Genomics Blog

May 13, 2016 9:00 AM
Science celebrated across Canada - Science Odyssey
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This year science is being celebrated across Canada through Science Odyssey, a nation-wide event running from May 6 to May 15. Even though it starts a week later, the Canada-Wide Science Fair is considered to be a part of these celebrations. At local levels all across the country there are big and small events. Check out the list and perhaps take the time to attend some.

May 20, 2016 7:02 AM
Canada's Top Young Scientists announced at the Canada-Wide Science Festival
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MONTREAL, May 19, 2016- The winners of the Canada-Wide Science Festival have been announced — with nearly $1 million in cash awards and scholarships having been awarded to the country's young scientists.

"Following days of presentations from 485 finalists hailing from 104 regional science fairs nationwide, we are proud to celebrate the impressive projects showcasing the hard work of Canada's top science, engineering, technology and math students," said Brad McCabe, executive director of Youth Science Canada, of which the Canada-Wide Science Festival is a program.

The 55th edition of the festival showcased youth from Grades 7 to 12, along with students from CEGEP in front of over 10,000 visitors at Montreal's McGill University. In partnership with The Educational Alliance for Science and Technology (EAST), the local host committee in Montreal, a festival highlight was astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, addressing  participants as the keynote speaker.
May 13, 2016 10:19 AM
ISSCR Releases Updated Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation
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Washington, D.C.;  – The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the world’s largest professional organization of stem cell scientists, yesterday released newly updated guidelines for stem cell research and the development of new clinical therapies. The new guidance comes at a time when rapidly evolving technologies like gene editing in human embryos and emerging areas of stem cell discovery and its applications are providing unprecedented opportunities to understand human biology and disease, but also raising questions that have social and ethical implications. The guidelines build on widely shared principles in science that call for rigor, oversight, and transparency in all areas of practice. Adherence to these principles provides assurance that stem cell research is conducted with scientific and ethical integrity and that new therapies are evidence-based. 

“The field of stem cell research is growing at a rapid pace, with scientists and physicians developing new therapies that can help patients around the world who suffer from a wide variety of conditions,” said Sean J. Morrison, Ph.D., ISSCR president and director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern. “These guidelines are essential to protect the integrity of the research and to assure that stem cell treatments are safe and effective,” he said.
May 13, 2016 9:18 AM
Canada's Top Student Scientist Recognized at Sanofi Biogenius Canada National Final
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OTTAWA, May 9, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Iveta Demirova from New Westminster Secondary School in New Westminster, British Columbia, has been awarded top honours at the national final of the prestigious Sanofi Biogenius Canada (SBC) competition in Ottawa.  The 16-year-old, grade 11 student, was chosen by the judges for her research project exploring the development of a novel HIV-1 therapy.

The results of Iveta's research project, completed with the support of mentor Dr. Ralph Pantophlet of Simon Fraser University, could offer numerous advantages to those living with HIV, which remains one of the world's leading infectious diseases. Although current treatment options have managed to successfully target and suppress the virus among patients, many individuals become resistant to treatment, and it is among this population that Iveta's project could play a significant role. 

"I was very pleased with the results of my research and I am hoping that my findings will have an impact within the field of HIV research, and, more importantly, in the lives of patients living with this disease," she said. "I am truly honoured to have won the Sanofi Biogenius Canada competition, and thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the country at the 2016 International BioGENEius Challenge in San Francisco in June."
May 13, 2016 8:34 AM
Beakerhead school for science communicators blasts off
Genome Alberta is pleased to add that we will continue to support the science communications efforts of Jay Ingram, Mary Anne Moser, and the Beakerhead organization.

Media Release, May 12, 2016, Calgary, Alberta -

Cirque du Soleil has a school. The National Ballet has a school. Now Beakerhead has a school. The renowned Banff Science Communications program is moving to Beakerhead and growing into a program that offers courses for scientists and communications professional across the country.

May 1, 2016 11:14 AM
University of Calgary at 50 - Alumni Weekend
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In April 1966 as I was writing exams for my first year university courses, the excitement on campus was all about autonomy. On April 29, 1966 that autonomy meant my university suddenly became a new institution with a new name: “The University of Calgary”. I had no idea then that 50 years later I would still be learning as I attended #UCAlumniWeekend. Yes, I spent the weekend reliving my youth on campus. The program titled “This will GROW your mind!” was an exciting opportunity to attend lectures, visit displays and exchange ideas with 50 years of alumni.
April 29, 2016 10:39 AM
BioTalent Canada Announces Winner of the 2016 ‘Catalyst’ Award for New Biotechnology Graduates
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OTTAWA, April 26, 2016 - Mathieu-Marc Poulin of Delivra in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island was announced today as the winner of the 2016 Catalyst Award. Mr. Poulin will be awarded a cash prize of $1,000.

Mr.  Poulin’s employer, Delivra, is a biotechnology company developer of transdermal technologies that introduce pharmaceutical and natural molecules into the body through the skin, rather than via pills. As part of a multi-disciplinary research team, Poulin’s input as Research and Development Technician helped Delivra secure funding from Canada’s National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. His research was also instrumental in Delivra’s development of new transdermal products.
April 25, 2016 6:07 PM
My Experience at the 2016 Calgary Youth Science Fair - Lilian Zhang
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At the recent Calgary Youth Science Fair, I spent some time wandering through the student displays and talking to the participants. I was very impressed with the increased number of high school students presenting this year. I challenged several students to send me their thoughts about science fairs. I gave them a broad brush to tell me about mentors, topics, what skills they have developed and where they think they will go next.

Lilian Zhang, grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill High School in Calgary, took me up on the challenge. Here is her guest blog. I know you will be as impressed with her positive outlook as I was.

                              My Experience at the 2016 Calgary Youth Science Fair

Calgary Youth Science Fair was always a passageway for my passions in the world of science. This year, I was able to attend again, and as usual, I learned many things from my experience of doing the project. My mentors, teachers, friends, and especially my parents, encouraged me, and taught and helped me so much throughout the process. However, most importantly, I was able to gain the most knowledge from my peers at the Science Fair. From hearing about the chemical structure of ascorbic acid in fruits, to microbial fuel cells, to the role of proteins in the cure for various diseases, I was constantly impressed by the level of ingenuity every student was able to show.

April 22, 2016 10:27 AM
Farm Groups Call on Ag Minister to Stop Genetically Modified Alfalfa Seed Release
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Media Release, Longueuil, Ottawa, Saskatoon. April 20, 2016  -
Canadian farm organizations representing a diversity of farmers and production systems are asking the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, to take immediate action to stop any further release of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) alfalfa seed, following an announcement by the company Forage Genetics International (FGI) that it has sold a limited quantity for spring 2016 planting in Eastern Canada. This is the first time that any GM alfalfa has been sold in Canada.
April 21, 2016 8:17 AM
Bill S201 Moves to House of Commons
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(Kitchener, ON) April 14, 2016 – The Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness wishes to congratulate Senator James Cowan for his tireless commitment to moving Canada forward on ending genetic discrimination. For the past three years Senator Cowan has been working in the Senate to move Genetic non-discrimination legislation forward. Bill S201 has now made it past 3rd reading in the Senate and will be moved forward to the House of Commons.
April 20, 2016 1:59 PM
Genome Alberta salutes young Alberta scientists
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Science Fair season is almost over in Alberta. Now the finalists, announced at their regional fairs, are doing last minute touch-ups on their projects. The delegates are busy collecting the paperwork and I am part of the team that reads all the finalists’ 5-page summaries. We are all preparing for the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), which will be held this year in Montreal from May 15 to 20. This year it is turning into an entire ‘science festival’. Besides the science fair component, there will also be immersive hands-on science activities, many engaging speakers and new this year – a STEM Teachers’ conference. It will be an exciting time for ‘Team Alberta’ and we at Genome Alberta wish them well on this adventure.

Genome Alberta sponsors awards for all Alberta science fair regions. Many of the Genome Alberta award winners will be representing their region with competitive projects at this year’s CWSF. We support independent research project-based learning and we are very proud of the outstanding young scientists who are recipients of this year’s Genome Alberta Awards.

Here is a list of the 2016 Genome Alberta award winners.
April 15, 2016 10:44 AM
LISTEN: Real elevator pitches from BioGenius
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On April 2nd young Alberta scientists gathered in Edmonton to compete in the Sanofi BioGenius challenge.
The competition is held ever year to nurture people and ideas focused on biotechnology. Genome Alberta is pleased to be one of the Alberta sponsors and this year we worked closely with Mindfuel to bring you some of the stories from the competition. (you can find all the sponsors on the Biogenius Canada website)
April 13, 2016 11:29 AM
LISTEN: It's not just science, the Biogenius challenge is an experience
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The Sanofi Biogenius challenge is all about biotechnology but it combines mathematics, biology, and chemistry for real projects that can have real world impact. Since 1994, this made-in-Canada competition has paired high school students with university level scientists to carry out research projects in biotechnology. Don't look on the Biogenius challenge as a Science Fair on steroids, but rather look on it as young people pushing the boundaries of their own knowledge while charting an early course for their future.