CBR Graduate Award Program

Group photo of the 2019-2020 CBR Graduate Award Program (GAP) cohort

Are you a graduate student who wants to develop yourself professionally, meet students in different research groups, and receive funding for your project? Apply for the CBR Graduate Award Program (GAP)!

Applications for 2024-2025 are closed.

What is the CBR Graduate Award Program?

The CBR Graduate Award Program (GAP) is an educational development program available to MSc and PhD students, providing successful applicants with funding, as well as a chance to develop professional experience that is useful in and beyond academia, like presentation, event organizing, and communication skills. As a GAP student, you will get:

  • $7,000 non-renewable award for the duration of the Graduate Award Program
  • Networking opportunities with students outside your own research group
  • Opportunities to present your research at 3 major CBR symposia
  • A chance to organize a large event with your GAP cohort, participate in a professional development activity, and lead a journal club session
  • An opportunity to share your progress to your cohort in a seminar program

How to Apply

Application: 2024-2025 CBR Graduate Student Award Application

See the application for full details on Program eligibility, instructions and requirements.

  • MSc or PhD students under the supervision of at least one CBR Principal Investigator can apply
  • Successful applicants will be provided with the award for a maximum of 12 months, starting in September each year
  • Application deadline: Sunday, July 14, 2024
  • Notification of decision: Late July
  • Program start date: Early September (no deferrals)
To submit the application or for any questions about the award, please email Kaitlyn Chuong (kaitlyn.chuong@ubc.ca).

Success Stories

Ahmed Kabil, McNagny Lab

My name is Ahmed Kabil and I am a PhD research student at Dr. Kelly McNagny’s lab. My research involves developing several genetic mouse models that allows us to monitor the emergence development and history of innate lymphoid cells and then investigate how they regulate the state of health at mucosal barrier surfaces. Outside of the lab I enjoy playing soccer and listening to podcasts.

Deasung Jang, Ma Lab (Multi-Scale Design Laboratory)

I am Deasung Jang, a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Hongshen Ma. Ma’s research group is part of the Centre for Blood Research, and our research is involved in developing technologies for investigating biological systems at the scale of single cells.

Elyn Rowe, Devine Lab

I am a PhD Candidate working with Dr. Dana Devine to better understand how blood donor characteristics can influence the quality of transfusion products. With underlying interests in vascular contributions to Alzheimer disease, my project focuses on characterizing products from elderly and diabetic donors. I hope that this work will not only translate to refined policies within Canadian Blood Services and other blood services worldwide, but also contribute to a more fundamental understanding of how established risk factors for dementia may feed into disease via the vasculature. When I’m not in the lab, you can find me crabbing from my kayak at Jericho beach, mountain biking along the Sea to Sky, playing hockey in North Van, or trying to improve my Adobe Creative Cloud skills.

Felix Hong, Kim Lab

My name is Felix Hong, and I am a Master’s student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program. Currently, I conduct research in the Kim lab, where I study this life-essential protein called filamin A in regulating platelet functions and signaling pathways. In my spare time, I enjoy doing a variety of different physical activities, such as basketball, badminton, and juggling!

Henry West, Pryzdial Lab

My name is Henry, and I’m a Masters student in the Pryzdial lab where I research the exploitation of the procoagulant protein tissue factor by enveloped viruses. The goal is to establish tissue factor as a ubiquitous presence on the surface of enveloped viruses and support the development of drugs targeting tissue factor for use as antivirals. Outside the lab I enjoy backpacking, skiing, running, and am trying to learn some tennis.

Loulou Cai, Côté Lab

I’m Loulou, a second year PhD student in the Côté Lab at UBC Hospital. My research looks at the potential toxicities that’s HIV antiretrovirals may exert in primary cell models. In my spare time, I enjoy volleyball, badminton, hiking, climbing, baking, and tending to my indoor plants.

Marie Johns, Jefferies Lab

I was born and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, USA, but moved to Vancouver in 2014 for my undergraduate studies in Biology and Behavioural Neuroscience at UBC. A current graduate student in the Medical Genetics program, my thesis project in Dr. Wilf Jefferies’ lab involves modeling substance use and psilocybin therapy using neural organoids (“mini-brains”). I’m passionate about knowledge translation and representation in STEM, aspiring to demonstrate that success in academia isn’t restricted by gender, sexuality, or neurodiversity. Outside of the lab, you can find me hiking, camping, cycling, snowboarding, or otherwise embracing Vancouver’s sights and outdoor activities. Ask me about video games, fantasy novels, or her foster rabbits!

