Right Turn: Eventual relief for those suffering from Crohn’s?

Recently, a friend posted on Facebook the news about her teenage son who, a year ago, had been suffering from an undiagnosed condition. Her son’s doctor didn’t treat the symptoms very seriously until the mother insisted something was wrong and implored him to identify the cause. Finally, her son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Along with a diagnosis came options for treatment. One year later, her son is “strong, healthy, happy” and thriving again. My…

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The roots of regeneration

A simple phylogenetic tree showing major groups of vertebrates and their regenerative capability. Regeneration, surprisingly, is present in many of the groups, but it is interesting to note that it is not always found in closely related groups. Constructing phylogenetic trees, like this one, can help researchers determine why some species regenerate while others, like humans, do not. The study of how organisms evolved and diversified, called phylogeny (phylo = race or kind and gene =…

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Right Turn: FFB is funding and keeping an eye on vision research

Dr. Mary Sunderland is quite at ease talking to a video camera. The Director of Research & Education for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) has been hosting Facebook Live sessions on a variety of topics related to vision research for the past six months. If she was nervous when she began these public outreach sessions in November 2016, there’s no sign of nerves today, despite having a guest co-host, a “live studio audience,” and a…

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Five regenerative medicine workshops to attend this summer

Just one of the workshops happening this summer that blogger Amin Adibi recommends Amin Adibi is a biomedical engineer and a health data analyst at the University of British Columbia. His areas of interest include cell manufacturing and bioprocess optimization, clinical translation of cellular therapies, health outcomes and cost-effectiveness modelling. Amin has an MSc degree from University of Calgary, where he focused on developing adjuvant MSC-based therapies for brain aneurysms. Follow him on twitter at…

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Right Turn: ‘Bad Project’ is good time waster that amuses millions

It’s been quite a while since Signals has featured a parody video (here’s another one). But with students busy preparing year-end assignments, cramming for exams or finishing their theses, the time just feels right. (And even those of us in the workforce appreciate the occasional distraction.) The Zheng Lab at Baylor College of Medicine focuses on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mouse models. Their work “complements the study of mouse genetics with molecular, neuroanatomical, electrophysiological and…

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Guardian of the genome goes rogue in cultured stem cells

Cancer-linked mutations disrupt the contact between the TP53 (blue and violet), encoded by the p53 gene and the DNA (orange), leading to DNA damage and eventually cancer. Cho et al. Science 265 pp. 346, 1994 Last month, a study published in Nature revealed that researchers have unknowingly been working on human stem cell lines that harbour mutations in a gene linked to many cancers, raising safety concerns over their use in therapy. But the findings…

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Right Turn: Toronto’s ‘Willy Wonka’ Could Have Worked at CCRM

Everyone has a story of how they ended up in their career. My lightbulb moment happened when I was in fourth year at university, thankfully, which gave me a plan upon graduation. I was thinking about this yesterday when a large group of NSERC CREATE students (and some profs) visited CCRM to learn what we do and to tour our state-of-the-art lab in the MaRS Discovery District. NSERC is the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research…

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Funding the future: Highlights from Bloom Burton & Co.’s Healthcare Investor Conference

Samantha Yammine is a PhD Candidate in Dr. Derek van der Kooy’s lab at the University of Toronto studying how stem cells develop and maintain the brain. Samantha is passionate about science advocacy, policy, and education, and is an avid science communicator. You can find her sharing science straight from the lab on Instagram (@science.sam), and chat with her about the latest research and policies on Twitter (@SamanthaZY). For more information and modes of contact,…

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Right Turn: Lessons about science communications from a six-year-old podcaster

What were you doing when you were six years old? When I was six, I was building forts with couch cushions and playing with toys. A six-year-old named Nate from Illinois, USA, achieves much more in his free time than I did when I was a child. Nate started his own podcast called “The Show About Science” about two years ago (with the help of his dad). On his podcast, Nate interviews scientists about topics…

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Filling the void: A scientist’s introduction to commercialization/clinical translation

For anybody who has invested a great deal of time into a research project, you probably feel a certain sense of expertise on the topic. Sure, it is impossible to know a whole field (every answer raises more questions), and lab work is rife with puzzlement and failures, but at the end of the day, you probably still know a lot more about your subject than the general populace. As an MD-PhD student working on…

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