MD-PhD student Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw earns the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous
After initially spending hours glued to YouTube because of an interest in virus’ and their role in cancer treatment, uOttawa MD-PhD student Taylor Jamieson-Datzkiw is now being recognized for her innovative work to help create new cancer-killing viruses to treat aggressive breast and ovarian cancers when other therapies stop working.
Jamieson-Datzkiw, 27, has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Indigenous by Mitacs, a national innovation organization that works with academic institutions to foster growth by solving business challenges with research solutions.
The work of Jamieson-Datzkiw — a MD-PhD student studying under principal investigators at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute — is focused on overcoming resistance to PARP inhibitors, a cancer therapy to which patients often develop resistance.
“Essentially, I’m working to find a new option for those patients who’ve run out of options,” said Jamieson-Datzkiw, whose research is targeting BRCA mutated breast and ovarian cancers which can cause aggressive tumours, impacting women and men at a young age. “My goal is to create viruses that prevent drug resistance and keep the PARP inhibitor therapy working. It’s a long process and I’m laying the groundwork, but I’m optimistic my cancer-killing viruses will make it to clinic.
“What initially drew me in was watching YouTube videos of the team at the Cancer Therapeutic Centre of The Ottawa Hospital, including , they are amazing scientists who drew me into the virus world. They showed just how personalized each treatment is,” says Jamieson-Datzkiw, who spends half of her time working on vaccine development with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. “I went into university wanting to be a cancer researcher because it is such a complex disease and there is so much work to be done in the field.”
Jamieson-Datzkiw, a Winnipeg native with Metis roots, is also proud of her involvement in community programs, from to to the Mentorship Program that pairs graduate and undergraduate students together.