Jennifer Ji Vanier Scholar 2018

Once again, one of our students in the PALM graduate program has won a Vanier scholarship.  These are highly competitive awards funded by the Government of Canada. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program “attracts and retains world-class doctoral students and helps establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning”.    It is truly an honor for Jennifer and our program to have her achievements recognized in this manner.

Jennifer is a MD/PhD student mentored by Dr. David Huntsman. Her thesis project focuses on the metabolomic and proteomic characterization of ovarian clear cell carcinomas.

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women, with about 25,000 women diagnosed in North America each year. Ovarian cancer is subdivided into different groups or ‘subtypes’, according to molecular characteristics and clinical outcome. Clear cell ovarian cancer (CCC) is the second most common subtype of ovarian cancer affecting many women. At late stage, it is more aggressive and resistant to current chemotherapy compared to other subtypes. Molecular and genomic studies suggest that it is a metabolically driven malignancy, but its metabolic profile has not yet been studied. It may be possible to develop CCC-specific therapy through targeting this subtype’s metabolic defects. Jennifer’s research will be the first characterization of a large cohort of clinical cases of CCC using protein expression in conjunction with global metabolite profiling. She hopes that identifying targetable metabolic pathways will guide the development of more effective therapies to help patients with this deadly disease.

Outside of the lab, Jennifer enjoys painting. She is the illustrator for the reading bear society, an non-profit organization working towards increasing childhood literacy especially for underprivileged children ( Jennifer also enjoys nature and is the proud owner of many plants.

Jennifer’s other awards include:

  • Four year Fellowship (2018)
  • Pathology Day oral presentation award, 3rd place (2018)
  • Translational Cancer Genomics travel award (2018)
  • Canadian conference on ovarian cancer research trainee award (2018)
  • CIHR-UBC-BCCA MD/PhD studentship (2015)
  • Faculty of Medicine Graduate Award (2015)


Well done Jennifer!