The Garron Family Cancer Centre
Education & Training
The Garron Family Cancer Centre (GFCC) offers a unique fellowship opportunity for clinical fellows looking to enhance their experience in cancer research. The GFCC as part of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is one of Canada's top ranked Paediatric Oncology Centres in Canada. This fellowship opportunity aims to provide training through direct participation in basic science or clinical investigation under the supervision of world leaders in oncology research and clinical care. The goal is to promote career development in the clinician investigator and clinician scientist tracks. The GFCC awards up to two 2-year fellowships per review cycle.
- Research undertaken must be cancer related.
- Fellows are required to participate in GFCC research seminars related to their research interests and as their schedules allow from the outset of their fellowship.
- As part of the fellowship, fellows are required to commit up to 10% of their time per year to clinical activities.
- This is a 2-year fellowship starting July 1.
Fellowship Oversight Committee
A formal Fellowship Oversight Committee (FOC) is to be established to mentor and guide the fellow in the first year. The FOC is composed of at least 3 individuals including fellowship supervisor, a mentor for the fellow’s clinical and general career development, and a mentor with expertise in research that is being pursued by the fellow. There may be additional mentors who are also members of the FOC.
- Clinical Fellows who have completed or will have completed at time of start of fellowship their core clinical training in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology.
- Applicants can apply in the year prior to the planned research activities.
- A supervisor and primary project must be identified at time of application.
- The research fellowship is intended to start July 1 of the following year of application submission; off cycle start dates may be considered.
- The supervisor does not have to be a SickKids Clinician Scientist but should have a University of Toronto appointment.
- If the supervisor is external to SickKids, the Fellowship Oversight Committee must include at least one SickKids Clinician Scientist who works in the area of fellow’s research project.
Effective July 1, 2024, for fellows starting their first year of the GFCC Fellowship, supervisors are required to contribute $22,000 toward fellow salary. Please note if the fellow successfully receives external funding this will offset the supervisor contribution.
$84,534.35 per year plus modified benefits for the term of the fellowship.
- Current CV
- Two appropriate professional letters of reference in addition to supervisor letter of support. One must be from previous supervisor and/or colleague who can speak to experience in research and/or scholarly work from the past 3 years.
- GFCC Fellowship Trainee Application
- GFCC Fellowship Supervisor Application
Deadline for applications
For a fellowship start date of July 1, 2024, please submit applications by 11:59 p.m. on September 26, 2023.
The GFCC fellowship can be deferred up to a maximum of 1 year. A written letter advising of deferral is required and must include signature from fellow and supervisor.
For inquiries about the GFCC fellowship, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: this fellowship opportunity is now closed, we anticipate accepting applications again for July 1, 2025 start. Please check back in mid-2024 for further updates on when applications will be accepted again.
As an innovator in paediatric oncology, the Garron Family Cancer Centre (GFCC) is looking to develop future leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The field of AI/ML utilizes algorithms and software to develop complex models to better employ data to support care and develop innovative solutions and is a growing field in healthcare.
The GFCC AI Fellowship will focus on the use of AI/ML to inform patient and systems-based practices for best care of paediatric oncology patients and will span prioritization of clinical questions and scenarios, model development and deployment, and implementation. The successful candidate must have an interest in working with large datasets, statistics, quality improvement and implementation science.
- Fellowship is open to clinical applicants who:
- Have completed a clinical fellowship in paediatric haematology/oncology
- Prior coding experience is an asset but not required. Applicants must have a willingness to learn coding and take part in AI or ML courses to build and apply coding skills throughout the fellowship.
- Fellowship Academic Year: July 1 start
- Submission Deadline: Mid-October
- Selection Committee Review: Early November
- Program Acceptance: An email notification will be forwarded to your email address in November.
- Applicant must source two supervisors:
- Clinical Supervisor: from the oncology practice area to support content expertise.
- Technical Supervisor: whose lab or research area includes AI and ML. Technical Supervisor can be external to SickKids if proven leader in the AI/ML field.
- Applicants are not required to have a project or model to develop at beginning of fellowship.
- Expectation that up to 10% of time is spent in clinical work in keeping with the professional role of the fellow.
- Introductory courses in AI and ML are requirements of fellowship and encouraged to be completed in first 3 months of fellowship, suggested courses include:
- Introduction to Machine Learning
- AI in Healthcare Specialization
- Two year fellowship
- Academic year July 1 – June 30
- PGY5 Salary
- Laptop will be provided
- AI Fellowship Application
- Clinical Supervisor Application
- Technical Supervisor Application
- Two reference letters (not from supervisors) submitted to email@example.com
Fellowship Oversight Committee (FOC)
- Fellows are required to establish a formal FOC that will include supervisors, one to two mentors in ML/AI and one to two members from lab who collaborate on project.
- The goal of the FOC is to initially help the fellow establish learning goals thereby setting up a mentorship plan to support skill development in AL/ML.
- The FOC is required to meet bimonthly in the first year of the fellowship and quarterly in the second year.
- Fellow will be required to submit a progress report by December 1 and June 1 of each fellowship year.
- Coding knowledge will be evaluated as part of the progress report at the conclusion of first year of fellowship.
At the end of the fellowship, it is expected that fellows will be able to identify relevant practice questions, understand data resources and work with AI/ML experts in developing and refining models, analyze results and translate to clinical practice.
Learn more about the Core Paediatric General Haematology/Oncology fellowship from the Division of Haematology/Oncology.
Learn more about the Departmental Paediatric Haematology/Oncology fellowship from the Division of Haematology/Oncology.
Learn more about the Subspeciality Paediatric Haematology/Oncology fellowship from the Division of Haematology/Oncology.
The Division of Hematology/Oncology Clinical and GFCC Research Fellowship is a four-year combined fellowship opportunity for physicians. The GFCC Research Fellowship component begins after the completion of two years of clinical training.
Physician trainees awarded a two-year clinical fellowship by the Division of Haematology/Oncology.
- Division of Haematology/Oncology Fellowship Application
- Current CV
- Two professional letters of reference
- GFCC Fellowship Trainee Application
- GFCC Fellowship Supervisor Application
- One supervisor letter of support
- Fellowship Academic Year start: July 1, 2023
- Submission Deadline: September 30, 2022 11:59 p.m.
- Selection Committee Review: October
- Program Acceptance: An email notification will be forwarded to your email address between October and November.
Current GFCC Research Fellows
Dr. Ncedile Mankahla
Supervisor: Dr. Michael Taylor
Investigating the role of myeloid and tissue resident macrophages in medulloblastoma metastases
Existing data shows that unlike adult brain tumors and non-brain solid tumors, there are relatively few immune cells infiltrating childhood brain tumors, even the malignant types.
The most abundant cells observed are macrophages. Effector T-cells which are the main cell type that can kill tumors are relatively excluded. My objective is to use genetically engineered mouse models of medulloblastoma, which form tumors that resemble human medulloblastoma in an immune competent mouse, to investigate the relationship between macrophages and the tumor environment. The aim is to investigate macrophage communication with the environment to understand their role in T-cell exclusion and discover the biological roles played by tissue resident and infiltrating macrophages in medulloblastoma metastasis. We use single cell RNA sequencing to explore the gene signatures that determine functional programming of macrophages. The goal is to discover pharmacologically targetable biological pathways that can help reprogram macrophages to aid in tumor elimination instead of impeding it. Current knowledge has also highlighted important differences in macrophage cell-types in the brain and the differing roles that each cell type plays in cancer progression. Any meaningful targeting of macrophages will need to account for these specialized cell types for improved specificity and reduced toxicity of treatment. The first part of my project has been the use of our single cell sequencing data to match macrophage gene expression signatures with public reference atlases to identify the specialized cell types so that they can be specifically investigated for their biological roles in cancer. The second stage will be identification and testing of specific biological pathways that will help reprogram these cell types for anti-tumor activity.
