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Arthritis Society Canada Announces Funding for Stars Career Development Awards and Strategic Operating Grants 

Arthritis Society Canada is proud to announce the recipients of the 6th annual Stars Career Development Awards and 12th annual Strategic Operating Grants. This year’s group of 10 recipients from across the nation are leading cutting-edge research, including the use of AI to design tailored blood tests, studying genetic pre-determinants that increase arthritis risk, and understanding how one’s brain contributes to knee osteoarthritis pain.  

The Stars Career Development Awards offer robust support for the early career progression of promising researchers in the arthritis community. This program rewards emerging academics with a three-year funding commitment of $375,000 from Arthritis Society Canada, matched with an additional three years of funding by the researcher’s host institution. Similarly, the Strategic Operating Grants provide recipients with $450,000 over the span of three years to support innovative research proposals informed by patient priorities while cultivating a pipeline of strong researchers with outstanding levels of scientific excellence and rigour.  

One recipient of this year’s Strategic Operating Grants is Dr. Celia Greenwood, a researcher at Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research studying how the X chromosome influences rheumatoid arthritis risk. She and her team are examining ways to identify which genes on the X chromosome may be involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis and whether these genes are associated with changes before symptoms start. The findings may help explain why rheumatoid arthritis affects three times more females than males and could help identify people who may be at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis so they can receive treatment earlier.  

Dr. May Choi from the University of Calgary, a recipient of this year’s Stars Career Development Awards, is studying the use of artificial intelligence to design new blood tests for autoimmune muscle diseases often associated with inflammatory arthritis, severe muscle weakness, and disability. She and her team are investigating autoantibodies, immune system proteins that attack the body's tissues and interact with other proteins in the blood of people with autoimmune inflammatory myopathies (AIM). This research may lead to developing a blood test that would guide treatment decisions and improve outcomes for people with these types of diseases. 

“We are thrilled to recognize and support the outstanding work of researchers dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by arthritis,” said Dr. Siân Bevan, Chief Science Officer at Arthritis Society Canada. “The Stars Career Development Awards and Strategic Operating Grants reflect our ongoing commitment to championing the best and brightest minds, and leading groundbreaking research that will make a meaningful impact on the understanding and treatment of this devastating disease."  

This year's recipients demonstrate a diverse range of projects including: 

Stars Career Development Awards 

  • Dr. May Choi, University of Calgary – Using artificial intelligence to design new blood tests for autoimmune muscle diseases 
  • Dr. Nikolas Knowles, University of Waterloo – Improving early detection and treatment of shoulder osteoarthritis 

Strategic Operating Grants  

  • Dr. Celia Greenwood, Lady Davis Institute – How the X chromosome influences rheumatoid arthritis risk  
  • Dr. Ashley Harris, University of Calgary – Determining the brain’s contributions to knee osteoarthritis pain  
  • Dr. Marie Hudson, McGill University – Understanding inflammatory arthritis as a side effect of cancer immunotherapies  
  • Dr. Mohit Kapoor, University Health Network – Understanding how different cells in the infrapatellar fat pad contribute to knee osteoarthritis  
  • Dr. Jason McDougall, Dalhousie University – Using green light therapy for pain relief in osteoarthritis  
  • Dr. Elizabeth Stringer, IWK Health Centre – Understanding the role of the immune system in children with Lyme arthritis 
  • Dr. Jackie Whittaker, University of British Columbia – Arthritis Research Canada – Testing a self-managed program to prevent knee osteoarthritis  
  • Dr. Rae Yeung, The Hospital for Sick Children – Protecting children with arthritis from severe chickenpox infections 

More information on the Stars Career Development Awards and the Strategic Operating Grants

Full details of the Stars Career Development Awards recipients and Strategic Operating Grants recipients. 


About Arthritis 
Arthritis affects 1 in 5 Canadians (1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men) and is a leading cause of workplace disability. Most people, however, underestimate its seriousness. Arthritis causes excruciating pain, restricts mobility and diminishes quality of life. It impacts people of all ages, including children, and half of people living with the disease are under age 65. 

About Arthritis Society Canada 
Arthritis Society Canada represents the six million people in Canada living with arthritis today, and the millions more who are impacted or at risk. Fueled by the trust and support of our donors and volunteers, Arthritis Society Canada is fighting arthritis with research, advocacy, innovation, information and support. We are Canada’s largest charitable funder of cutting-edge arthritis research. We will not give up our efforts until everyone is free from the agony of arthritis. Arthritis Society Canada isaccredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit     

Media Contact: 
Jenny Ng 
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Media 
Arthritis Society Canada 

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