2019 Grant Recipients

We fund innovation in Manitoban health care.

2019/20 HSC Foundation Grant Recipients

The HSC Foundation is proud of the researchers we fund. The work they do ultimately leads to improved patient care at Manitoba’s flagship hospital. Research is the key to deepening our understanding of health matters, and often leads to new technology, medicine, or practices.


The HSC Foundation 2019 grants were awarded through four different competitions and applications were reviewed by experts in their fields from HSC.

General Operating

Dr. Christine Henriksen, $64,139.07: “Living with hope: A preliminary investigation of a novel, CBT-based psychoeducational skills class for individuals with a recent suicide attempt”

Co-Investigators: Mota, Natalie; Bolton, James


Synopsis: This study aims to examine the effectiveness of Living with Hope, a novel, 12-session psychoeducational skills class, in reducing suicidal ideation and behaviors among individuals who have made a recent suicide attempt.


Dr. Brett Houston, $70,000: “Tranexamic acid use to safely reduce transfusion in major non-cardiac surgery (TRACTION): A pragmatic, registry-based, pilot randomized controlled trial”

Co-Investigators: Zarychanski, Ryan; Mutter, Thomas; Jacobsohn, Eric; Buduhan, Gordon; Falk, Jamie; Balshaw, Robert

Synopsis: Bleeding and the need for red blood cell transfusion is common in major surgeries. Tranexamic acid is an inexpensive drug that reduces bleeding in cardiac and orthopedic surgeries, although its use in other surgeries with comparable transfusion rates is uncertain. An innovative and cost-efficient registry-based pilot randomized controlled trial will be conducted at HSC to inform the conduct of a large phase III trial in non-cardiac surgeries at high risk for transfusion, with potential to define future practice.


Dr. Meaghan Jones, $70,000: “Breaking the link between prenatal environment exposures and allergic disease: Insights from epigenetic research”


Synopsis: Epigenetic changes are induced by prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke and are hypothesized to represent the molecular link between prenatal environments and child health. Here, we will investigate

the molecular consequences of those changes in an animal model, with the goal of determining whether

they represent potential targets for interventions.


Dr. Emily Rimmer, $70,000: “Plasma exchange in septic shock (PLEXSIS) pilot study

Co-Investigators: Zarychanski, Ryan; Houston, Donald; Wilkins, John; Balshaw, Robert


Synopsis: Septic shock, a life-threatening infection, is among the most common reasons for admission to intensive care units at the Health Sciences Centre and is a leading cause of death. Therapeutic plasmapheresis is a procedure that could potentially save lives as harmful substances are removed and missing blood components are replaced serving to restore balance. This project will support a pilot study that will inform the design and conduct of a national study that has the potential to set a new standard for the treatment of this patient population.


Allied Health

Ms. Jennifer Birt, $12,082.74: “Wheelchair skills area rejuvenation Improving environmental and clinical engagement”

Co-Investigators: Robinson, Allison; Savary, Emerald; Nixdorf, Cherry; Colbeck, Melissa


Synopsis: For over a decade, therapists have used the wheelchair skills area (WSA) to teach patients how to safely navigate daily obstacles in a wheelchair. This project will update the physical space and develop teaching materials to continue to support quality rehabilitation for patients and improve efficiency for clinicians.


Ms. Natalie Ruest, $13,325.00: “Does body mass index (BMI) affect the magnitude of curve at diagnosis in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?”

Co-Investigators: Black, Brian; Wittmeier, Kristy; Mulder, Kathy


Synopsis: Early diagnosis of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is important for successful conservative treatment (e.g. bracing). Patient charts will be reviewed to determine if youth with a higher BMI are diagnosed with scoliosis later than peers, and if this relationship exists in patients attending the AIS Clinic on campus. Results will ensure patients are being referred to the AIS clinic in a timely manner in order to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.


Mindel & Tom Olenick Research Award in Immunology

Dr. Vidyanand Anaparti, $5,000: “Role of microRNAs in preclinical rheumatoid arthritis”


Lay Summary:



Mr. Anthony Altieri, $5,000: “Regulation of Airway Inflammation: Cytokines IL-17 and TNF, and cationic host defense peptide LL-37”


Lay Summary: Cytokines are molecules that help control our immune systems and fight diseases. Inflammation is very important for healing infections, but sometimes the molecules that trigger inflammation act abnormally, resulting in chronic inflammation.


In chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, some cytokines become more concentrated. One such cytokine, IL-17, is known to inflame airways and amplify how other cells respond to the inflammation. This can cause tissue damage.


Mr. Altieri is exploring how inflammation caused by IL-17 cytokines can be regulated at a molecular level, helping provide new ideas to control inflammation. His project is a continuation of other extensive research done by his research group.

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