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About Sickkids
About SickKids

August 19, 2010

SickKids researchers among Early Researcher Award recipients

At his first official event as Minister of Research and Innovation, Honourable Glen Murray recognized the researchers in downtown Toronto, including two from SickKids, benefitting from this year’s Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Award program.

“I am proud of the tremendous talent we have in Toronto – a research powerhouse in Ontario. Our government is helping researchers make discoveries that will ensure a better quality of life for Ontarians and people around the world,” said Murray

SickKids researchers Dr. Paul Nathan and Dr. Simon Sharpe are among 80 emerging researchers from across Ontario receiving more than $11 million through the Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Early Researcher Awards program. Researchers will receive up to $140,000 each through the program.

Nathan, an Associate Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences and an Oncologist at SickKids is creating a comprehensive database of children and adolescents treated for cancer in Ontario over a 20-year period. This registry is expected to become an important resource for examining acute outcomes in children with cancer, and for understanding the long-term physical and psychological challenges faced by the growing population of childhood cancer survivors.

Sharpe, a Scientist in Molecular Structure & Function at SickKids, is researching the interaction between tetherin and the HIV-1 virus. The protein tetherin protects our bodies by preventing cells infected by certain viruses from releasing new virus particles into the rest of the body. Some viruses, however, can fight back. The HIV-1 virus, for instance, has a protein that can overcome tetherin’s protective effect. Sharpe’s research could lead to new antiviral therapies.

At the event, Dr. Michael Salter, Head and Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health, thanked the government of Ontario and acknowledged the great research being done at SickKids, especially by Nathan and Sharpe.

“These two young researchers exemplify the breadth of research happening at SickKids from fundamental knowledge to applied research. Because of funding like this from the Ontario Government, we are able to achieve our main goal of using new knowledge to improve the health outcomes of children,” said Salter.

The Early Researcher Award (ERA) program helps promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent.