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About Sickkids
About SickKids

June 18, 2013

Little scores big at the Canadian Student Health Research Forum

By Hannah Sunderani

Top honours go to Dustin Little, a current research trainee in the Molecular Structure & Function program at SickKids, who won two prestigious awards at this year’s Canadian Student Health Research Forum (CSHRF) in Winnipeg.  The CSHRF, now in its twenty-sixth year, provides a venue for health research trainees from across Canada to present their research and be recognized for their contributions.  

Little was awarded with the top overall award of the conference, the Lindau Award, which goes to the top student who demonstrates the best research poster, and an outstanding abstract and curriculum vitae. “Receiving the Lindau Award is a great accomplishment,” said Dr. Lynne Howell, Head and Senior Scientist, Molecular Structure & Function. “It also is great accomplishment for SickKids as it shows we have top line students doing research at our hospital.”  

As the recipient of the Lindau Award, Little received a monetary prize and an invitation to represent Canada at the 2014 Nobel Laureates Meeting in Lindau, Germany. The CSHRF will fund the trip. At the meeting, Little will present his research to 600 guests and 30 Nobel Laureates.

Little’s current research at SickKids on bacterial biofilms, which pose a significant medical problem because of their resistance to antibiotics among other things. Little also received a gold award for his poster. Out of the 80 students selected to attend the conference he was one of 14 to receive a poster award; and one of seven to receive gold.
“When I received the awards I couldn’t even believe it. I felt so fortunate,” Little said. “Our work is more basic research; we’re looking at protein biochemistry from the front lines. I think this award recognizes the importance of basic science research in health care.”

“It’s a huge opportunity for Dustin to meet individuals that have made outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, physiology and medicine,” said Howell, “I know he will do a fantastic job at representing SickKids, U of T and Canada at this meeting.”

Little is grateful to Dr. Howell for having a significant role in his achievements. “Dr. Howell nominated me for this conference and helped review my submission. She is very involved in my research and is a fantastic mentor.”

He is also thankful to the Régis Pomès lab and Mark Nitz lab for their contributions towards his research, as well as U of T, the Ontario Government and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the studentships he has received from these sources. Little hopes his new achievements will open doors for a career in research.
“I love doing research and I would like to continue down this path. I would be honoured to be given a faculty position somewhere. I am hoping the Lindau Award will give me the chance to expand my network, and help me achieve this dream.”