From Our Own Borealis Blog

Treating mental health virtually

Del Ingvaldson, New Science Communicator Mental health issues are of increasing importance in today’s society. According to Statistics Canada, 11.3 […]

Continue reading


Blog Feeds

$1.65M for synthetic biology research and training at Concordia

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has committed $1.65 million dollars over six years to establish a research and training program at Concordia’s Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. The funds were awarded after Malcolm Whiteway (pictured, right), professor of biology and the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics, and the grant application team submitted a proposal to NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. The Synthetic Biology Applications CREATE program…

Continue reading


Heuristic models as inspiration-for and falsifiers-of abstractions

Last month, I blogged about abstraction and lamented that abstract models are lacking in biology. Here, I want to return to this. What isn’t lacking in biology — and what I also work on — is simulation and heuristic models. These can seem abstract in the colloquial sense but are not very abstract for a computer scientist. They are usually more idealizations than abstractions. And even if all I care about is abstract models —…

Continue reading


Mitochondria and Atrial fibrillation – A project idea

                            A friend recently challenged me saying "you know about mitochondria, what can you tell me about mitochondrial disease and atrial fibrillation?" "What?" "I really don't know anything about it!" A quick search to answer my friend's question revealed numerous papers and discussions available online. The question had me thinking, "Isn't this a great idea for a STEM project?" I quickly dug out a sheet of paper and started mind mapping where I thought such…

Continue reading


The STEM LGBTQ&A

Its July. Pride month has wrapped, though some parades will continue through the summer. It was a fairly busy month, blog-wise, for me, largely because The Lab and Field had been so quiet in the last few years (apologies). But one post from June stood out as the one that garnered more feedback than most – my LGBT STEM Q&A / Ask Me Anything. And I’ve had a couple of people say they had wished they…

Continue reading


Body-on-a-chip (10 organs)

Also known as human-on-a-chip, the 10-organ body-on-a-chip was being discussed at the 9th World Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing in the Life Sciences in 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic (see this July 1, 2015 posting for more). At the time, scientists were predicting success at achieving their goal of 10 organs on-a-chip in 2017 (the best at the time was four organs). Only a few months past that deadline, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of…

Continue reading


Using Micro:Bit for Rocketry: Experiential Learning (MoonHack)

Artash Nath (Grade 6) and Arushi Nath (Grade 3) We love Space, Robots and Rockets. As a part of the MoonHack 2018 Challenge we wrote this article to spread our joy and learnings while experimenting with Micro:bit for model rocketry. We are very much interested in building and launching model rockets. Recently we made 4 model rockets and launched them successfully. We wanted to go further and get data from our rocket, namely how high…

Continue reading


Microaggressions: The big impact of little things

lebeagle: By María J. Cabrera-Álvarez Sometimes there is more to conferences than the official talks. Last January, I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB). Apart from presenting my results, enjoying amazing talks, and discussing interesting research with poster presenters, I had the chance to participate in an interesting workshop called “Microaggressions: The big impact of little things”. The purpose…

Continue reading


City colonialism

What do you think about when you hear the term colonialism? The Oxford dictionary defines colonialism as The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. It’s a system that humanity has used for millennia: aggressor conquers and then exploits the country’s... Continue Reading →

Continue reading


Why labs should embrace 360-degree faculty reviews

Damien Wilpitz joins me this week for a co-written article on the practice of 360-degree and reverse reviews, and their noticeable absence from academic labs. Damien is a laboratory research manager at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and a research-management consultant. Jonathan: We just completed our 360/reverse review at Platelet BioGenesis. This is a yearly exercise in which our board of directors sits down with our team to review the organization’s executive. The board…

Continue reading