The Pam and Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition Awards

Pam and Rolando Del MaestroIn 2017, The Pam And Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition Awards were established to promote scientific innovation among Canadian undergraduate students.

35 years ago, Pam and Rolando Del Maestro co-founded Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and over the years have fostered students in the field of brain tumour research by providing them with varied opportunities to present their ideas and engage with physicians and researchers in the field of neuro-oncology and neuroscience.

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada thanks our co-founders Pam and Rolando Del Maestro for establishing this visionary opportunity. 

2018 Student Research Awards

Eight teams competed in London, of which the top 4 presentators are invited to the Brain Tumour National Conference in Toronto in October to vie for the winning prize. 

Congratulations to the top four teams that will be presenting at our National Conference. Attached is the Letter Of Intent which they submitted for the original competition where eight teams competed.

Team 1: Novel Agents Targeting Diffuse Astrocytoma

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that cells harboring IDH1-mt status have increased tumorigenic, proliferative, self renewal and malignant transformation capacity. When used in combination with current treatment options, IDH1 inhibitors may provide a novel therapeutic modality and drive preventative treatment options for high-grade glioma transition for patients with diffuse astrocytoma. Furthermore, we hypothesize that induction of a high-grade phenotype may elucidate novel cell signalling pathways and subsequent targeting of markers in malignant transformation.

Team Members: Sabra Salim and Nikoo Aghaei- McMaster University


Team 2: Dissecting Brain Tumour Initiating Cell Properties in Diffuse Astrocytoma

Hypothesis: Targeting the unique differences in IDH1/2 wild-type BTICs will present novel therapeutic targets both for advanced glioma (including glioblastoma multiforme) and in preventing the progression of early-stage diffuse astrocytoma.

Team Members: Fatima Nadeem, Alexander Rodzinka, Jake Frank- University of Windsor


Team 3: Intranasal Administration of Telomerase Inhibitor GRN163 as Adjuvant Therapy to Post-Surgical Resection in Diffuse Astrocytomas

Hypothesis: The administration of GRN163 by intranasal passageway would be an effective adjuvant treatment following surgical resection of a diffuse astrocytoma due to its ability to inhibit tumour growth, thus eventually increasing the progression-free survival and overall survival rate of diffuse astrocytoma patients. 

Team Members: Mariya Yordanova, Samantha Jacobson- McGill University, Amanda Walsh- Concordia University, Myriam Boucher-Pinard- Dawson College


Team 4: Novel Laser-Quantum Dot Imaging-Therapy for Diffuse Astrocytoma 

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that the tumour-specific accumulation of CDs will allow higher contrast imaging than traditional techniques. After MRI detection of the tumour, infrared lasers will be used for non-ionizing and site-specific drug release giving spatial and temporal control over drug delivery, providing a cheap and accurate method of treatment. The selected drugs will be able to induce cancer cell apoptosis, thus minimizing damage to non-cancerous regions of the brain.


Team Members: Deejesh Subramanian- Western University, Syed Mohammad Raza- University of Toronto


Please learn more about the qualification process and associated deadlines as outlined in this document.

From the winners of the 2017 competition:

“As an individual passionate about brain tumours, this Student Research Competition allowed me to network with like-minded students and gain a broader perspective on the multitude of novel strategies that can be employed to tackle this devastating disease. Having come first place in the competition, we were given the opportunity to present at the Join the Movement to End Brain Tumours National Conference, where we interacted with children and adults suffering or affected by brain tumours; ultimately propelling motivation and giving our work meaning. 

I encourage students interested in brain cancer research to attend and compete in this worthwhile learning opportunity!"

2017 Student Research Awards

The Pam And Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition Awards were an integral part of the Research Symposium at the Brain Tumour National Conference in October 2017. 

Congratulations to the winners!

#1: McMaster - Team Adile - $1,000 - “Novel agents targeting therapy-resistant GBM stem cells”

McMaster - Team Adile - $1,000 winning team!

#2: McGill - Team An - $750 - “The combination of nanoparticles and RNAi technology to combat glioblastoma with patient specificity”

McGill - Team An - $750 team.

#3: Waterloo/Laurier - Team Roble - $500 - “Palliative Care Communication Strategies to Improve outcomes for Glioblastoma patients and their families”

Waterloo/Laurier - Team Roble - $500 team

Thanks also to the runners up:

Targeting glioma stem cell microenvironment improves anti-angiogenic treatment outcomes in Glioblastoma Multiforme patients

Presented by: McGill - Team Lou
Presented on: Friday, October 20, 2017 

The value of molecular assessment of glioblastoma multiforme...

Presented by: McGill - Team Ocay
Presented on: Friday, October 20, 2017


Investigating a Novel Immunotherapy Target CD163 in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Presented by: Queens University - Team Lauzon
Presented on: Friday, October 20, 2017

Queen's Students Advancing Brain Cancer Research

Presented by: Queens University - Team Teutenberg
Presented on: Friday, October 20, 2017 

Assessing a VR Training Curriculum for Surgical Skills Towards Safer Neurosurgery 

Presented by: Vanier - Team Khan
Presented on: Friday, October 20, 2017 


Please note: Undergraduate students wishing to compete in this competition were encouraged to apply from anywhere in Canada. If selected to compete and not able to attend in person, teams were streamed in.

To speak to someone about the Student Research Award, please contact:

Susan Ruypers
Research Program Specialist
1-800-265-5106 ext. 240 


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