Right Turn: Churchill, Marx (Groucho!) and appealing to a scientist’s vanity

It’s a new year and my email inbox is brimming with invitations addressed to “Dr.” Stacey Johnson to be a speaker at a scientific conference, be on a scientific editorial board, submit an article based on my research – you get the idea. So what, you say? You also get these invitations? Congratulations. My point isn’t to brag. I am questioning why these conference organizers and journals are so desperate they will invite anyone without…

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Right Turn: A top 10 list for 2018 blogs

It’s the time of year when media either look forward, with predictions, or backwards to highlight what resonated with readers. (In 2016, I provided a list of my top five favourite posts, not yours, in case you’d like to check it out.) Since you are a quiet bunch in terms of leaving comments, this list of top blogs is a reflection of what you were reading, but also sharing and liking on social media (as…

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Right Turn: Changing people’s lives, one stem cell “Christmas tree” at a time

I’m on vacation and hope you are too! But catching up on one’s sleep and spending time with family is no excuse for putting learning on hold. If you like “sciart,” then these award-winning images should enhance your festive mood. Catarina Moura, University of Southampton, produced these laser-based stem cell beauties. You can read the full story and learn about her research here. Happy Holidays!  

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Right Turn: Science explains Santa – with a Dash(er) of RM

Ain’t science grand? It gave us antibiotics and penicillin, the law of universal gravitation, the theory of special relativity and the Big Bang, and it even explains why east coast NFL teams do poorly in night games (hint: it’s due to circadian rhythms). Just in time for Christmas, I bring you scientists explaining “the magic” of Santa Claus! Don’t “bah, humbug” me or get your tinsel in a tangle. Steve Pointing and Allan Blackman, at…

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Right Turn: This is one gift you’ll always remember

“At any given time, close to 1,000 Canadian patients arewaiting for a stem cell transplant,” says Dr. Dana Devine, Chief Medical andScientific Officer of the CanadianBlood Services. That is despite the fact Canadian Blood Services belongs to an international network of registries that has access to 25 million donors. People making donations is not really the problem. It is more an issue of finding an appropriate “match,” which is complicated. Blogger Sara Nolte explains why…

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Right Turn: Goodbye NCE, hello New Frontiers in Research Fund

Big news was announced yesterday in Canada’s research community. The Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program is being retired on the cusp of its 30th anniversary and absorbed by the New Frontiers in Research Fund. CCRM is one of 36 networks and centres currently funded by the NCE to “mobilize Canada’s best research, development and entrepreneurial talent, and focus it on specific issues and strategic areas.” CCRM, a Centre of Excellence…

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Right Turn: Improv and barnacle genitalia – not your average science policy conference

“Every day of our lives, we are surrounded by the fruits of scientific discovery.” So writes Carrie Wolinetz, Associate Director for Science Policy, National Institutes of Health. In her Why Science Policy Matters blog, she provides several examples of tools we have, knowledge we’ve gained and advancements society has made as a result of scientific research and also science policy. Dr. Wolinetz refers to science policy as supporting “lifesaving research” and since we can’t have…

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Warming up to better public relations for scientists

Canada is home to some of the world’s top stem cell scientists: we’ve led the discoveries of stem cells in the brain, retina, blood, skin and several types of cancer stem cells, and continue to push science’s understanding of these promising cells each year. But there’s a dark side associated with all the hope surrounding stem cells as the treatment for so many diseases and conditions. Many private companies continue to co-opt these scientific discoveries…

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Bioprinting tissues of the future with Dr. Stephanie Willerth

Stephanie Willerth presenting at the Till and McCulloch Meetings 2018 This year, the annual Till & McCulloch Meetings ended with a plenary session on the “next generation of regenerative medicine” to keep attendees thinking forward as they headed back home. While all of them were incredibly exciting, I was particularly struck by the futuristic techniques presented by Dr. Stephanie Willerth, who showed fantastic images and videos of her lab’s work 3D printing brain cells. Beyond…

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Tackling the talent gap in the cell and gene therapy industry

Mitchel Sivilotti, Chief Operations Officer at CCRM, leading a training session Michael May is President and CEO of CCRM. Peter Zandstra is the Chief Scientific Officer at CCRM and the Founding Director of UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering. Zandstra and May co-founded CCRM, which launched in June 2011. This article also appears in Biotechnology Focus.  For those of us who have been following and working in the cell and gene therapy (CGT) field for a significant…

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