Funding awarded to research and education innovators

Thursday, April 02, 2020 Dr. Geraldine Walsh

Through the BloodTechNet Award Program, Canadian Blood Services supports the development of innovative educational projects that network the transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation communities in Canada.

Congratulations to the recent BloodTechNet Award Program recipients:

  • Warren Fingrut (University of British Columbia) 
  • Eric Wagner (CHU de Québec-Université Laval-CHUL) 

These projects will deliver educational tools and resources that support the development of skills, knowledge and expertise of health professionals. Warren Fingrut’s project will develop an educational toolkit for health professionals about blood and stem cell donation in Canada for men who have sex with men (MSM). This toolkit will equip health professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to support stem cell drives at Pride events across Canada and engage MSM to register as stem cell donors. Eric Wagner’s project will support training of directors of histocompatibility and immunogenetics (HLA) laboratories, whose work is essential in supporting transplant activities throughout Canada.

Through the Graduate Fellowship Program, Canadian Blood Services provides stipend support for young investigators who want to initiate or continue training in the field of transfusion science. Graduate students undertaking full-time research training in a Canadian institution are eligible. The Program provides support for a maximum of four years, with a requirement for successful renewal half way through the fellowship.

Congratulations to the recent Graduate Fellowship Program recipients:

  • Anna Ampaw (Ben lab, Ottawa, ON) 
  • Leah McMunn (Ben lab, Ottawa, ON) 
  • Melika Loriamini (Branch lab, Canadian Blood Services, Toronto, ON) 
  • Wayne Zhao (Devine lab, Canadian Blood Services, Vancouver, BC) 

Melika Loriamini and Leah McMunn are new recipients of graduate fellowships. Melika Loriamini will be investigating alternative therapies to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), an expensive therapy derived from human plasma. Melika will be studying in the laboratory of Dr. Donald Branch, a Canadian Blood Services senior scientist. Leah McMunn’s work will focus on improving cryopreservation techniques for red blood cells. Leah will be studying in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Ben, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a Canadian Blood Services adjunct scientist.

Anna Ampaw and Wayne Zhao’s Graduate Fellowship Program awards were renewed. Anna Ampaw is also working with Dr. Robert Ben to improve red blood cell cryopreservation. Wayne Zhao is based in the laboratory of Dr. Dana Devine, Canadian Blood Services’ Chief Scientist. Wayne is investigating the cold storage of platelets. Platelets are usually stored at room temperature. Storing platelets in the cold can extend their shelf life and there is growing interest in using cold-stored platelets for certain patients (e.g. trauma patients).

To learn more about these funded research projects, visit our funded research projects page.

Both the BloodTechNet Award Program and the Graduate Fellowship Program are currently closed to applications but will re-open in Fall 2020. To learn more about the eligibility criteria for these Programs, visit our research funding opportunities page.

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.


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