LMP Celebration of Excellence 2022: awardees
Our Annual Celebration of Excellence is an opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements over the past year. Find out what happened at the event in June 2022.
We celebrated our graduates and award winners, as well as those who have retired, provided long service, or have been promoted this year.
Our award winners are highlighted below, please join us in congratulating them.
LMP Departmental Award categories
- Undergraduate Awards
- Graduate Awards
- Postgraduate Awards
- Teaching Awards
- Faculty Awards
- Promotions: read more about this years' promotions, including a video of those promoted.
- Retirees and Long Term Service: We celebrate the careers of our Associate Professor Emeriti, and Professor Emeritus and give thanks to those who have reached service milestones.
Download the program for the evening (PDF)
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.
Over the last year, Sapna was able to take several LMP courses and work with organoids in the Ogawa Lab, which helped her develop an interest in regenerative medicine. Her favorite part of the program was being a member of the LMPSU, where she helped plan fun events and got to know many people in the community. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, baking, hanging out with friends, and playing with her cat.
He (Angela) Ying
Angela has enjoyed tremendously the close-knit community of the specialist program. She hopes to make more memories in the upcoming school year and is especially excited for the new 400 series courses.
Outside of school, Angela is an avid animal lover and works part-time at a veterinary clinic. She also loves to get involved in the community by volunteering, where she has helped at local animal rescues and wildlife rehabilitation centre. After her undergraduate studies, she hopes to pursue a career in veterinary medicine to combine her interest in science and love for animals.
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.
This year we have three recipients who share this award.
Theodore is pleased to have completed the LMP Pathobiology Specialist Program. In addition to a Pathobiology Specialist, he has also completed a Minor in Immunology as well as a Minor in Biology. He will begin the Juris Doctor Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law this August.
During her studies in the Pathobiology Specialist and Global Health Major
programs, Christina Wong pursued her interests in infectious diseases, sustainable development, and quality improvement in healthcare through human-centred design.
For her fourth-year thesis, she pursued research evaluating optimal laboratory screening methods in detecting the emerging pathogenic yeast, Candida auris, in Dr. Susan Poutanen’s lab, which she presented at the AMMI Canada-CACMID and ASM Microbe Conferences.
Outside of classes, she enjoyed leading the organization of professional skill-building events and programs aimed at empowering women pursuing careers in STEM, as the Vice President of Professional Development of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
JiaYi (Jessy) Zhu
Jessy is a graduating student in the LMP specialist program. During her undergraduate study, Jessy explored five fields of biomedical research, including Alzheimer’s disease, COVID-19, infectious disease epidemiology, and breast cancers. These unique experiences were one of Jessy’s undergraduate highlights and inspired her to pursue research further.
She will be commencing her new journey at Cambridge this fall with a fully-funded PhD studentship. Jessy is grateful for being a member of the LMP community, which allowed her to acquire a comprehensive outlook on disease pathobiology and explore timely issues in medicine (in Done lab and McGeer lab).
The Avrum Gottlieb Award for Curriculum Development and Teaching Excellence in Training
Professor Avrum Gotlieb is the founding Chair of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and served from 1997 to 2008. He endowed this award to a trainee in LMP graduate or postgraduate programs to recognize distinction in curriculum development and teaching.
Quinn is a 5th year PhD Candidate in Dr. Michelle Bendeck’s laboratory, where he studies a mouse model of pulmonary hypertension and impaired lung development. During the previous academic year, Quinn supervised and trained an undergraduate LMP student who helped characterize lung abnormalities in their mouse model. The undergraduate student presented their findings at lab meetings and several local conferences, and incorporated their findings into his submitted manuscript. Quinn has also been the teaching assistant for LMP406 for the past two years, where he helps organize and facilitate course materials, trains students on class content, and lectures on pulmonary hypertension and atherosclerosis.
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.
Ryan completed his MSc under the supervision of Dr. Samira Mubareka. Ryan investigated respiratory viral diagnostics and transmission prevention with his research focusing on addressing knowledge gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect frontline healthcare workers and improve molecular diagnostic techniques.