Peyman Malek Mohammadi Nouri, Kizhakkedathu Lab

My name is Peyman and I have been doing a Ph.D. in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Dr. Kizhakkedathu’s lab since January 2022. I did my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in Iran, but soon I changed my field of study to Material Science in my master’s degree in Europe and I am now here as part of CBR, doing research on “Bladder cell surface engineering and immunomodulation”.

Similar to my academic interests, my hobbies also include a diverse range. I like to play table tennis, basketball, watch movies, play video games, read socioeconomic books and I really like to try anything new that comes my way.

& The CBR Education Program Manager: Dr. Parvin Bolourani

 Download a PDF version.

Alexandra Witt, 2021 – 2022 GAP Student

MSc Student, Pryzdial Lab

My name is Alexandra, and I am a graduate student in the Pryzdial lab developing a novel clot-busting drug by mutating coagulation factor X. The CBR Graduate Award Program was an opportunity for which I am very grateful. As a new trainee during a Zoom-based award year, I was really appreciative of the ability to meet peers in the CBR, some of whom have become very good friends. While in the GAP program, I have had the opportunity to participate in several journal clubs, career development workshops, and both in-person and online events.

At the end of the day, with a “this will be what you make of it” program, I think it’s safe to say that the 2021/22 cohort did a great job. We are so thankful to the CBR team who made this possible, and for all of our experiences throughout the year.

Colton Strong, 2021 – 2022 GAP Student

PhD Candidate, Kastrup/Devine Labs

As a PhD candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UBC in the Centre for Blood Research, my research interests include hemostasis, biomedical engineering and nanomedicines. I am currently working to genetically engineer platelets using lipid nanoparticle technology to enhance their function and hope to establish engineered platelets as a platform technology. The graduate award program (GAP) has had a tremendous impact on my professional career development; helping me build the skills and personal network necessary for success in both my immediate research and career. One of the more meaningful takeaways was the personal and professional relationships generated with other award holders and coordinators, especially considering that my participation in the program was in the pandemic era. Ultimately, the opportunity to participate in the GAP has been invaluable to my PhD experience here at UBC. A big thank you for the opportunity to be part of this amazing program and to the coordinators Parvin and Dana for adapting to highly unique circumstances this year.

Helen Chen, 2021 – 2022 GAP Student

MASc Student, Kizhakkedathu Lab

Overall, participation in the GAP program reinforced my interest in research, specifically blood-contacting biomaterials. Learning about the complexity of blood-biomaterial interactions, including protein adsorption, platelet reaction, coagulation, fibrinolytic activity, etc. through the work of others, and through critical feedback from my peers/ experts in the field not only benefits my future career, but also makes me want to find out more. Dr. Jay Kizhakkedathu’s approach to his research–taking aspects of chemistry, biology, and engineering to develop medical technologies and therapeutics has never been more exciting.

The combination of my coursework and my experience in this program also stimulates my desire to get more involved in science communication. I would love an opportunity to communicate my research to a wider audience, and to inspire more people to be curious and to take part in blood-related research.

Pan Deng, 2021 – 2022 GAP Student

PhD Candidate, Multi-Scale Design Laboratory (led by Dr. Hongshen Ma)

I’m studying in neutrophil extracellular traps which plays a vital role in lots of immune-mediated conditions. CBR Graduate Award Program has been of great help to my research. It offered me amazing opportunities to present my own findings and bond with experts. Interacting with these new people not only helped me refine my work but also allowed me to engage in discussion of others’ inspiring findings. In addition, this program provided great career-planning workshops which helped me gain deeper insights into the job market, leading me one step closer to reaching my end goal.

