James Miller Memorial Prize

The James Miller Memorial Prize was established in 2005 in memory of Jim Miller, the founding Head of the Department of Medical Genetics.  The Medical Genetics Graduate Program is the culmination of his work.  This Prize is presented annually at the Medical Genetics Research Day. The James Miller Prize is $1,000.

YEAR         AWARDEE                                                             YEAR         AWARDEE

2022W        Nikita Telkar                                                      2013W       Katharina Rothe

2021W        Amy Inkster                                                       2012W        Alireza Baradaran-Heravi

2020W        Samantha Dziurdzik                                        2011W        Courtney Hanna

2019W        Giulia Del Gobbo                                              2010W        Farah Zahir

2018W        Chaini Konwar                                                   2009W       Johanna Schuetz

2017W        Lisa McEwen                                                      2008W       Meaghan Jones

2016W         Ana Cohen                                                        2007W       Arefeh Rouhi

2015W         Joanne Trinh                                                     2006W       Tracy Tucker

2014W         George Chung

CRITERIA
The James Miller Memorial Prize is to be awarded to the Medical Genetics PhD student who best exemplifies Jim’s values:

  1. Leadership in fostering exchange of scientific ideas in the Department.
  2. Integration of basic sciences with clinical medical genetics in their project.
  3. Collaborative, open-minded to other areas of research, actively seeking opportunities to reach out to the community and effectively building bridges by engaging with others outside of the student’s research focus.
  4. A high degree of independence.
  5. Originality and creative thinking.

The candidate is to be of high academic standing but there will be no attempt to choose the “top” student.

ELIGIBILITY – RESEARCH DAY 2022

  • Currently registered PhD and MD/PhD students who have completed at least three years in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program.
  • Students must be far enough along in their PhD studies that they can be considered to be “graduating” (approximately in their final year) but still currently in the Program.
  • Awardees of the James Miller Memorial Prize competition are excluded from future competitions.
  • Students can win both the James Miller Prize and the Patricia Baird Prize, but not in the same year. The winner of the James Miller Prize will be decided prior to the selection of the Patricia Baird finalists.
  • Applicants may also compete in the Research Day poster competition, but the James Miller Prize winner will be excluded from selection for a poster prize.

NOMINATION PROCEDURES

  • The Graduate Program Coordinator creates a list of current Medical Genetics PhD students who have been in their programs for three or more years. Faculty supervisors are invited to nominate their students who meet all of the eligibility criteria, and who are approximately in their final year. Additionally, the Review Committee will actively solicit nominations from the supervisors of any eligible students (based on the criteria) that committee members feel are likely to be good candidates.  A final call will be sent to all supervisors of eligible students several weeks before Research Day.
  • Supervisors are welcome to nominate one or more qualified students from their lab per year.
  • The supervisor and nominated student send the application documents by September 26, 2022 to Azin Zeinali at medical.genetics@ubc.ca. Application documents are:
    • Supervisor’s letter of support
    • Student’s current CV
  • The Patricia Baird and James Miller Prizes Review Committee Chair will notify the successful applicant and their supervisor(s) approximately three weeks before Research Day. The Prize recipient will prepare a short talk (about 10 minutes) for Research Day.  The talk is to focus on his/her research, emphasizing the aspects of their work that relate to human genetic disease.
  • The James Miller Prize awardee is announced at Research Day, followed by the student’s talk.

ABOUT JIM

Jim Miller (James Reginald Miller, 1928-1999), remembered by his friends and colleagues for his warmth and humour, came to UBC in 1958 from his PhD studies at McGill University to work on muscular dystrophy in mice with W.C. Gibson in Neurological Research. Once here, Jim’s scope expanded hugely to begin the introduction of Medical Genetics to British Columbia- including practical clinical genetics, academic human genetics, and research in mouse developmental genetics.

Jim based his emerging Medical Genetics Department on his belief in the importance of a close interchange between basic science and clinical genetics. He established a Genetic Counseling service, with biochemical and cytogenetic labs. He established a genetics component in the UBC Medical School curriculum. He developed and taught an undergraduate Human Genetics course, and was a key founder of the UBC Genetics Graduate Program. He was the geneticist for the BC Registry for Handicapped Children and Adults, an early model of monitoring frequencies of birth defects.

In his research program, Jim demanded question-driven, rather than technique-driven, studies. He expected his students, whether in human or mouse genetics, to come up with their own research questions. He valued independence of thought, originality, and creativity. He was a master teacher in a seminar setting and expected students to enter fully into a lively exchange of scientific ideas.

Dr. Muriel Harris