Ryan was heavily involved with the LMP Community as the President of the Graduate Student Union (CLAMPS). He focused on transforming extracurricular activities/initiatives into virtual formats during his tenure. Moreover, Ryan stays involved with the LMP community as the President of the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Mentorship Council (LMPMC), a formalized mentorship program he co-founded with fellow student leaders and departmental staff.
Dr. Rajalakshmi S. Dittakavi and Dr. Prema M. Rao Graduate Awards in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
Donated by past and present students of Doctors Rajalakshmi and Rao, this award is given to a graduate student in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology who is pursuing study and research on the cause, prevention, pathogenesis, and cure of cancer.
Maryam completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto with a double major in Biochemistry and Health and Disease. She is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Department of LMP. Her work in Dr. Ming Tsao’s lab revolves around immune-checkpoint activation after chemotherapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). She studies the underlying mechanism through which chemotherapy augments anti-PD-1/PD-L1 response in advanced NSCLC patients. She is also the Co-President of CLAMPS (Confederation of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Students) where she oversees the organization of various academic and non-academic events hosted by CLAMPS including LMP Research Conference.
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 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.
Graduate recipient: Negar Khosraviani
Negar received her MSc in 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Warren Lee and is now a second year PhD student in Dr. Jason Fish’s lab at University Health Network. Her time in Dr. Lee’s lab sparked an interest in vascular biology and the endothelium and led her to join the Fish Lab. Her PhD project involves understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs). Through her work, they hope to identify potential therapeutic targets to inhibit or reverse bAVM.
Postgraduate recipient: Sandra Isabel
Sandra is a recent Medical Microbiology residency graduate who also completed her paediatric and paediatric infectious diseases residencies at the University of Toronto. Her research focusses on the use of genomics for diagnostic and epidemiology of infectious diseases. She plans on becoming a clinician scientist with a special interest for the rapid diagnostic of infectious diseases in children.
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.
Susan is completing her fifth and final year of 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.
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.
This award recognizes excellence in performance by a Clinical Biochemistry Postdoctoral Diploma candidate.
Jessica Miller is originally from New Brunswick where she completed her undergraduate chemistry degree at Mount Allison university. She then completed her PhD in chemistry at Simon Fraser university in Vancouver where she focused on the synthesis of small molecules targeting mutant p53 as a cancer therapeutic strategy. She will be completing the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program at the University of Toronto this June and is looking forward to starting her position as a Clinical Chemist at Dynacare. Her main area of interests includes urine drug testing and toxicology.
Award for Undergraduate Teaching
Awarded to a faculty member who has shown sustained excellence for at least three years in individual teaching performance in Undergraduate Medicine, Arts and Science, and other Health Sciences.
Dr. Bendeck is a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and a Scientist in the Translational Biology and Engineering Program at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research. She is recognized for her work on matrix biology in cardiovascular disease. Her research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis and heart failure. She is
particularly interested in the atherosclerotic complications of plaque rupture and calcification, studying the role of extracellular matrix, discoidin-domain receptors (DDRs) and cadherins in mediating smooth muscle cell and macrophage responses.
Teaching Excellence in Graduate Education
Awarded to a faculty member for their excellence in the teaching and supervision of MSc and PhD graduate and life sciences students (GLSE). This award was formerly combined as the Award for Graduate and Postgraduate Education.
Dr. Ferenbok is an Associate Professor in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Director and founder of the Translational Research Program (TRP). The TRP is a master’s program training students to use creative problem-solving to translate research towards innovation in health
sciences. He is Course Director for Projects in Translational Research, and for Methods in Practices and Contexts, and Instructor for the Translational Thinking module. He is also an Associate Director of the Health Innovation Hub, a Temerty Faculty of Medicine initiative intended to connect, align, serve, and facilitate the translation, innovation, and commercialization of ‘Health Matters’; and the Founder and Chief Ideator at the Ideation Clinic - a new initiative intended to help people from all disciplines and backgrounds generate, develop and improve the quality and potential efficacy of their innovative ideas.
