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College of Pharmacy and Nutrition Postdoctoral Fellow receives the first Terry Fox Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) are pleased to announce Dr. Ayman Mohammad as the first recipient of the Terry Fox Postdoctoral Fellowship, to be held at the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. The award, won in a highly competitive process, provides $50,000 a year for two years, allowing Dr. Mohammad to come from overseas to conduct his leading-edge work in Saskatoon, alongside Dr. Azita Haddadi, his fellowship supervisor. 

“We are very pleased to have a researcher of Dr. Mohammad’s caliber receive this award,” said June Bold, SHRF Chief Executive Officer. “SHRF’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program aims to advance health research careers and research productivity. Our partnership with TFRI, its community of cancer researchers and broader community of survivors, patients and families, provides a unique environment for this promising research.” 

“This fellowship supports research excellence and connects Dr. Mohammad to a national team of top researchers across Canada who, through funding from the Terry Fox Foundation, work  collaboratively on finding solutions for understanding, diagnosing and treating cancer. We thank the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and our supporters here in Saskatchewan who participate in our annual school and community runs to raise money to make research possible in important areas like the one Dr. Mohammad is studying – cancer vaccines and immunotherapy. Your dollars are helping us to work together to find better solutions for treating cancer,” said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director. 

Conventional cancer treatments often fail, leading to tumour recurrence. This may be due to an inability of patients’ immune systems to recognize cancer cells as something to attack. Hence, cancer vaccines must be specially designed to stimulate the immune system against cancer. Dr. Mohammad is exploring the use of polymeric nanoparticles as a better way of doing that. These biodegradable particles are attracting scientific attention as potential drug-delivery devices, with a role in targeting specific tissues. Dr. Mohammad’s goal is to generate sufficient evidence to begin testing the approach in human trials. 

“We congratulate Dr. Mohammad on being the first recipient of this new award, which helps build leadership here in cancer research. We are pleased that Ayman will be conducting his work in the prairie region,” said Dr. James Davie, TFRI’s Prairie Node leader and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba (U of M). 

“Polymeric nanoparticles are a versatile platform of drug delivery systems for cancer immunotherapy and are progressing rapidly to provide a more effective cancer treatment solution. We wish him much success in his work.” TFRI’s Prairie Node encompasses cancer research partners in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In addition to SHRF, both the U of S and U of M are TFRI partners. 

The fellowship is co-funded by SHRF and TFRI, who share the goal of supporting research that increases our understanding of cancer, from early detection to diagnosis, treatment, and potential cure. This partnered fellowship brings a top-notch new scientist to Saskatchewan, adding capacity here to tackle the cancer challenge.