Scientific Day Student Awards

2022 Award Winners:

See the accordions below for the list of award winners from 1995 - 2021.  

Whiteside Award

Presented to Muzammil Syed, 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. 

Muzammil Syed

Muzammil Syed obtained his Bachelor of Sciences from McMaster University, and then completed a MSc under the co-supervision of Drs. Mohammed Al-Omran and Charles de Mestral. His thesis focused on ascertaining the hospital-level burden of diabetic foot ulcers across Canada using nation-wide administrative health databases. Muzammil’s graduate research work was jointly supported by a CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master's (CGS M) award and a Banting & Best Diabetes Centre-Novo Nordisk Studentship, and also received several accolades and awards at major national conferences. Outside of research and medicine, Muzammil is an avid athlete and a fervent reader with a diverse range of interests that spans tech, philosophy, and business, among others.

Siminovitch-Salter Award 

Presented to Jennifer Kwan, MD, 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. 

Jennifer Kwan

Dr. Jennifer Kwan studied in the Undergraduate Pathobiology Specialist Program at the University of Toronto (2008-11), graduated from Queen’s University School of Medicine (2011-15), joined the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at the University of Toronto in 2015, and completed her PhD (2017-21) during her residency through the Institute of Medical Science and Clinician Investigator Program at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include investigating novel biomarkers and regenerative medicine solutions for tissue repair in fibrosis and lymphedema. During her PhD, she received the CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (1 of 57 nationally) and the European Radiation Research Society Young Investigator Award (1 of 15 internationally). Furthermore, she has recently been a Plenary Abstract Speaker at 2021 CARO, recipient of the 2021 ASTRO Resident Recognition Award (1 of 3 internationally), and recipient of the 2022 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) Young Investigator Award (1 of 5 internationally).

Roncari Prize 

Presented to Kayvan Aflaki and Serena Peck.

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. 

Kayvan Aflaki

Kayvan Aflaki is a Master of Science student with an interest in the intersection of perinatal epidemiology, pharmaceutical utilization, analytical clustering methods and machine learning in clinical and population health risk prediction. His graduate research is a retrospective review of maternal mortality in Ontario being completed in partnership with the Ontario Coroner. Under the mentorship of Dr. Joel Ray, a clinician-scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, Kayvan has published his graduate research in several peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and CMAJ. His research has been cited by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Beyond his robust academic portfolio, he has served as the 2021-22 IMS Students’ Association Co-President, an organizer of the Ori Rotstein Lecture in Translational Research, and a Show Host on RawTalk Podcast. In 2017, Kayvan represented 15,000 Canadian undergraduate students at the United Nations’ Youth Assembly. He is also co-founder of the Healthcare Innovation Challenge.

Serena Peck

Serena Peck is a Master of Science student supervised by Dr. Dinesh Thavendiranathan, Director of the Ted Rogers Program in Cardiotoxicity Prevention at University Health Network. Serena’s graduate research is composed of three projects evaluating factors associated with end of treatment cardiac function and cardiorespiratory fitness and the effect of exercise in women with breast cancer. Her research is supported by the Queen Elizabeth II/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. Serena was the runner-up for the International Cardio-Oncology Society’s 2021 Young Investigator Award at the 2021 Global Cardio-Oncology Summit. Beyond her academic work, Serena is the IMS Students’ Association Co-President, Journalist for IMS Magazine, and leadership member on UofT Talks among many other University of Toronto extracurriculars. Outside of the IMS, Serena is a consultant for the Canadian Youth Committee to the World Health Assembly and Co-Founder of an organization promoting cycling advocacy in northwest Toronto.

Sara Al-Bader Memorial Award 

Presented to Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar.

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. 

Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar

Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar is a medical doctor (MD) by training from Tehran University of Medical Science (TUMS) and is currently a PhD candidate in the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) at the University of Toronto. She received her master's (MSc) in Cognitive Neuroscience from Trento University, Italy, and the Donders Institute, the Netherlands.

