LMP Annual Celebration of Excellence: collage of learners, faculty and staff

LMP Celebration of Excellence 2023: 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 2023.

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

See also

  • Promotions: read more about this years' promotions to associate and full professor.
  • Retirees and Long Term Service: We celebrate the careers of our retiring professors and give thanks to those who have reached service milestones.

Download the program for the evening (PDF)

Undergraduate Awards

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.

Kangni Zou with Rita Kandel and Jeff Lee

Kangni Zou

Kangni Zou recently completed her third year of studies in the Pathobiology Specialist and Physiology Major programs. She is currently pursuing summer research in Dr. Kelsie Thu’s lab investigating mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in non-small cell lung cancer. With a keen interest in cancer biology and improving patient outcomes, she hopes to pursue further research in this area. Outside of classes, she enjoys engaging undergraduate students in first-time STEM research as an Indicium program coordinator for STEM Fellowship. Kangni greatly values the tight-knit LMP community and the opportunities to explore a wide range of timely topics in human disease mechanisms. 

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.

Kevork Danayan with Rita Kandel and Jeff Lee

Kevork Danayan

Kevork Danayan has completed his undergraduate study in the Specialist Program in Pathobiology with an Immunology Minor. During his undergraduate studies, Kevork had the opportunity to pursue several research projects; he participated in the LMP SURE program in the lab of Dr. Gerold Schmitt-Ulms investigating the mechanisms of prion diseases. He also completed a fourth-year research project course and worked as a summer student in the lab of Dr. Joshua Rosenblat investigating the effectiveness of ketamine for depression where he published a first-author paper. Kevork also served as a peer mentor for the LMP Mentorship Program and is grateful to have been a part of the LMP community. 

Graduate Awards

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. The department established this award to recognise distinction in curriculum development and teaching of a graduate or postgraduate trainee in LMP.  

Negin Khosraviani with Rita Kandel

Negin Khosraviani

Negin Khosraviani is a 5th year PhD student in Dr. Karim Mekhail’s laboratory, where she studies the transcriptional regulation of RNA polymerase II at the mammalian ribosomal DNA (rDNA). For the past four years, Negin has been a teaching assistant for the LMP undergraduate course, Genetic Modeling of Human Development and Disease (LMP408), which is changed to Genetic and Computational Modeling in Human Disease and Development (LMP330). During her time as a teaching assistant, Negin has helped organize and facilitate course materials, train students on class content, and provide tutorials and/or a lecture on cell systems. 

Read more Negin: Meet Negin Khosraviani LMP's 2021 Vanier Scholar

Humans of LMP: Negin Khosraviani

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.

Miguel Alfonso Principe with Rita Kandel

Miguel Alfonso Principe

Miguel Alfonso Principe is an MSc student supervised by Dr. Kim Tsoi and Dr. Sonya MacParland in the lab of Dr. Irene Andrulis, Dr. Kim Tsoi, and Dr. Jay Wunder at Mount Sinai's Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. His research project focuses on soft tissue sarcomas (STS), a group of rare and heterogenous cancers arising from tissues like muscles, fat, and cartilage. 

Read about Miguel's Ontario Graduate Scholarship success.

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.

Asa Lau with Rita Kandel

Asa Lau

Asa Lau completed her undergraduate degree in health sciences at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia before moving to Toronto to pursue her PhD. She is currently a second year PhD Candidate working under the supervision of Dr. Kelsie Thu at the Keenan Research Centre in St. Michael's Hospital. Her work focuses on delineating the mechanisms of response to targeting innate immune checkpoint CD47 in non-small cell lung cancer. Through her work, she hopes that it can inform drug development and open up therapeutic options for patients with lung cancer. 

Nan Chen and Jennifer Tat with Rita Kandel

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.

This year we have three recipients who share this award.

Graduate recipient: Nan Chen

Nan Chen joined the LMP in 2022 after completing his undergraduate study at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. With a passion in studying immunometabolism, he is currently a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Daniel Winer, focusing on the changes in the immune system during obesity or aging. Specifically, Nan is investigating how the gut immune system can contribute to and be affected by metabolic syndromes, such as insulin resistance, associated with obesity. Through his research, he aims to unravel the complex role of the immune system in regulating metabolic homeostasis, thereby benefiting the ever-growing populations suffering from metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, as well as promoting the health span of aging individuals. 

Resident recipient: Jennifer Tat

Jennifer Tat is completing her final year of Medical Microbiology residency. She completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Physiology at the University of Toronto before journeying overseas to Ireland to complete her medical degree. She caught the research bug during an undergraduate summer project and like the multidrug-resistant pathogens that she studies, it has grown stronger and disseminated over time. Her areas of interest within Microbiology are in the domains of education, infection prevention and control, molecular diagnostics, and quality improvement. 

