The long road to commercialization

Carmen Wong completed her PhD studies on creating viruses for cancer research. Since then, she has been working with inventors from universities, accelerators, and startup companies to commercialize their innovations. Carmen was a commercialization analyst with CCRM from 2016-2018. In her free time, Carmen is developing her design skills and hopes to incorporate them into science outreach and communication projects.  credit: CCRM At networking events, the following conversation typically takes place when I meet someone…

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Single-cell RNA sequencing: An emerging superpower in stem cell research

Lyla El-Fayomi is an MSc student in the Molecular Genetics department at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Derek van der Kooy at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, she is currently studying neural stem cells using single-cell RNA sequencing. She also studies the neurobiology of opiate addiction using optogenetics. For more, follow Lyla on twitter at @LylaElfay. scRNAseq of common myeloid progenitors (green; middle) diverging into populations of erythrocytes…

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Are blood stem cells hiding inside the bone to avoid sun damage?

In dyeing poison frog, HSC production moves from the kidney to the bone marrow during metamorphosis to avoid damage from sunlight that’s harsher on the surface of the earth than in the water, new study suggests. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Blood stem cells may have evolved to inhabit bone tissue to avoid DNA damage from UV rays, a Harvard study suggests. Also known as haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), these cells are tasked with making blood —…

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The Facts around FACT – Part 2

Debe Griffin, MSc, ASQ CPGP, has over 20 years of experience in the cell therapy field, both in bench positions and in leadership. Her primary interests are process improvement, quality assurance and regulatory affairs. She is a consultant with FACT Consulting Services as well as Chimera TQM. She has over a decade of experience as a FACT inspector and auditor. In this month’s post, invited guest blogger Debe Griffin discusses the changes to the Foundation for…

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The Facts around FACT – Part 1

Debe Griffin, MSc, ASQ CPGP, has over 20 years of experience in the cell therapy field, both in bench positions and in leadership. Her primary interests are process improvement, quality assurance and regulatory affairs. She is a consultant with FACT Consulting Services as well as Chimera TQM. She has over a decade of experience as a FACT inspector and auditor. In this month’s post, invited guest blogger Debe Griffin discusses the changes to the Foundation for…

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Gene therapy makes inroads to help patients — and clear its name

Adeno-associated virus is being used in gene therapy to shuttle healthy genes into the body. Credit: WikiMediaCommons Plagued by failures of early human studies from the 1990s, including the death of a patient, gene therapy is making a comeback with promising results. And it has a tiny virus to thank. After the first 2012 European gene therapy approval for a liver disease, and last year’s first U.S. approval of a therapy for blindness, a revamped…

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Right Turn: A perfect blend of coffee and science

When I worked for the Alzheimer Society of Canada, I paid attention to studies about coffee and brain health. That was also the time in my life when I started drinking coffee. This had less to do with concern about mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and more to do with a fear of falling asleep at my desk thanks to a toddler and baby at home. I left that job more than a decade ago,…

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Right Turn: Happy birthday to The Conversation Canada

Are you familiar with The Conversation – not to be confused with The Conversation with Amanda De Cadenet? Amanda De Cadenet is one busy lady who makes television and online shows for, and about, women. The Conversation is a not-for-profit media outlet that publishes content, based on original research, from academics and researchers, for the public. It originated in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011, and has since expanded to Africa, France, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States and,…

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It’s electrifying! Cell reprogramming using electromagnetic fields

Electromagnetized gold nanoparticles mediate direct lineage reprogramming into induced dopamine neurons in vivo for Parkinson’s disease therapy (used with permission Springer Nature, Nature Nanotechnology) The ability to revert a terminally differentiated, somatic cell back to a pluripotent stem cell state has been of incalculable value to researchers since its discovery in 2006. In recent years, researchers have modified this technique by cutting out a step, allowing somatic cells to be directly reprogrammed into a new…

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Right Turn: Science communication in action at ISCT 2018

The 2018 International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy annual conference (ISCT 2018) took place in Montreal, Quebec, from May 2 to 5. It brought together experts and leaders in cell and gene therapies, and regenerative medicine, working in roles from bench to bedside. The conference provided a forum for academics and industry to communicate and collaborate with their international peers regarding research, challenges and partnering opportunities. Beyond peer-to-peer knowledge translation, conferences like ISCT 2018…

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