LMP Celebration of Excellence 2020: award winners

LMP Annual Celebration of Excellence 2020

Our Annual Celebration of Excellence is normally an in-person event where we can get together as a department.

This year we celebrated our graduates and award winners virtually. Read about the event People are what makes LMP: celebrating our excellence.

They are highlighted below, please join us in congratulating them.

Our award categories

  • Undergraduate awards
  • Graduate Awards
  • Postgraduate Awards
  • LMP Departmental Awards
  • Teaching Awards

Promotions

We are delighted to celebrate two promotions to full Professor, and eight to Associate Professor.

Read more about this years' promotions.

Retirements

We celebrate the careers of four Professor emeriti , and two Associate Professor emeritae.

Read more about our retirees.

Undergraduate awards

The Allan Gornall Testimonial Prize

Dr. Allan Gornall is regarded as the founder of clinical chemistry in Canada and was the Chair of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry from 1966 to 1976.

In 1980, Dr. Gornall established an endowment to honour a third-year student with the highest mark in the Specialist Program in Pathobiology.

Michael Kyung Ik Lee

As an undergraduate student, Michael has shown interest both in science and in classics as he completed a specialist in pathobiology, a major in biochemistry, and a minor in Latin. Despite his rigorous and diverse workload, Lee graduated with a perfect GPA of 4.0 across all four years of study.

In addition to his academic achievements, Lee was deeply involved in his community, both on and off campus.

As two-time Co-President of the LMP Student Union, he spearheaded the organization of a successful 2019 conference on forensics and 2020 conference on gut microbiota.

For his outstanding leadership, he was awarded several graduation awards including GLSE Student Leadership Award, Katharine Ball Graduating Award for Course Unions, and the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award.

Third-Year Specialist Pathobiology Award

This award is given to the student in the Arts & Science Pathobiology Specialist Program who completes the two required 3rd year courses with the highest combined, weighted score.

This year we have two recipients who share this award.

Juliette Lee

Juliette is currently in her fourth year in the Pathobiology Specialist Program and is also pursuing a Major in Immunology.

She has been involved in undergraduate research projects throughout her university studies and will continue to do so during a fourth-year project course in Dr. Jeffrey Lee’s lab, with research concerning viral fusion proteins.

She is involved as an executive member of the U of T Naginata Club, promoting cultural, athletic, and artistic activities across the campus to encourage a balance between school and extracurricular life.

She hopes to pursue further studies in pathobiology and microbiology after her undergraduate career.  

Amanda Mao

Amanda is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies and is enrolled under the Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology Specialist and Immunology Minor programs.

During her time in undergrad, she has worked and volunteered in Dr. Susan Done’s lab, involved in research concerning triple-negative breast cancer.

She has been involved in the LMP Student Union mentorship program as both a mentee and mentor.

She has also been working on a novel for the last year and a half and plans to publish it after she graduates.

She hopes to continue her postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto and wishes to pursue a career with a focus in cardiology.   

 

Graduate Awards

The Stuart Alan Hoffman Memorial Prize

This prize is awarded annually to the top LMP MSc or PhD graduate who has demonstrated excellence in research, evidenced by their accepted thesis, published or in-press papers, and contributions to their research field.

Karan (Josh) Abraham

Karan is a member of the University of Toronto’s combined MD-PhD program.

He completed his PhD in Dr. Karim Mekhail’s lab, where he used molecular, genetic, and cell biological approaches to uncover mechanisms that preserve the integrity of the genetic code and sustain the protein synthesis capacity of cells.

Josh’s PhD work includes a first-author paper in Nature and several co-authored papers in high-impact scientific journals.

He is a recipient of prestigious national and university-wide awards including the Canadian Medical Hall of Award, Vanier Scholarship, Ruggles innovation award, and the Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award.

He hopes to one day lead a translational research program that will advance scientific knowledge to better understand and treat human disease.  

The Norman Bethune Award

U of T graduate, Frederick H. Kahan, endowed a prize supported by Merck Sharp & Dome and it was his wish that the prize be named in honour of Dr. Norman Bethune.

The aim of this award is to recognize and encourage young, talented researchers and medical microbiologists on the threshold of their careers.

This award goes to both a top medical microbiology resident and a graduate student in LMP.

Luke Ajay David

Ajay is currently a master’s student in the lab of Dr. Carol Schuurmans at the Sunnybrook Research Institute working on retinal regeneration.

He joined Dr. Schuurmans lab in the second year of his bachelors, where he completed two Co-op work terms, Amgen scholarship and his undergraduate honours thesis.

His academic goal is to one day become an Ophthalmologist – inspired by his mentorship under Dr. William Dixon at Sunnybrook

He also enjoys being the teaching assistant for his favourite undergraduate course, human disease & pathobiology, a fourth-year specialized course taught under the instruction of Dr. Aarthi Ashok at UTSC.

Negin Khosraviani

Negin received her Bachelor’s in 2014 from University of Toronto (Victoria College) and is now a third year PhD candidate in Dr. Karim Mekhail’s lab in the department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology (LMP).

During this time, she has published two peer-reviewed papers and has been a recipient of CIHR Master’s scholarship and the Ontario Graduate scholarship.

In addition to research, Negin is also a teacher assistant for the undergraduate LMP course (LMP408) and an active member of Scadding Court Mentorship Program and the University of Toronto’s chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM). 

 

Postgraduate Awards

The Alan Pollard Post-Doctoral Clinical Chemistry Travel Award

Dr. Alan Pollard was a Biochemist at Mount Sinai Hospital and Professor in LMP. This award honours his clinical contributions to Clinical Chemistry over 28 years.

It is sponsored by Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Sinai Health System and recognizes excellence in performance by a Clinical Biochemistry Postdoctoral Diploma candidate.

Amir Karin (Bablhavaeji)

Amir completed his bachelors in chemistry at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. He then moved to Canada for a PhD in biological chemistry at the University of Toronto.

Under the direction of Professor Andrew Woolley, he developed photo-controllable proteins and enzyme inhibitors.

He then went on to undertake post-doctoral training in clinical chemistry at LMP.

Following graduation, and after a short stint at SickKids Hospital as a Sanford Jackson Fellow, he is now a Clinical Chemist at Vancouver General Hospital. 

The Norman Bethune Award

U of T graduate, Frederick H. Kahan, endowed a prize supported by Merck Sharp & Dome and it was his wish that the prize be named in honour of Dr. Norman Bethune.

The aim of this award is to recognize and encourage young, talented researchers and medical microbiologists on the threshold of their careers.

This award goes to both a top medical microbiology resident and a graduate student in LMP.

Kevin Barker

Kevin is a Fellow of the Canadian College of Microbiologists and undertook his Fellowship in Clinical Microbiology at LMP.

He is now staff Clinical Microbiologist & Clinical Scientist at Trillium Health Partners, and Investigator at the Institute for Better Health.

During his Fellowship he was successful in obtaining the Dr. Donald D. Low Bursary and ESCMID Funded Intercontinental Observership.

Prior to his Fellowship, Kevin read for a PhD at LMP in Infectious Diseases with Dr. Kevin Kain and was awarded the Peterborough K.M.Hunter Graduate Award and McCuaig-Throop Bursary.

Prior to moving to Canada, he trained with the NHS as a Clinical Scientist in Clinical Microbiology in London, England, obtaining HCPC registration and Diplomateship to the Royal College of Pathologists. I

In addition, Kevin has obtained an MSc in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Nottingham and PGCert in Infection & Immunity at University College London.   

Stanley Raphael Award for Professionalism

Named after Dr. Stanley Raphael who practiced pathology in Canada for 40 years and passionately believed in the principle that lab physicians work for the patient alone.

This award honours a senior anatomical pathology resident whose performance most embodies the ideals of professionalism as defined by the CanMEDs roles of the Royal College.

Angela Wang

Angela is currently a 5th year Anatomical Pathology resident in LMP.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Pathobiology from the University of Toronto and then completed her medical training at Western University in Windsor, Ontario.

Angela plans to pursue a fellowship in Gastrointestinal Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. 

