Ones To Watch: Announcing $200,000 in Graduate Studentship Research Awards

Toronto, ON – January 9, 2014: Five PhD candidates from across Canada have been chosen as the first-ever recipients of Prostate Cancer Canada’s prestigious Graduate Studentship awards.

Each recipient will receive a $40,000 grant to support them as they further their contributions to potentially transformational research projects in the prevention, treatment and recovery of prostate cancer patients.

“Following a rigorous selection process, we are funding top prospects who are looking to develop their careers in prostate cancer research, and this $200,000 investment in five promising PhD students really is a game changer,” says Dr. Stuart Edmonds, VP of Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship at Prostate Cancer Canada. “Awards to these researchers help nurture research talent and build the next generation of prostate cancer research leaders.”

The selected researchers are:

Peter Axerio-Cilies, University of British Columbia
The Steve Winter Graduate Studentship Award is being presented to Peter Axerio-Cilies. Mr. Axerio-Cilies’ research is working to overcome the treatment challenges prostate cancer patients face when their treatment becomes less effective over time. This award will fund experiments designed to help overcome this issue and hopefully lead to new treatments for prostate cancer patients.

Frédéric Couture, Université de Sherbrooke
Frédéric Couture is the recipient of the Edward Nash Graduate Studentship Award. Mr. Couture’s vital research into a new biomarker called PACE4 could more accurately determine whether an individual’s prostate cancer is a low-risk, slow-growing cancer or a high-risk, aggressive cancer. The award will further the understanding of this important biomarker and potentially allow for more appropriate and tailored treatment for prostate cancer survivors.

Katie Di Sebastiano, University of Waterloo
The recipient of the Constantine Karayannopoulos Graduate Studentship Award is Katie Di Sebastiano, whose research focusses on prostate cancer survivors and the long-term use of ADT, which reduces testosterone and leads to decreased muscle and weight gain. This award will further the understanding of the relationship between fat and energy burning and treatment for prostate cancer. It will also help in the development of nutrition and exercise interventions to improve the quality of life for prostate cancer survivors.

Philip Edgcumbe, University of British Columbia
The Amy and Donald McInnes Graduate Studentship Award is being presented to Philip Edgcumbe. Patients with prostate cancer are often required to have surgery. To help reduce post-operative complications, Mr. Edgcumbe’s research proposes to develop an Augmented Reality Elastography Navigation Aid, called ARENA. ARENA will provide surgeons with a real-time and accurate ultrasound display of blood vessels, nerves and tumours beneath the surface during surgery.

Mark Labrecque, Simon Fraser University
Mark Labrecque is the recipient of the Robert C Watson Graduate Studentship Award. Research has shown that tumour cells kickstart the production of new blood vessels required for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and the transportation of the tumour cells through the circulatory system. This award will allow further examination of these events and possible therapies to keep tumours in check.

“When we talk about fundraising dollars at work, these awards are examples of the type of impact such donor efforts can have,” says Rocco Rossi, CEO, Prostate Cancer Canada. “Our largest donors work tirelessly, resulting in future leaders being able to continue their research, achieve results, and alter the way this disease affects men and their loved ones.”

Mentorship is a key component of the new award offerings. As such, many of the leading names in prostate cancer research today will be mentors for the successful Prostate Cancer Canada Graduate Studentship recipients. The program will represent the start of a “passing of the torch” from the established leaders in prostate cancer research to the next generation.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men, impacting one in seven men over the course of their lifetime. Prostate Cancer Canada funds critical programs related to awareness and public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.  For more information visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information:
Elissa Freeman
For Prostate Cancer Canada
Jillian Hermansen
Prostate Cancer Canada
416.441.2131 ext 239


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