The prestigious award is given annually to first-year doctoral students in the Donnelly Centre whose proposed research projects extend beyond traditional scientific field boundaries.
Alaura Androschuk works in University Professor Michael Sefton‘s Lab for Vascularized Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine. Her research looks to boost repair of nerves damaged by, say, high blood glucose that can cause diabetic patients to lose all feeling in arms and legs. She is investigating if a biomaterial, previously discovered by the lab to promote healing of the muscle, can also drive nerve repair.
The main focus of the group is to intersect biology and engineering research to develop new methods for delivering drugs precisely when and where they are needed in order to target cancer for example, or spur on tissue regeneration to heal damage or injury.
Specifically, Kingston, Ngai and Ngo are studying various aspects of how tiny nanoparticles can be better engineered to deliver cancer drugs directly into tumours to avoid the all-out toxic assault on the body that typically comes with chemotherapy.
“This year’s candidates exemplified the unique interdisciplinary environment and collaborative culture of the Donnelly Centre,” said Professor Christopher Yip, chair of the awards committee. “The diverse backgrounds of the candidates, ranging from biology to engineering and philosophy, and, in some cases, extensive industrial experience, clearly demonstrates how the Donnelly Centre attracts those who are keen to work in areas outside of their comfort zone on some of the most challenging questions in biomedicine.”