The Avrum Gottlieb Award for Curriculum Development and Teaching Excellence in Training

This award is given to a trainee in graduate or postgraduate programs to recognize distinction in curriculum development and teaching.

Susan Armstrong

Susan is currently a 4th year resident in the Anatomical Pathology program.

She received her Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University and her respiratory therapy diploma from the Michener Institute. She then completed medical school at the University of Toronto as part of the MD/PhD program.

She will be pursuing a Fellowship in Bone and Soft Tissue pathology at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Departmental Awards for Faculty

LMP Distinguished Service Award

This award honours faculty and/or administrative staff who have demonstrated the highest level of sustained service to the Department in research, teaching, creative professional activity or administrative service.

The recipient demonstrates innovation and excellence in scholarship and administration, and provides outstanding leadership in advancing the vision and mission of the Department.

Danny Ghazarian

For over 22 years of service in the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, Dr. Ghazarian's impact in patient care, leadership, teaching and research is undeniable.

Through his exceptional work and collaboration with surgical colleagues, he helped establish the melanoma sentinel node biopsy procedure in Canada which has had a huge impact in melanoma prognosis and subsequent management. He demonstrated a strong leadership through his role as chair of melanoma and skin oncology site at Princess Margaret Hospital over the past 13 years.

As a site leader, he has been actively involved in creating and modifying guidelines to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, Dr. Ghazarian is the founder and president of the Canadian Dermatopathology Network where he directs courses at the annual Canadian Association of Pathology meeting, a co-founder of Melanoma Network of Canada advocating for his patients and as the chair of recognition committee at the University Health Network LMP.

As a teacher, Dr. Ghazarian has excelled for many years and has won many awards such as the Wightman-Berris Academy Award in 2002/2003.

His effort in education was recognized by naming the best teacher award in residency program after his name.

He is also the founder and director of the lone dermatopathology fellowship program in Canada where he trained and supervised several fellows from different countries who went on to have national and international impact.

LMP Leadership Acknowledgement Award

This award is given to a faculty member in appreciation for their leadership role and commitment to advancing clinical excellence in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology.

Harry Elsholtz

Dr Harry Elsholtz has dedicated 25 years to LMP so far, and has been intrinsically involved in the running of LMP, particularly in the educational development of the department. He received the LMP Distinguished Service Award in 2016.

He has played a leading role in the graduate programs at LMP. He was the Graduate Coordinator for the master's and PhD program, being also the Chair of the program admissions committee until 2018. He is now the Graduate Coordinator for our new Professional Master of Health Sciences Program.

Dr Elsholtz has taken roles not only within the department, but also at the Faculty level, having served on the Faculty of Medicine Graduate Curriculum Committee among many others. His interest and influence in curriculum design is proven in the number of courses he has helped develop and his roles in departmental curriculum planning.

Richard G. Hegele Award for Excellence in Research and Innovation 

Established by a generous donation from Richard Hegele to LMP when he was promoted to Vice Dean, this award is given in recognition of original research, invention, or creative professional activity that improves understanding of mechanisms of disease or advances clinical practice relevant to the discipline.

Khosrow Adeli

Dr. Adeli is currently the head and full professor of Clinical Biochemistry at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

He is also Vice Chair of Quality in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and a Senior Scientist in the Program in Molecular Medicine at the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children. He is also a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Biochemistry. He currently serves as the President of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) (2020-2023).

Dr. Adeli has been actively involved in both molecular and clinical laboratory research since 1988 and has published over 500 articles and abstracts to date.

His main area of research is focused on understanding the pathophysiology of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Specifically, his laboratory is investigating the neuroendocrine mechanisms regulating intestinal and hepatic lipoprotein overproduction in insulin resistant states and the role of the gut-brain-liver axis in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism.

He is the principal investigator of the CALIPER (Canadian Laboratory Initiative on Pediatric Reference Interval Database) project aimed at the establishment of a laboratory reference interval database for biomarkers of pediatric disease. The CALIPER database is now used in hospitals across Canada and around the world to improve diagnosis and monitoring of children with medical concerns.

