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2020 Student Research Competition results

Thank you to all of our teams who applied to The Pam and Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition Awards, and congratulations to our winning teams from Quebec and Ontario.

Last year, five teams took part in our Undergraduate Student Research Competition, with promising young researchers from Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec vying for top spot.


First Place: Laval University

2020 Undergraduate Student Research Competition winnersThe winning team of this year’s competition is Dominic Bélanger, Sabrina Juhasz, Maxime Kusik, and Naomie Linteau of Laval University in Quebec City.

Their presentation, “Specific Delivery of Notch Inhibitor Delta-like Ligand Protein 3 Combined with Radiotherapy Impedes Tumor Development in H3K27M Positive Diffuse Midline Glioma”, earned the quartet first place and $1,000.


Second Place – Western University

Undergraduate Student Research Competition second placeThe team of Peter Liu and Chelsey Zhao were one of two teams from Western University in London, Ontario to place in the top three. Their research presentation, “Potential antisense oligonucleotide inhibitor treatment for midline diffuse glioma”, earned them second prize and $750.


Third Place – Western University

Undergraduate Student Research Competition third placeShreya Gandhi and Maisha Fahmida of Western University rounded out the top three at this year’s Undergraduate Student Research Competition. Their presenation, “K-M Enhancer Region Deletion for Regulation of Temozolomide Sensitivity and Impaired Cell Proliferation in Diffuse Midline Glioma”, earned the duo third place and $500.


The competition was open to teams of 2-4 students, whose proposals were assessed via a two-step mechanism by the judging committee. This competition provides students an opportunity to create a research proposal, practice presentation skills and receive constructive feedback from a panel that will include physicians and researchers.


Thank you to our 2020 runners-up

University of Manitoba
“Inter-rater agreement in the diagnosis of glioblastoma pseudoprogression”

Anmol Mann
Joseph Asaminew
Paul Gocik

“Efficacy of using convection-enhanced delivery of temozolomide in the presence of MGMT inhibition in diffuse midline glioma (H3 K27M-mutated)”

Jasmine Parmar
Abhiraj Minhas
Lalindu Gunasekera
Murtaza Shallwani


2019 Student Research Presentations

#1 – $1,000: Targeting Aquaporin 1 & 4 to Prevent the Migration & Invasion of Infratentorial Ependymoma After Surgical Resection

Team members: Rahul Suresh and David Kalaydjian – McGill University

The injection of the AQP1 & AQP4 inhibitor, AqB013, post-surgical resection will prevent the recurrence and metastasis of the infratentorial ependymoma.


#2 – $750: Use of Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles in the Targeting and Treatment of Ependymoma Tumours

Team members: Renee Goodman and Aleena Malik – University of Windsor

CNP’s will allow for better imaging, and increased precision of electrotherapeutic treatments in ependymoma tumours, alleviating the need for high risk, invasive treatments in sensitive regions of the body such as the brain.


#3 – $500: The use of WP1066 in the suppression of the p-STAT3 gene in Ependymomas

Team members: Devon Malhotra and Paresh Sharma – McMaster University

It is hypothesized that complete tumour resection followed by treatment with the WP1066 molecule results in lower mRNA expression levels of the p-STAT3 gene, and results in greater cell viability than complete tumour resection followed by chemotherapy treatments.



2018 Student Research Award Winners


#1 – $1,000: Novel Laser-Quantum Dot Imaging-Therapy for Diffuse Astrocytoma

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

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.
Please read this article in the Western Gazette about their achievement.


#2 – $750: Dissecting Brain Tumour Initiating Cell Properties in Diffuse Astrocytoma

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

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.
Please read this article in the University of Windsor Daily News about their achievement.


#3 – $500: Intranasal Administration of Telomerase Inhibitor GRN163 as Adjuvant Therapy to Post-Surgical Resection in Diffuse Astrocytomas

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

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.


#3 – $500: Team 1: Novel Agents Targeting Diffuse Astrocytoma

Team Members: Sabra Salim and Nikoo Aghaei- McMaster University

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.


2017 Student Research Award Winners
#1: McMaster – Team Adile – $1,000 – “Novel agents targeting therapy-resistant GBM stem cells”

Team members: Ashley Adile and Sabra Salim

We hypothesize that each cell within the tumour has variable proliferative, self-renewal, and differentiation ability, in which BTICs hold the greatest capacity to reform tumours. Characterization of novel therapeutic agents, including Bmi1 inhibitors, in combination with current therapy to target BTICs may not only elucidate signaling pathways vital for tumour progression and recurrence in GBM, but also drive innovative treatment options for these terminally ill patients.



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

Team members: Nensi Alivodej, Seong Yeol (Christopher) An, Gee Hung Leo Cheong

We believe that a siRNA-conjugated nanoparticle delivery system will improve the progression-free survival (PFS) of a patient by a significant amount. The efficiency of GBM treatments will be improved due to the specificity and non-invasiveness of the technique.



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

Team members: Thomas Ragonetti and Fatimah Roble

We​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​we​ ​will​ ​identify​ ​one​ ​or​ ​more​ ​palliative​ ​care​ ​communication​ ​strategies​ ​with​ ​significantly​ ​greater positive​ ​patient​ ​and​ ​family​ ​outcome​ ​measures​ ​in​ ​the​ ​short​ ​and​ ​long​ ​term.



To speak to someone about the Student Research Award, please contact:
Susan Ruypers
Research Program Specialist
1-800-265-5106 ext. 240