Kudos for U of G Prof, Cancer Researcher

October 26, 2009 - News Release

A University of Guelph biomedical scientist has been named the 2009 winner of the prestigious Jennifer Dorrington Award from the Banting Research Foundation, Canada's oldest medical research institute.

Prof. Alicia Viloria-Petit, a faculty member and investigator at the Ontario Veterinary College’s new Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation, was also was one of five Canadian researchers to receive a 2009 Banting Research Foundation award.

“This is wonderful recognition for Alicia and for the entire University,” said Prof. Steven Liss, associate vice-president (research services).

“Her research program is an important contribution to the growing program in comparative cancer being led out of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her work has the potential to improve understanding and lead to new treatments for breast cancer. Alicia represents the quality of the young innovators we have attracted to U of G.”

The Jennifer Dorrington award is made to the highest-ranked applicant in the fields of cancer or reproductive biology and includes a $20,000 prize. The award is a tribute to Jennifer Dorrington, who chaired the Banting Foundation’s grant review panel from 1995 to 1996, for her accomplishments in reproductive biology and ovarian cancer.

The Banting Research Foundation has been awarding grants to support young Canadian medical researchers for 84 years. It’s named for doctors Frederick Banting and Charles Best who discovered insulin in 1921.

Viloria-Petit, who joined U of G in 2009, studies how cells change from a normal site-restrained state to a migratory state, a fundamental process in cancer metastasis.

“It’s an interesting coincidence that Dr. Dorrington pioneered studies on the regulation of cell growth by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a growth factor I am also interested in because of its role in breast cancer progression,” she said.

Viloria-Petit thanked the Banting Foundation and the University for their support. “I hope to develop these studies into a larger research program aimed at understanding how breast cancer progresses to metastatic disease. My ultimate goal is to contribute new ideas for more effective treatments of advanced breast cancer.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338 or lhunt@uguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982 or bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

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