McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New fellowship program elevates postdoctoral research

Published: August 4, 2010
Eva Szabo and Monica Graham
From left: Eva Szabo, a postdoctoral fellow and Monica Graham, a senior research technician, from the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute

Six McMaster postdoctoral fellows, including one in the Faculty of Health Sciences, are among more than 80 of Ontario’s top PhDs chosen for Elevate, which provides PhD holders with fellowships to partner with Ontario companies.

The fellowships will support experience in leading projects and building strategic and business collaborations, complement specialized research skills and bolster non-technical, professional skills.

The awards are part of a $9.95 million program announced last week by Gary Goodyear, minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, and Arvind Gupta, CEO and scientific director of MITACS, a leading national research network that connects industry and academia through innovative programming.

In total, 80 awards each valued at $55,000 to $70,000 per year were given to postdoctoral fellows working in institutions across Ontario; the awards are renewable for up to two years.

Eva Szabo, a postdoctoral fellow in the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, received an Elevate Strategic Fellowship. Her research is dedicated to furthering understanding of how cells from adult skin can be converted to cells possessing "stem-cell-like" characteristics by a process called cellular reprogramming. The hope is that these cells could be used in the treatment of blood disorders, such as leukemia.

"I am honoured and very excited to be part of this unique initiative; the funding provided by MITACS Elevate provides a unique opportunity to develop my research with goals geared towards application and engagement of industrial partners," said Szabo, who works in the lab of Mick Bhatia, scientific director of the stem cell institute.

"The Elevate program offers a wide selection of seminars and workshops that are specifically directed at enhancing our professional and networking skills which will enable us to succeed in our chosen research careers."

Wei Zhao, who will collaborate with Dmitry Pelinovsky in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, also received an Elevate Strategic Fellowship.

Four McMaster postdoctoral fellows received Elevate Industrial Fellowships. Each recipient will team up with a faculty member and an Ontario-based business:

"Postdoctoral fellows play a critical role in the research enterprise at McMaster University," said Allison Sekuler, associate vice-president and dean of graduate studies. "The Elevate program helps us recruit and retain the very best postdocs, and equips them with the skills and networks they need to translate their research into meaningful economic and social contributions to society."

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