novel role for the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the realm of cardiology and metabolism.

Subodh has also recently been invited by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation to be its 2013 visiting lecturer for the Anand and Saroj Aggarwal South Asian Heart Health Endowed Lectureship. This invitation recognizes Subodh’s continuous clinical and research efforts to decipher the basis of why the South Asian ethnicity is an independent cardiovascular risk factor and how to appropriately risk stratify South Asian patients.

Subodh is also co-chair of the annual St Michael’s Heart Valve Symposium (established 2013), Toronto Acute Coronary Syndrome Summit (established 2012) and the State of the Heart Symposium (established in 2010).

Carin Wittnich (CardSurg) received the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Life Sciences Award.

Najma Ahmed (GenSurg) received approval of Trauma General Surgery as an area of focused competence (AFCdiploma).

Marcus Burnstein (GenSurg) is the 2011-2012 recipient of the Colin Woolf Award for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing the breadth and depth of his exceptional teaching in the continuing education and professional development sphere.

Sandra de Montbrun (GenSurg) is the recipient of the 2013 SSAT (Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract) Career Development Award for Clinical/Outcomes/ Education Research, for her proposal, “Developing objective structured assessments of technical skill, and establishing technical competence through standard setting”.

Anand Ghanekar (GenSurg) and co-PI John Dick were awarded a 2-year grant from the Cancer Research Society for their project entitled “Identification and Characterization of Tumor-Initiating Cells in Primary Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”

Paul Greig (GenSurg) received the 2013 PGME Award for Teaching Performance, Mentorship and Advocacy, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to teaching medical residents and fellows; and develop, organize and administer training programs; develop innovative approaches to teaching, research and evaluation.

Carol Anne Moulton (General Surgery) received the 2013 PAIRO Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award. The award enables residents to honour clinical teachers whohave excelled in their role.

Allan Okrainec (GenSurg) received a grant from CE Research and Development.

The team “Done in 60 Seconds” (GenSurg), composed of James Jung and Andras Fecso, won the Annual Laparoscopic Skills Competition at the Surgical Skills Centre SC 2013competition.

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Laparoscopic skills competition winning team- from left to right- Andras Fecso, James Jung, Surgical Skills Centre Manager Lisa Satterthwaite, D.H. Gales Director Surgical Skills Centre Oleg Safir

PGY4 residents David Cadotte and Nir Lipsman (NeurSurg) have been awarded the Canadian Neurological Society’s 2013 K.G.McKenzie Prizes in Clinical Neuroscience Research, the most prestigious resident awards in our discipline in Canada. The Prizes were given for David’s work entitled “Visualizing plasticity in the Injured Human Spinal Cord with fMRI” (supervisor: Dr. Michael Fehlings) and for Nir’s work entitled “Phase I trial of deep brain stimulation of the subcallosal cingulum for treatment-refractory anorexia nervosa” (supervisor: Dr. Andres Lozano). Toronto Neurosurgery swept this year’s McKenzie Prize competition and has won 20 of the 33 McKenzie Prizes (60.6%) awarded since 2000.

Michael Fehlings (NeurSurg) is the Lead Investigator on a 3-year grant from the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation entitled, “Time is Spine: Streamlining the pre-hospital transport of patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injury in Ontario”.

Michael was honoured with the Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS) Presidential Medallion for outstanding leadership and contributions to cervical spine research. The presentation took place at the 40th Annual meeting in Chicago after serving his term as President. Michael is the only Canadian surgeon to have served in this role for the CSRS.

The Society of Neurological Surgeons will present Professor Michael Fehlings with the 2013 Winn Award for his work in the field of spinal cord injury and repair. The award is the highest honour for academic neurosurgeons in North America based on research and academic productivity.

Michael also received the 2012 Jonas Salk Award for Scientific Achievements. Given by March of Dimes Canada, this award honours a scientist whose work improves quality of life for people with disabilities or prevents, alleviates or eliminates a physical disability.