His passion is bringing people together through collaborative problem-solving to understand and develop systematic approaches for mobilizing knowledge. Dr. Ferenbok aims to aid in developing more efficient and effective design of person-centric interventions (from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral change) that improve the health of individuals and the public. He is fascinated by trying to see from different perspectives and approach problems from unconventional ways.
Read more about Dr. Ferenbok in The evolution of teaching: putting more learning into student hands
Early Career Teaching Award
Awarded to a faculty member who has shown excellence in clinical teaching and/or education in LMP within the first six years of their university appointment.
Dr. Nowak is a Gastrointestinal (GI) Pathologist at Toronto General Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She is dedicated to improving learner outcomes by bringing innovative learning materials to the forefront of LMP by participating in resident teaching as well as the Pathologist’s Assistants (PA) field of the MHSc in Laboratory Medicine by
coordinating the PA Boot Camp and the PA Interactive GI academic half day. Dr. Nowak’s field of interest lies in pancreas transplant pathology.
Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Residency Training
Awarded to a faculty member who has shown excellence in medical residents' education. This can be demonstrated through course teaching, one-on-one teaching or lectures, in addition to other education tools. This award is for resident teaching, excluding clinical fellows and medical students.
Dr. Hodgson, originally from Ottawa, Ontario, is a Gynecologic Pathologist at University Health Network-Toronto General Hospital and an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.
She did her pathology training at the University of Toronto affiliated hospitals
and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is considered to be a rising star in the field of gynecologic pathology and has previously been awarded the F. Stephen Vogel Award from the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology and the Robert E. Scully Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists. She has contributed to the literature on the topics of classification and pathogenesis of endocervical adenocarcinoma and the ever-evolving histologic and molecular landscape of uterine mesenchymal neoplasms. Dr. Hodgson is elated to receive this award and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work
with the residents training in Anatomical Pathology.
Teaching Excellence Award in Fellowship Education
Awarded to a faculty member who has shown excellence in clinical fellowship teaching.
Dr. Avila-Casado is a Professor in Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology. She
got her MD and PhD degrees at Anahuac University, Mexico, Pathology Residency at UNAM, Mexico, and Fellowship in Renal Pathology at Harvard University, USA. She has been awarded the International Society of Nephrology Fellowship Award. Dr. Avila-Casado is currently Staff Renal Pathologist, Director of Renal Pathology Program, serving as Director of Education at Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology - UHN. Her academic interest encompasses clinical service, research and education. She has more than 100 publications including in high profile journals as Nature and NEJM. She has supervised and mentored 56 MD, MSc, and PhD students including 14 international Renal Pathologists. As Deputy Chair and Educational Ambassador of the ISN Renal Pathology Working Group she is devoted to bringing excellence in education in Nephrology and Nephropathology worldwide.
Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Hematological Pathology
Awarded to a faculty member who has shown sustained excellence in individual teaching performance in hematologic pathology.
Dr. Larissa Liontos completed the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto in 2012. Her doctoral work, in the laboratory of Dr. Jane McGlade at the Hospital for Sick Children, involved studying the negative regulation of cytokine receptors and receptor tyrosine kinases in hematopoietic cells. In 2018, Dr. Liontos completed the Hematological Pathology Royal College Residency Program at the University Toronto prior to joining the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center as a staff Hematopathologist.
Her primary academic interest is in the education of medical students and residents in Hematological Pathology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She teaches weekly lectures to Internal Medicine residents, coordinates rotations for the Hematopathology and Hematology residents and is involved in the organization of the academic half-days. She hopes to inspire future medical students to choose a career in Lab Medicine.
The Raymond Chang Award in Forensic Medicine
A bi-annual award presented to an LMP faculty member who participates in the training of residents in forensic pathology. The criteria for the award include superior contributions in education, research, or creative professional activity.
