Fiona Smillie Memorial Award

Fiona A.M. Smillie was a greatly respected and much-loved member of the administrative staff of the Faculty of Medicine and within the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Fiona's kind spirit, enthusiasm and empathy made her a cherished colleague and friend of many within the department.

In keeping with Fiona's exemplary dedication and service to the department, the Fiona Smillie Memorial Award recognizes graduate students who have significantly contributed to the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Toronto by advancing the interests of graduate students and/or improving the experience of graduate studies for graduate students in the department.

Eligible students will have graduated in the past academic year (2023 - 2024) and will have contributed substantially to the quality of student experience in the department through department service. 

Nomination will consist of a letter sent to the Pharmacology Graduate Students Association ( Please include the candidate's name and a brief summary of their departmental service and/or contributions to graduate student experience.

The deadline for nominations has been extended to Monday, May 13, 2024 at 11:59 PM. The award is adjudicated by the PGSA and will be presented at our annual Visions in Pharmacology Research Day. 

Current Recipients

2024: Alison Jee

jeeAlison Jee completed her PhD in Dr. Jack Uetrecht's lab. Her research examined the early effects of nevirapine and how these may contribute to delayed-onset idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury. During her graduate studies, Alison took part in several student-led initiatives including the Pharmacology Graduate Students Association, the Life Sciences Career Development Syndicate, the first-ever Temerty Faculty of Medicine Research Day, and MINDS, an international conference for mental health in academia. Outside of the lab, Alison was also part of PharmTox and SGS intramural volleyball teams as a player, co-captain, or captain.

Past Recipients

2023: Martino Gabra

Photo of MartinoMartino completed his PhD in 2022 from Dr. Leonardo Salmena’s Lab. His thesis focused on identifying the roles of microRNAs in Acute Myeloid leukemia through high throughput screening methods. Throughout his PhD, he was an active participant and leader in a number of student-led initiatives that focused on improving student life. He lobbied for increased stipend pay with the Graduate Representation Committee, introduced the Elefant document with Sasha Marakhovskaia, and participated in several events to bring students together. Martino currently works as a Scientist at Deep Genomics where he continues to contribute to the field of small RNA therapeutics.

2022: Marlaina Stocco

Photo of Marlaina StoccoMarlaina Stocco is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Marlaina's research involves characterizing the physiological, pharmacological, and environmental factors that contribute to individual and group differences in addiction-related behaviours, including preference and motivation for drugs of abuse.

2021: Celina Liu

Celina LiuCelina received her PhD in 2020 from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Krista Lanctôt, her research focused on novel treatments and biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. During her graduate career, Celina was passionate about extracurricular activities and took pride in being part of the Pharmacology Graduate Student Association. Celina was the External Representative for multiple years, acting as a liaison for students who studied at Sunnybrook Hospital. She was also co-captain of the Pharmacology Graduate Students’ Volleyball Team, The Antagonists. Celina was also an ambassador for both the Wellness and Academic Committees; she helped plan and execute numerous events including past VIP conferences and provided mentorship to junior students. She is honoured to be awarded the Fiona Smillie award at this year’s VIP conference. 

2020: Daniel Hanna

Daniel HannaDaniel first joined the department of Pharmacology & Toxicology in 2010 to pursue his M.Sc. in Toxicology under the supervision of Dr. Denis Grant.  Early into his program, Daniel recognized his growing passion for his project which focused on factors contributing to the sex differences in liver cancer risk, later leading him to enroll in the Ph.D. program.  Following the completion of his Ph.D., Daniel remained with the department as a research associate assisting in the development of the new laboratory course while also continuing his research. During his time in the department, Daniel was fortunate for several opportunities offered to him which allowed him to contribute in various capacities to the department. Daniel was an active teaching assistant for several undergraduate pharmacology courses over the years and a PGSA committee member.  In the summer of 2019, Daniel made the transition from academia to industry and is now a medical science liaison working in both the neuroscience and rare disease therapeutic areas.  


2019: Lucia Zhang
2018: Vincent Lam
2017: Ariana Dela Cruz
2016: Shirley Poon
2015: Nicole Brown
2014: Noufissa Kabli
2013: Mary Clare Luca
2012: Anne Mullen Gray
2011: Greg Staios
2010: Xavier Balducci
2009: Rana Sawaya
2008: Christopher So