Skip to Main Content Go to Sitemap

The Garron Family Cancer Centre

Education & Training

Training Programs

Successful candidates complete a two-year cancer research-focused training program. A third year may be considered in exceptional circumstances.


The GFCC Research Fellowship is open to physicians trainees. Eligibility is also extended to nursing and allied health professionals pursuing their Master's or PhD degree.

How to apply

  1. Complete the GFCC Trainee Application 
  2. Submit Current CV 
  3. Submit two professional letters of reference to
  4. Have supervisor complete the GFCC Fellowship Supervisor Application 
  5. Submit one supervisor letter of support

Note: A supervisor and primary project must be identified at the time of application.


  • Fellowship Academic Year: July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024
  • Submission Deadline: October 14, 2022 - 11:59 p.m.
  • Selection Committee Review: October
  • Program Acceptance: An email notification will be forwarded to your email address in November.

Fellowship Deferral

The GFCC Research Fellowship can be deferred up to a maximum of 1 year. A written letter advising of deferral is required and include signature from fellow and supervisor.

Fellowship Requirements

Research undertaken must be cancer-related and fellows are required to participate in GFCC research seminars related to their research interests and as their schedules allow from the outset of their fellowship. As part of the fellowship, clinical fellows may be required to commit up to 10% of their time to clinical activities during research training.

Fellowship Expectations

A progress report must be provided by March 31 of the first year research is undertaken and then in the final year of the fellowship.

Acknowledge the Garron Family Cancer Centre in all presentations, invited/submitted poster sessions etc. and use the GFCC logo for such occasions.

Fellows must inform the GFCC in writing of any future applications for funding, publications, new findings or conclusions drawn from the project or the experience that was gained through the GFCC Fellowship opportunity.


Fellows will be paid at the PGY5 salary level.

Supervisor Contribution

Supervisors are required to provide salary support in the amount of $20,500 per annum.  Please note this contribution requirement is subject to change based on PGME salary increases. If fellow receives external funding (e.g. Hold'em For Life, CSTP) the awarded funds will be deducted from the supervisor contribution.

Fellowship Oversight Committee

A formal Fellowship Oversight Committee (FOC) is to be established to mentor and guide fellow in the first year. The FOC is composed of at least 3 individuals including fellowship supervisor, a mentor for the fellow’s clinical and general career development, and a mentor with expertise in the particular area of research that is being pursued by the fellow. There may be additional mentors who are also members of FOC. The specific goals of FOC are:

  • To meet with the fellow a minimum of 2 times per year to review fellows work to date and provide mentorship as needed.


Fellowship Overview  

As an innovator in paediatric oncology, the Garron Family Cancer Centre (GFCC) is looking to develop future leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The field of AI/ML utilizes algorithms and software to develop complex models to better employ data to support care and develop innovative solutions and is a growing field in healthcare.  

The GFCC AI Fellowship will focus on the use of AI/ML to inform patient and systems-based practices for best care of paediatric oncology patients and will span prioritization of clinical questions and scenarios, model development and deployment, and implementation. The successful candidate must have an interest in working with large datasets, statistics, quality improvement and implementation science.  


  • Fellowship is open to clinical applicants who:
    • Have completed a clinical fellowship in paediatric haematology/oncology
  • Prior coding experience is an asset but not required. Applicants must have a willingness to learn coding and take part in AI or ML courses to build and apply coding skills throughout the fellowship.


  • Fellowship Academic Year: July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024 *or off cycle if selected candidate can start earlier than July 1, 2023
  • Submission Deadline: October 14, 2022 - 11:59 p.m.
  • Selection Committee Review: October
  • Program Acceptance: An email notification will be forwarded to your email address in November.

Fellowship Requirements

  • Applicant must source two supervisors:
    • Clinical Supervisor: from the oncology practice area to support content expertise.
    • Technical Supervisor: whose lab or research area includes AI and ML. Technical Supervisor can be external to SickKids if proven leader in the AI/ML field.  
  • Applicants are not required to have a project or model to develop at beginning of fellowship.
  • Expectation that up to 10% of time is spent in clinical work in keeping with the professional role of the fellow.
  • Introductory courses in AI and ML are requirements of fellowship and encouraged to be completed in first 3 months of fellowship, suggested courses include:
  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • AI in Healthcare Specialization


  • Two year fellowship
  • Academic year July 1 – June 30


  • PGY5 Salary 
  • Laptop will be provided

Application Requirements

Fellowship Oversight Committee (FOC)

  • Fellows are required to establish a formal FOC that will include supervisors, one to two mentors in ML/AI and one to two members from lab who collaborate on project.
  • The goal of the FOC is to initially help the fellow establish learning goals thereby setting up a mentorship plan to support skill development in AL/ML.
  • The FOC is required to meet bimonthly in the first year of the fellowship and quarterly in the second year.

