MD-PhD student Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw earns the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous
After initially spending hours glued to YouTube because of an interest in virus’ and their role in cancer treatment, uOttawa MD-PhD student Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw is now being recognized for her innovative work to help create new cancer-killing viruses to treat aggressive breast and ovarian cancers when other therapies stop working.
Jamieson-Datzkiw, 27, has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous by Mitacs, a national innovation organization that works with academic institutions to foster growth by solving business challenges with research solutions.
The work of Jamieson-Datzkiw — a MD-PhD student studying under principal investigators Carolina Ilkow and John Bell at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute — is focused on overcoming resistance to PARP inhibitors, a cancer therapy to which patients often develop resistance.
“Essentially, I’m working to find a new option for those patients who’ve run out of options,” said Jamieson-Datzkiw, whose research is targeting BRCA mutated breast and ovarian cancers which can cause aggressive tumours, impacting women and men at a young age. “My goal is to create viruses that prevent drug resistance and keep the PARP inhibitor therapy working. It’s a long process and I’m laying the groundwork, but I’m optimistic my cancer-killing viruses will make it to clinic.
“What initially drew me in was watching YouTube videos of the team at the Cancer Therapeutic Centre of The Ottawa Hospital, including John, Carolina and Jean-Simon Diallo, they are amazing scientists who drew me into the virus world. They showed just how personalized each treatment is,” says Jamieson-Datzkiw, who spends half of her time working on vaccine development with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. “I went into university wanting to be a cancer researcher because it is such a complex disease and there is so much work to be done in the field.”
Jamieson-Datzkiw, a Winnipeg native with Metis roots, is also proud of her involvement in community programs, from Let’s Talk Science to Mini-Med to the Mentorship Program that pairs graduate and undergraduate students together.
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