Michael Fehlings was also presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Nominated by the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport), Dr. Fehlings was recognized for his exemplary work and research advancements in the field of spinal neurosurgery. As a clinician, researcher and educator, Dr. Fehlings has made considerable impact in several areas related to spinal cord injury and disease, and childhood neurodevelopmental disorders.

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From left to right: The Honourable Steven Fletcher, Dr. Michael Fehlings, his wife Dr. Darcy Fehlings and Prime Minister Stephen Harper attend the award ceremony in the PMO’s office. (Photo: Office of the Prime Minister)

Charles Tator and Michael Fehlings (NeurSurg) were awarded the Reeve-Irvine Research Medal, which honours individuals, who have made highly meritorious scientific contributions in the area of spinal cord repair, and whose research has stood the test of time and scrutiny.

Howard Ginsberg (Co-I), Victor Yang (Co-I) and Michael Kolios (Lead PI) (NeurSurg) were awarded a $1,906,364 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for their project entitled “Laboratory for ultrafast ultrasound and optical methods used to probe cell and tissue structure and function”.

Howard Ginsberg and Richard Cobbold (Co-PIs) were awarded a $50,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence Market Readiness program for the project entitled “PedicProbe: an Ultrasonic Navigation Probe for Spinal Fusion Surgery”.

Mojgan Hodaie (NeurSurg) and collaborators Karen Davis and Paul O’Connor received a 3-year grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada for their project entitled “Neuroimaging correlates of pain in multiple sclerosis”.

Mojgan was also appointed as a member of the Foundation for Education in Neurological Surgery (FIENS) Executive Board.

Spyridon Karadimas (NeurSurg) won the 1st Place Basic Science Paper Award as selected by the Cervical Spine Research Society for his work entitled “The sodium channel/glutamate blocker riluzole is complementary to decompression in a preclinical experimental model of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM): Implications for translational clinical application”.

Abhaya Kulkarni (NeurSurg) was inducted into the Society for Neurological Surgeons.

Andres Lozano (Neursurg) received the 2012 Herbert Olivecrona Award and Medal at a ceremony on December 7 in Stockholm, in recognition of important contributions to the field of functional neurosurgery. Each year since 1976, the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute and the Department of Neurosurgery, Karolinska University Hospital have honoured a neurosurgeon with The Olivecrona Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the neurosurgical field, based on development of surgical techniques, pedagogical skills or scientific contributions.

Nir Lipsman and his colleagues have published 2 outstanding papers this past month. Both are world firsts. In a paper in The Lancet, Nir reports on the first use of deep brain stimulation to treat chronic anorexia nervosa and in Lancet Neurology, he reports the first use of transcranial focused ultrasound as a “non-invasive” means of making focal thalamic lesions to treat tremor.

Mohammed Shamji (NeurSurg) was awarded a 1-year AO Spine North America Young Investigator Research Grant for his project entitled “Pathomechanisms in the Development of Pain Hypersensitivity in Disc Herniation Radiculopathy”.

Charles Tator (lead PI) and Molly Shoichet (co-PI) (NeurSurg) were awarded a 3-year $125,000 grant from the Ontario China Research and Innovation Fund for their project entitled “Human Neural Stem Cell Transplanted by Biomimetic Multiple-Channel Conduit for Spinal Cord Regeneration”

Charles also received a 1-year $75,000 grant from AbbVie for his project entitled “Testing of AbbVie Antibodies in a Clinically Relevant Model of Spinal Cord Injury”.

Michael Tymianski (NeurSurg) is the recipient of the 2012 Paul Morley Mentorship Award from the Canadian Stroke Network in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the next generation of stroke researchers. Michael has successfully trained, motivated and supported both clinical fellows as a neurosurgeon in the Department of Surgery and research trainees at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre. He was presented the award during the Canadian Stroke Network annual general meeting at the 2012 Canadian Stroke Congress in Calgary. He also gave a Ramon J. Hnatyshyn Lecture at the 2012 Canadian Stroke Congress, titled “From molecular mechanisms to multi-center clinical trials: Translation of a PSD95 inhibitor for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke”.

