Nevin earns Women’s Health Scholars Award

Physiology and Pharmacology graduate student Catherine Nevin has been named among nine university scholar recipients of the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award. The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) announced the winners this morning.

“The Women’s Health Scholars Awards are a gateway to important breakthroughs in the understanding of women’s health that will benefit not just women here in Ontario, but all around the world,” said Max Blouw, Wilfrid Laurier University president and COU chair.



The 2015 recipients include post-doctoral, doctoral and masters students from eight Ontario universities. They will share more than $230,000, divided into scholarships of $18,000-$40,000 plus grants of $1,000-$5,000 to support the research. The awards were established in 2001 through funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Nevin is a masters student in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, in collaboration with the Developmental Biology Department. Her work centres on how to better predict which infants, who are small for their gestational age, are at risk for cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism and schizophrenia.

Currently, there is no test to reliably and safely predict which Fetal Growth Restriction newborns will develop these adverse outcomes. Nevin has developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for assessing brain function and development, which have been shown to predict neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants born pre-term and after birth asphyxia. With the use of MRI, the research will identify brain developmental abnormalities and biomarkers to predict the presence and extent of brain injury in growth restricted guinea pigs.

The findings will be beneficial to underlie the risk for cognitive impairment later in life. This will provide a basis for future clinical interventions and counseling for both the mother and child.

Other recipients of the Women’s Health Scholars Award include:

  • Nafisa Jadavji, Carleton University;
  • Melissa Kimber, McMaster University;
  • Ami Tint, York University;
  • Carley Pope, Lakehead University;
  • Kelly Coons, Laurentian University;
  • Christina van den Brink, York University;
  • Robyn Jackowich, Queen’s University; and
  • Maurice Pasternak, University of Toronto.