Scientific Day Student Awards

2021 IMS Scientific Day Student Awards

See the accordions below to find all IMS Scientific Day Award winners from 1995 - 2020.  

Whiteside Award

Presented to Alexandria King, MSc

Established in 2003 to honour the contributions of Dr. Catharine Whiteside, a former graduate coordinator of the IMS, and our former Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto, this award is presented annually to a recently graduated Master of Science student who has made outstanding scholarly contributions. 

Alexandria King is awarded for her outstanding Master's research project on the development of a core outcome set for future studies on pregnancy-associated venous thromboembolism, supervised by Dr. Rohan D'Souza. Her focus was on standardizing outcome reporting in this area while incorporating the perspectives of pregnant persons and their health care providers. During this time, she also completed a Collaborative Specialization in Women's Health through the School of Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her thesis work has been presented both locally and internationally and was supported by a CIHR Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best graduate scholarship. Alexandria was an active member on the IMS Students' Association acting as Vice President in 2017-2018. She also competed on the varsity track and field team at U of T and previously at Western University, where she completed her Bachelor of Medical Science. Alexandria is now entering her second year of medical school at Dalhousie University and is excited to continue her journey in medicine. Outside of research and medicine, Alexandria is a co-chair of Euphoria, Dalhousie Medicine's musical production and continues to enjoy athletics.


Siminovitch-Salter Award 

Presented to Ian Drennan, ACP, PhD

Established in 1995 to honour the contributions of Dr. Lou Siminovitch and Dr. Robert Salter, eminent researchers, founders, and mentors to the Institute of Medical Science, this award is presented annually to a recently graduated IMS doctoral student who has made outstanding scholarly contributions during their program. 

Dr. Ian Drennan is this year's recipient of the Siminovitch-Salter award. Ian's background is somewhat distinct from the other recipients of this award as he is a paramedic specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto so it's exceptionally impressive that he elected to undertake PhD graduate work at the IMS working with Dr. Laurie Morrison while holding these and for that matter many other positions. Ian's project was aimed at developing a clinical prediction rule in order to facilitate early risk stratification for out of hospital life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest. He developed an adult model that was a significant improvement improvement over existing models and also developed a model for the unique pediatric population something that had not been done by anyone before. The external reviewer of Ian's thesis commented that it represents work of great importance for Canada and similar healthcare environments throughout the world and may after external validation stand as a model for many. 


Roncari Prize 

Presented to Sarah Watling, Alaa Youssef, Stephanie Tran, Rachel Dadouch

Established in 1995 to honour the memory of Dr. Daniel Roncari, who served as the Director of the Institute of Medical Science from 1980 to 1983, this award is presented to IMS students who have made significant contributions to the academic experience of graduate students. 

Sarah Watling joined the University of Toronto's academic community in 2012 when she enrolled in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and competed on the women's varsity soccer team after participating in research studies through the sport medicine clinic. Sarah decided to pursue her Master's degree in the U of T's concussion research program after studying peripheral systems in physical brain trauma. Sarah shifted spaces for her PhD research. She is currently completing her Doctoral research at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health under the supervision of Dr. Isabelle Boileau. Her research is employing advanced brain imaging and peripheral blood sampling to understand the biological mechanisms underlying post-traumatic stress disorder. Throughout her PhD degree, Sarah has dedicated time to give back to the IMS through their work-study programs. In these positions, she has contributed greatly to several IMS projects including the Master's Futures project with Reinhart Reithmeier and more recently over the past year in the IMS Curriculum review. 


Alaa Youssef is a graduate student in the IMS and a research fellow at the Wilson Centre Temerty Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto. Her PhD research aims to identify ways to improve bariatric surgery long-term outcomes and care experiences for patients living with obesity. Under the supervision of Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, Alaa's doctoral thesis uses population-based analysis approach to predict bariatric patients long-term health-related quality of life outcomes after bariatric surgery and to create care pathways that enable personalized follow-up care. During her time as a student in IMS, Alaa has been involved in many IMS activities. She's been an active member of IMSSA, contributing to many of its very various events over time and has been involved in important institute work as a work-study student including the Master's Future project and more recently in the IMS curriculum review. 