Dr. Raizl Gruda Sussman
The role of ANKRD26 in megakaryocyte development and hematopoietic malignancy
Inherited thrombocytopenia 2 is an autosomal dominant disorder which presents as thrombocytopenia and increased risk for leukemia. This disorder is caused by genetic alterations in the promoter region of ANKRD26 which is normally regulated by RUNX1/FLI1. The cellular function of ANKRD26 is not well understood but insights into its possible role in neoplastic transformation have recently come from studies linking this protein to centrioles which are an important component in cell cycle.
Megakaryocytes are large cells that reside in the bone marrow and are the source for platelets in the blood stream. As megakaryocytes mature, they undergo several rounds of endomitosis to produce large polyploid nuclei. We hypothesize that the thrombocytopenia in these patients is linked to abnormalities in endomitosis and other aspects of megakaryocyte development required for platelet production.
The goal of our research project is to understand the cellular function of ANKRD26 and the effects of aberrant expression of this protein on megakaryocyte development and malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells. This knowledge will provide insights into the cellular basis of ANKRD26- related malignancy and point the way to potential new treatment targets.
Dr. Inci Yaman
Supervisor: Dr. Eric Bouffet
Visual Rehabilitation for Children and Adolescents with Visual Field Deficits
A number of children with supratentorial tumours suffer from visual field deficits that affect their daily activities. Homonymous hemianopia (HH) develops after a chiasmatic or post-chiasmatic injury. It is the most frequent cortical visual impairment leading to a loss of conscious vision in the contra-lesional hemifield of both eyes. Several studies demonstrated that hemianopia patients could improve visual perception in the damaged hemifield when auditory and visual stimuli originated from the same spatial position at the same time. Modern low-vision rehabilitation procedures for low-vision patients include biofeedback training to acquire better fixation skills. We hypothesize that 3D multiple object-tracking visual task (3D-MOT) audio-visual rehabilitation program using a virtual-reality device can be performed at home by hemianopia patients to improve their visual perception. To test this hypothesis, we will investigate the compliance with the Neurofy Research and Rehabilitation protocol and its effectiveness on visual perception in hemianopia patients. This project is intended to test the potential effectiveness of a visual rehabilitation protocol consisting of multiple series of audio-visual tasks performed in a virtual-reality environment. For the convenience of the patients and to limit commuting and visits to the hospital, the training regimen will be performed at home using the mobile and connected virtual-reality device Oculus Go, allowing the control of the rehabilitation protocol and data transfer in real-time through Wi-Fi connectivity. This pilot study may provide preliminary data for a subsequent randomized trial in a larger population of patients in Canada and/or internationally with an optimized rehabilitation protocol.
Patient and family resources
AboutKidsHealth Educational Resources
AboutKidsHealth is a health education website for children, youth and their caregivers.
As leaders in child health, the oncology social workers at SickKids have implemented a therapeutic Photovoice group where teens meet weekly to record, reflect, and critique issues they have faced on their treatment journey.
Photovoice is a therapeutic photography program focused on creating a supportive peer-focused environment aimed at bringing a voice to teens with varying cancer diagnoses, while facilitating better communication between patients and their healthcare teams. A concurrent Photovoice group for teen siblings is also available. Photos from both groups are displayed at the annual Exhibition to kick off Cancer Awareness Week and are subsequently hung on clinic walls.
'It's All About Me' Sibling Appreciation Day
A child’s diagnosis of cancer or serious blood disorder has a significant impact on the entire family. Siblings of children with cancer/serious blood disorders are often overlooked and their needs minimized as their parents and healthcare professionals focus on the ill child. The Annual “It’s All About Me” Sibling Appreciation Day provides creative opportunities to address the most common concerns about the sibling experience.
It promotes the expression of feelings, coping, and problem solving with the goal of enhancing self-esteem. Throughout our programming, we aim to enhance sibling’s adjustment to living with a life-threatening illness within the family, reinforce their importance within the family, and provide much needed recognition for their important role in their family’s journey at SickKids.