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Top 20 under 20 Science and Technology winners. (from bottom left clockwise): Jennifer Cloutier, Yale Michaels, Grant Sparling, Michael Lim, Rui Song. (J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)
Top 20 under 20 Science and Technology winners. (from bottom left clockwise): Jennifer Cloutier, Yale Michaels, Grant Sparling, Michael Lim, Rui Song. (J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail)

Top 20 Under 20

Young lab rats tackle disease and hunger Add to ...

The research interests of these award recipients range from cancer treatments to a flu vaccine pill. Follow the links below to read profiles about more winners.

Youth in Motion ( www.youth-in-motion.ca) is the non-profit organization that runs the Top 20 Under 20 awards program. A national panel selects the winners. Their ages are listed as what they were on Dec. 31, 2010.

Full list of winners:

  • Ivneet Bains, 19, Surrey, B.C.
  • Jennifer Cloutier, 19, Ottawa
  • Darren Cole, 16, Toronto
  • Corey Cook, 17, Winnipeg
  • Sameer Dhar, 17, Edmonton
  • Megan Fultz, 19, Winnipeg
  • Tiffany Harrington, 17, Oshawa
  • Mohsin Khan, 19, Toronto
  • Ben Kim, 18, Mississauga, Ont.
  • Rita-Clare Leblanc, 16, Halifax
  • Michael Lim, 19, West Vancouver, B.C.
  • Yale Michaels, 19, Winnipeg
  • Adam Moscoe, 19, Ottawa
  • Madison Schill, 17, Oshawa, Ont.
  • Corey Sherwood, 19, Brampton, Ont.
  • Rui Song, 15, Saskatoon
  • Grant Sparling, 18, Blyth, Ontario
  • Caitlin Stockwell, 17, Victoria, B.C.
  • Jacinthe Veillette, 19, Saint-Tite, Que.
  • Anoop Virk, 17, Coquitlam, B.C.

Jennifer Cloutier, 19, Ottawa

Jennifer Cloutier was just six years old when the car she and her family were riding in was hit by another vehicle while they travelled from Ottawa to North Bay, Ont., to visit her grandparents.

But the accident that injured her parents and left Ms. Cloutier and her younger brother Robert, now 17, without the use of their legs also helped set her on the path to meeting and helping others with physical and health challenges.

"It's had a pretty big impact on my life - I was very lucky to have survived that accident," says Ms. Cloutier, now 19 and in her second year at Harvard College, majoring in human developmental and regenerative biology.

Ms. Cloutier met other young people with medical challenges in hospitals and through sports organizations like the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiers and SkiAbility Ottawa. Now an elite athlete on Canada's National Adaptive Water Ski Team, she will compete at the world championships this August in Ohio.

Ms. Cloutier lists as another major accomplishment her work in helping get more women and girls interested in science. She helped organize a National Symposium for the Advancement of Women in Science (NSWAS) in February at Harvard's campus, and is the newly elected president of the organization Women and Science at Harvard/Radcliffe.

Born in Toronto and raised in Ottawa, Ms. Cloutier spent months in hospitals and rehabilitation following the accident that killed the couple in the car that hit her parents' vehicle. She uses a wheelchair for mobility, but says it has never hindered her classroom or laboratory work, including at Ottawa's Immaculata High School, where she aced her math and science courses.

Last summer, she spent more than 80 hours a week doing lab stem cell work aimed at helping people with atherosclerosis.

"I always wanted to be a physician, but have found out I love research and am torn, so now may want to try to meld them together."

Michael Lim, 19, West Vancouver, B.C.

After witnessing both grandfathers and an aunt lose their lives to cancer, Michael Lim decided to target the disease as his career.

"I certainly hope that I will be able to relieve the burden of cancer for patients through compassionate clinical care, outreach, advocacy and research," says Mr. Lim who is currently a medical student at The University of Manchester in Britain.

Frustrated by the basic science he was learning in high school, and knowing that real-world scientific research would be far more interesting, Mr. Lim managed to convince a University of British Columbia professor to allow him to work in his microbiology lab during the summer. He was in Grade 10.

Mr. Lim has since gone on to become an integral part of a team of scientists led by Professor Ashok Venkitaraman at the University of Cambridge and has co-authored a paper on pancreatic cancer published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Cell. As he continues his research, he hopes the findings could also be applicable to other types of cancer.

He's also developing a national oncology conference so medical students across Britain can present their research.

More recently, Mr. Lim has been awarded a Cancer Research UK graduate studentship to embark upon a PhD at the London Research Institute - while pursuing his medical studies at University College London.

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