August 03 , 2011



Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits McMaster to announce Vanier scholars for 2011: six McMaster graduate students among winners


Hamilton, Ont. August 03, 2011Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the winners of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for 2011, a group that includes six McMaster scholars.


“I am pleased to congratulate the 167 recipients of this year’s Vanier Canada Graduate
Scholarships – researchers whose ideas will help produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs and keep Canada’s economy growing,” said Prime Minister Harper, who visited Convocation Hall at McMaster University to make the announcement.


The federal government established the awards in 2009 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students from across Canada and abroad.


The McMaster students come from the departments of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics,
Psychiatry, Neuroscience & Behavior, English & Cultural Studies, Chemistry, Biomedical
Engineering, and the School of Geography & Earth Sciences. They will each receive $50,000 a year for up to three years.


“We're so proud of our students’ accomplishments,” said Patrick Deane, president of McMaster University. “They already have made a difference in the lives of others, and the Vanier awards will help them do so much more. For McMaster, this collective honor is a powerful recognition of the excellence of our graduate programs and the students they attract.”


The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program is administered jointly by Canada’s three research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).


“These six Vanier scholars epitomize the future of Canada -- balancing outstanding academic and research achievements with genuine commitment to leadership and community engagement,” said Allison Sekuler, associate vice-president and dean of graduate studies at McMaster University.


McMaster’s 2011 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship winners are:


CIHR recipients:


Dr. Carolina Alba, Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences
Jonathan Lai, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Health Sciences


NSERC recipients:


Paul Johnson, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Faculty of Science
Frances Lasowski, Department of Chemistry & Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of


SSHRC recipients:


Vinh Nguyen, Department of English & Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities
Sarah Dickin, School of Geography & Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science


One of the winners, Dr. Carolina Alba, is a mother of two children, who completed her medical training in her native Argentina. She is now a cardiologist in McMaster’s Health Research Methodology PhD program and is also a fellow in Cardiology at the Toronto General Hospital.


Dr. Alba is examining biochemical predictors of heart failure, using both clinical and laboratory research. Investigation in this area may improve the understanding of heart disease, leading to improved treatments and outcomes for patients.


“The Vanier scholarship will allow us to concentrate on our research, present our work at national and international conferences, and help us complete our training as outstanding researchers,” says Alba. “This generous support, provided by the Government of Canada through the three granting agencies, in addition to the great academic support from our universities and work places, will benefit not only our academic development but also national and international communities at different levels, including students, patients and other researchers.”


For more information please contact:


Wade Hemsworth

Public Relations Manager

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988