It is our pleasure to announce the recipients of the ’Society to Cell’ Clyde Hertzman Memorial Fellowship! This fellowship is intended to financially support UBC trainees who are conducting research projects that will enrich our understanding of the impact of social and environmental factors on health and well-being across the life course. All applications for this fellowship underwent a rigorous, anonymous review process. We wish to thank the reviewers for lending their time and expertise to make this award possible.
We would like to thank Dr. W. Thomas Boyce, a close friend and colleague of Dr. Hertzman, for his generous contribution to this year's fellowship competition. Dr. Boyce is thrilled he can support this work an dhonour the legacy of Dr. Hertzman.
“I know for certain that Clyde would be very proud of the work the Social Exposome Cluster has done and their dedication to support trainees in conducting interdisciplinary research”
-Dr. Tom Boyce, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
This fellowship is in honour of the late Dr. Clyde Hertzman, the Founding Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), who passed away suddenly in 2013. Dr. Hertzman was a world-leading researcher in early childhood development and health, a champion for social justice, and a tireless advocate for all children. He was the Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Human Development and Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Dr. Hertzman played a central role in creating a framework that links population health to human development, which has catalyzed research investigating the importance of early child development as a determinant of health. His research contributed to international, national, provincial, and community initiatives for healthy child development. Amongst his many honours, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a long-term Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 2010 Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013.
“It is my great pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2nd Society to Cell Clyde Hertzman Memorial Fellowship. I am deeply grateful to the contributions of Dr. Tom Boyce, a close friend and collaborator of Dr. Hertzman’s, to this year’s competition and look forward to the impactful research that will be conducted by the exceptional trainees who won these awards.”
-Dr. Michael Kobor, Social Exposome Cluster Lead
Erick Navarro, Masters Student, Department of Bioinformatics (Supervisor Dr. Michael Kobor and Dr. Keegan Korthauer).
“Dissecting the contribution of genotype and environmental exposure to DNA methylation variability in early childhood”
Erick’s project will provide new insights into the impact of genetics and/or the environmental exposures in early life DNA methylation in different tissues, and will generate a novel approach to interrogate these changes across time. These findings will contribute to the understanding of how, and under which conditions, individual genetic susceptibility and environmental variables factors work together to influence the molecular processes within our cells and enable early-life experiences to get under our skin.
Katherine Hastings, PhD Student, School of Population and Public Health (Supervisor Dr. Anne Gadermann and Dr. Skye Barbic).
“How has the mental health landscape and service needs of youth in BC changed since the pandemic?: a retrospective analysis using data from a province-wide integrated youth service network"
Nearly 75% of all youth mental illness occur between the ages of 12 and 24 years, marking a critical time period for prevention and early intervention. The findings of this study will inform policies aimed to optimize and expand the impact of this model in improving mental healthcare delivery and outcomes for all Canadian youth. This research serves as a stepping stone in establishing a more equitable and accessible form of mental healthcare for youth during a time of unprecedented need.
Brian Low, PhD Student, Department of Chemistry (Supervisor Dr. Tao Huan).
"Prenatal tooth metabolomics to interrogate early childhood development"
Brian’s project will focus on using tooth to understand how environmental exposures affect child health and development. First, Brian will design methods to efficiently extract metabolites from tooth, as this is a sample type that is not commonly used. Then, a database of metabolites in tooth needs to be built because current databases are not sufficient to identify the unique metabolites that are found only in tooth. Through this work, researchers can then use the database to identify metabolites from their tooth samples to gain a deeper understanding how the cumulative exposure to chemicals, both past and present, can affect health and development.
Meingold Chan, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Medical Genetics (Supervisor Dr. Michael Kobor).
“Biological embedding of family adversity through DNA methylation among school-aged children in Canada”
Meingold’s project will study how family adversity affects gene regulation in two different biological samples and whether negative parenting behaviors also play a role. They will study this in 376 children ages 7 to 13 who provide cheek swabs (92 of these children also provided blood samples). Their mothers completed a series of surveys on whether they feel depressed, stressed about finances or parenting, and how they interact with their children. This project will help us understand how environment “gets under the skin” of children by studying the relation between family environment, parenting behaviours, and gene regulation.