Science communication tips for scientists from the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Amy Greer. Photo credit: University of Guelph Science communication involves educating and informing the public about scientific research and facts in a way that resonates with them. With growing public interest in promising cell and gene therapies, those working in the field can expect that mastering science communication will become increasingly important. In the talk called “Science Communication During Crisis,” Amy Greer shared examples of science communication related to the COVID-19 virus and public…

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Access and affordability of gene therapies at TMM2020

Janet Rossant, PhD. Photo sickkids.ca We heard it first. If you attended the virtual Vancouver version of the 2020 Till & McCulloch Meetings, you had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Janet Rossant, Chair of the Expert Panel on the Approval and Use of Somatic Gene Therapies in Canada, giving us a preview of the “From Research to Reality” report just issued this week by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). Her talk was part…

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Toronto researchers awarded $1 million from Medicine by Design to advance bold new ideas in regenerative medicine

This article was authored by Julie Crljen, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach at Medicine by Design, a strategic initiative that harnesses the expertise at the University of Toronto and its affiliated hospitals to undertake transformative research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy, power Toronto’s bioscience sector, and strengthen Canada as a global leader in the field. Julie has several years of experience in communications and marketing in the public and non-profit sectors, with a focus on…

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CRISPR gets a Nobel Prize and its own day

Nobel Prize Winners (L-R) Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna I read somewhere, probably Twitter, that today is World CRISPR Day. I’m willing to play along since now is an excellent time to think about CRISPR. After all, Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry earlier this month for their revolutionary work that has influenced basic, plant and medical science. That brings the number of women who have won…

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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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