Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Fund

An annual lecture series and trainee graduate award in Skeletal Biology was established in honour of Dr. Suzanne Bernier (a wonderful colleague, collaborator and mentor, who passed away in 2007), to highlight outstanding contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research.  The Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Fund, along with sponsors (Schulich Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Dept of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Western's Bone and Joint Institute, and the Collaborative Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research), contribute to Suzanne’s legacy by funding these projects.

The 11th Annual Suzanne M. Bernier Memorial Lecture in Skeletal Biology was delivered on May 10th by Elise F. Morgan, ME, MSE, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery, and Mechanical Engineering Director of the Micro-Computed Tomography Imaging Core Facility, Boston University. The title of her talk was: ‘The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine’.

Dr. Morgan’s research focuses on the interplay between the mechanical behavior, structure, and biological function of tissues. Methods from engineering mechanics, materials science, and cell and molecular biology are used to investigate how mechanical “signals” (forces and displacements) contribute to the development, adaptation, degeneration, and regeneration of bone and cartilage.

P Martin accepting awardEach year, a trainee carrying out Master's or PhD research in the field of Skeletal Biology is presented with the Dr. Suzanne Bernier Memorial Award, based on academic achievement and research accomplishments. This year, the award was presented to Pascal Morissette Martin, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, supervised by Dr. Lauren Flynn.  Pascal had the opportunity to share his latest research findings as part of the lecture, giving a talk entitled: ‘Matrix composition in 3-D collagenous bioscaffolds modulates the survival and angiogenic phenotype of human chronic wound dermal fibroblasts’.

Suzanne’s home department also honours her memory by awarding the Anatomy & Cell Biology Suzanne Bernier Publication Award to a graduate student judged by the Graduate Affairs Committee to have published the 'best' paper in the previous year. This year’s recipient is Sarah Caughlin, PhD, supervised by Drs. Shawn Whitehead & David Cechetto.  Publication: Caughlin S, Maheshwari S, Weishaup N, Yeung K K-C, Cechetto DF, and Whitehead SN (2018). Age-dependent and regional heterogeneity in the long-chain base of A-series gangliosides observed in the rat brain using MALDI Imaging. Scientific Reports. 7(1): 16135. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-16389-z.

Expanding on Suzanne’s legacy in training, this year the lecture was held in conjunction with the Canadian Bone and Joint Young Investigator Forum that brought trainees from across Canada together to focus on transdisciplinary musculoskeletal research.

For more information on Suzanne Bernier, or to donate, visit http://reganfamily.ca/Suzanne/updates.html