In 2017, Neda joined a highly collaborative team under the supervision of Dr. Aristotle Voineskos at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She has conducted her PhD project as part of Canada's largest-ever funded study for Alzheimer's prevention, where she investigated structural and functional MRI scans in the population at-risk of Alzheimer's dementia. Neda received the Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) Doctoral Award for her studies. The results from her studies are now published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals. 

Neda has also served the IMS community as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the IMS-International Community, a community for current and prospective international students, alumni, post-docs or post-doctoral fellows, and faculty in the IMS at the University of Toronto. Neda’s rich international experience has helped her identify the need for creating a global community for IMS graduate students.

Laidlaw Manuscript Prize 

Presented to Akihiro Nakamura. 
The 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 a prize is given to the most outstanding manuscript and presentation.

Atsuhiro Hibi

Akihiro Nakamura, PhD Candidate, received the Laidlaw Manuscript Prize for his paper and presentation on: "Macrophage migration inhibitor factor drives pathology of spondyloarthritis"
PI: Dr. Nigil Haroon

Alan Wu Poster Prize

Presented to Rowaida Hussein and Sarah Watling.
The Alan Wu Poster Prize was established 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 IMS Scientific Day. Participants prepare an abstract and poster. A pair of judges reviews and ranks the presentations.

Sarah Watling

Sarah Watling, PhD Candidate, Poster Presentation: "Translocator Protein in Occupational Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Preliminary Findings Using the [18F]FEPPA PET Radioligand"

Rowaida Hussein

Rowaida Hussein, MSc Student, Poster Presentation: "Biallelic Loss of Function Mutations in PYGM Cause Presumed Nonsyndromic Macular Dystrophy"

Past Award Winners

1995 - 2021

Laidlaw Manuscript Prize 

The 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 most outstanding manuscript(s) and presentation(s).

Year Award Winner

1995

Liqun Zhang

1996

Alan Dackiw

1997

Chung-Wai Chow (Basic)

Matthew Feldkamp (Basic)

Sophie Dessureault (Clinical)

1998

You Ming Lu (Basic)

Joan Ivanov (Clinical)

1999

Robin Boushey (Basic)

Jennifer Jones (Clinical)

2000

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

2018

Tamadher Alghamdi

Andrea Mariscal de Alba

2019

Uswa Shahzad

2020

N/A

2021

Jennifer Kwan

Alan Wu Poster Prize 

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)

1997

David Hackam (Basic)
Elizabeth McLeman (Clinical)

1998

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)

2015

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 

The 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

1997

Shitij Kapur

1998

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

2006

Gavin Oudit

2007

Theo Moraes

2008

Tony Yeung

2009

Narveen Jandu

2010

Viviane Labrie

2011

Aristotle Voineskos

2012

Dominique McMahon

2013

Taryn Grieder

2014

Vinod Chandran

2015

Nathan Kolla

2016

 Ashleigh Tuite

2017

Sean Nestor

2018

Kevin Grace

2019

Stephen Wright

2020

Ayesh Seneviratne

2021

Ian Drennan

Whiteside Award

The 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

2004

Joan Krepinsky

2005

Gwyneth Zai

2006

Rachel Mitchell

2007

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

2017

Karen Gomez Hernandez

2018

Laura Stefanik

2019

Benjamin Markowitz

2020

 Victoria Mintsopoulos

2021

Alexandria King

Roncari Prize 

The 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

1997

Jodi Dickstein

1998

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

2010

Diana Choi

2011

Zeynep Yilmaz

2012

Ilyse Darwish

2013

Richard Foty

2014

Rageen Rajendram
Natalie Venier

2015

Susith Kulasekara

2016

 Annette Ye

2017

Petri Takkala

2018

Fadl Nabbouh 

Craig Madho

2019

Jonathon Chio

2020

Laura Best
Michelle Dubinsky

2021

Sarah Watling
Alaa Youssef
Stephanie Tran
Rachel Dadouch

Sara Al-Bader Memorial Award

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

2020

Jonas Osmann

2021

Mina Mirjalili