Amar K. Sen Memorial Award

The Amar K. Sen Memorial Award pays tribute to the outstanding contributions that the late Professor Amar K. Sen made to the areas of graduate education and graduate student mentoring. Dr. Sen was a tremendously respected scientist, teacher, colleague, mentor and friend in the Department from the 1960s until his retirement in the early 1990s. He will be remembered not only for his seminal scientific contributions but also for his tireless commitment to the Department's mission and his friendship among his colleagues, students and peers.


This award is presented to a recently graduated Ph.D. student for outstanding scientific contributions made during the course of the Doctoral program in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto.

The primary criterion for the award is the quality and impact of scientific research, as demonstrated in original first-author publications.

Other criteria that will be considered include:

  • Academic performance in the Doctoral program
  • Graduate awards and distinctions
  • Student leadership activities
  • Contribution to scientific activities and team projects
  • Timeliness of Doctoral degree completion


Selection will be made by the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology.

Applications for this award shall consist of the following components:

  1. Candidate's curriculum vitae and publication list
  2. Candidate's graduate transcript or ACORN statement of grades
  3. Candidate's first-author papers describing the Ph.D. thesis research
  4. One letter of support from the candidate's Ph.D. Supervisor OR a member of the candidate's Ph.D. Supervisory Committee

Graduates of the Ph.D. program who graduated during the 2021 calendar year are invited to apply for the 2022 award. Applications must be received no later than Thursday, April 14, 2022 by 5 PM. Applications should be emailed to Dr. Peter McPherson. Graduate Supervisors are also encouraged to nominate former trainees.

Past Recipients

2021: Justin Matheson

Justin MathesonJustin has always been interested in understanding how drugs impact brain function, so he came to the University of Toronto to pursue a PhD in Pharmacology & Toxicology under the supervision of Dr. Bruna Brands in the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH. Justin’s research training emphasized human laboratory studies of acute cannabis effects, and he developed a passion for the cannabis and cannabinoid field. His PhD thesis focused on individual factors (such as sex/gender and cannabis product potency) that influence subjective and objective measures of acute cannabis intoxication in the human laboratory.

Justin is honoured to receive the Amar K. Sen Memorial Award as a recognition of his doctoral work in pharmacology. He is eternally grateful to the Department and the Graduate Education Committee.

Justin is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Translational Addiction Research Lab at CAMH, under the supervision of Dr. Bernard Le Foll. He is excited to be continuing and expanding his cannabis and cannabinoid research, as well as gaining new training in clinical trials design, neuroimaging, and other related methodologies. His research goal is to integrate a range of methodologies (especially human lab experiments and clinical trials) to better understand both the potential harms and therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids. The Amar K. Sen Memorial Award will forever be a reminder of his incredibly impactful training in pharmacology and the Department’s commitment to graduate education and mentorship.

2020: Myuri Ruthirakuhan

Myuri RuthirakuhanMyuri’s interest in pursuing a PhD in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology was sparked during her time working with the Neuropsychopharmacology Group at Sunnybrook Research Institute. She witnessed how debilitating severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was to its patients, and the burden it posed to its caregivers and healthcare system. Under the supervision of Dr. Krista Lanctot, Myuri was encouraged to pursue her interest in identifying safe and effective treatment options for AD patients, and investigating biomarkers of interest.

Myuri is honored to receive the Amar K. Sen Memorial Award. It is a reminder to her that interdisciplinary and collaborative research is a necessary factor in moving the field forward. She hopes to continue striving to forge new collaborative relationships to further developments in drug and biomarker AD research.

Myuri recently started a post-doctoral fellowship funded by CIHR at Sunnybrook under the mentorship of Dr. Sandra Black. She is excited to be investigating neuropathological markers of behavioural symptoms in AD using the new skills and techniques she will be exposed to.


2019: Taraneh Taghavi Taraneh Taghavi
2018: Julie-Anne Tanner
2017: Yuliya Lytvyn
2016: Meghan Chenoweth
2015: Andy Zhu
2014: Noufissa Kabli
2013: Meaghan Creed
2012: Vaneeta Verma
2011: Simerpal Gill
2010: Jill Mwenifumbo & Ameer Taha
2009: Lick Pui Lai
2008: Anna M. Lee
2007: Dennis Lee & Mary Erclik
2006: Diana Stempak
2005: Kerri Schoedel