Progress Report

  • Fellow will be required to submit a progress report by December 1 and June 1 of each fellowship year.
  • Coding knowledge will be evaluated as part of the progress report at the conclusion of first year of fellowship.

Fellowship Expectations

At the end of the fellowship, it is expected that fellows will be able to identify relevant practice questions, understand data resources and work with AI/ML experts in developing and refining models, analyze results and translate to clinical practice.

Learn more about the Core Paediatric General Haematology/Oncology fellowship  from the Division of Haematology/Oncology.

Learn more about the Departmental Paediatric Haematology/Oncology fellowship from the Division of Haematology/Oncology.

The Division of Hematology/Oncology Clinical and GFCC Research Fellowship is a four-year combined fellowship opportunity for physicians. The GFCC Research Fellowship component begins after the completion of two years of clinical training.


Physician trainees awarded a two-year clinical fellowship by the Division of Haematology/Oncology.

Application Requirements

  1. Division of Haematology/Oncology Fellowship Application 
  2. Current CV
  3. Two professional letters of reference
  4. GFCC Fellowship Trainee Application
  5. GFCC Fellowship Supervisor Application 
  6. One supervisor letter of support


  • Fellowship Academic Year start: July 1, 2023
  • Submission Deadline: September 30, 2022 11:59 p.m.
  • Selection Committee Review: October
  • Program Acceptance: An email notification will be forwarded to your email address between October and November.

Learn more about the Basic Science/Investigator Fellowship offered through the SickKids Research Institute Research Training Centre (RTC).

Current GFCC Research Fellows

Dr. Ncedile Mankahla 

Supervisor: Dr. Michael Taylor

Investigating the role of myeloid and tissue resident macrophages in medulloblastoma metastases

Existing data shows that unlike adult brain tumors and non-brain solid tumors, there are relatively few immune cells infiltrating childhood brain tumors, even the malignant types.
The most abundant cells observed are macrophages. Effector T-cells which are the main cell type that can kill tumors are relatively excluded. My objective is to use genetically engineered mouse models of medulloblastoma, which form tumors that resemble human medulloblastoma in an immune competent mouse, to investigate the relationship between macrophages and the tumor environment. The aim is to investigate macrophage communication with the environment to understand their role in T-cell exclusion and discover the biological roles played by tissue resident and infiltrating macrophages in medulloblastoma metastasis. We use single cell RNA sequencing to explore the gene signatures that determine functional programming of macrophages. The goal is to discover pharmacologically targetable biological pathways that can help reprogram macrophages to aid in tumor elimination instead of impeding it. Current knowledge has also highlighted important differences in macrophage cell-types in the brain and the differing roles that each cell type plays in cancer progression. Any meaningful targeting of macrophages will need to account for these specialized cell types for improved specificity and reduced toxicity of treatment. The first part of my project has been the use of our single cell sequencing data to match macrophage gene expression signatures with public reference atlases to identify the specialized cell types so that they can be specifically investigated for their biological roles in cancer. The second stage will be identification and testing of specific biological pathways that will help reprogram these cell types for anti-tumor activity.

Dr. Raizl Gruda Sussman

Supervisor: Dr. Walter Kahr

The role of ANKRD26 in megakaryocyte development and hematopoietic malignancy

Inherited thrombocytopenia 2 is an autosomal dominant disorder which presents as thrombocytopenia and increased risk for leukemia. This disorder is caused by genetic alterations in the promoter region of ANKRD26 which is normally regulated by RUNX1/FLI1. The cellular function of ANKRD26 is not well understood but insights into its possible role in neoplastic transformation have recently come from studies linking this protein to centrioles which are an important component in cell cycle.

Megakaryocytes are large cells that reside in the bone marrow and are the source for platelets in the blood stream. As megakaryocytes mature, they undergo several rounds of endomitosis to produce large polyploid nuclei. We hypothesize that the thrombocytopenia in these patients is linked to abnormalities in endomitosis and other aspects of megakaryocyte development required for platelet production.

The goal of our research project is to understand the cellular function of ANKRD26 and the effects of aberrant expression of this protein on megakaryocyte development and malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells. This knowledge will provide insights into the cellular basis of ANKRD26- related malignancy and point the way to potential new treatment targets.  


