2021 Grant Recipients

We fund innovation in Manitoban health care.

2021/22 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 2021/2022 grants were awarded through four different competitions and applications were reviewed by experts in their fields from HSC.

General Operating

Dr. Britt Drögemöller, $70,000: “Harnessing genomic data to guide the development of personalized treatments to prevent the neurotoxic effects of chemotherapy”

Synopsis: Drug treatments are essential for the survival of cancer patients. Unfortunately, these lifesaving medications can also cause severe side effects, many of which impact the nervous system. These side effects severely impact the quality of life of patients already suffering the devastating consequences of cancer. This research aims to identify genetic variants that are associated with these adverse effects of treatment. These findings will be used to predict who will experience adverse drug reactions and guide the development of new treatments that provide maximum benefit and minimal harm.


Dr. Pingzhao Hu, Dr. Liam O’Neil, and Dr. Carol Hitchon, $70,000: “ Develop a clinically‐driven interpretable artificial intelligence tool for detecting early joint damage in patients with recent onset inflammatory arthritis ”

Synopsis: The project aims to develop novel artificial intelligence (AI) models to extract informative features from X‐ray images of patients with recent onset inflammatory arthritis for the early detection of joint damage as measured by periarticular osteopenia, joint space narrowing and erosions. The team will use the comprehensive real world imaging data collected in the Manitoba Early Arthritis Cohort and the multicentre Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort. The research will help improve clinical practice in early detection of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) damage by using an automatic and reliable AI tool. Such a tool would be highly useful to clinicians practising in regions of the world without local musculoskeletal radiographic expertise.


Dr. Biniam Kidane, $69,944: “Reducing inflammatory post‐operative complications after lung surgery”

Synopsis: Most surgeries require artificial ventilation (with a breathing machine), which can be harmful to lungs. This harm is higher in lung surgeries. The research shows that lung surgery increases inflammation in the lung being operated on as well as the other lung which is not being operated on. The whole body also experiences increased inflammation. This leads to worse complications in patients. In the project, the team aims to establish an experimental pig model that will allow the team to test whether breathing machine settings or anti inflammation drugs can decrease lung and body inflammation that occurs because of lung surgery.


Shay-Lee Bolton, $69,885: “An evaluation of mental health treatment during a pandemic”

Synopsis: The team designed a cognitive behavior therapy skills class that is helpful for people with depression or anxiety. However, it is usually held in in‐person groups. With current COVID‐19 rules for physical distancing, the team can no longer offer the classes. This study will see if the classes are helpful for people when given in a live online virtual class or as an online course. The research will give the team information about whether they can use this technology to get important mental health services to people even after the pandemic.


Dr. Christy Pylypjuk & Dr. Jennifer Yamamoto, $70,000: “The burden of neonatal hypoglycemia amongst babies born to mothers with diabetes”

Synopsis: Manitoba has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world and the number of pregnancies affected by diabetes are also increasing. Neonatal hypoglycemia (or “low blood sugars after birth”) is a serious, potentially life‐threatening, complication for babies of mothers with diabetes. However, very little is known about the short‐ and long‐term health risks, use of hospital resources, or even how common this condition is in Manitoba. The team will study past births (from 2011‐2020) to discover the ‘burden’ of neonatal hypoglycemia. The results of this project will help improve care and use of hospital resources for these newborns.


Allied Health

Dr. Diana Sanchez‐Ramirez, $22,428.41: “Pulmonary rehabilitation post COVID‐19: A pilot study”

Synopsis: Evidence indicates that post‐COVID‐19 patients may experience negative long‐term outcomes. This pilot study aims to i) assess the effect of a remote pulmonary rehabilitation program on the recovery of post‐COVD‐19 outcomes, and ii) provide information regarding feasibility, patient compliance, and satisfaction, valuable to inform the design of a future large scale study/intervention.


Pramila Maharjan, $15,624.34: “Development and pilot‐testing of tools and processes to improve the pediatric cast removal experience”

Synopsis: The loud noise of cast saw, fear of being cut or hurt and insufficient information about cast removal process can make cast removal stressful and traumatic among children and parents. Evidence suggests that negative healthcare experience can have life‐long consequences like fear and avoiding health care visits. Therefore, we aim to develop and pilot test tools and processes to improve the cast removal experience for children and parents.

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