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Arthritis Society announces 12 new research awards

Osteoarthritis impacts more than four million Canadians and there is no cure. To extinguish the pain of osteoarthritis, we need to prevent it. 

PhD candidate Justin Losciale of the University of British Columbia and Arthritis Research Canada is attempting to do just that as he tests whether a new physiotherapist-guided virtual exercise program called Stop OsteoARthritis (SOAR) can improve knee strength and reduce knee pain in adolescents and young adults following a sports-related knee injury. 

His research is one of a dozen new research training awards announced today by the Arthritis Society, all made possible through donor support. The list of awards includes 10 PhD salary awards and two post-doctoral fellowships, totalling a commitment of nearly $400,000 made possible by the generosity of Arthritis Society donors. 

“Investing in research, especially the work of early career scientists, is critical to ensuring we have the brightest minds in Canada working towards a better understanding of arthritis, new treatments and, ultimately, a cure,” Dr. Siân Bevan, Chief Science Officer at the Arthritis Society. “Their work will benefit the lives of the six million Canadians living with arthritis.” 

The Arthritis Society awards research funding through a competitive process that draws on the input of scientists, clinicians and people with lived experience of arthritis. This gold-standard peer review process ensures the best, most scientifically meritorious projects receive the support they need.  

Here's the full list of award recipients


PhD Salary Awards 

  • Leah Flatman, McGill University Health Centre: Studying the impact of medications used to treat inflammatory diseases in pregnant women on them and their babies. 

  • Emily Ha, University of Toronto: Investigating if hormones impact bone health and pain in women’s knees. 

  • Jeffrey Hutchinson, Western University: Looking at the role of testosterone and growth hormone as a potential treatment for back pain caused by intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoarthritis in the spine. 

  • Justin Losciale, University of British Columbia – Arthritis Research Canada: Investigating if we can mitigate a key risk factor for osteoarthritis following sport-related knee injury. 

  • Seng Manivong, CHU Sainte-Justine: Using nanotechnology to develop a new osteoarthritis treatment. 

  • Nathan Neeteson, University of Calgary: Studying bone and cartilage changes following acute ACL injury to see how it relates to the development of osteoarthritis. 

  • Lissa Pacheco-Brousseau, University of Ottawa: Investigating how to support decision-making for suitable candidates for joint replacement surgery to ensure success and patient satisfaction. 

  • Kabriya Thavaratnam, University Health Network: Studying how special types of cells drive the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. 

  • Megan Thomas, University of British Columbia – Arthritis Research Canada: Looking at equity considerations in the care of patients with inflammatory arthritis. 

  • Kyle Vader, Queen’s University: Studying how team-based primary care could improve treatment of chronic low back pain. 


Postdoctoral Fellowships 

  • Dr. Mathieu Mancini, McGill University: Studying how genetic and molecular defects might be passed on to immune cells as they develop from stem cells in rheumatoid arthritis. 

  • Dr. Kendal Marriott, University of Waterloo: Investigating the risk of early osteoarthritis and how to prevent or slow disease progression. 


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