Dr. Cunningham completed his PhD at the Ohio State University in Biochemistry (2000) and his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Ottawa (2004). His preparation in Anatomical Pathology (with dedicated training in Cardiovascular and in Forensic Pathology) was completed at the University of Toronto (2009). Dr. Cunningham is an Assistant Professor within Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, has been Medical Director at the Toronto and Kingston Forensic Pathology Units and is currently the Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologist. He has spent multiple years training Forensic Pathology and Cardiovascular Pathology fellows and has taught medical students, undergraduate students and postgraduate pathology residents for many years. Dr. Cunningham is the Director of the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) Molecular Autopsy Program and oversees operational completion of over 6,200 autopsies per year at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto.
Sustained Excellence in Education Award
Awarded to a faculty member with 10 or more years of appointment who has shown a sustained excellence in clinical education at any level (undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate).
This year we have two recipients who share this award.
Dr. Dickson completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Dalhousie University, followed by medical school and residency training at the University of Toronto. After a fellowship in Soft Tissue and Bone Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, he returned to Toronto where he is a pathologist specializing in sarcoma in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. His research is primarily focused on developing novel diagnostic and prognostic markers in sarcoma, and characterizing the mechanisms of sarcomagenesis.
Dr. Lee is the Co-Coordinator for the Specialist Program in Pathobiology, and Co-Associate Chair Undergraduate Life Science Education in LMP. He completed his graduate studies with Dr. P. Lynne Howell at the University of Toronto/Hospital for Sick Children and followed that with a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. Jeff returned to the University of Toronto to start his own lab in July 2010. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of viral-cell and cell-cell fusion. His career has been highlighted with a number of fellowships and awards, such as a Canada Research Chair, 2015 Merck Irving S. Sigal Award (American Society of Microbiology), CIHR New Investigator Award, 2010 Spicer Young Investigator Award (Stanford University/Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource). He received the LMP Award for Graduate Education in 2015 and 2021.
The John B. Walter Prize for Course & Curriculum Design & Development
This award recognizes outstanding contributions by any member of LMP to the design, development or coordination of any course or digital education initiative in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Postgraduate Education and Continuing Education. The course or program must be successfully running for at least two years.
Dr. Kulasingam is the Division Head of Clinical Biochemistry at University Health Network and an Associate Professor and Member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto. Dr. Kulasingam is also the Co-Director of the University of Toronto’s Post-Doctoral Training Program in Clinical Chemistry.
She completed her undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education within LMP. Besides her active involvement in teaching, her research interests include using high-throughput “omics” technologies to understand disease pathogenesis, with a particular emphasis on cancer and rheumatic diseases and its application to clinical practice.
Danny Ghazarian Award
In 1996, Professor Danny Ghazarian established what then known as the "Best Teacher Award" to recognise the dedicated, enthusiastic teaching delivered to residents.
This award is voted for by current residents in LMP.
Zaid Saeed Kamil
Dr. Kamil is a pathologist and clinician teacher with expertise in the pathologic analysis of skin tumors and inflammatory dermatoses. He obtained his medical degree at Al-Nahrain University in Iraq then completed an Anatomic Pathology Residency and a Clinical Dermatopathology Fellowship at the University of Toronto.
As a fellowship supervisor and clinician teacher, Dr. Kamil thrives on transferring knowledge and experience to the next generation of Pathologists. He is actively involved in teaching clinical fellows, Pathology and Dermatology residents and medical students. He has supervised 6 fellows and trained over 20 Pathology and Dermatology residents since 2018.
As a Dermatopathologist, he is responsible for the interpretation of over 3,000 dermatooncology and inflammatory dermatoses cases annually. He also helped design a targeted next generation sequencing panel for the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma patients at University Health Network. His research focus is on understanding the molecular aspects of melanocytic tumors with the goal of identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers that can be utilized in the development of new targeted therapies for melanoma and skin cancer patients.
Richard G. Hegele Award for Excellence in Research and Innovation
This award recognises a faculty member in the department of LMP, for original research, invention, or creative professional activity that improves our understanding of mechanisms of disease or advances clinical practice relevant to the discipline. Open to both the life sciences and clinical streams.
This year we have two recipients who share this award.
Dr. Ni has had a long-term outstanding research program in Platelets and Thrombosis, investigating platelet physiology and immunology to develop new treatments for clotting disorders, alloimmune and autoimmune disorders; his particular focus in investigation of the adhesion molecules that are involved in clot formation. His research into autoimmune thrombocytopenia (ITP), fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT), as well as the role of fibrinogenindependent platelet aggregation in clotting are important contributions to medical science and transfusion medicine. He is utilizing these advances to develop new therapeutic strategies for such disorders. He is also an accomplished educator with many graduate and post-doctorate students being mentored through his laboratory.
Dr. Tsao is a Thoracic Pathologist and Senior Scientist at the University Health Network and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His research focuses on understanding the genomic and molecular aberrations in lung cancers to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment, including identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers in non-small cell lung cancer. He is globally recognized as a leader in molecular testing in lung cancer and has led many multi-center projects that resulted in the standardization of lung cancer biomarker assays in Canada. Dr. Tsao is a recipient of the O. Harold Warwick Award from the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Mary Matthew Pathology and Translational Research Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
Distinguished Service Award
This award recognises faculty or administrative staff who have demonstrated the highest level of sustained service to the department in education, research, creative professional activity or administrative services. The recipient demonstrates innovation, excellence or scholarship and provides outstanding leadership that advances the vision and mission of the department. The recipient of this award will have provided outstanding leadership for at least 10 years.
Following medical school at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Pollett completed his residency in Anatomical Pathology at the University of Toronto and a Gastrointestinal Pathology Fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital. Having an interest in pathology informatics, he completed a master’s degree in Health Policy, Management and Evaluation focusing on medical informatics.
Being born in Newfoundland, an epicenter for colorectal cancer genetics, and having an interest in information repositories driving research and clinical innovation, Dr. Pollett’s MSc and research brought him into the world of familial registries, hereditary cancer, and molecular pathology. He was the first Medical Co-Director for the division of Diagnostic Medical Genetics at Sinai, where he has been fortunate to work with wonderful colleagues in the laboratory, clinical and genetics spheres to make Sinai a leader in hereditary and tumour molecular genetic testing. Dr. Pollett is also privileged to be the provincial lead for the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Program (PLMP) at Ontario Health, Cancer Care Ontario. In this role he has helped standardize and expand molecular pathology testing throughout Ontario.
Chosen by the LMP Departmental Chair, this award is given to a faculty member in appreciation for their leadership role and commitment to advancing clinical excellence in LMP.
Dr. Shannon is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Toronto.
Upon completion of his medical degree, he trained in Toronto where he completed fellowships in Neuropathology and Anatomical Pathology. Since 2005 he has worked at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, as a Perinatal Pathologist and is currently the Medical Director of the autopsy and perinatal service there as well as an Associate Professor in LMP at the University of Toronto. He is currently serving as Chair of the Specialty Committee for Neuropathology for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and was the Residency Program Director for Neuropathology at the University of Toronto.
Outstanding Mentor Award
This award is given to a faculty member who has shown commitment to mentorship.
Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao is a Thoracic Pathologist and Senior Scientist at the University Health Network and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Tsao’s expertise and reputation in the lung cancer and pathology fields is internationally recognized and he is known to be generous with his time and advice. He has trained over 260 Post-Doctoral Fellows, graduate students, clinicians, and knowledge users who have benefited from his scientific mentorship and have gone on to become successful in diverse career paths such as academia, industry, and medicine.
He was nominated by his mentee, Dr. Kelsie Thu, who commented, “Despite his extremely busy schedule, Dr. Tsao always makes time to have our mentorship meetings and for that I am truly grateful. He has had a significant positive impact on my development as a scientist, and I would not have been able to establish my own research program if it were not for his support and guidance throughout my career”.