OHRI / uOttawa researcher recognized with CIHR Synapse Mentorship Award

May 27, 2009

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) proudly recognizes the efforts Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden, and three other science mentors, who are helping to create the next generation of Canadian health researchers and scientists.

Through its Synapse – Youth Connection initiative, Dr. Vanderhyden, a cancer researcher from Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa, receives the award in the Individual Researcher category. This year, in a tie decision, she shares the award with Dr. Bruce Elliott, from the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at Kingston General Hospital (CCSEO/KGH).

CIHR’s Synapse initiative, in partnership with national science outreach organizations, acts as a meeting place where health researchers/practitioners can provide young Canadian high school students with hands-on training experience in different scientific fields. More than 5,200 CIHR-funded health researchers have already signed up to become CIHR Synapse mentors – a number that increases on a daily basis.

Dr. Vanderhyden has been a champion of science literacy among Canadian youth for two decades. She helped Let’s Talk Science/Parlons Sciences (LTS-PS) expand into a Canadian non-profit science program by opening its second site in Ottawa. For 18 years, she has personally mentored high school and university students in her lab. Three years ago, Dr. Vanderhyden launched Science Travels – La Science Voyage a bilingual outreach program that delivers science workshops to remote and aboriginal communities in northern Ontario. She rewards high school students for their scientific efforts at The Ottawa Evening, an annual Partners in Research event. She also provides public lectures at high schools about cancer and the efforts that researchers have undertaken to treat and cure the disease.

The Individual Researcher prize is worth $5,000 and recognizes the exceptional efforts of a person who acts as health research mentor for Canada’s high school students. The recipient is nominated by someone who understands the nominee’s direct scientific contributions to young people, and is ultimately chosen by the members of the CIHR Youth Outreach Advisory Board.

“We value the work of health researchers who take time to reach out to Canadian youth and pass on their knowledge of science,” says Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. “This mentorship will lead to the creation of another generation of scientific leaders. With these Synapse awards, CIHR is rewarding four mentors for their outstanding efforts to show high school students how science and health research can be beneficial for a person’s overall well-being. I commend their achievements.”

The other recipients include: Michael Vesia (Master’s, Doctoral Student or Postdoctoral Fellow), and the Infectious Disease Research Center (IDRC) of Laval University team (Research Group).

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the University’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OHRI includes more than 1,300 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

For More Information:

Biography of Dr. Vanderhyden

David Coulombe
CIHR Media Specialist
Tel. (Office): 613-941-4563
Tel. (Mobile): 613-808-7526

Jennifer Paterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Tel.: 613-798-5555, ext. 19691