Young Investigators Award

Young Investigator Award Recipients

2019 Young Investigator Grant Recipient Paul Toren, MD, PhD, FRCSCCongratulations to the 2019 Young Investigator Grant Recipient
Paul Toren, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Laval University

The Section proudly continues to sponsor an annual Young Investigators Research Grant aimed at supporting start-up research programs of faculty members. Over the course of the last several years the NSAUA has been able to fund numerous innovations and has been able to contribute to the academic careers of dozens of individuals.

Project Summary – Immunotherapy has created a paradigm shift in the treatment of many cancers, including bladder cancer. However, not all patients respond to immunotherapy. Our prior research suggests androgens and the androgen receptor may play a role in the biology how bladder tumors respond to immunotherapy. We therefore seek to investigate the role of androgens and the androgen receptor in human bladder cancer immune cells such as macrophages. Advancing on previously developed methods for detailed analysis of patient tumor biopsies, we seek to identify how immune cells in bladder tumors may be influenced by the presence of androgens and other hormones. We will further compare results between male and female patients. Overall, we believe a better understanding of how androgens impact bladder cancer-associated immune cells will be pertinent to efforts to improve the response rates to immunotherapy.

If you are interested in applying for the 2020 Young Investigators Research Grant, please visit our website at to find out more information. The application period will open in June.

Michael Ordon, MD, MSc, FRCSC, University of Toronto

Naeem Bhojani, MD, University of Montreal

Dmitriy Nikolavsky, MD, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Lysanne Campeau, MD, McGill University & Lady Davis Institute

Andrew Feifer, MD, University of Toronto and Trillium Health Partners

Eric C. Kauffman, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY

Michelle J. Semins, MD, Pittsburgh, PA

Rodney Breau, MD, Ottawa, ON

Vincent Fradet, MD, Quebec, QC
Alp Sener, MD, London, ON

Sero Andonian, MD, Montreal, QC
Yves Caumartin, MD, Quebec, QC

Wassim Kassouf, MD, Montreal, QC
Jehonathan H. Pinthus, PhD, MD, Hamilton, ON

2007 Astellas/NS-AUA
Guan Wu, MD, Rochester, NY
Anthony Joseph Bella, MD, Ottawa, ON

2006 Pfizer Young Investigator Research Grant 
Hyung Lae Kim, MD, Rochester, NY
Ganesh S. Palapattu, MD, Buffalo, NY

Pierre I. Karakiewicz, MD, Montreal, QC

Dawn L. MacLellan, MD, Halifax, NS
Stephen E. Pautler, MD, London, ON

Jonathan I. Izawa, MD, London, ON
Badar M. Mian, MD, Albany, NY

2002 Pfizer Post Residency Scholarship
Peter T.K. Chan, MD, Montreal, QC
Aventis Pharma Canada Post Residency Scholarship
Mark D. White, MD, Albany, NY

2001 The Yamanouchi Post Residency Scholarships
Juan D. Barrieras, MD, Montreal, QC
Jonathan I. Izawa, MD, London, ON

2000 Post Residency Research Grant-in-Aid 
D. Robert Siemens, MD, Kingston, ON
Graduated Urologist Award
John E. Mahoney, MD, Ottawa, ON

1999 Post Residency Research Grant-in-Aid
Anurag K. Das, MD, Albany, NY
Graduated Urologist Award
Kenneth T. Pace, MD, Toronto, ON

Supporting Two Decades of Urology Research 

The Northeastern Section of the American Urological Association Foundation (NSAUA) established its Research and Education Fund in 1995 to assure continuing excellence in research and educational activity within the Section. The NSAUA Scholarship Program was established in 1998 to provide financial scholarships to support research and educational projects. The Northeastern Section is able to fund up to two scholarship awards annually. These Young Investigator Awards provide financial assistance to a researcher in basic or clinical sciences related to urology, and to acquiring, developing or improving his or her knowledge and skills in a specific aspect of the specialty.

Since 1999, the Northeastern Section is proud to have awarded 30 research grants. Recipients have gone on to leadership roles both at the Section level and the AUA National level. The Section feels it particularly impactful to award these grants to young researchers in the beginning of their research careers. As its mission states,

“NSAUA will stand at the forefront of education and research promoting excellence in the specialty of Urology serving both its members and the public.”

The Section is proud to highlight some of its past scholars and hear in their own words what receiving the Young Investigator Grant has meant to their research careers. 

2006 Pfizer Young Investigators Research Grant

Hyung Lae Kim, MD
Associate Director for Surgical Research
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Director, Academic Programs, Urology
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

I received the NSAUA grant for “Heat Shock Protein Vaccine Targeting Carbonic Anhydrase IX in Renal Cell Carcinoma”. I've continued to work on heat shock protein vaccines. I'm also working on studies to identify biomarkers to predict response to some of the targeted therapies in use for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. I am now funded by a K23 and a R01, both from the NCI/NIH.

The funding was critical for generating preliminary data, which has been used to write an R01 application that is currently under review.

2006 Pfizer Young Investigators Research Grant

Ganesh S. Palapattu, MD
Chief of Urologic Oncology
The Methodist Hospital
Houston, TX

Since receiving my initial Young Investigator Grant from the NS-AUA I have received a PCF Competitive Research Award, Edwin Beer Award, DoD Physician Training Award and Astellas/AUA Foundation Rising Star Award. I am currently re-submitting an RO1.

As clinicians we can help one patient at a time. Through research we have the potential to help generations. If we are not the ones making the discoveries that change the future medicine, who will?

