A biotech experience for classrooms

In 2016, the Amgen Foundation and Change the Equation conducted a national (U.S.) survey showing that the majority (81%) of high-school students are interested in science. To keep that interest alive, research and practical experience in the U.S. and here in Canada shows that methods such as two-way, hands-on learning  are most likely to engage teenage students in biology. Then we need to add in some tools that help kids relate biology to real life.…

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The many hats of Women in Bio

Women in Bio is an organization with 12 Chapters in the U.S. and one in Montreal. Its mission is simple - encourage women to choose the life sciences as a career whether it is to be involved as a scientist, or one of the many other opportunities in biotech from marketing to leading from the C-Suite. I got 3 representatives from WIB (you'll hear them refer to themselves as exactly that - WIB) together as…

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Data power to improve patient care

Personalized medicine and health care are a common topic of conversation at BIO in Boston this year. New ways to make personalized medicine a reality, harnessing the power of genomics for personal treatment regimes, and of course big data to help deliver on the big promise of personalized health care. One of the Canadian initiatives is being driven by Roche Canada which is creating some unique public-private partnerships to organize, link, and unlock rich sources…

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Genome Canada launches national precision health initiative

Genomics-based precision health is transformational, promising to improve patient health and increase efficiency of health-care delivery. Today, Genome Canada launched a national initiative for the clinical implementation of precision health, focusing on a rare disease pilot program as a foundational step. Patients with rare diseases could get significant improvement in the results of their health care by precision health approaches due to their unique genetic makeup and diagnosis challenges. This program promises every rare disease…

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National initiative will start to bring precision health to patients

In Boston this morning as part of the BIO 2018 Conference and Exhibition, Genome Canada launched a national initiative for the clinical implementation of precision health. The initial step will be focused on a rare disease pilot program. It may seem as a bit of an oxymoron but rare diseases are not uncommon. With more than 7,000 different rare diseases known, the total number of patients starts to add up. In Canada, 8 per cent…

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Putting synthetic biology to work

Intrexon has embraced synthetic biology in a big way and is becoming a leader in the engineering and industrialization of biology. It has developed a technology platform for controlling mosquitoes and agricultural pests without spraying insecticides, and is the only organization of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. The company has also been venturing into health care applications and recently announced the isolation of a novel…

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Science and business meet at BIO Boston

The annual BIO International Convention hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization is underway in Boston. From now until June 7th, 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, and biotechnology centres from 70 countries are here to foster partnerships, collaboration, share knowledge and expertise, and of course do some serious business. Among those on hand is Genome Canada which wants to see success in the laboratories of Canada become real innovation in health, agriculture, forestry, and the environment.…

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Preparing for the Summer Sun

                                 Summer is almost here, and many of us have been waiting what seems like a long time to get into the great outdoors. As enjoyable as it may seem, we do want to avoid too much sun. It is not new news that one should avoid turning their skin into leather over the summer. The ancient Greeks are alleged to have used olive oil to keep their skin moisturized from the…

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Breaking Good – Key Discovery Made for Battling Opioid Epidemic

Door opens for synthetic opioids with less addictive qualities Making opioids from sugar instead of from field grown opium poppies has the potential to solve many of the problems associated with manufacturing strong pain killers. Epimeron Inc., a Calgary-based biotechnology company, has taken a major step toward that goal with its announcement of the isolation of a novel gene from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The gene encodes the enzyme thebaine synthase, which had previously…

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Bringing More Women into Biotech

Last year I was not able to travel to BIO 2017 in San Diego but still managed to record some material by phone, and had a little on-site help from Dalyce Semko Suanez who works in public relations and has clients who attend BIO. Dalyce talked with Jamie Strachota who was the Executive Director of Women in Bio, an organization which has been working to bring more women into the biotechnology sector at all levels.…

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