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Queen's earns two Banting Fellowships

Two postdoctoral fellows earn one of Canada’s top honours for young researchers.

Two young researchers at Queen’s University have been awarded Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships to continue their research. Nicolle Domnik (Medicine) and Sarah Yakimowski (Biology) received two of 70 fellowships awarded across Canada this year.

Dr. Domnik is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Dr. Yakimowski is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The Fellowships are designed to attract and retain top-tier post-doctoral talent, both nationally and internationally. It also positions the winners as leaders of tomorrow.

Nicolle Domnik and Sarah Yakimowski have both earned Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.

“The Fellowship recognizes our top post-doctoral trainees as future leaders in their respective fields,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “For Queen’s to earn two this year is a testament to Queen’s being a place where early career researchers can refine their research focus and skills, as well as work alongside leading academics.”

Dr. Yakimowski is working with Robert Colautti (Biology) on a new research project focusing on an invasive species. Amaranthus palmeri is reducing the yield of soybean, corn and cotton across the United States. This crop weed is not yet in Canada but has moved north rapidly over the past 25 years and could have a huge impact on agriculture if it makes it north of the border.

“This weed has been fought with herbicides and, as a result, A. palmeri has evolved resistance. One of my primary goals is to understand how this weed’s reproductive strategies contribute to the origin and spread of herbicide resistance. This could provide insight into novel control strategies,” says Dr. Yakimowski.

A long term goal of this research is to understand whether herbicide resistance evolved once and spread, or whether resistance is evolving independently in many locations.

She adds the funding provides an opportunity to form the basis of her research for the next decade.

Dr. Domnik has always had an interest in respiratory physiology and the Banting Fellowship supports her research with Dr. Denis O’Donnell (Respirology). Her project at Queen’s and its affiliated teaching hospitals, Kingston General and Hotel Dieu, is focused on the impact of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD; a debilitating condition primarily caused by smoking) on breathing mechanics, lung function and respiratory symptoms at night.

“The intersection of breathing mechanics and sleep in COPD is a new and important area of research that I’m excited to explore,” she says. “This award allows me to dedicate myself fully to my research for the next two years, alleviating the stresses associated with funding that many postdocs experience. The Fellowships that Sarah and I have received also speak to the high level of research being done at Queen’s. It’s an honour to receive and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

For more information on the Banting Fellowships, please visit the website.