2018 CaMos Award Winner

Dr. Azita Goshtasebi, MD, MPH, PhD

I am delighted to receive the Osteoporosis Canada-CaMos Fellowship. I graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, and later with a Master of Public health and PhD in reproductive health from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. The focus of my research has been on women’s reproductive health from a public health perspective. Since moving to Canada, 4 years ago, I have been working alongside Dr. Prior at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research studying women’s reproduction and bone health especially in adolescent and premenopausal women.

The OC CaMos fellowship grant allows us to work on: “Does Peak Perimenopause Bone Mineral Density Predict Risk for Incident Fragility Fractures?” using CaMos data over many years. I will evaluate whether those with lower BMD values just before becoming menopausal are at a greater risk of subsequent fragility fractures than those with higher BMD values. My mentors for this project are Dr. JC Prior, and Claudie Berger.

2018 Ph.D. Studentship Research Award Winner

Ahmed Abou-Sharkh, MSc PT

Ahmed’s Physical Therapy (PT) training has given him the building blocks for a clinical research career through course work that emphasized evidence-based practice. He is currently pursuing his PhD studies in Rehabilitation Science at McGill University. As a PT and an aspiring researcher, Ahmed’s long-term goal is to become an active advocate in the promotion of healthy behaviors and to pursue an academic career with a focus on therapeutic interventions in chronic musculoskeletal conditions. The mentorship of his co-supervisors, Dr. Suzanne Morin, an expert in osteoporosis research, and Dr. Nancy Mayo, a health outcome measurement expert, is vital to reaching his goal. These past two years during Ahmed’s PhD training, he undertook courses that helped him broaden his understanding in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and advanced research methodology. He has been a teaching assistant for research methods courses. Ahmed sees tremendous value in combining clinical experience, research methods, with active teaching and applying these skills to develop innovative research.

His current project entitled: “HIP mobile: A Community-based Monitoring, Rehabilitation and Learning e-System for patients following a Hip Fracture” has been awarded the Osteoporosis Canada’s Studentship Award. Hip Mobile, an electronic monitoring and rehabilitation intervention, proposes effective strategies to enable recovery, restore independence and improve the quality of life of patients following a hip fracture. While working on the Hip Mobile study, Ahmed is also developing a knowledge tool that will aid Canadian older adults to ‘Walk Well’ which has been funded by the Richard and Edith Strauss Foundation. Concurrently working on both projects has provided him with invaluable experience of recruiting, interviewing, assessing research participants and developing ideas alongside colleagues with respect to what is needed.

Ahmed also recently presented results of his research at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geriatric Society Conference and at the CIHR Summer Program in Aging in British Columbia 2018. These opportunities allowed Ahmed to network with other trainees and interact with inspiring mentors.
The Osteoporosis Canada PhD Studentship Award will provide Ahmed with support and the opportunity to further enhance his training experience in rehabilitation and in skeletal health through ongoing mentorship by Drs Morin and Mayo and continue to participate actively in their research programs.

Ahmed would like to thank Osteoporosis Canada for providing the generous funding for the project entitled “HIP mobile: A Community-based Monitoring, Rehabilitation and Learning e-System for patients following a Hip Fracture”. Ahmed is extremely pleased to have received this studentship award. Not only because it will provide him and his research team support for his study but also because this award will go a long way in supporting his graduate studies in Rehabilitation Science.
Ahmed recognizes the importance of Osteoporosis Canada’s contribution by providing support and by helping build research projects in the field of musculoskeletal health.

2018 M.Sc. Studentship Research Award Winner

Leah Ferrie

Throughout my academic career my passion for bio-medical engineering, in particular tissue engineering, has evolved with my increased interaction with re-search. In 2017 I received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering with an option in biochemical engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Since then, I have begun my biomedical engineering master’s degree at the University of Calgary in the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health under the supervision of Dr. Neil Duncan and Dr. Roman Krawetz, where I have focused my interests on the use of stem cells and biomaterials in treating bone fractures.

Given the high fracture risk and compromised bone structure in osteoporotic patients, tissue engineering is a promising approach to improve bone repair for these difficult-to-heal fractures. Despite the potential for using stem cells and biomaterials in bone fracture repair, the mechanisms through which new bone is formed are not well understood, which has caused a delay in development and translation of novel and effective therapies. The purpose of my research project is twofold; 1) determine the role of native and transplanted stem cells in bone fracture repair and 2) determine if mechanically pre-stimulating stem cells in a biomaterial construct will improve bone fracture healing. The outcomes of this study will pro-vide fundamental new knowledge required for developing more effective stem cell and biomaterial therapies to treat osteoporotic-related bone fractures.

Receiving the Osteoporosis Canada M.Sc. Student-ship Research Award will provide me with increased resources to innovate in my research project and contribute positively in my field. This studentship will allow me to attend and present at conferences and meetings to learn from the field’s leading research-ers and to be an advocate for the effective prevention and treatment of osteoporotic-related bone fractures. Being at an early stage in my career, this studentship will allow me to broaden my professional network by attending conferences, symposiums, and public events with the goal of exploring academic and industry careers in Canadian musculoskeletal research. In the long-term, I aim to contribute to making stem cell and biomaterial tissue engineering solutions a viable clinical treatment option for Canadians living with osteoporosis, so that they can lead active and healthy lives. I am sincerely grateful to have received this scholarship and believe it will help me in achieving my academic and professional goals.

2018 Tim Murray Travel Award Winners

Danielle Whittier

Danielle Whittier is a PhD Candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Calgary. Her research aims to identify a better method to predict fragility fractures at the hip by comparing bone microarchitecture at peripheral sites of hip fracture patients with a healthy population using high-resolution peripheral computed tomography (HRpQCT). Under the supervision of Dr. Steven Boyd and orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Prism Schneider, Danielle has had the unique opportunity to collaborate with the newly established Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) at two Calgary med-ical centers. With this connection to the strategic clinical network, Danielle has had the unique opportunity to integrate this project into the standard FLS procedures, and build a foundation for future knowledge translation strategies.

The Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Short-Term Training Award with provide Danielle the opportunity to attend and present at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Annual Meet-ing for the first time. The ASBMR annual meeting is one of the most prestigious meetings in the field of musculoskeletal research, and attending will enable Danielle to present her preliminary findings to an international audience, receive valuable feedback from the research community, and have the opportunity to build connections early on in her career.

“I am very grateful to be one of the recipients of the Tim Murray Short-Term Training Award. This fund-ing will offer me invaluable experience at such a crucial stage in my academic career.”

Chams Cherid

“It is with immense honor to be receiving the 2018 Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Award. This award will facilitate my MSc training by supporting my travel to Vancouver, BC, to attend AGE-WELL’s 4th Annual Conference in October.”

My research project is centered on improving acute pain management in older adults with recent fracture following discharge from the Emergency Department (ED). Risk of fractures in-creases with age as a result of the onset of osteoporosis and acute pain is one of the most recurrent and prevalent symptoms reported by fracture patients who present to the ED. However, failure to effectively manage acute musculoskeletal pain in older adults is common and has been associated with poor long-term outcomes such as increased falls, decreased balance, low quality of life and mortality. Moreover, the hectic environment of the ED alongside inadequate teaching time on management of pain by health care providers does not equip patients with the confidence and knowledge to effectively self-manage their pain. Ergo, patients may either end up not using pain medications effectively once at home due to fear of using them inappropriately or may only use them once the pain is too intense.

Mobile-health (mHealth) technology is a field which is rising rapidly among older adults and offers new opportunities to provide tailored, interactive interventions with real-time monitoring of health status to improve self-management of acute pain in older adults with fractures. We have conducted a survey research to identify the current level of technology adoption and eHealth literacy among older adults who recently suffered a fracture. A cross-sectional analysis of the data from the self-administered survey led us to measuring the eHealth literacy of our target population and to examine the links between their sociodemographic characteristics, ownership of mobile technologies and their eHealth literacy. The survey’s results suggest that the majority of older adults express an interest in using technology to improve their health and are increasingly using electronic mobile devices. They also emphasize that there is a significant adoption of mobile technology among older adults and supports the creation of an interactive mobile tool (such as a mobile app) for the management of acute pain in this population. Having already done poster presentations in multiple conferences, I look forward to presenting our findings at the AGE-WELL Annual conference. AGE-WELL is a national research and innovation network which focuses on creating innovative technology solutions to enhance the lives of older adults and their caregivers. This award will give me the opportunity to take part in educational events and to present the results of our study. It will allow me to engage in workshops with researchers and experts in the field and network with other students and trainees. This learning opportunity will be key in improving my training, essential skillset as a researcher and learn extensively about the different possible outcomes older adults must face. I look forward to building a network with peers and colleagues interested in harnessing the potential of eHealth and mHealth to improve fracture-associated pain management.

ASM Borhan

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Osteoporosis Canada for the Tim Murray short-term training award. This award provides me the opportunity to attend an international conference and get familiar with the latest research in Osteoporosis and related fields.” I will attend the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) in 2018, where I have been selected to receive a Young Investigator Award and will present my work entitled “The Long-term Impact of Incident Low-trauma Fractures on Health-related Quality of Life of Older People: The Canadian Multi-centre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos)”. While the short-term impact of incident fragility fractures on health-related quality of life (HRQL) of older people has been confirmed, we lack long-term evidence (10 years or more). This study investigated the long-term impact of incident fragility fracture on HRQL of older people using 10-year follow-up data of CaMos, which suggested that, hip and spine fracture had persistent negative impact on HRQL of both women and men, more specifically on mobility, self-care, and ambulation. Moreover, fracture that occurred closer to follow-up measurement had significant impact on HRQL compared to fracture that occurred long before the measurement except hip. In addition, women with multiple fracture had substantial deficit on HRQL compared to women with one or no fracture. This study also indicated that, women with hip fracture never recovered to their pre-fracture level values. However, women with no spine fracture for 5 years or more regained their pre-fracture levels.This award not only allows me to attend the ASBMR annual meeting but also provides me the opportunity to meet with world class scientists and gained knowledge from their outstanding research works.

2017 OC-CaMos Award

Dr. Evelyn Wong
Dr. Evelyn MM Wong holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of British Columbia and a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster University. She completed her Internal Medicine residency and Endocrinology fellowship at UBC and is currently a Metabolic Bone Disease fellow with Dr. Angela MW Cheung at the Osteoporosis Program of the University Health Network (http://www.osteoconnections.com). She is also completing her Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the University of Toronto.Evelyn is thankful for the OC-CaMOS fellowship as it will grant her the ability to bring her project to fruition. Her project is entitled “Serum pentosidine levels in women with or without atypical femur fractures: Developing pentosidine as a bone health biomarker”. Her additional mentors for this project are Drs. JC Prior, RG Josse, JD Adachi, and G Tomlinson.The goal of this project is to develop a method to accurately measure pentosidine levels as a marker of bone health and use this method  to examine for differences in serum pentosidine levels between patients with AFFs and controls   and to establish normative data in the CaMOS population.This project will serve as a catalyst and platform to establish serum pentosidine as a biomarker for bone fragility. By developing a robust method to measure pentosidine, this new knowledge can be applied to the overall CaMos population to examine if it helps predict the risk of fractures.  This project has the potential to improve clinical assessment of skeletal health and thus quality of care.

2017 Ph.D. Studentship Research Award

Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues will be starting her Ph.D. studies in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, with a specialization in Aging Health and Well-Being, under the supervision of Dr. Lora Giangregorio. She received her Bachelor of Science (Honours) from McMaster University where she completed an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Jonathan Adachi, a rheumatologist, on X-ray damage in the joints of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Her work was part of a larger study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Rheumatology. Currently, she is completing a Master’s of Science at in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University, under the supervision of Dr. Joy MacDermid. Her MSc thesis involved identifying the facilitators and barriers to exercise in people with osteoporosis. Her work on this topic has been published in several journals.

The Osteoporosis Canada Ph.D. Studentship Research Award will provide Isabel with the opportunity to be mentored by Dr. Giangregorio, and Dr. Angela Cheung from the University of Toronto, and to grow her skills as an independent researcher. Her Ph.D. research will focus on understanding the optimal type and level of physical activity to improve health outcomes for individuals with osteoporosis, and in particular, individuals with acute spinal fractures due to osteoporosis. There is very little guidance on safe physical activity for individuals with recent spine fractures, so she will work on developing recommendations in this area. She will contribute to new meta-analyses exploring the effects of exercise on health outcomes in individuals with osteoporosis, with the intent of informing future clinical practice guidelines. She also hopes to continue her work from her MSc thesis by developing an intervention to increase the uptake of physical activity recommendations among health care providers and people with osteoporosis.

Isabel would like to express her sincere gratitude for this opportunity. The scholarship from Osteoporosis Canada will support valuable learning opportunities and advances in research.

2017 Tim Murray Travel Award

Matthew Wong-Pack

Matthew is a medical student at the University of Toronto. He works under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Adachi and Dr. Arthur Lau in the Division of Rheumatology. Matthew’s research interests lie in a number of fields including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. His research involves studying a subset of patients evaluated by the Fracture Liaison Service to understand the characteristics of those examined and the care gap in fracture prevention.

The Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Short-Term Training Award will provide Matthew the opportunity to attend the Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting in February 2018. Attending this meeting will allow Matthew to not only participate in the CRA workshops and presentations, but also will provide him with an opportunity to network with rheumatologists with an interest in skeletal health. This will give Matthew a chance to build connections early on in his medical training to promote his development toward conducting future research.

“I’m very thankful to Osteoporosis Canada for the Tim Murray Short-Term Training Award. As I am just starting my medical training, I will greatly benefit from this invaluable learning opportunity to both enhance my understanding of osteoporosis and establish connections with other rheumatologists.”

2017 Tim Murray Travel Award

Dr Ahmed Negm

“It is an honor to receive the 2017 Tim Murray Travel Award. I am currently a final year PhD Student in the Rehabilitation Science program, McMaster University.”

At the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) in Denver, Colorado, I will present my project entitled “Comparisons of Hip Fractures Rates for a New Fracture Risk Scale in Adults Living in Long-term Care Across Canada”. The purpose of this project is to compare hip fracture rates over one-year period among individuals living in long-term care (LTC) from three Canadian provinces for the eight fracture risk levels of our New Fracture Risk Scale. The current fracture risk assessment tools are not suitable for care planning for long-term care (LTC) residents. Fracture Rating Scale is a new clinical assessment tool to predict one-year fracture risk in LTC residents. Through one-on-one and small group discussions, I will be able to share knowledge and synthesize ideas about hip fracture detection and prevention in long-term care residents. I will also discuss with the world leaders of osteoporosis the potential of incorporating our new fracture prediction tool internationally. Furthermore, integrating researchers and clinicians from a wide range of disciplines will provide me with broad clinical research training and solid foundation for embarking on an independent research career.

