Right Turn: Observable progress for people with eye diseases

The news that Health Canada has approved gene therapy Luxturna to treat blindness couldn’t come at a better time, as October is Blindness Awareness Month. You don’t have to look far to find other high impact research on blindness happening right here in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Molly Shoichet, University of Toronto (UofT), is a world renowned bioengineer with expertise in the areas of polymer synthesis, biomaterials design and drug delivery in the nervous system. Her…

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First ever ComSciConGTA held virtually this fall

In 2019, Canada’s first Communicating Science workshop (ComSciConCAN) series took place. I attended and later shared tips and tools I learned there, which you can read here. Now, one year later, ComSciConCAN alumni have hosted events across Canada, including ComSciConGTA, which took place virtually last week for 50 graduate students based in the greater Toronto area (GTA). In this post, I’ll share what I learned while co-organizing ComSciConGTA, and a few tips on transitioning your event…

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Right Turn: Focusing on EDI to break down barriers in STEM

In a year during which systemic racism is a talking point and Black Lives Matter is a rallying cry, the ideals of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) should be a priority in everyone’s organization. Earlier this week, Centennial College hosted “STEM Reimagined: Fostering Inclusion and Cultivating Success.” The free, online event featured an excellent panel followed by a networking session for students and other participants. Dr. Paula Demacio, a biotechnology professor at Centennial, moderated the…

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Right Turn: 3D printing making its mark to benefit patients

It’s been a busy week for 3D printing news. Here are some stories that caught my attention. Milking the advantages of direct ink writing Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design published research demonstrating they have developed a method for using a direct ink writer (DIW) 3D printer to print milk-based products at room temperature without the need for additives. The thought of having to drink powdered milk again gives me shivers, but…

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Right Turn: It’s go, swab, match for the win

You know the expression “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips?” I can think of something else that takes only a moment and can cause a lasting positive effect. With one quick and painless cheek swab, your DNA gets added to a stem cell registry. If you are found to be a match, you could potentially save a person’s life. September 19, 2020, is World Marrow Donor Day. The event was created to…

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Canadian immunotherapy holds promise for patients with brain cancer

Glioblastoma multiforme – MRTT2 ax landscape “patient brain scan with glioblastoma shown in red.” Creative Commons. In 2015, Jason Moffat walked into Sheila Singh’s office at McMaster University and gave her a small vial of clear liquid. The vial contained ten milliliters, or two teaspoons, of an injectable antibody, created in Moffat’s lab in Toronto, with a street value of around $100,000. “You better be careful with that,” Singh remembers Moffat telling her at the…

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Right Turn: Blog Carnival five year roundup

In 2016, I stumbled upon the concept of a “blog carnival” and I was excited to give it a whirl. It was so much fun and such a success that, five years later, it is now a regular summer feature on Signals. You can look forward to it in the same way that “Torontonians” look forward to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) – a giant fair with rides, games, entertainment, odd food and much more…

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Blog Carnival: Cell and gene therapy industry to emerge stronger post-COVID-19

Credit: Flickr Finally, COVID-19 is no longer the only topic dominating the news cycle, although it took several months before mainstream media felt they could move away from covering a global pandemic that was likely affecting every person on the planet. In some ways it was a relief to know that the urgency had lessened and other news was appropriate to report on again. Not that media have stopped reporting on COVID-19 stories…. COVID-19 has…

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Regenerative medicine and COVID-19: The search for a silver lining

Credit: Flickr As the nations of the world very slowly emerge out of the various states of lockdown and adjust to the new normal of social distancing, working from home, and staggering shifts, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past six months of world-changing events driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Signal’s blog carnival has asked its writers to put their minds to work to assess the negative impact of COVID-19…

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What COVID-19 has taught me about the future of personalized therapies

Credit: Flickr Brent McPherson has spent over 25 years in the supply chain sector, managing clients and teams in both local and regional roles (APAC), covering many industries and sectors. Over the past 10 years, his main focus has been on the healthcare sector. From a commercial perspective, he has worked in start-up organizations concentrating on marketing and sales strategies. Having studied in several fields, such as business management, international trade, supply chain and sales, he brings a unique perspective to his role. Brent…

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