Stephanie Tran is a third-year PhD student in Dr. Robert Chen's lab at Toronto Western hospital. Her research explores sensory-motor integration in older adults and people with Parkinson's disease focusing on balance and gait. This work is supported by the Parkinson's Canada Graduate Student Award and the Queen Elizabeth Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Stephanie is an active member of the IMS community, Previously she was IMSSA's Toronto Western Hospital Site Director. She is currently a team member on Raw Talk Podcast, U of T Talks, IMS Magazine and IMS Communications team. This year, she played a lead role to the launch of the new IMS website and Temerty Medicine Connect. Stephanie aims to use her passion for digital communication and social media to bring together the IMS community. 


Rachel Dadouch is a fourth year PhD student supervised by Dr. Rohan D'Souza and Dr. Janet Parsons at Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Michael's Hospital and in the Collaborative Specialization in Women's Health. Funded by Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral to honor Nelson Mandela, her work is in maternal fetal medicine address communication barriers in the clinical encounters between healthcare providers and plus-sized pregnant patients. Rachel has engaged in IMS community through former position on IMSSA as the Director of Community and Outreach and Co-President and currently through being a Senior Advisor to IMSSA, Coordinator of U of T Talks, Co-Founder of Let's Talk Grad Wellness, Content Creator on Raw Talk Podcast and a member of the EDI committee.



Sara Al-Bader Memorial Award 

Presented to Mina Mirjalili

Established by the IMS to honour the memory of Dr. Sara Al-Bader, a PhD student at the IMS, this award is presented annually to an international doctoral stream student who shows exceptional academic promise. 

Mina Mirjalili is completing her PhD program here at the Institute of Medical Science. Mina completed her Bachelor's in electrical engineering from the University of Tehran in Iran. Interested in the complexity of the nervous system, she then pursued her training in computational neuroscience and received a Master's degree in biomedical engineering also from the University of Tehran. In 2018, Mina joined a highly collaborative team under the supervision of Dr Tarek Rajji. As a PhD student working at the interface 
of theoretical and clinical neuroscience, Mina is interested in developing interdisciplinary approaches to explore complex brain mechanisms. The goal of her research is to evaluate the efficacy of brain stimulation and optimize its outcome as a therapeutic tool in brain disorders in particular Alzheimer's dementia. Her focus is to use machine learning to identify brain activity patterns that could serve as individualized targets for brain stimulation interventions resulting in enhancing memory performances in patients suffering from memory impairment. Now in addition to building her publication records and her great research, Mina also actively disseminates her findings at international conferences and several meetings. Mina has a broad experience in teaching and currently serves as TA in engineering courses at the University of Toronto. 

Laidlaw Manuscript Prize - Past Winners

J LaidlawThe Laidlaw Manuscript competition was established in 1985 to honour Dr. Jack Laidlaw, the founder of the Institute of Medical Science. Manuscript submissions are solicited from students and prizes are given to the two most outstanding manuscripts and presentations.

Year Award WInner
1995 Liqun Zhang
1996 Alan Dackiw

Chung-Wai Chow (Basic)

Matthew Feldkamp (Basic)

Sophie Dessureault (Clinical)


You Ming Lu (Basic)

Joan Ivanov (Clinical)


Robin Boushey (Basic)

Jennifer Jones (Clinical)


Robert Gryfe (Basic)
Linda Valenta (Clinical)