Steven Zhexuan Jiang, 2021 – 2022 GAP Student

MSc Student, Kim Lab

The Centre for Blood Research (CBR) Graduate Award Program (GAP) was truly an enjoyable and rewarding experience. With the research fund provided by this program, I wrote a review article, which will be published in a prestigious journal soon. Also, I conducted a successful in-silico experiments on arthritis. This experiment gave me insights on the mechanism behind arthritis development and helped me to decide my future directions. Besides the research fund, this program also allowed me to develop many employable skills. I organized social events, mentored undergraduate students, wrote a scientific blog post targeted for the general public, read and discussed scientific articles among my peers, and presented my research to other scientists in two conferences. Moreover, I met other participants of this program and became friends with some of them. Overall, it was a great experience and the highlight of my first year as a graduate student in CBR.


  • Ahmed Kabil, McNagny Lab
  • Daesung Jang, Ma Lab
  • Elyn Rowe, Devine Lab
  • Felix Hong, Kim Lab
  • Henry West, Pryzdial Lab
  • Loulou Cai, Côté Lab
  • Marie Johns, Jeffries Lab
  • Peyman Malek Mohammadi Nouri, Kizhakkedathu Lab

2021 - 2022

  • Alexandra Witt, Pryzdial Lab
  • Colton Strong, Kastrup & Devine Lab
  • Helen Chen, Kizhakkedathu Lab
  • Nicolas Pereyra, Devine & Kizakkedathu Lab
  • Pan Deng, Ma Lab
  • Sia Jan-Abu, McNagny & Turvey Labs
  • Tetiana Povshedna, Côté Lab
  • Zhexuan (Steven) Jiang, Kim Lab

2020 - 2021

  • Andy An, Hancock Lab
  • Calem Kenward, Strynadka Lab
  • Erik Lamoureux, Ma Lab
  • Lih Jiin Juang, Kastrup Lab
  • Liliana Jiminez, Brown & Kim Labs
  • Nancy Yang, Côté Lab
  • Wenjing (Clara) Xia, Jefferies Lab
  • William Yip, McNagny & Sin Labs

2019 - 2020

  • Guillermo Caballero Silva, Strynadka Lab
  • Kevin Gonzalez, Kizhekkedathu & Conway Labs
  • Marie-Soleil Smith, Côté Lab
  • Massimo Cau, Kastrup Lab
  • Melanie Dostert, Hancock Lab
  • Melina Messing, McNagny Lab
  • Peter Grin, Overall Lab
  • Samuel Berryman, Ma Lab

2018 - 2019

  • Amy Wong Strilchuk, Kastrup Lab
  • Aparna Gopal, Karsan Lab
  • Catherine (Bing) Wu, Hancock Lab
  • Emel Islamzada, Ma Lab
  • Hannah Robinson, Osborne Lab
  • Maria-Elizabeth Baeva, Jefferies Lab
  • Parker Jobin, Overall Lab
  • S. Soroush Nasseri, Cheung Lab
  • Victoria Peters, Gold Lab

2017 - 2018

  • Angela Mo, Karsan Lab
  • Arjun Baghela, Hancock Lab
  • Beverlie Loyola Baquir, Hancock Lab
  • Bryan Lin, Pryzdial Lab
  • Hitesh Arora, Jefferies Lab
  • Jeffrey To, Kim Lab
  • Nathanael Caveney, Strynadka Lab
  • Sreeparna Vappala, Kizhakkedathu Lab

2016 - 2017

  • David Rattray, Foster Lab
  • Chaahat Singh, Jefferies Lab
  • Abhinav Ajay Kumar, Côté Lab
  • Sumreen Javed, Payne Lab
  • Eva Yap, Karsan Lab
  • Sarah Spreckelmeyer, Orvig Lab
  • Usama Abbasi, Kizhakkedathu Lab

2015 - 2016

  • Franco Li, Strynadka Lab
  • Bryan Lin, Pryzdial Lab
  • Diana Canals, McNagny Lab
  • Sarah Mansour, Hancock Lab
  • Erika Siren, Kizhakkedathu Lab
  • Enoli De Silva, Kim Lab
  • Simon Law, Brömme Lab

2014 - 2015

  • Anthony Hsieh, Côté Lab
  • Diana Canals, McNagny Lab
  • Brianne Burkinshaw, Strynadka Lab
  • Manu Thomas, Kizhakkedathu Lab
  • Jeffrey Lam, Karsan Lab
  • Bryan Lin, Pyrzdial Lab
  • Charlie Kuan, Foster Lab