Image of Inci Yaman

Dr. Inci Yaman

Supervisor: Dr. Eric Bouffet

Visual Rehabilitation for Children and Adolescents with Visual Field Deficits

A number of children with supratentorial tumours suffer from visual field deficits that affect their daily activities. Homonymous hemianopia (HH) develops after a chiasmatic or post-chiasmatic injury. It is the most frequent cortical visual impairment leading to a loss of conscious vision in the contra-lesional hemifield of both eyes. Several studies demonstrated that hemianopia patients could improve visual perception in the damaged hemifield when auditory and visual stimuli originated from the same spatial position at the same time. Modern low-vision rehabilitation procedures for low-vision patients include biofeedback training to acquire better fixation skills. We hypothesize that 3D multiple object-tracking visual task (3D-MOT) audio-visual rehabilitation program using a virtual-reality device can be performed at home by hemianopia patients to improve their visual perception. To test this hypothesis, we will investigate the compliance with the Neurofy Research and Rehabilitation protocol and its effectiveness on visual perception in hemianopia patients. This project is intended to test the potential effectiveness of a visual rehabilitation protocol consisting of multiple series of audio-visual tasks performed in a virtual-reality environment. For the convenience of the patients and to limit commuting and visits to the hospital, the training regimen will be performed at home using the mobile and connected virtual-reality device Oculus Go, allowing the control of the rehabilitation protocol and data transfer in real-time through Wi-Fi connectivity. This pilot study may provide preliminary data for a subsequent randomized trial in a larger population of patients in Canada and/or internationally with an optimized rehabilitation protocol.

Patient and family resources

AboutKidsHealth Educational Resources

AboutKidsHealth is a health education website for children, youth and their caregivers. 

Photovoice Program

As leaders in child health, the oncology social workers at SickKids have implemented a therapeutic Photovoice group where teens meet weekly to record, reflect, and critique issues they have faced on their treatment journey.

Photovoice is a therapeutic photography program focused on creating a supportive peer-focused environment aimed at bringing a voice to teens with varying cancer diagnoses, while facilitating better communication between patients and their healthcare teams. A concurrent Photovoice group for teen siblings is also available. Photos from both groups are displayed at the annual Exhibition to kick off Cancer Awareness Week and are subsequently hung on clinic walls.


Veruca: Photo voice is a chance to, well, really give your photos a voice.

[Text on screen: Photovoice – Through the Eyes of Teens with Cancer]

[Music and camera lens shutters]

Bella: A captured image can mean a whole lot more than just one thing

Thea: Well it takes something that you can't really say in words so you can show to other people how you felt using a photo.

Brooke: In pictures you can really see what's happening.

Owen: The photography helped me express my feelings.

Sarah: Why they took that photo kind of like showcases their story in a way.

Noor: Cancer is a really tough experience to go through and sometimes you can't explain it through words.


Maryam: So we got to pick these themes and take photos of whatever we thought fit into that theme, or maybe didn't fit into that theme, but we thought related to it, and then present them to the group and just talk. It was a really nice moment just to discuss other parts of what we're going through.


Noor: Me and my mom would go on car rides together after I do chemotherapy. It kind of relaxes me and reminds me that I can still live a normal life even though I’m doing chemotherapy and I can still enjoy little things.

Sarah: I think the one that resonated with me the most is Strength and Weaknesses. Everybody like in their cancer journey had strengths and weaknesses. That photo [Referencing a photo of herself lying in bed with a face mask on] I felt the weakest, but everybody around me thought that I was the strongest. We all have this mask that we need to put on especially in front of our family. I don't want to show my family what I’m going through because they're already upset so it's better that I put this mask on and kind of like deal with it my own way or like cope with it in my own way.

Thea: I mean some pictures have a story behind it. [Referencing a photo of herself, without hair, lying in bed without a wig on] Like I didn't get out of bed that day and normally I put on makeup or my wig and that day I just couldn't do it and I felt like this out of body experience and I just didn't recognize me at all. I was like small and sick you know. A couple months later when I had hair and I was more me and I realized like the parallels of that as I was getting up and I’m like this is perfect so I took a picture. [Referencing a photo of herself with short hair, lying in bed smiling] Life after cancer is like living with the knowledge of knowing how a body can decay so that's how I felt in the first picture and then the second one I sort of came out from that.