Here is a snippet of an anecdote that occurred to me during fellowship some years ago: The second person who has profoundly impacted me in this regard is Donald S. Coffey, PhD of Johns Hopkins. Dr. Coffey's own intellectual ‘Horatio Alger' story is legend and his impact on science, particularly prostate cancer, the world over unquestioned. He has that wonderful quality about him that makes people in his midst feel like they can do anything, even surgeons. I was once in a small group with him discussing the future of science when someone asked him why at his age (over 70) he was still so active in research. His reply was, “Well, I may not cure cancer” and then he looked right at me and with a twinkle in his eye said, ‘but, he might.” That is enough inspiration to last a lifetime.

2004 Young Investigators Research Grant

Dawn L. MacLellan, MD
Assistant Professor of Urology and Pathology
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Since receiving the NSAUA Young Investigator Grant I have applied for and received peer-reviewed funding from my hospital, the IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation ($150,000 over 3 years). I have also received a Clinical Scholar Award from Dalhousie University of $490,000 over 5 years.

I am very grateful for the funding provided to me by the NSAUA. I continue to have 50% of my time dedicated to research. My next goal is to secure national level peer reviewed funding from the National Kidney Foundation of Canada or the CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research). I have made many wonderful collaborations over the last few years. These collaborations are incredibly important as the majority of my training is in medicine, not science. Therefore, I am often very dependent upon the expertise of my colleagues. 

2004 Young Investigators Research Grant

Stephen E. Pautler, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Oncology
University of Western Ontario
London, ON

My originally funded project, “Does Ochratoxin A Exposure Lead to Upper Tract Transitional Cell Carcinoma, Renal Cell Carcinoma or Germ Cell Malignancy?” is still ongoing. Thus far we have developed an IHC method for detecting OTA in both benign and malignant tissues. We are currently validating this technique. Additionally, we will be testing a series of tumor bank specimens from patients in Ontario.

The Young Investigators grant provided funding to investigate the role of OTA in urologic malignanies. This aided in my development as a urologic oncologist.

2003 Young Investigators Research Grant

Jonathan I. Izawa, MD
Associate Professor, Departments of Surgery & Oncology
Divisions of Surgical Oncology & Urology
The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Western Ontario
London Health Sciences Centre-Victoria Hospital
London, ON

The funding was critical to allow me to start my academic career to fund a high-risk study, of which I had personal interest, collaborate with other academic urologists/researchers and to become identifiable with others interested in research in genitourinary cancers.

2003 Young Investigators Research Grant

Badar M. Mian, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery/Urology
Albany Medical Center
Urological Institute of NENY
Albany, NY

This was my first external source of funding which was a tremendous boost to my self-confidence as a researcher. More importantly, receiving this grant inspired a great deal of confidence in my colleagues as to my abilities and commitment to research and academics. Subsequently, I have been able to secure external funding for two 3-year projects, including federal funding. I remain fully committed to research activity in collaboration with four scientists from 3 different departments and have 3 projects submitted for federal funding this year.

It is impossible for me to overstate the importance of the NSAUA Research Scholarship Grant and the role it has played in directing me towards an academic and research career.

I have been involved with the Research Scholarship Program for many years, first as an applicant and then as the Chair of the committee for 3-4 years. It's clear to me that this one-of-a-kind program is unequivocally the most worthwhile venture under taken by the leadership of our section. I would hope this program continues to foster the research interests of young faculty from the NSAUA for decades to come. 

2002 Pfizer Post Residency Scholarship
Aventis Pharma Canada Post Residency Scholarship

Mark D. White, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery (Urology)
Albany Medical College
Albany, NY

I am very active clinically and specialize in endourology and stone disease with other interests in erectile dysfunction and male infertility. Earlier in my career, I was involved in some more basic science research with the effects of PDE-5 inhibitors using a hypercholesterolemic rabbit model, but funding was difficult after the first few experiments. The Northeastern Section grants were key to supporting continuing research and allowing some extra training that was not provided during my residency training. These grants are very important to the future success of our Section and to stimulate residents to pursue academic urology.

2000 Post Residency Research Grant-in-Aid

D. Robert Siemens, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Urology,
Anatomy and Cell Biology and Oncology
Queen's University and
Principal Investigator
Centre for Applied Urological Research
Kingston, ON

Since my originally funded research, “Vector Delivery and Cancer Genetic Immunotherapy” my research focus has continued to look at tumor adaptations to microenvironmental pressures such as hypoxia and cancer progression especially prostate and bladder cancer. This has also included immuno-editing and immunotherapy which has been a continuation of my original project.

The original funding was particularly important to help establish and refurbish an existing lab (which I am still working out of).

1999 Post Residency Research Grant-in-Aid

Anurag K. Das, MD
Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA

While at the Albany Medical College I did research which was supported by a Post Residency Grant-in-aid of $10,000. My research on “Sacral Neuromodalation Results in Improved Bladder Function in the Partially Obstructed Rabbit Bladder” was published in the Journal of Urology. I worked on the rat model for studying neuromodulation until I left Albany in 2003.

The Scholarship help was significant and is very useful for early investigators. I thank the Section for the opportunity to carry out this work. 

1999 Post Residency Research Grant-in-Aid

Kenneth T. Pace, MD 
Associate professor of urology
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Since receiving my NSAUA Young Investigator Grant in 1999, I have received peer-reviewed research grant funding support from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the University of Toronto Connaught Fund, and from the Physician Services Incorporated. I have also received investigator-initiated research support from Sanofi-Synthelabo, Cook Urological, and LMA Medical.

The NSAUA scholarship I received was instrumental in launching me on my research career, and in helping us to establish our laparoscopic donor nephrectomy program clinically and from a research perspective.