null Two RI-MUHC trainees awarded 2023 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Congratulations to Michelle Le and Sarah Maritan!

SOURCE: RI-MUHC and McGill University

Two trainees from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) received Canada’s most prestigious graduate award in 2023 for their doctoral studies. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is awarded to students demonstrating leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences, or engineering and health.

Michelle Le, a trainee in the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program, RI-MUHC (Supervisor: Dr. Elena Netchiporouk)
Michelle Le, a trainee in the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program, RI-MUHC

Michelle Le
Experimental Medicine, McGill University
Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program, RI-MUHC
Supervisor: Dr. Elena Netchiporouk

Project: COVID-19 Immunologic Antiviral therapy with Omalizumab (CIAO trial) – An Adaptive Phase II Randomized-Controlled Clinical Trial

The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has caused considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Omalizumab is an anti-IgE monoclonal antibody approved by Health Canada to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives) and asthma. Omalizumab’s antiviral effect has been suggested to stem from enhancing innate antiviral cytokines. In addition, omalizumab suppresses the degranulation of inflammatory cells thought to contribute to the inflammatory response and lung remodeling in severe COVID disease. Taken together, omalizumab’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties support the need for a randomized controlled trial comparing omalizumab to placebo in the treatment of COVID-19. Le’s study is a Phase IIb randomized controlled trial conducted at McGill University, Sunnybrook and Niagara Health Centres, that examines the efficacy and safety of a single dose of omalizumab in hospitalized adult COVID patients. This study aims to improve patient survival and reduce the burden of this globally devastating disease on the healthcare system.

Sarah Maritan, a trainee in the Cancer Research Program, RI-MUHC (Supervisor: Peter Siegel, PhD)
Sarah Maritan, a trainee in the Cancer Research Program, RI-MUHC

Sarah Maritan
Experimental Medicine, McGill University
Cancer Research Program, RI-MUHC
Supervisor: Peter Siegel, PhD

Project: Characterizing tumor-intrinsic and microenvironmental mediators of invasive growth of brain metastases

The majority of cancer related deaths are caused by cancer spread to another part of the body, a process called metastasis. Cancer spread to the brain, or brain metastasis, occurs in nearly one third of patients with cancer, and has an average survival of less than one year. Maritan’s research shows that brain metastases can grow in two distinct patterns within the brain: either with cancer cells extensively invading into the distant brain – which is associated with particularly poor patient outcomes – or as a single mass that does not invade outwards. Using patient samples collected during surgery, she will study how invasive and non-invasive brain metastases differ in the genes they express and how they interact with neighbouring healthy brain cells. By learning about the mechanisms by which the cancer cells invade the brain, the study aims to identify new therapeutic strategies for better clinical management of patients with brain metastases.

Learn more about McGill’s 2023 Vanier Scholars

October 5, 2023