As a PhD student, I was drawn to the ASBMR meeting as a platform for me to build bridges across several disciplines and research groups who share a core vision to improve the bone and musculoskeletal health of older adults across the world. Attending the world’s largest event in the field of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and frailty aligns with my pursuit to acquire additional scholarly training to help manage concurrent and complex chronic conditions affecting older adults. My long-term goals are becoming a recognized clinical scientist in Canada and worldwide.

Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Travel Award will provide an exciting opportunity for me to attend the ASBMR annual meeting.

2017 Tim Murray Travel Award

Garthiga Manickam

“I would like to express my gratitude to Osteoporosis Canada for selecting me as one of the recipients of the Tim Murray Short Term Award. This award will allow me to attend the 2017 International Conference on Children’s Bone Health (ICCBH), in Würzburg, Germany, which will bring together leading scientists, physicians, and healthcare professionals working on bone health. This diversity in knowledge will broaden my understanding of the skeleton, ranging from basic molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal development and its homeostasis, to bone diseases and scopes for treatment. The long-term objective of my work is to understand the mechanism of action of genes which are important for skeletal tissue development and regeneration. Towards this goal, I am working on a critical regulator of skeletal development, called sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase 3 (SMPD3). I will be presenting my work investigating The regulation of Smpd3 expression in skeletal tissues and its role in fracture healing at this conference.

Traumatic bone fractures can be a serious and frequent problem for patients suffering from osteoporosis. The promotion of new bone formation and mineralization can facilitate and shorten the time of healing, as well as yield stronger union of the fractured bones. Our laboratory has identified important developmental roles of SMPD3, which include the promotion of apoptosis of hypertrophic chondrocytes and mineralization of both cartilage and bone extracellular matrix (ECM) in the developing skeleton. My recently published work shows that SMPD3 activity in both chondrocytes and osteoblasts is required for normal skeletal development. Since bone fracture healing involves a recapitulation of the steps seen during bone development, I hypothesized that mice lacking SMPD3 in chondrocytes and osteoblasts will adversely affect the process of fracture healing. The data that I will present at this conference provides the first line of evidence that the modulation of Smpd3 levels at the bone fracture site promotes faster and better healing.

2016 OC-CaMos Award

Dr. Olga Gajic-Veljanoski

What is the impact of osteoporotic fractures on trajectories of change in quality of life and
healthcare resource use?

Osteoporosis and fractures are common among older adults. Osteoporotic fractures substantially affect a person’s well-being or one’s quality of life. Hip and spine fractures negatively affect the ability to walk independently or to perform basic self-care such as getting dressed. They are also associated with severe pain leading to frequent use of pain killers, and potentially greater use of health services such as help in the home and hospitalization. Hip fractures are associated with increased risks of dying in the first year following the fracture. Accurate measuring of the long-term impact of different types of osteoporotic fractures on quality of life is particularly important for economic modeling of osteoporosis as over lifetime an adult may sustain fractures multiple times, and consequently, may have a much greater risk of repeat fractures and a higher propensity for healthcare resource use. While most research has focused on the short-term impact of fractures during the first years, we think that hip and spine fractures can result in changes that have impact on a person’s health and costs of health care for many years after the fracture. Our study will examine the patterns of change in quality of life and healthcare costs after new or repeat osteoporotic fractures using data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). We will examine the loss in quality of life over 10 years by the severity of incident osteoporotic fractures in over 7,500 participants aged 50 years and older. We also propose to link data of the eligible Ontario CaMos cohort with health administrative data holdings. These databases provide information on physician services, hospitalizations, prescriptions or use of long-term care so we can analyze at the same time the long-term impact and associations between osteoporotic fractures, quality of life and healthcare costs. We expect that older participants with severe types of fractures such as hip or clinical vertebral fractures will have longer, significantly lower quality of life and will consume more healthcare resources than those with less severe types of osteoporotic fractures or those without fractures. This study will provide a unique opportunity to link the CaMos population-based cohort with all available Ontario’s health administrative data, and will establish more accurately the burden of osteoporotic fractures in Ontario. Findings from our study will contribute towards better assessments of current osteoporosis care programs and will guide policies aimed at improving the quality of care in adults with osteoporosis and fractures.

2016 Tim Murray Travel Award

Angel Ong

“It is with great honour to be receiving the 2016 Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Award. This award will facilitate my PhD training by supporting my travel to Georgia, USA, to attend the full ASBMR 2016 Annual Meeting in September.

The aim of my thesis research project is to compare the effect of dietary calcium intake to that of supplemental calcium on vascular and bone health in healthy postmenopausal women in a 1-year randomized controlled trial. To date, we have conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of our ongoing randomized controlled trial to examine whether the intake of dietary calcium is associated with biomarkers of vascular health in healthy postmenopausal women. I will be presenting these results at the ASBMR 2016 Annual Meeting in light of the recently raised uncertainty associating dietary calcium intake from milk with cardiovascular mortality. In addition to the dissemination of our results, this award will also give me the opportunity to attend and to participate in different educational sessions, including symposia, plenary lectures and poster presentations by peers and researchers at the scientific meeting. These learning opportunities will provide a fundamental skillset for my PhD training as well as future research work. Moreover, I look forward to this great opportunity to continue to build a network of international colleagues for potential collaborations in the future.”

2016 Tim Murray Travel Award

Gillian Mazzetti

Gillian Mazzetti is a medical resident in Endocrinology and Metabolism at McGill University. She completed medical school at the University of Calgary, and has undergone further training in Internal Medicine at McMaster University. She works under the supervision of Dr. Suzanne Morin at the Bone Metabolism Centre in the McGill University Health Centre. Gillian’s research interests involve the applications of vertebral trabecular bone score and its relationship with body mass index. Her research has involved studying a subset of the CaMos cohort to determine if the relationship between body mass index and trabecular bone score varies between two major manufacturers’ densitometers.

The Tim Murray Short Term Training Award will give Gillian the opportunity to attend the ASBMR Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2016. Attending the ASBMR Annual Meeting will allow Gillian to present her research findings in a poster presentation session and receive feedback, as well as to network with experts in the field of osteoporosis, attend plenary sessions, and gain exposure to cutting edge research in osteoporosis. Gillian is honoured to receive this award and looks forward to using it to enhance her knowledge and experience in the field of osteoporosis and bone metabolism.

2016 Tim Murray Travel Award

May Slim

The annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is the ideal setting to present study results exploring bone health. It is well attended by clinicians and researchers from Canada, USA, Europe and Asia. As bone development and growth is vital to overall health throughout the lifespan, there is a strong emphasis on childhood and youth health at this conference. This annual meeting for the ASBMR attracts leading researchers performing highly influential research that has a large impact on health policy. This year, ASBMR provides also a Symposium on bone genomics titled “Bone-omics: Translating Genomic Discoveries into Clinical Applications” that will be held on one day prior to the ASBMR meeting. This makes it a premier opportunity for myself as a student to continue to develop and refine my knowledge and skill in the field.

Presenting at this conference is very fitting and aligns perfectly with Osteoporosis Canada priorities as my work is focused on the assessment and achievement of optimal bone growth and development during adolescence. The impact of milk and alternatives (MAlt) on bone health in adolescents is understudied and current scientific evidence is not adequate to support its necessity for optimal bone health. Most trials point to benefits in younger women and were underpowered to substantiate the Health Canada’s statements regarding reduction in risk of osteoporosis (i.e. Bone mineral density and bone mineral content not necessarily improved). Furthermore, no RCT was specifically designed in Canada or in men. The primary objective is to generate high-level evidence in healthy young men and women (14 to 18 y at baseline) with habitually low intake of MAlt that dietary intervention with MAlt will enhance bone health. Data collected will generate important new information for obtaining calcium intakes at the recommended level through diet alone and includes safety assessments to reassure health care professionals, researchers, policy groups, industry and Canadians that such a diet is healthy. Findings of this research are applicable for both researchers and clinicians at the conference as it addresses gaps in the knowledge base. From these points it can be inferred that there for this work might have an influence on clinical policy and health research across Canada.

As a PhD student, the main focus for myself attending a conference like this is to further enhance my training and knowledge in my research field and to build connections with both students and investigators in related fields. Attending this conference allows me the exposure to novel and cutting edge research from around the world. Through networking and discussion with senior investigators at the conferences I can learn from their vast experiences, knowledge and leadership abilities. Going to a conference involving practicing clinicians as well as researchers gives me a truly valuable perspective of those who would be using the guidelines that researchers and clinicians develop and the factors that play a role in the realistic use and integration of nutritional guidelines.

2016 Tim Murray Travel Award

Tomas Cervinka

Tomas Cervinka is a postdoctoral fellow in the Research Department at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (a member of the University Health Network). Tomas obtained his PhD degree at the Tampere University of Technology (Finland) where he acquired expertise in image processing and analysis in relation to clinical bone research with a special focus on peripheral quantitative computer tomography (pQCT). His postdoctoral research aims to evaluate currently available imaging modalities and tools for assessment of bone health of individuals living with spinal cord injury and consequently recognize those at high risk for fragility fracture.

The Osteoporosis Canada-Tim Murray Short Term Award will provide Tomas with the opportunity to attend and present his research at the 55th Annual scientific meeting of International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) in Vienna in September 14-16th, 2016. By attending ISCoS, Tomas will strengthen his knowledge and understanding of the field of rehabilitation science, and engage with experts in the field the spinal cord injury (SCI) research. Together with Dr. B. Catharine Craven, he will implement and invited 1.5hr workshop entitled “Moving from DXA to pQCT: feasibility and economic considerations and technical recommendations for the SCI community”. Further, Tomas led a secondary data analysis that examined a potential bone health indicator, so-called Capozza index, in 99 individuals with SCI and will present his findings in a poster session at ISCOS. The Capozza index may help clinicians further distinguish individuals according to American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) subgroups, and the impairment consequences of SCI in terms of the muscle-bone unit interactions; specifically, the degree of motor preservation and the associated impact on bone quality.

The Tim Murray Short Term Award will not only allow Tomas to attend the ISCoS plenary sessions and presentations, but also provide a unique opportunity to meet with experts in SCI, receive feedback on his research, and discuss related issues among the ISCoS international data set working groups regarding fracture risk assessment and endocrine metabolic disease risk.

“I am very grateful to Osteoporosis Canada for my selection as a recipient of the Tim Murray Short Term Award. As an engineer, just starting my postdoctoral training in field of SCI, I will greatly benefit from a deeper understanding and integration into the SCI research community, while establishing connections to enable future collaborations. I believe my participation at ISCoS, thanks to the Tim Murray Short Term Award, will afford an excellent opportunity to introduce myself to the SCI research society and launch my career in the field of rehabilitation science”.

2015 OC-CaMos Award

Lauren Burt, Ph.D
Lauren has a Bachelor of Exercise Science (Honours) and a Doctor of Philosophy from the Australian Catholic University. Currently, Lauren is a postdoctoral fellow within the Bone Imaging Laboratory (http://bonelab.ucalgary.ca) at the University of Calgary where she works on the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) under the supervision of Dr. Steven Boyd and Dr. David Hanley.
Lauren is thrilled to be this year’s recipient of the Osteoporosis Canada CaMos Fellowship. Her project is entitled “Transforming HR-pQCT for improved Clinical Diagnostic Applications: A Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study”. This work will produce a sex-and site-specific centile driven normative database for HR- pQCT parameters. Specific centile curves will be established at the radius and tibia for males and females. Being able to determine true age- and sex-related bone changes across the lifespan, with this high resolution imaging technology in a normal aging cohort may provide valuable information on bone quality, fracture risk and aging, not yet known. Furthermore, it is possible that the magnitude of true individual change in bone health may be a better indicator of fracture risk than an overall quantity. For example total bone density loss of over 3% per year may be a better predictor of fracture risk than placement of an individual below the 10 centile for total bone mineral density at baseline assessment. Lauren is looking forward to sharing the results of her study with the Osteoporosis Canada community in the not too distant future.

2015 Tim Murray Travel Award

Jenna Gibbs
Jenna Gibbs is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. Jenna earned her PhD from Penn State University in Kinesiology where she acquired expertise in physiology and metabolism research, in particular interactions among musculoskeletal health, exercise, and nutrition. Her postdoctoral research aims to understand the role of physical activity, nutrition, and behaviour in optimizing musculoskeletal health across the lifespan, particularly in individuals at high risk of osteoporosis and fracture.

The Osteoporosis Canada-Tim Murray Award will provide Jenna with the opportunity to attend and present her research at the ASBMR Annual Meeting in October 2015 in Seattle, WA, USA. By attending ASBMR, Jenna will reinforce skills and knowledge acquired during her postdoctoral training, present two conference abstracts, and engage in applied learning on the latest bone and mineral research. Jenna led a secondary data analysis that examined the muscle-bone association in adults aged 40-90 years from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS) Toronto cohort and will present her findings in plenary and poster presentation sessions at ASBMR. Jenna also co-supervised an undergraduate thesis student to evaluate the precision of marrow fat measures obtained using peripheral quantitative computed tomography. She will present the findings from this work as a poster presentation at ASBMR. The Tim Murray Award will also allow Jenna to attend the ASBMR plenary sessions, presentations, and clinical discussions, network with experts in osteoporosis research, and meet with collaborators to receive feedback on her research. Overall, this training funded by Osteoporosis Canada will support valuable learning opportunities related to bone health research, an opportunity to present research at an international meeting, and access to high-quality mentoring.

“I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Osteoporosis Canada and the Scientific Advisory Council for choosing me as the recipient of the Tim Murray Award. The Osteoporosis Canada-Tim Murray Award will support the achievement of many important learning opportunities needed to establish my independent research program.”

2015 Tim Murray Travel Award

John A. Morris
John is a PhD student in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University. He works under the supervision of Dr. Brent Richards at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, QC. John’s basic area of interest is in the application of bioinformatic tools and statistical techniques to study the genetics of osteoporosis.

Through an active collaboration with researchers at TwinsUK, the largest registry of adult twins in the United Kingdom, John is studying the determinants of bone mineral density, the most clinically relevant predictor of osteoporosis. Even though identical twins share the same genome, their bone mineral density measurements can differ with one possible contributing factor being that their genes are controlled differently. To this end, John is investigating the role of DNA methylation, one of the mechanisms for epigenetic control of genes, in osteoporosis using measurements of bone mineral density in twins.

John will be using the Tim Murray Award to attend the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Seattle, WA, where his work entitled “Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation identifies a novel locus associated with bone mineral density” has been accepted for an oral presentation. He is humbled and excited to accept the award and to use it in order to deepen his understanding of osteoporosis, to present his findings to the global scientific community, and to continue working towards understanding this common yet devastating disease.

2015 Tim Murray Travel Award

Kristen Blythe Pitzul
Kristen Blythe Pitzul is a PhD candidate in health services research at the University of Toronto. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Science in Honors Biology and a Master of Science in Physiology from the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests include health system performance, program evaluation, and knowledge synthesis. Kristen is a fellow of the Health System Performance Research Network and President of the Student Chapter of AcademyHealth at the University of Toronto. Receiving the Tim Murray Short-term training award will enable Kristen to present the results of her first thesis objective as well as the results of a recent scoping review that she led on quality indicators for hip fracture patients at an international conference. Kristen’s PhD thesis is focused on the optimization of post-acute care pathways in hip fracture patients. Using Ontario as a case study, preliminary results from her first objective suggest that similar sub-populations of hip fracture patients are discharged to different levels of care depending on where the patient lives in the province. Results from the scoping review on quality indicators for hip# patients suggest that there are some validated quality indicators for hip# patients in the acute care period, but very few in the post-acute care period. Disseminating these results at an international conference will be invaluable as Kristen will be able to speak directly with preeminent content experts and garner invaluable feedback from researchers, clinicians, and administrators.

2014 Tim Murray Award

Jordan Albaum
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto

“Glucocorticoids are a potent anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Chrohn’s disease, psoriasis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, long-term use of glucocorticoids may cause bone damage because they are associated with increased activity of the cells that clear old bone, while simultaneously stopping bone-forming cells from building new bones. This results in rapid bone loss making bones brittle and more likely to break, and is known as glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP). Glucocorticoids also cause muscle wasting that further increase the risk for falls, another component increasing the likelihood of a broken bone. Due to this increased risk, bone health should be carefully monitored during treatment with glucocorticoids, yet glucocorticoid-induced bone effects are undermanaged. In particular, this research identified that men and patients with respiratory conditions were managed less commonly when compared to women and patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The results of this research provide a better understanding of the state of the GIOP management.

The Tim Murray Training Award allowed me to attend and present a poster at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2014 Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, and the submission of a peer reviewed journal article to PloS One. ASBMR conference is held to advance basic science, translational, and clinical research in the area of bone health”.

2014 Tim Murray Award

Angel Ong
McGill University

Through the support of the Osteoporosis Canada Tim Murray Short-Term Award, I had the opportunity to attend for the first time the ASBMR Annual meeting in September 2014, which took place in Houston, Texas, USA.

The lectures, plenary symposia, clinical discussions and clinical debates provided a great insight of the current areas of interest in the field of bone and mineral research. Although I was particularly interested in clinical research, this educational aspect of the conference demonstrated the unique importance of each area, including basic, clinical and translational research.

The oral presentations and poster presentations by young investigators and students were exceptionally inspiring. I was able to connect with some of the presenters and shared research ideas. As a first year PhD student, I am glad to be able to build a network of international colleagues for potential collaborations in the future. Furthermore, I had the chance to connect with Canadian researchers at Osteoporosis Canada networking Breakfast during which I was able to discuss my research project with other graduate students and investigators.

Nonetheless, one of my primary goals was to present the results of our pilot study entitled, “The Effect of Dietary Calcium versus Supplemental Calcium on Vascular and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women: A 12 –Month Pilot Clinical Trial”, at the Eighth fellows Forum on Metabolic Bone Disease and during one of the poster presentations at the ASBMR Annual Meeting. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of conducting a randomized clinical trial to compare the effect of dietary calcium and supplemental calcium on vascular and bone health in postmenopausal women. In fact, the primary goal of the randomized clinical trial it to examine the effect of calcium on cardiovascular clinical outcomes and to enlighten the interpretation of the conflicting findings in the literature with regards to the safety of calcium supplements. Many colleagues showed great interest in our findings and each provided very valuable comments about the study design I look forward to the next opportunity to disseminate the preliminary results of our other research projects and to meet other researchers in the field.

2014 Tim Murray Award

Nooshin Rotondi
St. Michaels’ Hospital

“With the support of the Tim Murray Award, I was able to attend the 3rd Fragility Fracture Network (FFN) Global Congress in Madrid, Spain. FFN is the only meeting in the world that has a specific focus on osteoporosis and bone health in persons who have already had their first fracture. It is an excellent opportunity for networking with other researchers. I presented a poster focused on the evaluation of fracture risk assessment tools in fragility fracture patients. We looked at a cohort of persons who were seen in Ontario in a fracture liaison service program and compared the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) and the updated tool of the Canadian Association of Radiologists and Osteoporosis Canada (CAROC-2010). The results suggested that in 68% of the people, the results would be the same regardless of the tool, but for 32% of people the tools did not agree. Disagreement between the two approaches was more common, as one might expect, in males and in younger persons. At the conference I also did an oral presentation on the results of our evaluation of a bone mineral density “fast track” program within the Ontario Fracture Clinical Screening Program (FCSP). Our work was well received by international colleagues and researchers.

I also attended a 3-day workshop through the Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital. The workshop offered ‘hands-on’ training in evaluating interventions focused on enhancing equities. This workshop was an essential component of my training, as I will be working with Dr. Dorcas Beaton on evaluating the FCSP, which is one of the five main components of the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy. An important research question to stem from the program is whether there is evidence of inequities or differences in testing, treatment and outcomes (re-fracture rates) across certain subgroups. Specifically, inequities in osteoporosis care have been shown to impact males, individuals with comorbidities, those who live in rural regions, and those lacking a family physician. To address this question, we will be applying for a CIHR Operating Grant to be submitted in March 2015. We will use secondary data from our FCSP cohort, which will be linked to health records held at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). This project will allow us to identify interventions that could reduce inequities in our population of fragility fracture patients. Specifically, we may be able to improve guideline implementation related to the treatment of osteoporosis, which is considered to be an international priority because of the increased risk of re-fracture for fragility fracture patients.

2014 OC-CaMos Fellowship Award

Dr. Andy Kin On Wong
Dr. Andy Kin On Wong holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Co-op in Biology and Pharmacology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences at McMaster University. He completed his doctoral thesis under the supervisor of Dr. Jonathan D. Adachi on bone quality quantification using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and is the co-leader of the CaMOS Bone Quality Study (http://bqs.camris.ca). He is now completing his post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Angela MW Cheung at the Osteoporosis Program of the University Health Network (http://www.osteoconnections.com), where he is dovetailing this Bone Quality project with one focused on Muscle Quality. With this OC-CaMOS Fellowship, Andy will be dedicated to his project entitled “The CaMOS Muscle Quality and Frailty Study”, which will examine both bone and muscle in men and women across six cities in Canada to link these outcomes to the CaMOS frailty index, through collaboration with Drs. Courtney Kennedy and Alexandra Papaioannou. Andy will continue to follow these participants for the next five years and exercise advanced longitudinal statistical techniques to study the trajectories of concurrent musculoskeletal and frailty changes with aging. This fellowship award will also afford Andy the opportunity to study unique analysis techniques for longitudinal data abroad and bring back the knowledge to better execute these analyses. Through the many projects that Andy has led, he has developed expertise in the discovery of new imaging outcomes and has trained in epidemiological analyses while working with data derived from CaMOS, MrOS and SOF study cohorts. Andy currently collaborates with over 20 investigators in Canada, a number of international, government and industrial partners on advancing the musculoskeletal health of aging older adults.

2011 OC-CaMos Fellowship Award

Courtney Kennedy 
Courtney Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, a Master of Science from the Department of Community Health & Epidemiology at Queen’s University and is a PhD student in the Health Research Methodology program at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Lehana Thabane, Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou, and Dr. Jonathan Adachi. Courtney is a member of the Geriatric Research Group at HHS/St. Peter’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Her research interests are centred on knowledge translation related to bone health in long-term care, and epidemiological aspects of osteoporosis and fractures in the frail elderly. She is the PhD candidate on the Vitamin D in Osteoporosis Study (ViDos) – a CIHR funded knowledge translation randomized controlled trial in 40 long-term care homes – and is a working group member with the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy for Long-Term Care. Courtney has worked on several osteoporosis studies including as Project Coordinator for an Osteoporosis Canada systematic review of BMD testing in men aged 50+ years, and has several CaMos publications including ‘the osteoporosis care gap in men with fragility fractures’, and ‘the impact of incident fractures on health-related quality of life’. She has over 20 published journal articles and 50 oral or poster presentations.
She is this year’s (2011-2012) recipient of the Osteoporosis Canada/Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) Fellowship. Her research project will examine frailty in CaMos participants aged 65 years and older. Dr. Kenneth Rockwood who has been a pioneer in frailty research will also be a collaborator. This study will help to determine whether measuring frailty status in conjunction with bone mineral density may improve fracture prediction and help us to identify who are the most vulnerable elderly.

2010 OC-CaMos Fellowship Award

Celeste Hamilton 
Celeste Hamilton has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Science from the Department of Exercise Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is Research Coordinator in the Osteoporosis Research Program at Women’s College Hospital and a PhD student in the Department of Exercise Sciences at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Sophie A. Jamal and Dr. Scott G. Thomas. Celeste’s primary research interests include studying the effects of physical activity on bone geometry and strength in postmenopausal women. Her current research project using data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, will explore the effects of age and gender on the association between physical activity and hip strength in Canadian men and women.

2010 OC-CIHR Research Award

Milica Nikitovic
Milica Nikitovic is the recipient of the 2010 OC-CIHR research award. She graduated with an Honours BSc in Biology and Pharmacology from McMaster University, and is currently a Master’s student in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Suzanne Cadarette. Through her MSc training Milica is gaining expertise in the areas of pharmacoeconomics and pharmacoepidemiology related to osteoporosis. She recently published a review paper evaluating the methods to examine the impact of compliance to osteoporosis pharmacotherapy on fracture risk (Ther Adv Chronic Dis 2010; in press). Her MSc thesis research will determine the direct attributable costs of osteoporotic fractures in Ontario utilizing healthcare administrative claims data. Results from this study will provide Canadian fracture costing data that will feed into future cost effectiveness analyses.

2009 OC-CaMos Fellowship Award

Lisa-Ann Fraser
Lisa-Ann Fraser, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Health Research Methodology Program, McMaster University. The CaMos Mentor is Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou from McMaster University. The research project title is; The study of Canadian women who sustain a fragility fracture to determine if a care gap is present.

2009 OC-CaMos Fellowship Award

Kyle Nishiyama 
Kyle Nishiyama, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Calgary. The CaMos Mentor is Dr. Steven Boyd from University of Calgary.The research project title is; In vivo quantification of cortical bone porosity by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computer tomography.