The BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Research Institute Announce the 2022 Rising Star Recipients!
September 28, 2022
Found in News
Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural BC Cancer Rising Stars Awards!
The Rising Stars program was established to celebrate Dr. Connie Eaves’ Gairdner Wightman Award, her election to the Royal Society in the UK and her appointment to the Order of Canada. A pioneer in her field, Dr. Eaves has been a mentor to many young researchers at BC Cancer and a long-time advocate for equal opportunities in cancer research.
To honour this legacy, the awards are dedicated to the advancement of the next generation of women and BIPOC leaders in research at BC Cancer.
Funding for the awards was made possible through generous donor support via the BC Cancer Foundation.
The 2022 Rising Star Recipients are:
- Itzel Renee Astiazaran Rascon, Molecular Oncology
- Sarah Dada, Genome Sciences Centre
- Leo Escano, Terry Fox Lab
- Dylan Farnsworth, Integrative Oncology
- Jagbir Kaur, Nursing and Allied Health
- Lorenzo Lindo, Terry Fox Lab
- Manideep Pachva, Molecular Oncology
- Prakruti Uday, Terry Fox Lab
- Elahe Shenasa, Pathology
- Joyce Zhang, Molecular Oncology
Learn about the 2022 Rising Stars Recipients
Itzel Reneé Astiazarán Rascón
Born in Mexico, Itzel studied clinical chemistry at the University of Sonora where she received her bachelor’s degree. She then moved to Switzerland to complete her master’s in pharmaceutical sciences at ETH Züirch. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in Interdisciplinary Oncology at BC Cancer/UBC.
“Everyone at BC Cancer is very supportive and helps us as young scientists to realize our potential. Its exciting being part of a cutting-edge research institution and working together with bright scientists and students to help move the field of cancer research forward”
– Itzel Reneé Astiazarán Rascón
Sarah is a third year PhD candidate in Dr. Steven Jones’ laboratory at BC Cancer. Sarah’s research investigates the use of new genetic sequencing methods to uncover genetic changes and other DNA modifications that relate to both Autism Spectrum Disorders and Cancer risk. The methods can be used to improve personalized treatment in both diseases.
“As a student, I learn a lot from listening and watching how all these great scientists think. The more that I’m exposed to the research happening at BC Cancer, the more impressed I am by the diverse goals, their complexity, and the outcomes of the research.”
– Sarah Dada
Leo is Filipino-Canadian who was born in Vancouver and became enamored with the sciences as a child. After first joining the Kuchenbauer lab in 2018 as co-op student, Leo is now a graduate student studying molecular mechanisms that potentially contribute to the oncogenicity of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to conduct research at BC Cancer as its goal aligns with my main interest: to translate research done in the lab into treatments for patients in the clinic. I am driven by a combination of scientific curiosity to advance our current knowledge of different cancers, and a desire to spread awareness of the roles that underrepresented ethnic minorities can have in academia.”
– Leo Escano
Dylan is a third year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Oncology Program at UBC, studying lung cancer in the lab of Dr. Will Lockwood at the BC Cancer Research Center. Using a functional genomics approach, they hope to uncover novel vulnerabilities in lung adenocarcinoma resistant to targeted therapies.
“At the BC Cancer Research Centre, I am most excited about the collaborative work environment and the social environment fostered by the student societies. And am driven by the opportunity to perform high quality scientific research.”
– Dylan Farnsworth
Jagbir is a Clinical Nurse Specialist within the Nursing and Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation Department at BC Cancer. Her dissertation research will examine the unmet needs of Panjabi-Sikh cancer patients during treatment to inform system level strategies to address gaps in care and fill unmet needs of one of BC’s largest visible minority groups.
“Nurses and allied health professionals bring a unique perspective and are implored to ask particular kinds of research questions. And I am excited by the growing attention to equity-centered research that has, and continues to build, our collective understanding of cancer related inequities experienced by some individuals and populations.”
– Jagbir Kaur
Lorenzo is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Oncology at UBC. In 2019, he joined the lab of Dr. Kevin Hay in the Terry Fox Laboratory, focusing on learning more about immunotherapy and translational research. His thesis work focuses on developing novel immunotherapies for cancer, with a current focus on CAR T-cells for multiple myeloma.
“Talent from all over the world is recruited to BC Cancer and I am excited to be able to work with and learn from so many knowledgeable mentors and colleagues. I am dedicated to developing new, more-effective therapies with a more favourable safety profile – to improve the lives of people living through and beyond their cancer diagnoses.”
– Lorenzo Lindo
Born and raised in Suryapet, India, Manideep is a Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Oncology under the supervision of Dr. Poul Sorensen at BC Cancer. At BC Cancer, he is working on a research project that deals with elucidating the role of non-coding RNAs in various types of cancers, including the Ewing sarcoma.
“BC Cancer fosters world-class cancer research, with labs working to target various type of cancers using multidisciplinary approaches. This allows me to form collaborations with cancer experts in different research areas in order to get a panoramic view of the novel and aberrant mechanisms in cancer, such that a promising therapeutic intervention can be devised.”
– Manideep Pachva
Elahe is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Oncology Program (IOP), supervised by Dr. Torsten Nielsen. In her graduate program, she is focusing on implementing new technologies to discover immune biomarkers that are capable of guiding treatment decisions in breast cancer and sarcomas.
“My goal is to make a positive difference in cancer patients’ lives and this motivates me every day to become a better cancer researcher. I feel that there is no program better than IOP that fosters the integration of scientists from different disciplines in a collaborative environment such as at BC Cancer.”
– Elahe Shenasa
After pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at UBC, Prakruti is currently a graduate student in Dr. Andrew Weng’s lab at Terry Fox Lab in the Interdisciplinary Oncology program. Her research is focused on understanding how the mutational and epigenetic landscapes of follicular lymphoma can predispose cells to large cell transformation.
“I hope to ultimately gain a better understanding of elusive biological phenomena that may shed insight on novel therapeutic targets to alleviate patient suffering. It is inspiring and exciting to be surrounded by diverse research and brilliant scientists who make me feel supported and valued so early in my research career.”
– Prakruti Uday
After completing an undergraduate summer studentship and her Masters at BC Cancer, Joyce is now a third year MD/PhD student at UBC in Dr. David Huntsman’s lab studying DICER1 syndrome with novel murine model and single cell sequencing.
“Curiosity and the potential for discovery is what motivates me to pursue science. And I am excited by BC Cancer’s collaborative and interdisciplinary research.”
– Joyce Zhang