Gelareh Zadeh (NeruSurg) along with co-PI Michael Siu from York University Proteomics received a CCSRI Innovation Grant for $185,000.00 over 2 years for their project titled “Prognostic pathway-centric signatures in glioblastoma multiforme”.

Marku Nousiainen (OrthoSurg) received the 2013 PGME Award for Excellence in Development/Innovation in recognition of his leadership and organization skills, course/curriculum and evaluation tools development and restructuring of teaching/evaluation component

Dimitri Anastakis (PlasSurg) has been appointed as President of the Association for Surgical Education. Other members from the University of Toronto serving on the Board of Directors are Carol Anne Moulton (General Surgery), Chair of the Program Committee, and Lisa Satterthwaite (Surgical Skills Centre), Chair of the Nurses in Surgical Education Committee.

Heather Baltzer (PlasSurg) was a recipient of the Mentor Canada, Johnson and Johnson Medical Companies Prize for Best Clinical Paper Award, 2013 for her work entitled “The Use of MRI to Predict Residual Nipple Fibroglandular Tissue Following Prophylactic Nipple Sparing Mastectomy”. (Authors: Baltzer H, Alonzo O, Metcalfe K, Narod S, Warner E, Yaffe M and Semple J. Supervisor: John Semple).

David M. Fisher (PlasSurg) was inducted into the membership of the American Association of Plastic Surgery at the 92nd Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Siba Haykal (PlasSurg) was awarded the Best Basic Science Award, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto 2013 for “Advances in Tracheal Reconstruction” (Authors: Haykal S, Hofer SOP, Waddell TK; Supervisors: Stefan Hofer and Thomas Waddell)

Olivia Ho (PlasSurg) was a recipient of the Mentor Canada, Johnson and Johnson Medical Companies Prize for Best Clinical Paper Award, 2013 for her work entitled: “Comparing the Use of 3-D Photography and Computed Tomography in Assessing Craniosynostosis”. (Authors: Ho O, Saber N, Stephens D, Clausen A, Forrest C, Phillips J. Supervisor: John Phillips).

Ron Levine (PlasSurg) is the winner of the 2013 Mickle Award. This award recognizes an individual who has provided many years of service to medicine and medical education. In addition, a plaque in his honour will be mounted on the PGME boardroom wall.

Jennica Platt (PlasSurg) recently received a PSI Resident Research Foundation Grant for the Breast Reconstruction Decision Workshop Pilot RCT.

Jennica also received the Best Clinical Paper Award, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto 2013 for her work: “It Matters Where You Live: Regional Variation in Rates of Immediate Breast Reconstruction in Ontario”. Authors: Platt J, Zhong T, Easson AE, Fernandes K, Moineddin R, Baxter N. Supervisors: Dr. Nancy Baxter and Dr.Toni Zhong

Andras Kapus (Scientist, Department of Surgery) received a 2013 NSERC Discovery Grant for his work on cytoskeleton- mitochondrion interactions during cellular stress

Mingyao Lau (Scientist, Department of Surgery) is one of the recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Government of Ontario for recognition of his research and contributions to cardiovascular diseases. His research focuses on mechanisms and molecular therapies for lung injury during and after lung transplantation.

The Surgical Skills Centre team (Surgery) was selected to receive the 2013 ASE Award for Excellence in Innovation for the Toronto Orthopaedic Boot Camp (TOBC) project. This award is given annually to a group of individuals who have demonstrated exemplary performance in surgical education with the intent to recognize novel ideas and/ or methods for improving teaching and learning.

Marcelo Cypel (ThorSurg) received a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Lung Transplantation from Government of Canada from 2012-2017.

Marcelo has also received an Astellas – Multi-Organ Transplant Investigator Initiated Grant for 2013.

Shaf Keshavjee (ThorSurg) has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, the Province’s highest honour, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to the field of lung transplantation. His advances in organ preservation and repair have significantly increased the number of donor lungs used to save lives with lung transplantation. Shaf also received the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, in recognition of his outstanding leadership in CF research and lung transplantation.

Shaf Keshavjee also received funding for his CHRP grant.