Most recently, he is involved in seroprevalence study of COVID-19 in the pediatric population and is investigating COVID-19 serology in both community children as well as pediatric patients in outpatient and inpatient settings.

LMP Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award

Yulia Lin

Dr. Lin is the Division Head of Transfusion Medicine & Tissue Bank at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

She is a member of provincial and national working groups in transfusion medicine including the Chair of the Ontario Transfusion Coordinators Network (ONTraC) Steering Committee and the Physician Lead for Transfusion, Choosing Wisely Canada. Her academic interests include physician education in transfusion medicine, quality improvement in patient blood management, and transfusion safety.

Dr. Lin is this year’s receipt of LMP’s Outstanding Mentor Award for her unfaltering commitment to mentorship. She bravely took on the challenge of mentoring a colleague outside her specialty and took advantage of mentor training opportunities which resulted in a positive and meaningful relationship with her mentee, Rosemarie Tremblay-LeMay. 

Dr. Tremblay-LeMay shared, “Dr. Lin is a credit to LMP’s mentorship program and her support has been unwavering over the past two years. I believe she went above and beyond what is expected of mentors and has demonstrated outstanding humane qualities.” Dr. Lin guided her in defining her academic career path, preparing for her review and understanding the promotion process. 

According to Dr. Lin, she has also learned from Dr. Tremblay-LeMay exhibiting the qualities of an effective reverse mentoring relationship.

Teaching Awards

Award for Undergraduate Teaching

Karim Mekhail

Dr. Karim Mekhail is an internationally renowned leader in the field of spatial genome organization.

Using yeast, mouse and human genetic models, he corrected long-standing models of human gene expression and discovered the first molecular DNA ambulance. He also employed algorithms from aerospace sciences to decipher genetic processes impacting human health.

In light of his research, he identified a major gap in the undergraduate curriculum as students were not taught how to use powerful genetic models such as organoids, mice, flies, and yeast in order to boost research focusing on human health. So he designed, coordinated and taught the 4th year course LMP408.

Dr. Mekhail consistently receives excellent student evaluations, with students commenting on how he instills in them a passion for the subject.

Award for Graduate and Postgraduate Education 

Larissa Matukas

Dr. Matukas is Head of the Division of Microbiology at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto.

Her scholarly teaching activities include post graduate and undergraduate medical education, other health disciplines and faculty development.

Her research and publications focuses on antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, and laboratory quality improvement and utilization which have informed local, national and international guidelines. 

Christopher Sherman

Dr. Christopher Sherman received his MD from the University of Manitoba and completed his specialty training in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in pediatric pathology at the Hospital for Sick Children.

He is a staff pathologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he focuses on perinatal, placental and genitourinary pathology. 

Dr. Sherman has been actively involved in teaching of both pathology residents and pathologists' assistants as a seminar group tutor in the Pathobiology of Disease course. He is a lecturer in the Postgraduate Seminars series and the MSc Program in Genetic Counselling, an invited speaker at Pathology Update, coordinator of the Pathology for Dentistry course, and member of the planning committee for 'Saturday in Pathology'. 

Recently he was named Sunnybrook site coordinator for the new MHSc in Laboratory Medicine program for pathologists' assistants.

Danny Ghazarian Resident Teaching Award

This award is voted for by our current residents.

In 1996, Professor Danny Ghazarian was a trainee in the University of Toronto’s Anatomical Pathology Training Program as was the representative on the residents training committee.

Struck by the dedicated enthusiastic teaching delivered by staff, and wanting to acknowledge this in a formal manner, he decided to honour the best teachers every year with a teaching award. The first recipient of the award was Professor Dean Chamberlain. The award persisted as the “Best Teacher’ award util 2004 and thereafter was entitled the Danny Ghazarian Resident Teaching Award.

Elzbieta Slodkowska

Dr. Elzbieta Slodkowska received her Medical Degree from Medical University of Gdansk in Poland. She completed her residency training in pathology at the Albany Medical College in Albany NY, followed by oncologic pathology and breast pathology fellowships at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

She has specialist certificate from the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada and is a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology.