2001 Sevan Hopyan (Basic)
Philip Jong (Clinical)
2002 Joshua Kruger (Basic)
Tomasso Gori (Clinical)
2003 Lorraine Kalia (Basic)
Philip Jong (Clinical)
2004 Ross Ridsdale (Basic)
Anne-Claude Bedard (Clinical)
2005 Kristen Beard (Basic)
Edwin Chen (Clinical)
2006 Warren Lee (Basic)
Catherine Tansey (Clinical)
2007 Shirley Mei (Basic)
Tara Kennedy (Clinical)
2008 Christine Lau (Basic)
Hany Kashani (Clinical)
2009 Min Wang (Basic)
Prameet Sheth (Clinical)
2010 Jennifer Rilstone (Basic)
Faranak Farzan (Clinical)
2011 Brent Williams (Basic)
Barbara Haas (Clinical)
2012 Brian Ballios (Basic)
Christopher Tran (Clinical)
2013 Susan Armstrong (Basic)
Charles de Mestral (Clinical)
2014 Chung-Ho Leung (Basic)
Leanne De Souza(Clinical)
2015 Simon Kelley
Karineh Kazazian
2016 Robert D’Cruz
Vanessa Williams
2017 Abdikarin Abdullah
Xiao Zhao

Tamadher Alghamdi

Andrea Mariscal de Alba

2019 Uswa Shahzad
2020 N/A
2021 Jennifer Kwan

Alan Wu Poster Prize - Past Winners

The Alan Wu Poster Prize was established within the IMS in 1993. Dr. Alan Wu was a member of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto. He was well recognized for his research excellence, his passion for science and his strong belief in the value of translational medicine. His promising career was on an upward trajectory when he succumbed to a brain tumour. His wife Gillian Wu established this award in his honour with funds from the friends and associates of Dr. Alan Wu. The Alan Wu Poster Prizes are presented to the most outstanding poster presentations at the annual IMS Scientific Day. Participants prepare an abstract and poster. A pair of judges reviews and ranks the presentations.


Year Award WInner
1995 Alan Dackiw (Basic)
Nicholas Woolridge (Clinical)
1996 Eva Pizzoferrato (Basic)
Ally-Khan Somani (Basic)
Mary Jane Esplen (Clinical)

David Hackam (Basic)
Elizabeth McLeman (Clinical)


Lena Serghides (Basic)
Per Lundmark (Clinical)

1999 Lori Mutsaers (Basic)
Andreas Maetzel (Clinical)
2000 Wendy Whittle (Basic)
Jennifer Mandzia (Clinical)
2001 Antonio Finelli (Basic)
Rhonda Martinussen (Clinical)
2002 Rachel Khadaroo (Basic)
Aimee Nelson (Clinical)
2003 Caterina Di Ciano (Basic)
David Ashburn (Clinical)
2004 Stacey Pollock-Barziv (Basic)
Un Kyong Kwon (Clinical)
2005 Eric Vachon (Basic)
Sherina Tabassum (Clinical)
2006 Simone Birch (Basic)
Prameet Sheth (Clinical)
2007 Simone Birch (Basic)
Prameet Sheth (Clinical)
2008 Matthew Zulys (Basic)
Adrian Laxton (Clinical)
2009 Greer Kirshenbaum (Basic)
David Kideckel (Clinical)
2010 Nadia Sachewsky (Basic)
Massieh Moayedi (Clinical)
2011 Mark Moon (Basic)
Marko Skrtic (Clinical)
2012 Mohammed Sabri (Basic)
Crystal Chan (Clinical)
2013 Amanda Ali (Basic)
Seham Chaker (Clinical)
2014 Cynthia Luk (Basic)
Danielle DeSouza (Clinical)

Shayne Greenberg (Basic)
Jaime Sklar (Clinical)

2016 Angela Brijmohan
Fatima Jessa
2017 Laura Best
Vanessa Williams
2018 Lauren Philp 
Archita Srinath
2019 Lina Elfaki
Sara Mirali
2020 N/A
2021 Heather Brooks
Jesse Joynt


Siminovitch-Salter Award - Past Winners

Siminovitch and SalterThe Siminovitch-Salter Award was established in 1995 to honour the contributions of Dr. Lou Siminovitch and Dr. Robert Salter to the Institute of Medical Science. It is awarded annually to a graduating IMS doctoral student who has made outstanding scholarly contributions. The endowment represents contributions by Mount Sinai Hospital, the University of Toronto Department of Surgery and the Institute of Medical Science. The recipient is nominated by their supervisor and selected by the IMS Graduate Coordinators.

