York doctoral student receives Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award

Kara Hawkins headshot

York kinesiology and health science PhD candidate Kara Hawkins will receive a Women’s Health Scholars Award for her research aimed at enhancing early detection of Alzheimer’s disease in women.

Hawkins is one of six outstanding researchers at Ontario universities to be awarded for their work to improve the health of women through the 2014-15 Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Awards.

Kara Hawkins
Kara Hawkins

“This award will allow us to expand upon our findings in older women demonstrating disruption to structural and functional connectivity in the brains of participants at increased genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the association between these brain alterations and our behavioural cognitive-motor assessment,” says Hawkins.

Their work is being expanded to include young female participants in their brain imaging studies to examine changes associated with normal healthy aging in the female brain, she says.

“We expect that this will help elucidate underlying brain alterations associated with changes in visuomotor control observed in normal aging, and will aid in differentiating healthy from pathological aging.”

This is the second consecutive year that Hawkins has received the award worth up to $22,000 for her research.

“Women have unique health-care issues and by focusing on them, Ontario university researchers are improving women’s health across the globe,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, president and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, which administers the awards.

Recipients this year include postdoctoral, doctoral and master’s students from three Ontario universities, who receive research grants of $19,000 to $45,000 each through the awards, which were established in 2001 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.