Two basic scientists with research careers spanning the globe have been named to prestigious fellowships within the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Khalid Al-Nedawi, a medical biologist who earned his PhD in Poland, and Zai-Sheng Wu, an analytical chemist who completed doctoral studies in China, have been named the 2010 recipients of the Michael G. DeGroote Fellowship Awards.
Established through a gift from Hamilton philanthropist Michael G. DeGroote, the awards provide support to exceptional PhDs pursuing basic or clinical research within the Faculty of Health Sciences.
The Michael G. DeGroote Academic Fellowship Awards were established to provide advanced training for outstanding individuals who have completed a post-doctoral fellowship and are seeking a junior faculty position at McMaster.
The Michael G. DeGroote Post-Doctoral Fellowship Awards support PhDs who have an exemplary academic record and are interested in pursuing post-doctoral health sciences research at McMaster.
The format of the Michael G. DeGroote Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards has changed for 2011. For more information, visit the Michael G. DeGroote Academic Fellowship Awards website. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2011.
Understanding how cancer cells communicate is the foundation of Khalid Al-Nedawi’s research as he begins his transition from postdoctoral fellow to independent investigator through the support of the Michael G. DeGroote Academic Fellowship Award.
An accomplished cellular and molecular biologist, Al-Nedawi is examining the role of microvesicles — bubble-like structures shed from cancer cells — in intercellular communication.
He joined McMaster University from the Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute at McGill University where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship and most recently held an appointment as a medical scientist and faculty lecturer.
During his four years at McGill, Al-Nedawi had articles published in several high-impact journals and received many awards for his achievements. His research uncovering how microvesicles communicate with healthy cells was in the prestigious journal Nature Cell Biology. The finding was named "Discovery of the Year" by readers of Quebec Science magazine. It was also highlighted in the journals Science and Nature Review, as well as by the American Association of Cancer Research, which honoured Al-Nedawi with a Scholar-in-Training Award.
Over the next two years, Al-Nedawi will establish his own research lab under the mentorship of Richard Austin, a professor of medicine.
"This fellowship is really very helpful in assisting researchers to find their path to faculty," said Al-Nedawi.
The recent H1N1 flu pandemic and the emergence of the food-borne illnesses such as listeriosis have garnered headlines over the past year and underscored the need to address problems of infectious diseases and the rise of new pathogens.
With research interests lying at the intersection of analytical chemistry and biomedical sciences, Zai-Sheng Wu joined McMaster University to develop new methods for pathogen detection that have the potential to prevent outbreaks and decrease the risk to human health.
"The aim of my research is to improve the detection strategies for microbial pathogens," said Wu, who completed his graduate work at the Hunan University in China.
Current pathogen detection is accomplished using microbiological techniques coupled with biochemical analysis, which can be slow and laborious. That has signalled a need to develop new tests that are rapid, sensitive, accurate and inexpensive. Wu hopes to use his expertise in biosensors and nanobiotechnology to create molecular probes that recognize the proteins and genes involved in disease.
"With the support from the Michael G. DeGroote Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award, I can put my whole self into the research," said Wu, who is working in the laboratory of Yingfu Li, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences.