Friedman Award for Scholars in Health

The Friedman Award for Scholars in Health is named after Constance Livingstone-Friedman and Sydney Friedman, the first two faculty members in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Drs. Constance and Sydney Friedman believed that a full well-rounded education requires students to learn from different perspectives and learn from different cultures. The goal of the Friedman Award is to provide funding to graduate students or medical residents so that they can pursue a learning opportunity to further their career or to bring new perspectives to the education they have already received.

Awards of up to $50,000 each will be awarded for six or more months of study. The amount of the scholarship will be at the discretion of the adjudication committee up to the above stated limit.

This award is jointly overseen by the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies and the Faculty of Medicine.

For more information on this award, and to apply, please visit:

Previous Recipients

Kaylee Byers is a PhD student in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies under the supervision of Dr. Chelsea Himsworth. Her research is focused on studying the interface among wildlife ecology, disease transmission, and human health. Kaylee is particularly interested in the development of wildlife health surveillance systems, an important approach used for anticipating emergent zoonotic diseases, which account for more than 75% of emerging infectious disease in people (including such diseases as Ebola, SARS, H5N1, etc.). Kaylee will work with a team of internationally-recognized experts at the Sri Lanka Wildlife Health Centre (SLWHC), which was established in 2011 in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre—a global leader in nation-wide surveillance of animal diseases. This unique opportunity will allow Kaylee to study the evolution of a wildlife health surveillance program in a developing country and in an identified zoonotic “hotspot.” The opportunity to undertake hands-on training at the SLWHC is an unparalleled opportunity, and positions Kaylee as a future leader in wildlife health while also furthering Canada’s role in mitigating the potential risks of emerging infectious diseases from wildlife abroad.

Shahrzad Joharifard is a graduating general surgery resident with a long-standing passion for global health. Shahrzad will use the Friedman Award to engage in two complementary educational opportunities that will enhance her ability to address the enormous global burden of surgical disease, which is estimated to account for up to one third of global deaths annually. First, she will enroll in the summers-only Masters in Public Health program at Harvard, where she will work with scholars at the forefront of the burgeoning fields of global surgery and global health delivery. Public health training will give Shahrzad the educational foundation to design and conduct population-based research to better understand the burden of surgical disease in Africa, as well as to craft effective interventions to address this neglected public health crisis. Second, Shahrzad will help Partners in Health, a non-government organization, build a comprehensive, inclusive, and cost-effective surgical program at JJ Dossen Memorial Hospital, the primary referral hospital in Maryland County, Liberia. Simultaneously, she will function as the sole surgeon for all of eastern Liberia—and one of only a handful in the whole country. Upon return from Liberia in July 2018, Shahrzad will start a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montréal. Her ultimate goal is to balance an academic practice as a general and pediatric surgeon with humanitarian service, education, and public health research in the developing world.

Melissa Mackenzie is a graduating medical resident in Neurology. Melissa researches Parkinson’s disease, with a particular interest in understanding the mechanisms underlying this debilitating disease, with an eventual goal of improving treatments and quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease. As a 2017 Friedman Scholar, Melissa will undertake a combined clinical and research fellowship in movement disorders at The Institute of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, UK, known as “Queen Square.” There, she will learn from world-renowned experts, developing the necessary clinical acumen for a specialty practice in Movement Disorders. This specialty is currently under-served in British Columbia, and the community will benefit from the distinctive expertise of Queen Square. The opportunity to learn and research at Queen Square will allow her to develop a practical knowledge of movement disorders phenomenology, diagnosis and treatment to better serve the people of British Columbia.


Jordan Squair is an MD/ PhD student completing his research degree in Experimental Medicine. Under the supervision of Dr. Andrei Krassioukov and Dr. Christopher West, his research focuses on the impairment that occurs to the central control of the autonomic nervous system as a result of spinal cord injury (SCI). Jordan is invested in developing a non-pharmacological neuroprosthetic device that would abolish blood pressure instability after SCI, a development that would improve the quality and quantity of life for people living with this condition. The Friedman Award for Scholars in Health Program allows Jordan to study with Dr. Grégoire Courtine at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Geneva, Switzerland. The opportunity to study at this world leading laboratory will provide Jordan with the opportunity to conceive and implement new strategies to modulate cardiovascular function in real-time, and thereby determine the best way to rehabilitate central control of blood pressure after SCI.

Andrew Deonarine is a Medical Resident in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. As a 2016 Friedman Scholar, Andrew will study at Harvard University and at Boston Children’s Hospital in order gain mastery of clinical informatics under the supervision of Dr. Chirag Patel and Dr. Isaac Kohane. Clinical informatics is a new specialty field in medicine which trains physicians in the area of informatics in medicine. These fields include a spectrum of activities, including implementing software in hospitals to manage medical records, performing decision support, integrating genomics and bioinformatics resources with medical records and patient information, visualizing large datasets, and so forth. Currently, there are no clinical informatics residency or fellowships programs in Canada or accompanying biomedical informatics programs. Andrew’s collaboration with cutting edge programs is geared towards introducing the clinical informatics specialty to physicians in the province of British Columbia and nationally. Understanding how computing can be used to change clinical practice in Canada is central to meeting future health challenges for the country.


Allison Mah completed her Infectious Diseases subspecialty residency with the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. As a 2016 Friedman Scholar, Allison will undertake a clinical fellowship at the University of Texas in partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Hermann Hospital-TMC, which will allow her to gain transplant infectious disease expertise. Currently, British Columbia has only one physician who has undertaken specialized training in adult transplant infectious diseases, and who is tasked with managing the multitude of infectious complications that may arise in these patients. Demand for such physicians is high: in 2014 alone there were 326 solid organ transplants performed and annually between 150-200 stem cell transplants occur in British Columbia. Transplant recipients are a unique and growing population at risk of severe and atypical infectious diseases. Management of these infections requires specialized knowledge of this complex patient population. Following this clinical fellowship, Allison will return to British Columbia and provide clinical care to patients undergoing both solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

mani-roshan-moniri-head-shotMani Roshan-Moniri is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Urologic Sciences at the UBC Faculty of Medicine, studying under the supervision of Dr. Paul Rennie. Mani’s research focuses on a genetic abnormality called TMPRSS2-ERG, which allows cells carrying it to use the male sex hormone, testosterone, to cause the ERG gene to be produced. Previous research has found that up to half of all prostate cancers have this common genetic abnormality. This abnormality is thought to occur early in development of the disease and may be part of the reason prostate cancers can metastasize and become lethal. There are as yet no therapies that target ERG and for this reason Mani’s research is currently focused on the development of novel inhibitors of ERG. As a 2016 Friedman Scholar, Mani will study under the supervision of Dr. Cyrus Ghajar at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in order to gain greater understanding of the metastasis process. Targeting ERG is a major unmet opportunity for new prostate cancer therapies. It can be directed toward the half of prostate cancer patients whose cancers carry these TMPRSS2-ERG genetic abnormalities (and that lead to a more aggressive disease). In his research, potent and selective classes of ERG inhibitors will be tested in novel metastatic models. The outcome could potentially lead to a new drug that could supplement existing therapeutics and provide new options for treating prostate cancer patients.


Emma Smith is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Rehabilitation Science at the UBC Faculty of Medicine, studying under the supervision of Dr. Bill Miller. As a 2016 Friedman Scholar, Emma will work with Dr. Malcolm MacLachlan from the National University of Ireland - Maynooth, a research lead for the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Collaboration on Assistive Technology (GATE) initiative. Emma has three primary objectives during her visit: to gain experience and understanding of theory and practice for mixed methodology research in technology development and clinical outcomes, to acquire expertise in knowledge and technology transfer, and to develop skills in evaluation of assistive technologies (such as wheelchairs, communication devices, prosthetics, and so forth). Emma ultimately wishes to apply this knowledge in clinical settings in Canada and within a broader global network of partners, in order to advance the health and quality of life for persons with disabilities.


Jacquelyn Cragg is a PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health and International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Her research in the area of neuroepidemiology explores risk factors for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The Friedman Scholars Program will allow Jacquelyn to learn new epidemiological techniques at the Harvard School of Public Health under the supervision of Dr. Marc Weisskopf, a leading expert in the field of neuroepidemiology.


Ryan Hoiland is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies and Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan. He commenced his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC in September 2015, where his research incorporates the assessment of vascular functions in the brain. The Friedman Scholars Program will allow Ryan to study under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Green at the University of Western Australia, a world leader in the investigation of vascular function in humans.

Tang Photo_2

Toni Tang is a PhD student in Materials Engineering at the UBC Faculty of Applied Science. Her thesis project addresses hip fragility at a fundamental level and the need to identify patients at higher risk of hip fracture. The Friedman Scholar’s Program will allow Toni to spend six months at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, a research group with a well-established reputation in the area of fundamental bone research. Under the supervision of Dr. Peter Fratzl, Toni will learn and use advanced x-ray scattering approaches to study the characteristics of mineral nanoparticles on the bone.


Logan Trenaman is a PhD Student in Health Economics at the School of Population and Public Health in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. His research is focused on supporting a sustainable transition to a more patient-centric health care system. The Friedman Scholar’s Program will allow Logan to develop a survey measuring outcomes of patient-centered care under the supervision of Dr. Katherine Payne at the University of Manchester. The UK is a world leader in the provision of patient-centred care and the opportunity to work with Dr. Payne offers an unparalleled training environment for health economists.

2014 Friedman Scholar - Dr. Mohsen Khosravi MaharlooeiDr. Mohsen Khosravi Maharlooei
“One of the most challenging areas of modern medicine is the replacement of failed organs in human beings,” says Dr. Mohsen Khosravi Maharlooei. Over the past year, Khosravi Maharlooei has studied immune rejection as the main challenge of organ and cell transplantation. Under the supervision of Dr. Aziz Ghahary, Director of the British Columbia Professional Firefighters’ Burn and Would Healing Laboratory, Khosravi Maharlooei has tested novel approaches for inducing immune tolerance in two different settings of transplantation.

The Friedman Scholars Program will allow Khosravi Maharlooei to study for one year at the Duke University School of Medicine and Columbia Center for Translational Immunology. At Duke and Columbia, he will further his research on immune tolerance and rejection under the guidance of Drs. M. Louise Markert and Megan Sykes. Markert is currently the only doctor in North America performing thymus transplantation, a procedure she pioneered in the late 1990s. Sykes is an internationally recognized leader in the field of transplantation biology and the current director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology.

Khosravi Maharlooei began his doctoral studies in the Experimental Medicine program in April 2013. He is originally from Shiraz, Iran.

2014 Friedman Scholar - Ben Paylor

Ben Paylor
While his formal doctoral research focuses on developing strategies to augment cardiac regenerative processes following injury, Friedman Scholar Ben Paylor has dedicated his time outside of the lab to a variety of communication-, education- and policy-oriented projects that bridge the gap between society and the laboratory.

“The role of today’s scientists in helping provide cogent and accessible explanations of emerging scientific technologies, their impact, and their value cannot be overstated” says Paylor.

As a recipient of a Constance Livingstone-Friedman and Sydney Friedman Foundation Scholarship in Health Sciences, Paylor will embark on an ambitious knowledge translation project at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Thomas Scott. At Stanford, Paylor will further develop his understanding of biomedical ethics through coursework and mentorship, produce a series of animated shorts about patient understanding of the clinical trial process, then analyze the impact of these animated videos on patient understanding using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Paylor began his doctoral studies in the Experimental Medicine program in January 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Fabio Rossi. He is originally from Mississauga, Ontario.


2014 Friedman Scholar - Hojatollah Rezaei NejadHojatollah Rezaei Nejad
Tissue engineering represents an important potential alternative or complementary solution to tissue and organ failure, which now accounts for almost half of the total annual expenditure in health care in the US. A major goal of the field is to determine how the physical organization and composition of cells affects function at the level of tissue, organ, or the entire organism.

“This remains a challenging goal because direct and general methods for controlling the relative spatial position of cells in tissues and organs do not exist,” explains Hojatollah Rezaei Nejad.

For the past two years, Rezaei Nejad has addressed this challenge head-on under the supervision of Dr. Mina Hoorfar in the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Laboratory at UBC Okanagan. His doctoral research involves capturing bioparticles, such as cells, in lab-on-a-chip devices in the range of micrometers.

As a Friedman Scholar, Rezaei Nejad will take his research to the next level by applying his innovative cell printing method to tissue engineering. Rezaei Nejad will spend the next year with the Dr. Ali Khademhosseini lab group at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Dr. Khademhosseini is a leader in the field of biomedical tissue engineering whose research focuses on the development of micro- and nano-scale technologies to control cell behaviour.

Rezaei Nejad started his doctoral studies in January 2012 in the UBCO School of Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science. He is from Shiraz, Iran.

2013 Friedman Scholar Melissa Richard-Greenblatt and James Mazorodze

2013 Friedman Scholar Melissa Richard-Greenblatt working with James Mazorodze at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH) in South Africa.

Melissa Richard-Greenblatt
As a PhD student in Dr. Yossef Av-Gays lab in the UBC Experimental Medicine program, I focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms related to tuberculosis (TB) drug development. During my studies I came across literature describing the devastating impact TB has on the third world, yet due to low incidence rates in Canada I have never met a TB patient or had any clinical experience with the disease. I realized that some of the biggest challenges associated with its management are poor health care infrastructure, economic instability and cultural differences that I could not experience at home. I felt that being integrated into the medical system and society of those affected would provide me with a more complete perspective of the medical challenges of TB, helping me create clinically relevant research results.

The Friedman Scholars Program enabled me to travel to the heart of the TB epidemic in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa for six months (later extended to ten months) so I could experience the disease in its natural setting. Dr. Adrie Steyn’s lab at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Centre for TB and HIV (K-RITH) in Durban acted as a home base where I bridged my PhD project to what was happening in the human lung. In this time, I was also privileged to work alongside a group of thoracic surgeons and clinicians specializing in TB treatment. In the clinic, I was able to interact with TB patients and learn the impact the disease has on their lives. By assisting physicians to provide care for patients, I also began to see the limitations of medicine and the importance for practicality in my own research. In collaboration with the thoracic surgeons at local hospitals, I generated a tissue bank of lungs resected from TB patients that are currently being used by a number of research groups to study the clinical pathology of TB and improve current therapeutics.

Upon my return to Canada I hope to inspire other UBC students to explore their research beyond their lab bench to formulate original ideas. Being directly integrated into the medical system and local community allowed me to critically evaluate my own research goals and focus on solutions that are a priority and can be practically implemented. Not only did I learn the importance of culture and socioeconomics on health care, but the direct interaction with patients allowed me to observe the importance my work. The Friedman Scholars Program provided me with the opportunity to gain a unique and intimate understanding of TB. Through the sharing of my new knowledge with the UBC community I am confident that together we will come up with innovative solutions that can be implemented in our fight against TB.