Cole Foundation injects $700,000 into childhood cancer research


Fourteen new fellowships to be shared among up-and-coming researchers

Pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphoma research in Quebec received a massive boost today, following the Cole Foundation's announcement that it would provide more than $700,000 to be shared among 10 Université de Montréal and four McGill University young scientists.

"The Cole Foundation is dedicated to the fight against leukemia and lymphomas in people under the age of 25, and the research projects we finance are significant in the Montreal research community," explained Barry Cole, President of the Cole Foundation. "The fellowships that have been awarded today have been selected on the basis of their scientific excellence by a jury of medical experts in the field." The awards are part of a concerted pediatric leukemia program for which the Cole Foundation spends $1.5 million annually.

The research will cover a variety of areas that are ultimately critical to the diagnosis and the understanding of the disease. "Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or A.L.L., is the most frequent cancer in children, accounting for approximately 25% of all pediatric tumors," explained Dr. Andrea Alter, whose research project was one of the 14 chosen by the foundation. Alter recently obtained her PhD from McGill and her new fellowship is for research to be undertaken at Université de Montréal. "Using next-generation sequencing technology, we will examine all gene sequences in a well-characterized group of A.L.L. patients to identify leukemia-specific errors in DNA sequences. Subsequently, we will study the impact of these leukemia-specific mutations on disease susceptibility and disease initiation."

Over 80 two-year post-doctoral and graduate fellowships have been awarded by the Cole Foundation since 2007. "We are delighted to have the excellence of our researchers recognized and supported by the Cole Foundation. These fellowships will enable our universities to make important contributions to both science and the well-being of our community," said Dr. Hélène Boisjoly, designated dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal. "Philanthropy is instrumental to the advancement of medical breakthroughs," agreed Dr. Richard I. Levin, Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine at McGill. "This support opens up a world of opportunities for students, ensuring a bright future in the worldwide fight against leukemia and lymphoma."


2011 - 2013 Cole Foundation Fellows

Université de Montreal

Andrea Alter, Post PhD, Département de pédiatrie, CHU Sainte-Justine

Dariel Ashton-Beaucage, PhD, Département de pathologie et biologie cellulaire, IRIC

Richard Bisaillon, PhD, Département de médecine, IRIC

Simon-David Gauthier. PhD, Département de microbiologie et immunologie, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont

Bastien Gerby, Post PhD, Département de pharmacologie, IRIC.

Fadi Hariri, PhD, Département de pathologie et de biologie cellulaire, IRIC

Mariline Laplante, Masters, Département de pathologie et de biologie cellulaire, IRIC.

Lucie Pécheux, Masters, Département de médecine, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont

Nadeem Siddiqui, Post PhD, Département de pathologie et biologie cellulaire, IRIC

Jean-François Spinella, PhD, Département de pédiatrie, CHU Sainte-Justine


McGill University

Sayeh Davoudi, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Goodman Cancer Research Centre

Stephen Methot, Masters, Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Marissa Rashkovan, Masters, Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Gabriela Galicia Vázquez, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine

About the Cole Foundation

The Cole Foundation offers two-year fellowships to clinical, postdoctoral and graduate scientists dedicated to research in leukemia and leukemia-related diseases in children and young adults. Through its fellowships, the Cole Foundation has committed more than $5 million to support leukemia researchers in Greater Montreal laboratories and hospitals. The Cole Foundation was created in 1980 by the late businessman John N. Cole to support Montreal-based research in pediatric oncology and hematology. He established the Penny Cole Laboratory at the Montreal Children's Hospital and the Jack Cole Chair in Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at McGill University.


Contact Information

William Raillant-Clark
International Press Attaché - Université de Montréal
w.raillant-clark [at]
Office Phone: 
514 343-7593