CIHR Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Awards Announced

These awards support the career development of the next generation of health researchers. The REDI awards are available to post-doctoral researchers, clinicians, and research associates from specific underrepresented groups to help them launch their research faculty careers in Canada. The 2023 awards were open only to Black people and racialized women, which previous research identified as two groups that are markedly under-represented among academic faculty at Canadian universities.

This transition award is intended to foster the development of independent research scientists with tailored, mentored career development in Phase 1 (supervised research) before transitioning to Phase 2 (independent research position) and establishing and sustaining their independent research program in academia. The first competition was held in 2023, and JDRF partnered with CIHR to support two applicants in T1D.

Dr. Yi Chun Chen

Dr. Chen is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of insufficient islet prohormone processing in diabetes. Her career goal is to establish an independent research program focused on studying the adaptive responses of beta cells during the development of T1D, to inform the design of therapeutics to protect beta cells in T1D. Dr. Chen previously held a JDRF-I postdoctoral fellowship award.

Dr. Hyekyoung (Cindy) Sung

Dr. Sung is a postdoctoral fellow at York University in Dr. Gary Sweeney’s laboratory. Her research studies the impact of adiponectin (a naturally occurring hormone primarily produced by fatty tissue) on regulation of glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. During this award she will characterize the importance of a certain immune pathway in T1D and carry out preclinical studies to test drugs that target this pathway as a possible way to prevent or treat T1D. Dr. Sung’s overarching career goal is to identify pathways important in T1D, characterize sub-types of disease, and work on new precision medicine approaches for T1D.

The CIHR REDI Awards help Canada nurture the full extent of its tremendous scientific talent by addressing gaps in training and fostering diversity. Supporting the next generation of researchers early in their careers helps build world-class T1D experts, facilitating innovative breakthroughs for years to come.

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