Year Award WInner
1995 Lea Fialkow
1996 Tom Waddell

Shitij Kapur


Vivek Rao

1999 You Ming Lu
2000 David Alter
Ian McGilvray
2001 Robert Gryfe
2002 Lena Serghides
2003 Jane Batt
Chaim Bell
2004 Michael Salman
2005 Karen Badour

Gavin Oudit

2007 Theo Moraes
2008 Tony Yeung

Narveen Jandu

2010 Viviane Labrie

Aristotle Voineskos

2012 Dominique McMahon

Taryn Grieder


Vinod Chandran

2015 Nathan Kolla
2016  Ashleigh Tuite
2017 Sean Nestor
2018 Kevin Grace
2019 Stephen Wright

Ayesh Seneviratne

2021 Ian Drennan

Whiteside Award - Past Winners

WhitesideThe Whiteside Award was established in 2003 to honour the contributions of Dr. Catharine Whiteside to the Institute of Medical Science. It is awarded annually to a graduating IMS Master of Science student who has made outstanding scholarly contributions. The recipient is nominated by their supervisor and defense committee and is selected by the IMS Graduate Coordinators.

Year Award WInner
2003 Joyce Ching

Joan Krepinsky


Gwyneth Zai


Rachel Mitchell


Kinh-Tung Thi Nguyen

2008 Barbara Bachtiary
2009 Aoife Waters
2010 Udi Blankstein
2011 Karen Lim
2012 David MacLean
2013 Emily Lam
2014 Brittany Rosenbloom
2015 Ronnie Har
2016 Romnan Reznikov

Karen Gomez Hernandez

2018 Laura Stefanik
2019 Benjamin Markowitz
2020  Victoria Mintsopoulos
2021 Alexandria King

Roncari Prize - Past Winners

RoncariThe Roncari Prize was established in 1995 to honour the memory of Dr. Daniel Roncari. It is presented to an IMS student (or students) who has made significant contributions to the academic experience of graduate students. The recipient(s) is chosen by the IMS Graduate Coordinators.

Year Award WInner
1995 Shona Torrance
1996 Graham Slaughter

Jodi Dickstein


Jodi Dickstein

1999 Graham Slaughter
2000 Tony Lee
2001 Brenda Gamble
2002 Joyce Ching
Cristoforo Silvestri
2003 Gabriela Farcas
2004 Valerie Caraiscos
2005 Samir Patel
Prameet Sheth
2006 Fiona Lovegrove
2007 Narveen Jandu
2008 David Kideckel
Lucy Shin
2009 Jennifer Charlesworth
Duncan Chege

Diana Choi

2011 Zeynep Yilmaz
2012 Ilyse Darwish
2013 Richard Foty
2014 Rageen Rajendram
Natalie Venier
2015 Susith Kulasekara
2016  Annette Ye

Petri Takkala


Fadl Nabbouh 

Craig Madho


Jonathon Chio


Laura Best
Michelle Dubinsky

2021 Sarah Watling
Alaa Youssef
Stephanie Tran
Rachel Dadouch

Sara Al-Bader Memorial Award - Past Winners

Sara Al-Bader The Sara Al-Bader Memorial Award was established by the Institute of Medical Science to honour the memory of Dr. Sara Al-Bader, a PhD student at the IMS whose thesis was entitled: Science-Based Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The award will be presented annually at Scientific Day to an international doctoral stream student who shows exceptional academic promise. The recipient is chosen by the IMS Graduate Coordinators.

Year Award WInner
2012 Phan Sok
2013 Fabio Salamanca-Buentello
2014 Cornelia McCormick
2015 S. Fatima Lakha
2016 Pratiek Matkar
2017 Antigona Ulndreaj
2018 Beatrice Ballarin
2019 Tahani Baakdhah

Jonas Osmann

2021 Mina Mirjalili