Post-doctoral recipient: Adriana Airo

Adriana Airo completed her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. She then completed her PhD in Virology at the University of Alberta where she focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which Arboviruses (such as Dengue and Zika viruses) hijack cellular pathways and cause disease. She is completing the Clinical Microbiology Fellowship Program at the University of Toronto this June. Her research interests include zoonotic diseases and emerging viral pathogens. 

Postgraduate Awards

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.

Shirley Yu with Rita Kandel

Yan Hong (Shirley) Yu

Shirley Yu is a fourth-year resident in the Anatomical Pathology Program at the University of Toronto. Prior to this, she obtained her undergraduate and master's degree within the University of Toronto's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. From here, Shirley went on to complete medical school at the University of Calgary before returning back to the University of Toronto to pursue her postgraduate medical training. During this time, Shirley served as the Resident Representative on the Competence Committee. She is honored to receive this award in the memory of Dr. Stanley Raphael and would like to express gratitude to the award selection committee and Dr. Raphael’s family for their generosity. 

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.

Annie Ren With Rita Kandel

Annie Ren

Annie Ren completed her undergraduate degree in Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She then completed her Master's degree in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences at UBC. Afterwards, she moved to Toronto to obtain her PhD degree in the LMP Department at the University of Toronto. She is soon completing the Clinical Chemistry Postdoctoral Training Program at the University of Toronto and will be starting her position as a Clinical Biochemist at the William Osler Health System in July. 

Teaching Awards

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.  

Jason Fish with Rita Kandel

Jason Fish

Dr. Jason Fish received his PhD from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Philip Marsden. He completed postdoctoral training at the Gladstone Institutes of Cardiovascular Disease and the University of California San Francisco under the supervision of Dr. Deepak Srivastava. In 2010, Dr. Fish returned to Toronto to join the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute as a Scientist in 2010. He was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2016. 

The Fish lab seeks to understand the contribution of endothelial cells – the cells that line the inside of blood vessels – to health and disease. In particular, the lab is deciphering how endothelial cells respond to physiological and pathological changes in the microenvironment through changes in gene expression. The Fish lab has identified important roles for noncoding RNAs such as microRNAs in modulating signaling pathways in endothelial cells. They have also identified signaling pathways that are involved in vascular development and vascular malformations, including the recent discovery that active KRAS mutations are present in the endothelium of the majority of sporadic cerebral arteriovenous malformations. 

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.  

Daniel Winer

Daniel Winer

Dr. Daniel Winer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Immunology.  He is also an Affiliate Scientist at the Toronto General Research Institute, and an Associate Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging with adjunct affiliation to the University of Southern California.  Dr. Winer is known as an early adopter and promoter of three emerging fields in immunology: immunometabolism, mechanoimmunology, and astroimmunology.  Dr. Winer highly values graduate school education, having trained 9 graduate students, and having served on more than 25 additional graduate school thesis committees or exams.  He takes a hands-on approach for in-lab learning when possible, and always prioritizes time for his students.  He is honored to have been chosen for the LMP Teaching Excellence in Graduate Education Award for 2023 and dedicates this award to the outstanding students he has had an opportunity to mentor. 

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.

Felix Leung

Felix Leung

Dr. Felix Leung is a Clinical Biochemist in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Sinai Health System and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD and Clinical Chemistry Fellowship at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. His professional interests revolve around utilizing data analytics to enhance quality assurance and clinical biochemistry education and advocacy. 

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.

Katerina Pavenski

Katerina Pavenski

Dr. Katerina Pavenski is the Head of Division of Transfusion Medicine and clinical hematologist at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is an associate professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto. She is also actively involved in clinical research and teaching with a focus on postgraduate trainees. Her research interests include TTP, clinical transfusion medicine, and patient blood management. She is the Vice-Chair of the International Collaboration for Transfusion Medicine Guidelines (ICTMG), member of the ISBT Clinical Transfusion Working Party, and Regional Director (North America) ISBT Board of Directors. She was awarded the Ortho Award by the Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine in 2021 for her contributions to the field of transfusion medicine in Canada. 

Teaching Excellence Award in Fellowship Education  

Awarded to a faculty member who has shown excellence in clinical fellowship teaching.

Andrew Williams with Rita Kandel

Andrew Williams

Dr. Andrew Williams completed his BMSc with an Honors Specialization in Pharmacology and Toxicology prior to obtaining his MD from The University of Western Ontario. He has completed residencies in Anatomical Pathology and Forensic Pathology. He joined the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto as a Category A Forensic Pathologist in 2017 and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. In 2020, he completed a post-graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Forensic Imaging & Virtopsy at the University of Zürich in Zürich, Switzerland. Dr. Williams is actively involved in the postmortem cross-sectional imaging program, workplace wellness initiatives, and resident and fellow education where he is the current Program Director of the Forensic Pathology Residency Training Program. 

Clinical Teaching Excellence Award in Hematological Pathology  

Awarded to a faculty member who has shown sustained excellence in individual teaching performance in hematologic pathology.  

