U of T Chemistry Researchers Awarded the UHN Research Award for novel medical treatments

April 10, 2023 by Mayuri Punithan - Department of Chemistry

Professor Gilbert Walker, and University Professors Molly Shoichet and Eugenia Kumacheva, and their postdoctoral fellows: Dr. Nitzan Letko Khait, Dr. Shahrzad Nouri, and Dr. Ilya Yakavets are leading research projects that have improved and innovated treatments for cancer, stroke, and osteoarthritis. As a result, they have received the 2022-23 PRiME-UHN Clinical Catalyst Competition award.

This new competition is a collaboration with the University Health Network. It provides funding to postdoctoral and clinical researchers co-supervised by PRiME investigators from four University of Toronto Faculties (Arts & Science, Applied Science & Engineering, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy) and three UHN research campuses (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and Krembil Research Institute). The recipients will receive stipend support from PRiME and UHN for one year. Ultimately, this funding will provide them with support and skills that can further their research development.

Dr. Nitzan Letko Khait & Professor Molly Shoichet (cross-appointment with the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering) 

Oftentimes, stroke patients suffer from damaged brain tissue, which can lead to speech difficulties or paralysis. As a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Shoichet's lab, Dr. Khait's research project helps design regenerative therapies to treat stroke, thus leading to tissue regeneration.





Dr. Shahrzad Nouri & Professor Gilbert Walker

Dr. Nouri is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Viswanathan's lab at the Krembil Research Institute. Her research focuses on developing novel immunotherapies for chronic joint inflammation and osteoarthritis. Through a collaboration with Dr. Walker's lab, they will explore research applications that can increase the survival and functionality of specific immune cells. In particular, they have designed a tool that can enhance the efficacy of cell-based therapies for osteoarthritis.



Dr. Ilya Yakavets & Professor Eugenia Kumacheva

Dr. Yakavets' research will significantly improve the quality of life for cancer patients. He has found ways to enhance current and create new sequential and combination chemotherapies by combining research disciplines in cancer biology, microfluidics, bioengineering, and machine learning. This work will advance cancer therapy research and create better treatment outcomes, particularly for patients with metastatic breast cancer.




The Department of Chemistry is proud of our researchers. Their work can significantly transform the lives of those with life-threatening diseases or chronic pain. To read more about each researcher's work, please click here.