null RI-MUHC trainee Prisca Bustamante honoured by Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation
Doctoral student develops world's first non-invasive blood screening test for uveal melanoma
Source: Mitacs Inc. and RI-MUHC. Doctoral student Prisca Bustamante, a trainee at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), received the 2021 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation—PhD for developing the world's first non-invasive blood screening test for uveal melanoma, the most common eye cancer found in adults. Her novel liquid biopsy test, developed under the supervision of Julia Burnier, PhD, a member of the Cancer Research Program at the RI-MUHC, is currently in use in a clinical study at the McGill Academic Eye Centre and is expected to have global impact.
The annual Mitacs Awards, one of Canada's top research and innovation ceremonies, took place this year on November 23 in Ottawa. Presented by Mitacs, a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions, these awards celebrate outstanding accomplishments of students, professors and partner organizations who participate in Mitacs programs.
In congratulating the winners, Mitacs CEO John Hepburn remarked on the importance of providing Canadian innovators with opportunities for experiential skills development through strategic partnerships between industry, government, and academia. Prisca Bustamante’s research promises to fulfill an important purpose by this route.
“Our research focuses on a method that successfully identifies circulating tumour DNA, which accurately relays information about the presence and malignancy of an eye tumour at its earliest stage,” she explains. “This method is expected to significantly impact eye cancer patients, serving as an indicator of cancer development and predicting tumour formation earlier than current methodologies do.”
Prisca Bustamante adds, “I am extremely honoured to receive the 2021 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation—PhD. I am incredibly grateful for Mitacs’ support, and the support of my supervisor Dr. Julia Burnier, our partner organization, our collaborators at the McGill Eye Clinic, and the staff of the RI-MUHC’s Animal Care Facility, Immunophenotyping Platform and Histology Platform.”
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, attended the awards ceremony. "I congratulate the winners and celebrate their outstanding work — they are true testaments to Canadian innovation," he said. "These research and training opportunities, supported through Mitacs, are driving discoveries and improving the health and well-being of Canadians."
Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada in partnership with the governments of several Canadian provinces. For information about Mitacs and its programs, visit mitacs.ca/newsroom.
PhD candidate wins prestigious Mitacs award for outstanding innovation (McGill Reporter/Health E-News)
Chercheuse honorée (La Presse; in French only)