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Caitlin Martin Newnham

Location: London, ON

Award: Young Canadians


Year: 2009


Capsaicin Admixture Found to Ease Initial Pain Using a Novel Invertebrate Model

News Release

Personal Motivation Drives Young Londoner to Research Natural Pain Killer
Ontario Teen Wins Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award at National Science Fair

WINNIPEG, MB - (May 15, 2009) High school senior Caitlin Martin Newnham says she is "devoted to scientific research" because of the chronic pain her mother has suffered since being in a car accident 20 years ago. For her award-winning science fair project, the London, Ontario youth researched the use of capsaicin, a chemical from hot peppers, for pain relief. Martin Newnham has won $4500 in prize money and a Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award among other prizes and university entrance scholarships awarded at the 2009 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

Capsaicin causes an initial burning sensation followed by numbness, and so can provide pain relief. Martin Newnham chose to study capsaicin because it has no known drug interactions and very few side effects. Because capsaicin initially causes a burning sensation, Martin Newnham used a dilute salt solution to take away this effect. Her results are promising and she hopes to publish them soon.

A key component of Martin Newnham's project was the development of a novel invertebrate model for pain research. She used leeches, which respond to stimulus by stretching out. This model is preferred to studying lab rats or other vertebrates.

Martin Newnham was among 489 finalists competing at the national fair, held at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, May 9th to 17th. During the week, students from across Canada have competed for nearly $1 million in scholarships and grants.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation introduced the Young Canadian Program in 1992 to recognize Canada's innovative youth. Each year a judging team selects eight winning projects at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) for a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award presented at the CWSF; four of these are selected for a $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award. The Young Canadian Innovation Awards are sponsored by Petro-Canada (2), the Jim McEwen Family and the Dave Mitchell Family, and are presented at the Foundation's Annual Awards Gala being held this year in Vancouver on September 18th.

Visit www.manningawards.ca for more information and winner videos.

Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director, Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, Phone: 403-645-8277 Email: bruce.fenwick@encana.com

Lori Murray, Youth Science Foundation Canada, Phone: (Toll free) 866-341-0040 ext. 3 Email: communications@ysf-fsj.ca