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OVCARE trainee wins best prize at ovarian cancer forum

Kimberly Wiegand, a research trainee with OvCaRe and a PhD student with Dr. David Huntsman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine UBC, was awarded the Traveling Fellow Presentation Award at the Helene Harris Memorial Trust International Forum on Ovarian Cancer in Miami, Florida in January.

The Helene Harris Memorial Trust sponsors one of the foremost meetings on ovarian cancer disease in the world. This prestigious award is given through the ovarian cancer think tank to junior scientists and clinicians to present their latest work on any aspect of basic science or clinical research related to ovarian cancer. Kimberly was selected to receive one of six travelling fellowship awards, a prestigious award in itself as there were several dozen applicants considered, and subsequently was awarded the prize for the best presentation by a travelling fellow.

"Her abstract describing the discovery of frequent ARID1A mutations in ovarian cancer was the top ranked abstract submitted, and her presentation was clear and concise," says Dr. Andrew Berchuk of Duke Medicine who selected the six travelling fellows.

Dr. Iain McNeish, Professor at Barts Cancer Institute in London and Chair of the judging panel who chose the winner for the best presentation, remarked, “The committee was unanimous in its verdict. Kimberly is a highly worthy recipient of this honor.”

From Kimberly, “I am so fortunate to work with the OvCaRe team, and to have OvCaRe co-founder Dr. Blake Gilks, and Dr. David Huntsman, OvCaRe director and senior author of the ARID1A paper, as mentors. This research would not have been possible outside of a multidisciplinary research program, such as OvCaRe. It is the fruition of several years of work first proving that ovarian cancer subtypes are distinct diseases and now demonstrating their unique targetable features”.

Dr. Huntsman comments, “Kimberly’s research has produced a fundamentally important result that has substantially improved our understanding of ovarian cancers and could lead to improvements in the management of ovarian and other cancers.”  The award certainly highlights the rich training opportunities that are available throughout OvCaRe and the quality of our trainees and their research.

For more information on Kimberly’s related publication, "ARID1A Mutations in Endometriosis-Associated Ovarian Carcinomas," New England Journal of Medicine, 2010 Oct 14;363(16):1532-43, click here.

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