Outstanding Achievement Awards

Celebrating excellence in our talented research community is a significant part of how we recognize the positive impact of research conducted at the BC Children's Hospital.

Congratulations to the following trainees who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in research aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of children and/or families.

Outstanding Achievement by a Masters Student

This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a master’s student whose research skills and analytical capacity clearly demonstrate the individual’s potential as a productive member of the scientific community.

2017 Recipient - Ms. Emma Hitchcock, Gibson Research Team

Ms. Emma Hitchcock completed a Master of Science in Medical Genetics at UBC this past April under the supervision of Dr. William Gibson. Emma’s focus of study is families with hereditary brain aneurysms, with the goal of identifying a genetic variant that is a major risk factor for this disease. Throughout her research, Emma has been responsible for every aspect from consenting families; collecting detailed family histories, clinical information and samples for DNA extraction; and analyzing DNA sequencing results.

In addition to being a skilled researcher, Emma is an exceptional student, presenter and writer. She has already written two first author papers and also written and contributed extensively to a number of successful grant applications.

Emma first presented her work at the BCCHR Trainee Forum, for which she received the top poster prize in her category in both 2015 and 2016. She has also presented internationally at the European Society of Human Genetics conference in May 2016.

Emma is also a tutor and mentor, tutoring first year medical students through a workshop on Prenatal Diagnosis, and meeting weekly with a Little Sister for one-on-one tutoring as part of the Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland Study Buddy program. Emma received a Medical Genetics Teaching Award for her role as teaching assistant for “Developmental Origins of Human Disease” during the 2015 – 2016 academic year.

Emma is a personable and collaborative team player in all that she does. In addition to her academic and professional achievements, she is an accomplished rower and has worked as an assistant coach and a Varsity Athletics Representative. Emma’s diverse skill sets will serve her well both in her position as Study Coordinator with Dr. Gibson’s team and her future academic and professional pursuits.

Previous recipients -

2016 - Olivia de Goede   2013 - Mr. Brian Wu
2015 - Mr. Yuda Shih    2012 - Ms. Dian Sulistyoningrum
2014 - Ms. Nicole Shangming Hou   2011 – Ms. Beth Payne

Outstanding Achievement by a Doctoral Student

This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a doctoral student whose demonstrated originality, research ability and a capacity for critical thinking identify the individual as being likely to become a contributing member in the scientific community.

2017 Recipient - Ms. Giulia Muraca, Joseph Research Team
Ms. Giulia Muraca is a PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC under the supervision of Dr. K.S. Joseph; she is expected to defend her doctoral thesis later this year. Her work focuses on the perinatal period, with an emphasis on outcome-based assessments of forceps, vacuum and cesarean delivery.

Giulia authored 13 publications during her doctoral degree (six as first author), nine published, one in revision and three under review. She has also published 12 posters and abstracts and delivered 13 oral presentations nationally and internationally over the course of her doctoral studies. She recently received an award for best poster presentation from BCCHR at the Healthy Starts Theme’s inaugural Research Day in November 2016.

Giulia and her work have also been recognized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research with a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and by UBC through a Four-Year Fellowship. She has also proven herself to be a dedicated mentor, working as a graduate student mentor, senior teaching assistant and peer mentor at UBC. Her current volunteer activities include serving as a board member of the Gosena Community Effort, a registered NGO that provides bursaries to students in Namibia.

Giulia’s PhD work is promising and will have a significant impact on obstetric practice with regard to reducing rates of maternal and infant complications, making deliveries safer for both mothers and babies. She has demonstrated outstanding achievements for a doctoral student and will continue to make significant contributions to research.

Previous recipients -

2016 - Crystal Karakochuk
  2013 - Mrs. Shelley Weisser
2015 - Mr. Jonathan Han   2012 - Mr. Jung-Chien Cheng
2014 - Ms. Clara Westwell-Roper   2011 – Mr. Mahmoud Pouladi

Outstanding Achievement by a Postdoctoral Fellow

This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a post-doctoral fellow whose high academic achievements, personal leadership qualities and demonstrated research ability show promise of the individual becoming a future leader in health research.

2017 Recipient - Dr. Britt Ingrid DrögemöllerRoss Research Team
Dr. Britt Drögemöller has proven to be an outstanding postdoctoral fellow as part of the Ross Lab. Her research focuses on the identification of genetic variants that place individuals at increased risk of experiencing severe adverse drug reactions. Her aim is to guide strategies to allow for the implementation of personalized treatment strategies, which provide maximum benefit and minimal harm to patients.

Dr. Drögemöller has published 24 peer-reviewed articles and is first author for 12 of these articles. In addition to her academic strengths, Dr. Drögemöller has proven to be a skilled communicator and has presented at several international and national conferences. She was awarded “Best Presentation” on six occasions, including “Best Overall Presentation” at the BCCHR E2i Research Day 2016. In addition to sharing her research through traditional means she has also shared her research through news articles and talks, making it accessible to the general public.

Dr. Drögemöller’s accomplishments are further evidenced by the awards she has received, including 13 bursaries/fellowships and 14 travel awards/student stipends. She was also a co-investigator for a BCCHR E2i Seed Grant.

Aside from her research-related activities, Dr. Drögemöller has also proven herself to be a strong mentor and leader. She leads the monthly Canada-wide CPNDS journal club, and she is a member of the BCCHR Trainee Council. Previously, she has also served as a facilitator for the UBC Vancouver Summer Program, was a part of the team that organized the first genomics hackathon in Vancouver, and has led laboratory tours and workshops at the Gairdner High School Student Symposium and BCCHR Open House.

Dr. Drögemöller has made valuable contributions to the research performed at BCCHR and has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. Her work has been outstanding, and she is well-positioned to continue her success as she moves forward in her career.

Previous recipients -

2016 - Dr. Folefac Aminkeng

2013 - Dr. Matthias Görges
2015 - Dr. Ainara Garde

2012 - Dr. Susanne Brummelte
2014 - Dr. Gillian Hanley

2011 – Dr. James Zlosnik

Outstanding Achievement by a Resident

This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a resident whose scholarly activity, industry and commitment to the research endeavor are an example to other trainees, and who has contributed to advances in child, youth and women’s health.

2017 Recipient - Dr. Alison Lee, Doan Research Team

Over the last three years, Dr. Alison Lee has participated in two largescale research projects. Through her involvement with these projects, she has had one first author publication and a submitted manuscript.

 Dr. Lee has presented her research at two national conferences and three international conferences. As a pediatric resident, she presented the results of her completed research project to a national pediatric emergency medicine conference – a forum normally reserved for pediatric emergency medicine sub-specialty fellows to present work-in-progress. Her presentation was well-received and was praised by national leaders in pediatric emergency research.

Dr. Lee was a co-presenter at a BC provincial-wide Grand Rounds for her research in mental health in emergency departments. She received an iACT Trainee Clinical Investigator Seed Grant to help with her project, and has also subsequently received a BC Pediatric Society Travel Grant and UBC Pediatrics Research Curriculum grant. In addition, she was the recipient of the Canadian Pediatric Society Conference award for best abstract in mental health in 2016.

In addition to her research, Dr. Lee is actively involved in both her residency and her community. She is the co-founder of the Learning Buddies Network, a social pediatrics program aimed at providing free private tutoring in literacy and math to kids and fostering leadership and teaching skills in young adults. Within residency, she was elected by her peers to serve as Chief Resident. She is also part of the simulation team, teaches Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) within the hospital, and sits on the board of BC Pediatrics Society as a resident representative.

Dr. Lee also exhibits a keen interest in global health and has had the opportunity to work in Botswana, South Africa and Jamaica during her time in residency. She will be starting her fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine in July 2017 and hopes to continue broadening both her research and clinical experience.

Previous recipients -

2016 - Dr. Rebecca Ronsley

2012 – Dr. Kristopher Kang
2014 - Dr. Mary Dunbar

2011 – Dr. Paul Yong

Outstanding Achievement by a Clinical Sub-Specialty
Resident or Fellow

This award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a clinical sub-specialty Resident or Fellow whose research initiatives have been pursued in a conscientious, original and competent manner, and who has the potential for academic excellence in their future career in their chosen specialty.

2017 Recipient - Dr. Bahaa Abu Raya, Sadarangani Research Team
Dr. Abu Raya is an exceptionally promising clinician-scientist at BC Children’s, where he has been an infectious diseases fellow for almost two years. In addition to managing a busy clinical workload he has led multiple studies and has 21 published manuscripts; he was first author for 18 of those publications.

As part of the Vaccine Evaluation Center, Dr. Abu Raya’s research has been predominantly in the field of immunization in pregnancy to protect the newborn and infant, focusing on pertussis. The data he has generated over the last few years has contributed significantly to immunization policy-making in several countries, specifically contributing to recommendations that pregnant women be immunized with pertussis vaccines. He has continued this area of work since his move to BCCH.

As a pediatric infectious disease fellow, and given his expertise in maternal immunization, Dr. Abu Raya has developed his research interests further, joining a global consortium of experts in maternal immunization led by the Vaccine Evaluation Center. He was also invited to join the “Immunization Monitoring Program Active” (IMPACT) pertussis working group and the “Progressing Immunization in Pregnancy Evaluation and Research” (PIPER) group.

Dr. Abu Raya has also been involved in immunization research with global relevance, specifically relevant to HIV-exposed uninfected infants, resulting in two publications in Frontiers in Immunology in 2016. In addition to these publications Dr. Abu Raya has presented his work at various local, national and international meetings, including the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases Annual Meeting – the largest pediatric infectious diseases meeting in the world.

Dr. Abu Raya has excelled throughout his career, with several ‘cum laude’ honors over the last 10 years. He has continued to follow this outstanding trajectory, being awarded a Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award and one of the prestigious International Doctoral Fellowship Awards from UBC, ensuring a strong start to his PhD in July at BCCHR.

Previous recipients -

2015 - Dr. Kathryn Armstrong
2012 - Dr. Genevieve Eastabrook
2014 - Dr. Carolina Escuder
2011 – Dr. Gerard Slobogean
2013 - Dr. Vikram Sabhaney