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TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - A promising and rising research star has returned to Ontario to continue his cancer research at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital thanks in part to a $1-million leadership gift from TD Bank Financial Group. Dr. Abdallah Al-Hakim, a post doctoral research fellow, had been studying in Scotland but returned home to Ontario in time for a special ceremony today recognizing TD Bank Financial Group's generous donation that will assist 25 fellows at the Lunenfeld over the next 10 years. "I feel fortunate to be able to return to Toronto to conduct research at the internationally-renowned Lunenfeld institute," said Dr. Al-Hakim. "Being here will help pave the way to more research insights that will hopefully one day lead to better treatments and prevention of cancer." The funds will support Dr. Al-Hakim's work identifying components of DNA cell damage that holds promise for further understanding how cancer takes root. Dr. May Alarab will also receive funding from the TD Bank Financial Group Fellowship Program. Dr. Alarab is a clinical research fellow in the Lawrence and Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women's and Infants' Health at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she is working to advance her research in pelvic floor dysfunction to ensure pregnant women choose the safest delivery method. TD Bank Financial Group has been investing in medical practitioners at hospitals and healthcare facilities across Canada under the TD Grants in Medical Excellence program since 2000. "One of the most pressing concerns for health care professionals is a lack of funding for ongoing research and education. Ensuring Canada is able to keep its best medical talent in the country is a critical component of health care - we created our TD Grants in Medical Excellence program so Canadians can continue to benefit from our incredibly talented physicians," says Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group. Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, called the TD gift an investment in research and thereby an investment in the future of health care. "Excellent medical research has a direct impact on the quality of health care and this type of special donation will make a difference in research by promoting excellence," said Dr. Woodgett. "As a result, we have two young, bright minds whose work holds great promise for the health of cancer patients, mothers and their newborn babies." About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, a University of Toronto affiliated research centre, established in 1985, is one of the world's leading centres in biomedical research. 32 principal investigators lead research in diabetes, cancer biology, epidemiology, stem cell research, women's and infants' health, neurobiology and systems biology. For more information on the Lunenfeld, please visit TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the three primary areas of focus for TD's community giving. The major flagship programs within these areas are: TD Children's Hospital Fund, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, TD Canadian Children's Book Week, TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership, and the TD Summer Reading Club. In addition, through the support of our customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national, regional and local programs in support of diversity, arts and culture and other causes. In 2007, TD donated $33 million to charities and not-for-profit organizations across Canada. For further information: Jodi Salem, Media and Communications Specialist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Phone: (416) 586-4800 ext. 8306, Email:

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