Health Research BC Scholar Program Recipients

With the intention of shedding light on the profound yet understudied impacts of maternal sugar consumption on both mothers and infants, the Health Research BC Scholar Program has proudly awarded its prestigious scholarship to Dr. Tao Huan. A prominent researcher at the UBC ,Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, and also a node leader at TMIC, Dr. Huan is dedicated to pioneering advancements in the field of metabolomics. His research project, titled “Development of metabolomics to interrogate the effects of maternal sugar overconsumption on pregnant rats and their offspring“, seeks to look into the intricate biological processes that link sugar intake during pregnancy to long-lasting health outcomes in both mothers and their children.

This initiative holds the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the molecular basis behind the relationship between maternal sugar consumption and its enduring effects on adult offspring. Dr. Huan’s work has far-reaching implications for the health of Canadians, offering crucial insights into a relatively unexplored domain of health research. It is worth noting that the World Health Organization recommends that added sugars account for no more than 5 percent of daily caloric intake for adults, with even stricter limits for children under the age of two. Unfortunately, in Canada, both adults and children often exceed the guidelines, underscoring the urgency of Dr. Huan’s investigation.

In TMIC, Dr. Huan’s node offers Exposomics Assay for Complex Biosamples, which is an untargeted profiling and characterization by UHPLC-HRMS (QTOF MS) of the entire set of endogenous metabolites and chemical exposures for teeth, bone, urine, hair surface, and hair strand.

The Health Research BC Scholar Program stands as one of the province’s flagship funding opportunities, providing invaluable support to early-career health researchers like Dr. Tao Huan who are at the forefront of groundbreaking health research. These awards, providing a substantial $90,000 per year for salary support over a 5-year term, play a pivotal role in advancing world-class health research within the province. Established in 2001, this program has already granted over 460 Scholar awards, all geared towards developing, attracting, and retaining British Columbia’s most promising health researchers.

In 2023, Michael Smith Health Research BC proudly selected 23 exceptional researchers to receive funding through the Scholar competition, a testament to the program’s commitment to nurturing and empowering the brightest minds across various institutions in BC. These scholars are conducting their cutting-edge research at institutions including the University of Victoria, UBC Okanagan, Island Health, Vancouver Island University, and the University of the Fraser Valley, collectively pushing the boundaries of health science to improve the well-being of all British Columbians. This initiative not only fuels discovery but also promises to unlock innovative treatments, cures, practices, and solutions that will ultimately elevate the health outcomes of the province’s residents.

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