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Two St. Michael's researchers nab Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

Toronto, September 26, 2011

Dr. Nav Persaud (left) and Monika Kastner (right) flank Dr. Andreas Laupacis, executive director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.Dr. Nav Persaud (left) and Monika Kastner (right) flank Dr. Andreas Laupacis, executive director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

By Steve Williams

Dr. Nav Persaud and Monika Kastner, PhD, were among 70 awarded Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships on Sept. 15 from the Government of Canada.

The pair netted St. Michael’s more Banting fellowships than any other academic research hospital. These awards are given to top post-doctoral researchers whose work contributes to Canada's economic and social growth.

“Receiving the Banting fellowship is a great honour,” said Kastner. “It is a fantastic opportunity not only to pursue my research area but also to advance the field of knowledge translation (KT). It will also keep me working with some of the premier KT researchers at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, as well as, across Canada.”

The awards were presented by Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, at a ceremony at the Ontario Cancer Institute.

“The tremendous support offered by the fellowship will allow me to employ principles of human decision making from Neuroscience and Psychology to improve decision making by clinicians,” Dr. Persaud explained.

He is examining how medical knowledge is better understood by healthcare professionals and patients to improve health outcomes. The ultimate goal is to help people make better health related decisions.

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships aid Canadian post-doctoral researchers at home and abroad. Announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in July 2010, the five-year, $45-million program awards 70 new fellowships each year, each valued at $70,000 annually for two years.

"Research powers Canada's economy," said Goodyear at the event. "Our investment in research excellence and leadership through the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships is helping to develop, attract and retain the world's top researchers."

The fellowships are named in memory of Sir Frederick Banting, the Canadian physician, researcher, Nobel laureate and war hero who, together with his assistant Dr. Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin.