Ute Kothe wins CIHR Award

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is pleased to announce that Dr. Ute Kothe, an assistant professor in biochemistry at the University of Lethbridge, has received its 2012 Synapse Mentorship Award – Individual Researcher.
The award, which is worth $5,000, is one of three handed out nationally -- and the U of L's first -- and recognizes the efforts of a health researcher who has made exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada's students.

Through mentorship, the winner regularly motivates youth to consider both the value of health research as well career opportunities that exist within various scientific fields.

Dr. Kothe created the Bridges to Science program as a way to promote science literacy among Canadian high school students, provide hands-on science workshops and complement established school curriculum.

In 2010, she established a partnership with Let's Talk Science, a nationally based science outreach organization, so that Bridges to Science could reach all Canadian youth. In 2010-11 alone, the program reached 20 high schools and over 550 students.

Dr. Kothe has also been involved with Operation Minerva. The program motivates grade 9 female students to choose careers in science and math after they've ‘job shadowed' established female researchers.

Dr. Kothe has served as a judge at various science fairs, has organized the RiboWest Conference as way to help youth choose scientific careers, has personally trained graduate students, and has been a scientific advisor for a local unit of Girl Guides of Canada.

"It is important for today's researchers to take some time to pass along their knowledge to Canadian youth," says Dr. Jane Aubin, CIHR's Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research and Knowledge Translation Portfolio.

"Dr. Kothe deserves this Synapse mentorship award for her dedication to helping Canadian students both understand and appreciate the value of science. This may ultimately help them choose career paths that will make them scientific leaders of tomorrow."

CIHR's Synapse – Youth Connection initiative acts as a meeting place, a scientific junction that brings together health researchers and young students. More than 9,000 CIHR-funded health researchers from across the country have already signed up to become CIHR Synapse mentors.

Synapse, in collaborative partnership with national science outreach organizations, connects these mentors with high school students through hands-on training experience that will help create the next generation of Canadian health researchers.

Dr. Kothe's award is one of three related to mentorship through CIHR's Synapse initiative. Ms. Megan Dodd, a PhD candidate from McMaster University, won the Synapse Mentorship Award – Graduate Student / Post Doctoral Fellow and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute Youth Outreach program, led by Dr.Jim Woodgett, won the Synapse Mentorship Award – Research Group.