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Featured Trainees

Submitted by nancy.whelan on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:16am


The McCaig Institute has a thriving group of trainees within a variety of faculties, including the Cumming School of Medicine, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculty of Kinesiology. Our trainees are extremely successful and include Vanier Scholars, Eyes High Scholars and Banting Fellows.

When University of Calgary Dinos goal keeper Kristen Barton felt a “pop” in her right knee, she knew she was in trouble.

Doctors confirmed her fear – a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). As an MD/PhD student in the McCaig Institute, she was well aware of the increased risk of osteoarthritis after a knee injury. “It’s ironic that the very injury I sustained is the one I am doing research on,” says Kristen, who studies the long term effects of ACL injuries on osteoarthritis development.

In addition to her own research, Kristen is part of a research study lead by McCaig researcher Carolyn Emery looking at OA risk and onset in the 15 years post knee injury in youth. Research participants will be scanned in the Centre for Mobility and Joint Health (MoJo) at intervals to watch for onset of disease.

Studying the inequities of arthritis care in Indigenous communities

Adalberto (Beto) Loyola Sanchez is a physician from Mexico and postdoctoral fellow at the McCaig Institute. He studies the inequities of arthritis care in Alberta Indigenous communities.  In 2016, Beto was one of six Albertans to receive the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Scholarship for his research contributions.

“Learning about Indigenous people's way of life as a non-Indigenous person has made me more open to alternative ways of knowing and valuing life. It is amazing to understand that to be well is not just a matter of having a healthy body, but also a sound mind, balanced emotions and strong spirit.”

Touching lives with research

When Christina Jablonski was diagnosed with Pauci Articular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at the age of three, her parents’ first reaction was to limit her activity. Her doctor said exercise would help so they hesitantly signed her up for hockey. In remission since she was 12, Christina credits her good health to her participation in sports and strength training.

Christina’s JRA has shaped who she is and what she does. She is currently a PhD student in the McCaig Institute, studying the role of stem cells and inflammation in cartilage regeneration in the knee. “When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor, but I’ve realized you can touch so many more people with research,” says Christina.