Ali Sakhdari with Rita Kandel

Ali Sakhdari

Dr. Ali Sakhdari has obtained certification from the American Board of Pathology in Anatomical, Clinical, and Hematological Pathology. This certification serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of excellence within his chosen field. Dr. Sakhdari serves as an assistant professor at the prestigious University of Toronto, where he imparts his knowledge and expertise to aspiring medical professionals. Additionally, he holds a vital role as a hematopathologist at the University Health Network, contributing to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Beyond his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Sakhdari actively engages in diverse research projects and teaching activities. His dedication and contribution to the field of research are evident in his extensive body of work, which includes over 60 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and presentations. 

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).  

Paul Yip with Rita Kandel

Paul Yip

Dr. Paul Yip is Division Head of Biochemistry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and is Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology where he serves as Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Training Program in Clinical Chemistry. After completing his undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate training at the University of Toronto, he obtained certification from the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and also the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. 

Dr. Yip’s educational activities span all levels from undergraduate to continuing education, where he has been recognized by several awards including the Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Teaching in Life Sciences Award in 2017 and the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists award for Education Excellence in 2018. Throughout his academic career, Dr. Yip’s interests focus on areas of test utilization, laboratory quality management and point-of-care testing. He thoroughly enjoys and is grateful for his collaborations across education, research and professional organizations. 

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.  

Avrum Gotlieb with Rita Kandel

Avrum I. Gotlieb

Dr. Avrum I. Gotlieb was founding Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP) (1997-2008), Interim Vice Dean, Research and International Relations (2009-10), Acting and Interim Vice Dean, Graduate and Life Sciences Education (2011-2014), Senior Academic Advisor to the Dean (2010-2017), School of Graduate Studies Tenure Assessor (2017-present). He became the Program Director of the MHSc in Laboratory Medicine in May 2020. He was President of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) and the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP). His recent scholarly interest is on the role of the adventitia and the perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) in vascular disease. His teaching focuses on cardiovascular pathology, general pathobiology and mentorship. 

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.  

Michael Seidman with Rita Kandel

Michael Seidman

Dr. Michael Seidman is a cardiovascular, autopsy, and rheumatologic pathologist, currently practicing at University Health Network. He is engaged in diverse clinical, administrative, research, and teaching endeavours. His teaching specifically includes marked engagement in the MHSc graduate program for Pathologist Assistants and Clinical Embryology, and in the Anatomical Pathology residency program. He oversees the medical autopsy rotations for both programs, is involved in the lab quality management curriculum in both programs and teaches at numerous academic half days. Michael always tries to make time for speaking with learners, providing support and mentorship wherever he can. In his first few years at UHN and U of T, Danny Ghazarian was a valued me

Faculty Awards

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.  

Samira Mubareka and Rumina Musani with Rita Kandel

Samira Mubareka

Dr. Samira Mubareka is celebrated for her important scholarly contributions in bioaerosol transmission, viral genomics, and viral zoonoses and their application to public health. Her expertise helped inform COVID-19 response and policy and positioned her as a national leader during SARS-CoV-2. She has played an important role in several national and international initiatives and working groups related to SARS CoV-2. In addition, she shared virus and virology protocols and provided advice, support, and data with collaborators across the country. Her exemplary and novel research contributions have been recognized by high-impact publications and grant funding.

Rumina Musani

Dr. Rumina Musani is a Hematopathologist at University Health Network.  She has been involved in medical education for several years including as educational site coordinator (hematopathology) at UHN, Hematological Pathology Residency Program Director and Founding Coordinator of the UofT/UHN Hematopathology Fellowship. She is currently completing her PhD which focuses on digital technologies for pathology education. She is also actively involved in UHN’s digital transformation as the site lead for Hematopathology. Combining digital pathology with online learning is her key area of endeavor currently. In addition to teaching trainees locally, she is using the technology to train technical staff at remote sites in Ontario and interprofessional staff globally. 

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.    

Jan Delabie and Rita Kandel

Jan Delabie

Dr. Jan Delabie received his medical degree and completed his PhD from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He was a visiting professor at the Center for Cancer Biomedicine, University of Oslo from 2013-2018. He has been involved with 261 publications. As a hematopathologist, his main interest is lymphoma in general. He has supervised 5 PhD students and co-supervised another 5 PhD students in the area of lymphoma. His most current interests are cold agglutinin disease and integrative data analysis in lymphoma. 

Leadership Award  

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.  

Corwyn Rowsell and Rita Kandel

Corwyn Rowsell

Dr. Corwyn Rowsell is a Pathologist at Unity Health Toronto and an Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at University of Toronto. He has been the Coordinator of Undergraduate Medical School Education for LMP since 2019 as well as lead for the Inflammation and Cancer weeks in the Introduction to Medicine Course. Dr. Rowsell also serves as a case-based learning (CBL) tutor in the Concepts, Patients, and Communities Course, and recently introduced a new Lab Medicine-focused session in the Transition to Clerkship course. He is a member of the LMP Quality Council, and endeavours to advance the interests of lab physicians through his role as President of the Ontario Association of Pathologists.