Veruca: One of the themes that really resonated with me was Personality. You always know your personality, you know who you are. It's the one thing that no one can take from you. That something as crazy as cancer couldn't take from you. I enjoy listening to music and that helped me through treatment because it was just like a way to like escape. [Referencing a photo of a pair of earphones, held up infront of a hospital room curtain] You don't always have to pay attention to what's going on around you, whether you're in a hospital setting or not. Well I’m definitely grateful for the group. When I look back at some of the photos that I’ve taken I can see how far I’ve come.

Bella: You don't just learn about people's cancer diagnosis or the stuff that they've gone through, you understand like a part of their personality. We all had a different point of view, but we all went through the same thing. We lost our hair, we went through chemotherapy, we were constantly being poked. Well it represents coping to me because for me a big struggle through my whole cancer diagnosis was losing my hair. Well I feel like if you feel good and you feel confident in yourself it's a lot easier and when you feel good you look good and I feel like that just feeling comfortable myself with my wig on was really me coping.

Owen: The themes helped us narrow down what we wanted to do. "A New Normal" that that helped us explain of what we were and what we’re becoming, or what we're going to be. I was out late one night, I think it was around like midnight or whatever with my friends and we were out doing stupid stuff. I thought I was invincible. I just got into grade nine, I was sent down here and I had a highly aggressive stage four glioblastoma. My first stage of chemo didn't work but my second battle is working really well.

I wasn't such a nice person before being in the hospital. I was sad, I was depressed. And right now the new normal is I want to help as many people as I can. I talk to everybody, I’m absolutely radiant person, I love life. I don't care that I’m on a chemo drug or anything. I look past that. You have to, to survive. And it's a new normal.

Maryam: So the theme of strength and weaknesses resonated for me specifically, in that throughout what you go through, a cancer journey treatment and all the parts of it, I feel like a lot of people when they picture it can only think of the sadness or the weaknesses in a way. But there are a lot of strengths. And you come out of it and you gain a lot. You gain strength and you gain a new look on life. I think that I’m strong because of what I’ve gone through. So that photo [Referencing a photo of various colourful polaroid images and flowers on a table] I used polaroids of a trip I took with classmates to Nepal. It was a time in my life when I felt physically strong, out of treatment and in those photos or snapshots with me and my friends, and these beautiful moments on this trip, and it's moments that give me strength and motivation because these beautiful moments in life really exist. And it gave me strength to think back like, this can happen again. That this moment of beauty and this happiness that I experienced during that trip, it can happen again.

Brooke: Well I think how you make a photo special is if it really means something to you. That picture [Referencing a photo of herself sitting on a bench, reading by the water] describes coping because whenever i wanted to cope or something to do just get my mind off cancer, I would read my bible and that would help me cope and just sit by the lake and it was just a good coping strategy for me. Sharing this photo was empowering because I got to see how people react and that photos really do explain who you are as a person. I usually don't like opening up, especially not about personal things such as my cancer journey, so when I was doing Photovoice it really gave me the opportunity to share my experience. And it's just good to get it off your chest because it's a part of you and you can't leave it behind.

Noor: Cancer shouldn't be kept a secret it's something to show what I’ve done what I’m going through.

Thea: It made me feel like I could finally get things off my chest to a group of people who understood.

Veruca: Having that environment where we could interact and share pieces of our lives through photos really helped me feel like I wasn't alone in what I was going through.

Bella: After all this like whole experience I think I definitely look at photos a different way.

Owen: When I think of photography I think of myself as a whole and everything that's happened to me.

Maryam: It’s uplifting to think about Photovoice. It's a support group tied up with the ability to express your creativity.

Sarah: It's pretty healing.

[Music and camera lens shutters]

[Text on screen: Photovoice – Through the Eyes of Teens with Cancer]

'It's All About Me' Sibling Appreciation Day

A child’s diagnosis of cancer or serious blood disorder has a significant impact on the entire family. Siblings of children with cancer/serious blood disorders are often overlooked and their needs minimized as their parents and healthcare professionals focus on the ill child. The Annual “It’s All About Me” Sibling Appreciation Day provides creative opportunities to address the most common concerns about the sibling experience.  

It promotes the expression of feelings, coping, and problem solving with the goal of enhancing self-esteem. Throughout our programming, we aim to enhance sibling’s adjustment to living with a life-threatening illness within the family, reinforce their importance within the family, and provide much needed recognition for their important role in their family’s journey at SickKids.  

For more information about these initiaitves, email or

Contact the GFCC

Contact the GFCC

Have a question? Get in touch with us today.

Back to Top