Kazuhiro Yasufuku (ThorSurg)’s study on minimally invasive biopsies of mediastinal lymph nodes is on the list of top downloaded papers in the leading Cardiothoracic Journals in the world (Yasufuku K, et al. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 142(6):1393- 1400, 2011).

Neil Fleshner (UrolSurg) and colleagues received a new Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI) Impact Grant for his research on “Randomized double blind trial of metformin in reducing progression among men on expectant management for low risk prostate cancer: the MAST (Metformin Active Surveillance Trial) study.

Magdy Hassouna (UrolSurg) is the PI in a 2 year peerreviewed grant from PSIF “Estimation of Bladder Volume from Sacral Nerve Root recordings’ (Collaborators: J. Zariffe and M. Popovic).

Rajiv Singal (UrolSurg) won the Prostate Cancer Canada’s Mark Dailey Local Hero Award. He is the head of the urology division at Toronto East General Hospital and is conducting clinical research studies.

John Trachtenberg (UrolSurg) has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his work to improve care and raise prostate cancer awareness in Canada.


I am pleased to report to you the results of the most recent CIHR Operating Grants Competition and how well our faculty did. Our faculty members received more than $10 Million in support for grants spanning 3-5 years. Please help me congratulate our many faculty members listed below who were successful at the CIHR grants panels this cycle.

Johane P. Allard, Elena M. Comelli, Gregory B. Gloor, Timothy D. Jackson, Wen-Yi W. Lou, Allan Okrainec. Role of intestinal microbiota in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease pre and post bariatric surgery. 3.5 years; $522,167.

Benjamin A. Alman, Diane Nam. Molecular mechanisms in fracture and wound healing. 5 years; $930,804.

Laurent Briollais, Michelle Cotterchio, Steven Gallinger, Roger C. Green, Jeffrey S. Hoch, John R. McLaughlin, Patrick S. Parfrey. Development, application and evaluation of multistate models for risk estimation and screening interventions in Lynch Syndrome families and familial colorectal cancer type X families. 3 years; $273,334.

Eleftherios P. Diamandis, Andrei P. Drabovich, Keith A. Jarvi. Integrated approach to discover prostate cancer biomarkers in seminal plasma. 3 years; $417,240.

James H. Eubanks, Liang Zhang. The role of histone deacetylase 6 complexes in Rett Syndrome pathophysiology. 3 years; $390,116.

Geoffrey R. Fernie. Phase2: Investigations into usability and safety of scooters in challenging winter environments. 3 years; $362,685.

Boris Hinz. Mechanisms and potential of mesenchymal stromal cell-to-myofibroblast activation in skin dermis regeneration. 5 years; $741,000.

Boris Hinz. Stress regulaton of heart fibrosis through integrin- mediated activation of TGF-beta. 5 years; $646,000.

Sevan Hopyan. The ectodermal basis of early limb bud morphogenesis and malformation. 5 years; $687,100.

Kelly A. Metcalfe, Andrea F. Eisen, Steven A. Narod, Mohammad Reza Akbari, Kathy M. Chun, Tulin Cil, Alexander J. Kiss, David R. McCready, Linda McGillis Hall, Frances C. Wright. Rapid genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. 5 years; $1,221,467.

Cindi M. Morshead, Dale R. Corbett, Molly S. Shoichet. Promoting cognitive recovery using endogenous neural stem cell activation and rehabilitation following stroke. 5 years; $992,394.

Cindi M. Morshead. The isolation and characterization of a novel population of neural stem cells in the adult brain. 5 years; $569,444.

Barry Rubin, Clint Robbins. Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 in Ly6Clo monocytes regulates left ventricular remodeling after myocardial infarction. 4 years; $470,784.

Michael D. Taylor. SNCAIP: A novel oncogene restricted to Group 4 medulloblastoma. 5 years; $847,063.

Cari M. Whyne, Albert J. Yee, Thomas Willett. Implications of pathologic changes to bone material properties on the skeletal stability of the metastatic spine. 5 years; $720,465.

Graham A. Wright, Andrew D. Dueck, Bradley H. Strauss. MR-guided revascularization of occlusive peripheral arterial disease. 5 years; $562,215.

James Rutka

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