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CHEO Research Institute Celebrates Its Leading Lights

Research Awards recognize dedication to excellence, integrity and collaboration

OTTAWA, December 21, 2017
– The CHEO Research Institute celebrated five of its staff members with the presentation of its Research Awards, recognizing the recipients’ dedication to making discoveries today for healthier kids tomorrow. Creating a dynamic learning environment, invaluable contribution and tremendous skill are just a few ways that award recipients were described by their nominators.

Dr. Dennis Bulman
, Program Director for Molecular Biomedicine, was recognized as Outstanding Research Mentor. His ability to inspire and encourage others to succeed is integral to fulfilling the CHEO Research Institute’s mission. Dr. Bulman has created an excellent learning environment, allowing those under him to explore beyond the boundaries of their current knowledge. His many nominators emphasized his patience, his encouragement and how willing he is to share his knowledge with others. He is truly helping to create the next generation of outstanding pediatric researchers.

Embodying the Research Institute’s core values is JoAnne Whittingham, who was awarded Outstanding Research Coordinator for her work with the Child Hearing Lab. It takes a lot of skill and organization to see a research project from inception through to publication and JoAnne’s capacity in this area was emphasized by her nominators. She was also singled out for her meticulous work and her training of post-secondary and graduate students.

For the Outstanding Investigator award, the judging panel was looking for someone whose publications, national or international reputation and discoveries had the potential to impact healthcare for children at CHEO and beyond. In Dr. Ahmed Nasr, Pediatric Surgeon and a Clinical Researcher, they found all of this and more. Not only was he part of 11 peer-reviewed publications in 2017 alone, he also gathered a skilled team and secured funding this year to produce the Patient and Family Decision Aids, evidence-based tools that facilitate shared decision making in healthcare between patients, families, surgeons and the entire care team.

Matthew Michalicka was awarded the Outstanding Research Trainee Award. Matthew is in his second year of an MSc thesis project that is focused on therapeutic approaches to treating neuroblastoma. He is the epitome of a young researcher truly embracing the work. Throughout his short tenure, Matthew has demonstrated an incredible passion and dedication for research.

An award that is held in high regard across the Research Institute is the Spirit of the RI because it recognizes someone who approaches work with immense dedication. Victor Konji received the Spirit of the RI award this year for his work with the CHEO Pediatric Bone Health and Orthopedics Research Team. Victor’s extensive knowledge of team operations and willingness to do anything to get the job done has earned him the nickname ‘Wiki-Victor’ by his team members. His tremendous attention to detail and integrity as well as his sense of responsibility and initiative made him a perfect choice for the Spirit of the RI award.

“These CHEO Research Institute staff members truly embody the mission and values of the organization and we’re fortunate to work with such passionate and talented people,” said Dr. Martin Osmond. “I know the judging committees for these awards were hard-pressed to choose just one recipient. I congratulate all of the award winners and thank their nominators for their enthusiasm for the Research Awards.”

And the winners are:
Outstanding Research Mentor               Dr. Dennis Bulman
Outstanding Research Coordinator       JoAnne Whittingham
Outstanding Investigator                       Dr. Ahmed Nasr
Outstanding Research Trainee              Matthew Michalicka
Spirit of the RI                                      Victor Konji
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