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Drs. Tricia Cottrell and Anna Panchenko receive Investigator Awards from OICR

Drs. Tricia Cottrell and Anna Panchenko receive Investigator Awards from OICR.

Out of three new Investigator Awards announced by the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR), two have been awarded to Queen’s researchers, Dr. Tricia Cottrell and Dr. Anna Panchenko.

Dr. Tricia Cottrell, a pathologist and immunologist from Johns Hopkins University, joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s this past August in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Dr. Cottrell has been awarded the Clinician Scientist I Award from OICR. Her research focuses on the human body’s immune system and its interaction with cancer cells. By analyzing data collected from patients undergoing treatment, Dr. Cottrell’s work aims to isolate biomarkers which can predict which treatment or combination thereof might best help that patient recover. In order to facilitate the analysis of data, Dr. Cottrell has integrated new technologies into her research, including personally learning computer programming in order deal with large quantities of data.

Dr. Anna Panchenko joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s in July 2019, also in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. The OICR has awarded the Senior Investigator Award to Dr. Panchenko, which is awarded only to high calibre researchers of international renown who have over 10 years of independent research experience.  Dr. Panchenko’s research deals with the genetic and epigenetic processes of cancer cells, specifically those processes that drive carcinogenesis, as only a few mutations out of hundreds cause the disease to proliferate. This work requires Dr. Panchenko and her team to design new computational methods, which involve machine learning, and molecular simulations. Dr. Panchenko also holds a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Computational Biology and Biophysics.

The OICR awards are for up to $350,000 per year for up to 6 years, providing stable research funding and salary support for recipients ensuring their talent and research remains in Ontario.

“The Investigator Award program is key to attracting and keeping top cancer researchers in Ontario,” says Dr. Christine Williams, Deputy Director and Interim Head, Clinical Translation at OICR. “We are particularly pleased that all three awards have been given to accomplished female scientists and are proud to offer our support as they establish their research programs in Ontario.”

The Faculty of Health Sciences warmly welcomes Drs. Cottrell and Panchenko into our innovative research community at Queen’s and we look forward to many years of collaboration.

For more information about the Investigator Award Program, visit www.oicr.on.ca/investigator-awards.