The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) announced that Dr. Morag Park, Director of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University, is the recipient of its award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research.
Dr. Park served as the Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) from 2008 to 2013. Under Dr. Park’s leadership, the ICR addressed significant health priorities related to cancer research, with a strategic emphasis on the role of lifestyle and the environment, personalized medicine, cancer initiation and progression, childhood cancers and survivorship. She is a staunch champion of the importance of collaboration and partnerships within the Canadian cancer research community, serving as co-chair of the CCRA from 2008 to 2010, and is strongly committed to promoting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team research training and support for new cancer researchers.
Under her leadership, ICR:
- took the lead in coordinating the CIHR response to the isotope shortage that was causing critical challenges in medical imaging given repeated closures of the aging nuclear reactor at Chalk River. With five other CIHR Institutes and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, $6 million was committed from 2009 to 2011 to accelerate development of replacements for radiopharmaceuticals and support research on alternative means of production.
- launched a $12 million initiative in 2012 designed to support research to mitigate the late effects of cancer treatments on childhood cancer patients. This initiative brought together a large number of charitable funders with a vested interest in this area of research and has already produced a number of key findings.
- catalyzed discussions that led to the development and launch of the CIHR Signature Initiative in Personalized Medicine, which promises to transform the delivery of healthcare towards a system of predictive, preventive, and precision care. In partnership with the National Cancer Institute (U.S.) and Genome BC, in 2013, the ICR launched the “Quantitative Imaging for Responses to Cancer Therapies” funding opportunity to establish two Canadian teams.
“Dr. Park has made a significant contribution to the Canadian cancer research community with her focus on developing young scientists and her ability to corral support for emerging areas of cancer research. This award is our way to acknowledge her exceptional contributions,” says Dr. Christine Williams, Co-Chair of the CCRA. “She continues her good work at the helm of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre while also pursuing her own high calibre research.”
Dr. Park will be presented her award during the CCRA’s Canadian Cancer Research Conference held in Montréal from November 8-10, 2015. For more information, please visit http://www.ccra-acrc.ca
Morag Park received her PhD in 1983 at Glasgow University, Scotland. For her postdoctoral studies she joined the lab of Dr. George Vande Woude at the National Institute of Cancer (U.S.) where she identified the Met receptor tyrosine kinase. She joined the Ludwig Cancer Institute in 1988 and McGill University in 1990. Dr. Park is a research leader in the field of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) and mechanisms of oncogenic activation of RTKs in human cancers and in the role of the host microenvironment in cancer initiation and progression. She has published over 170 papers in peer-reviewed journals.
The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) is comprised of 35 organizations that collectively fund most of the cancer research conducted in Canada—research that will lead to better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer and improve survivor outcomes. Its members include federal research funding programs/agencies, provincial research agencies, provincial cancer care agencies, cancer charities, and other voluntary associations. CCRA is motivated by the belief that, through effective collaboration, Canadian cancer research funding organizations can maximize their collective impact on cancer control and accelerate discovery for the ultimate benefit of Canadians affected by cancer. The CCRA is supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer through a financial contribution from Health Canada. For more information, please visit: http://www.ccra-acrc.ca