Biomedical researcher named Terra Nova Young Innovator

Mar 26th, 2013

Meaghan Whelan

Sandy Martin, Dr. Mani Larijani and Dr. Christopher Loomis
Biomedical researcher named Terra Nova Young Innovator

Dr. Mani Larijani, an assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases and oncology in the Division of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, has received the Terra Nova Young Innovator Award in recognition of his research.

The Terra Nova Young Innovator Award recognizes and supports an outstanding and emerging researcher whose innovative work has the potential to significantly impact society. The prestigious award, valued at $50,000, is funded by the Terra Nova development, an offshore oil field operated by Suncor Energy.
Dr. Larijani is a leading young researcher in the areas of immunology, infectious diseases and oncology. His research focuses on DNA-mutating processes which modify human and virus genomes. These processes are involved in immune responses, evolution of viruses and cancers, particularly very aggressive leukemia and lymphomas. 
Research in Dr. Larijani's lab has four main aims: to determine the molecular mechanisms of these DNA mutating enzymes; to understand how they are regulated inside cells; to elucidate their contribution to cancer and immunity; and to harness this knowledge towards anti-cancer therapy and the development of novel anti-viral therapies.
Dr. Larijani is building on a recent publication from his lab which described the discovery of differences between humans and fish, in a key molecule involved in orchestrating the immune response. His winning proposal aims to extend this work in a broader way to the immune system of other fish, in particular the Atlantic cod.

“This work will not only generate new knowledge using innovative approaches, but will also make far-reaching economic and ecological impacts provincially and nationally,” he said. “It will generate multiple high impact publications and I have every expectation that it will seed new research funding to pursue and exciting new and collaborative strength.”
“We are pleased to announce Dr. Larijani’s achievement of the 2013 Terra Nova Young Innovator Award," said Sandy Martin, vice-president, East Coast, Suncor Energy. "His research to better understand the factors that make the cod fish vulnerable to disease could have important economic and ecological implications. And that is the intent – research that has the potential to create a positive impact for society.” 
In December 2012 Dr. Larijani received the President’s Award for Outstanding Research. Since he joined Memorial in mid-2009 as a new faculty member, he has been recognized through multiple other awards including an operating grant and a salary award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a Canada Foundation for Innovation leaders opportunity fund grant, operating funds from the Industrial Research and Innovation Fund of Newfoundland and the Research and Development Corporation, an operating grant from the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research and the Wallace Ingram Award for New Faculty, funded by the Medical Graduates’ Society.
Dr. Larijani's research has also been recognized through invitations to speak at various universities, as well as to serve on several national and international grant-review panels. He has recently been invited to chair the grant review panel for the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute. His work has been published in journals such as Nature, Molecular Cellular Biology, the FASEB journal, Immunogenetics and Retrovirology



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