Vanier celebrates the nation's finest

Two Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry trainees have been named recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious scholarship for doctoral students.

Congratulations to Ayden Scheim, PhD Candidate, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Dibakar Mondal, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering.

Doug Jones, vice dean, Basic Medical Sciences, congratulated the 2014 winners. “We look forward to continued excellence in your graduate program and wish you well in your research," he said.

A total of seven Western graduate students have been named among 166 nationwide Vanier scholars, each receiving $50,000 annually for up to three years. Scholars are selected based on leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and/or health sciences.

“A Vanier Scholarship is awarded to individuals that display all around excellence in everything they do in life, not simply academics,” said Andrew Watson, associate dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “It is really about leadership and an ability to make a societal impact.”

Ayden Scheim - 2014 Vanier Scholar

Ayden Scheim
Population Health
Syndemic production among transgender Ontarians: A social-epidemiological approach to HIV risk, mental health and substance abuse

Scheim’s research tackles methodological and theoretical issues key to unpacking vulnerability to HIV among sexual and gender minorities, as well as other health conditions disproportionately impacting these populations. The primary objective is to understand how marginalization and discrimination impact the health of transgender people, and, in particular, how they may drive health problems documented in some transgender populations including HIV, depression, suicidality and substance abuse. Ultimately, the aim is to identify intervention strategies at the social and policy levels. The research is part of the Trans PULSE Project, a community-based study exploring the health of trans people in Ontario.

Didakar Mondal - 2014 Vanier Scholar

Dibakar Mondal
Biomedical Engineering
Novel degradable biomaterials for bone regeneration

Bone is a major structural tissue of the human body which provides support and protection of various organs, produces bone marrow cells and stores minerals. Bone fracture and disorder is a major burden in terms of quality of life, health care costs, and economic impact. Surgical interventions to repair bone involve the use of the patient’s own bone or a bone graft from donor. However, bone grafts harvested from patients cause donor-site morbidity and bone grafts from other donors have the risk of disease transmission and infection. To overcome these limitations, Mondal is preparing novel materials capable of bone regeneration and replacement by using bioactive polymer and calcium phosphate minerals. With a new class of biodegradable and bioactive materials, it will be possible to fabricate materials that mimic the hierarchical complex structure of native bone, suitable bioactivity, and mechanical properties.