We’ve moved

The Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute can now be found at www.goodmancancer.ca

Visit the new site


An Investment in Future Successes: A Canderel Scholarship and the Launch of Shirley Li’s Graduate Career

Early recognition of the potential in young researchers allows them to thrive, and is a highly rewarding investment for the research ecosystem. Through the Defi Canderel, trainees at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute (GCI) are awarded Canderel Graduate Studentships. These scholarships invest in students at the beginning of their graduate careers and allow them to leverage this recognition into future research and funding returns. This is exemplified by Shirley Li, a master’s student who is co-supervised by Dr. Natasha Chang and Dr. Sidong Huang.

Shirley received an award from the Canderel Foundation when she began pursuing her degree in 2022. This funding supported her in her research on Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a common type of pediatric cancer originating from muscle stem cells. She investigates cancer genetics through high-throughput screening to determine how healthy muscle stem cells become tumors, with the aim to understand this mechanism and reveal therapeutic drug targets. Her research also has the potential to be applied in other muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Shirley has presented the results of her research to colleagues at the 2023 McGill Regenerative Medicine Symposium and has published a book chapter entitled “Muscle stem cell dysfunction in rhabdomyosarcoma and muscular dystrophy”.

In addition to her research accomplishments, Shirley has been productive in obtaining further funding. “This award also helped me by strengthening my CV for future scholarships and research opportunities,” she shared. Shirley was recognized at the provincial level with a master’s scholarship for health research from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS). At the national level, she received the highly competitive Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s (CGS-M) from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). The initial investment in her research through a Canderel Award helped her secure higher value funding and will continue to support her in her career.

Sustaining world class research requires nurturing new talent. Shirley shared her aspirations for a career in research: “My long-term goal is to conduct clinically relevant research in collaborations with various researchers and physician scientists. Receiving this GCI internal award allowed me to pursue research I am passionate about among peers who support me and challenge me, with the guidance of world-class scientists at the GCI.” Her story shows how the empowerment of young researchers yields research and funding success, and is a rewarding investment in future cancer research leaders.

To support Canderel Scholarships, donate here.

Back to top