Congratulations to IMS Award Winners 2021

Oct 22, 2021
Sarah Topa

Dr. Mingyao Liu Graduate Award

Donor: Dr. Mingyao Liu

“I made my donation because for many years the IMS lacked proper funding for graduate education, and I thought it was of great importance to change the culture of financial support for our graduate students. I also know how difficult it is to be an international student in North America, as they have more difficulties and challenges to overcome than our domestic students.” – M. Liu

2021 Recipient: Mandana Movahed


Mandana is an international Master’s student from Iran. She conducts research under the supervision of Dr. Michael Fehlings, and works on degenerative cervical myelopathy, a spinal cord impairment occurring in older people. Mandana hopes that one day this research can help to improve the quality of life for these patients.



Estelle Fisher Memorial Graduate Award

Donor: Dr. Robert Maunder

“I made my donation because I appreciate the importance of supporting the next generation of medical investigators, especially in research at the interface of physical and psychological health problems. Estelle Fisher was greatly loved by all of her family, and it was wonderful to have an opportunity to give to a good cause in her memory.” – R. Maunder

2021 Recipient: Pascale Tsai


Pascale is a Master’s student conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Mojgan Hodaie at the Krembil Brain Institute. Pascale's research uses neuroimaging to characterize nerve structure in acoustic neuroma patients, with the goal of identifying non-invasive biomarkers of single-sided deafness in the brain. She hopes that her findings can be used to guide surgical decision-making and inspire the design of auditory prosthetics for hearing loss.



Dr. LG Rao/Industrial Partners Graduate Student Award

Donor: Dr. Leticia Rao

“I donated towards a scholarship because I feel that students who receive an award will feel accomplished, which will in turn motivate them to believe in themselves and strive to succeed in their pursuit of higher learning.” – L. Rao

2021 Recipient: Marina Nikolopoulos


Marina is a Master’s student co-supervised by Dr. Sunit Das and Dr. Arjun Sahgal, conducting research on treatment resistance in glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. With the help of a novel type of MRI, called CEST-MRI, her research is looking into predicting who will experience early tumour progression, and by collecting patient tissue, creating personalized treatment plans based on a patient’s genomic signature. Ultimately, the goal is to design personalized therapies based on each patient’s unique biology to improve overall survival and quality of life.


Joseph Wong Memorial Graduate Award

Donor: Dr. Agnes Wong

“I felt inspired to give as I think contemplative science is an important area that requires more support and rigorous research. It is also special for me to honour my late father who had a lot of wisdom and compassion.” – A. Wong

2021 Recipient: Shengjie Ying


Shengjie is a Master’s student under the supervision of Dr. Anne Bassett, conducting research on the genetic causes of schizophrenia. His research uses genome sequencing data to understand why a genetic condition called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome causes a 20-fold increase in risk for schizophrenia. They hope that by solving this puzzle, their research will be able to provide a foundation for developing effective therapeutics to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.