Hyekyoung (Cindy) Sung, a former postdoctoral Fellow and current research project manager at York University’s Sweeney Lab, received the CIHR Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence Early Career Transition Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She is the first York community member to receive the award.
Sung earned her doctor of philosophy in biology in 2017 at York University, followed by a York Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellowship later that year. In 2019, she earned CIHR postdoctoral Fellowship. Her research has been focused on the examination of skeletal muscle cells, insulin resistance, oxidative stress and more. Additionally, she has been involved in numerous research papers, including three published in 2023 so far.
The Early Career Transition Award that Sung received is part of the CIHR’s efforts to nurture a more equitable, diverse and inclusive health research ecosystem. The award was launched in December 2022 to provide mentorship and early-career support to specific under-represented groups of researchers.
It does so through a two-phase program that runs over the course of five to seven years. The first phase is mentored and includes a $20,000-per-year research allowance, a $70,000-per-year stipend, as well as mentorship and career development. The second phase includes at least $240,000 per year in research allowance, plus salary support and faculty mentorship.
Available to postdoctoral researchers, clinicians and research associates, the award uses a cohort-building approach to support winners’ transitions to successful, independent research careers in Canada and address the impact of racism and gender inequality on early-career researchers.
The Sweeney Lab researches cardiometabolic disease, how these diseases develop, and novel treatments and therapies, with a collaborative network of research groups across Canada as well as in Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, the U.S. and the U.K.