She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto and a staff pathologist and medical director of Immunohistochemistry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Dr. Slodkowska's clinical and academic interests include breast pathology, immunohistochemistry and quality assurance. She has served as a Canadian representative on the ICCR Dataset Authorizing Committee for invasive breast cancer.

Early Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Medical Education (UME)

Lusia Sepiashvili

Dr. Sepiashvili is a Clinical Biochemist at the Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto.

She is involved in teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels, including the clinical biochemistry post-doctoral fellowship program at the University of Toronto.

She is involved in numerous inter-disciplinary research projects as a Project Investigator in the SickKids Research Institute.

Dr. Sepiashvili is certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. She is an active member of American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Canadian Society for Clinical Chemistry (CSCC), and the Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists (AMLI). 

Early Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME)

Gulisa Turashvili

Dr. Turashvili has been an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, and gynecologic and breast pathologist and section head of Women`s Health Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital since 2018.

She obtained her MD at Tbilisi State Medical University in Georgia and PhD at Palacky University in Czech Republic, followed by several years of research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

She completed her residency in anatomical pathology at Queen`s University in Kingston, ON, and fellowships in Breast Pathology and Gynecologic Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. 

Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Medical Education

Scott Boerner

Dr. Boerner obtained his MD and Anatomical Pathology training at the University of Toronto followed by a fellowship in Cytopathology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

Currently he is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and staff pathologist at the University Health Network where, for over twenty years, he has been Medical Director of the Cytopathology laboratory. 

Through journal publications, book chapters, books, lecturing, one-on-one teaching and the Cytopathology fellowship program Dr. Boerner  emphasis is ensuring pathologists are equipped with the tools to extract the greatest quantity of information relating to the diagnosis, prognosis and choice of therapeutics from the smallest and least invasive samples possible.

Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Fellowship Medical Education 

Anna Marie Mulligan

Dr. Anna Marie Mulligan is a breast pathologist in the Laboratory Medicine Program at University Health Network and an associate professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

Since starting at UHN in 2012, she and her colleagues have supervised 15 clinical fellows in breast pathology, many who have gone on to work as academic breast pathologists both in Canada and internationally.

She is active in education nationally and internationally, being a member of the USCAP Education Committee and a Director of an annual ASCP course on breast pathology.

She has also edited the Breast Pathology: Foundations in Diagnostic Pathology textbook and regularly contributes to the popular medical student textbook Rubin’s Pathology.  

The Raymond Chang Award in Forensic Medicine

Jayantha Herath

Dr. Jayantha Herath is a Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologist of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service. He is also an Investigative Coroner for homicides and criminally suspicious deaths in Ontario.

He is the Program Director for the Forensic Pathology training program at the University of Toronto and Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

He obtained his MD and MSc from the Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria.

He received his post-graduate Diploma in Legal Medicine and Doctor of Forensic Medicine and board certification as a specialist in Forensic Medicine from the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He obtained a Fellow of the College of Forensic Pathology (FCFP) from the College of Forensic Pathologists of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Herath worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.

After moving to Canada, he completed his residency in Anatomical Pathology and fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the University of Manitoba, obtaining specialist certifications (FRCPC) in Anatomical Pathology and Forensic Pathology from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Before joining the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, Dr. Herath worked as a Medical Examiner for the Province of Manitoba and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology of the University of Manitoba.  

The John B. Walter Prize for​ Course Design and Development

Carlo Hojilla

Dr. Carlo Hojilla is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Hojilla trained in Anatomical Pathology with Fellowship training in Hematologic Pathology.

Based at Mount Sinai and Markham-Stouffville Hospitals, his clinical practice involves Lymph Node and Hematologic Pathology as well as General Surgical Pathology.

Dr. Hojilla is also actively involved in the University of Toronto Residency Training Program, being the Education lead for the Mount Sinai Hospital Training Site.

He is most passionate about the application of technologies in education and education research, focusing on the integration of digital pathology with online learning and evaluation.

Additional academic pursuits include immunohistochemistry quality assurance, informatics, and pathology workload assessment.