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A-J Hutchings

Location: Ottawa, ON

Award: Young Canadians

Category:

Year: 2010

Innovation:

The Efficacy of RA, PDGF, and BMP-4 to Instruct Adult NSPC Differentiation

News Release

Adult Neural Stem Cells, Young Researcher Show Promise
Ottawa Student Wins Manning Innovation Award at National Science Fair


PETERBOROUGH, ON - (May 25, 2010) Ottawa's Amy-Jayne Hutchings won a prestigious Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award at the 2010 Canada-Wide Science Fair for her medical research project on adult neural stem cells. The grade 12 student was among nearly 500 finalists at the national fair, held at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, May 15th to 23rd.

"Canada needs innovation to compete and prosper, and that means we need to encourage and celebrate our innovative youth," says Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation. The Foundation's Young Canadian Program recognizes innovative youth competing at the national science fair.

Hutching's project is part of cutting edge research in the push to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. Working with researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Hutchings studied the ability of adult stem cells in a lab dish to produce different types of nervous system cells. She showed that by adding particular biomolecules to the stem cells, she could coax them to differentiate into specific types of cells.

Controlling the cell differentiation process is crucial if adult stem cells are to be used to treat spinal cord injuries, says Hutchings.

Hutchings began her "roller-coaster experience that is research" in the summer of 2008. "It was the best decision I have ever made," she says." Next year she plans to study neuroscience at Carleton University, with the goal of becoming a doctor.

Hutchings' project was among eight chosen every year from the Canada-Wide Science Fair to receive a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award. The project was also one of four selected for an additional $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award. The Young Canadian Innovation Awards are sponsored by Suncor (two), the Jim McEwen Family and the Dave Mitchell Family.

Hutchings will join other Manning Innovation Award winners to be recognized in person at the Foundation's 29th Annual Awards Gala, with honourary Co-Chairs Senator Pamela Wallin, OC, and Preston Manning, CC, this September 17th in Ottawa.

NOTE TO MEDIA

For more information or to interview Amy-Jayne, please contact Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation: 403-645-8288 or bruce.fenwick@encana.com

The spokesperson for Youth Science Canada/Sciences jeunesse Canada is Reni Barlow, Executive Director: communications@ysf-fsj.ca

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The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation recognizes the importance of Canadian innovation in strengthening our nation's capacity to compete in the global economy. The Foundation supports and celebrates Canadians with the imagination to innovate and the stamina to succeed. Visit www.manningawards.ca for more information.