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January 16, 2017

Volume 29 Issue 2

 

Welcome to GenOmics!

We cover the latest Genomics news that matters most to Alberta, Canada and the World. The Genome Alberta newsletter for the Omics Generation

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In This Issue
Genomics Enterprise News Up arrow

Stories that we think will be relevant to Canadian genomics community. If you have anything you’d like to see highlighted here, drop a note to info@genomealberta.ca and by all means, share our newsletter with friends and colleagues.

New funding announced for some of Canada’s leading national research facilities

The $328.5M in funding was through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and is intended as core operational funding for 17 national facilities across 12 universities. Of note was $6 million for The Metabolomics Innovation Centre at the University of Alberta, and just over $31M for a joint SickKids, McGill University, and University of British Columbia project to provide open-access whole genome sequencing and specialized genomic and informatics infrastructure for researchers.

Read the full media release on the CFI website.

Past Genome Alberta board member named as Member of the Order of Canada

Former Genome Alberta board member, Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai is a cardiologist and was first female president of the Alberta Medical Association. She was also the first woman and Canadian to chair the board of governors of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Collins-Nakia served on the Genome Alberta board from 2010-2015. The official list cited her for “her contributions as a physician leader, particularly in the field of cardiology”.

Also cited was David Barber who is working with our recently funded GENICE research project.

Science in the social media age

In late 2015 Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau of Louisiana State University was using Experiment.com to raise the funding to launch a survey to determine who reads science blogs and why. The crowd funding project was short of its goal as the deadline approached so Genome Alberta and Science Borealis stepped in to top off the funding to ensure the survey went ahead. Paige’s PhD dissertation was about science blogging, she has blogged (of course!) about the survey results. and her paper "Science in the Social Media Age: Profiles of Science Blog Readers" was just published last week in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. The results point to sophisticated readers of science media who seek out blogs for science news and information.

Albertans asked for input into Budget 2017

Over the next few weeks, Albertans are encouraged to provide their comments and suggestions as government prepares for Budget 2017. Minister of Finance Joe Ceci will host meetings with community leaders and the public while visiting towns and cities around the province. Read the full media release on the Government of Alberta website.

From our blog pages:


Trending Stories Up arrow

Here is what trended online and in print with our science community over the last 2 weeks. These are not ‘official’ trends but are based on the stories we see most often in our media monitoring reports and our social media reports.

Enjoy the material, and feel free to offer some feedback on the story selection.



Surge in methane levels

From social media to mainstream media and around the world, a new study that says methane levels have made an unexpected jump, also jumps into our Trending Stories section.

The research comes to us from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and story cycle began with a January 6th media release which has since been re-purposed extensively. The study was conducted by Reading scientists, and scientists at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway. It was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The main point capturing the media’s attention is that an unexpected jump in methane levels has made it a more important contributor to man-made climate change than previously thought.

An online news source covering much of Virginia pointed out that CO2 emissions come largely from fossil fuel sources but jumps in methane levels are more likely attributable to agricultural practices. Grist along with other news sites says that for jurisdictions struggling to deal with climate change, these biological methane sources are more easily dealt with. The study did not go unnoticed across the EU and it became a written question to the European Parliament from Kostas Chrysogonos a member of the Coalition of the Radical Left. The Treehugger offers a very quick scientific primer on the ‘other greenhouse gas’ and says that political action to control climate change much also be flexible enough to allow for changes and advances in the accompanying science. The Daily Mail is not usually noted for its science writing but came up with a well balanced story and much like The Treehugger, included a sidebar to round up some of the facts about methane. (it also couldn’t resist including a video on a creepy underground methane bubble!)



Vaccine critic Kennedy set to chair Trump panel on vaccination safety

Robert Kennedy Jr. has accepted the position as chair of a panel on vaccine safety and scientific integrity in the new Trump administration. Kennedy questions the efficacy of vaccinations and still believes the long debunked link between vaccinations and autism. He has accused the Centres for Disease Control of covering up the link between vaccinations and autism, and of manipulating the scientific evidence. Wired magazine called the appointment the opening of a “new front” in the battle against evidence-based policy-making. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert said the news “reinforces the concerns of public health officials, pediatricians and family doctors”.

But does Kennedy really have the job? As is the case with much of the news surrounding Trump, not everyone agrees on what job or whether there will even be a panel on vaccination safety.

As for what Kennedy really believes, he recently told AAS Science that he is NOT anti-vaccination…..


Image credit: By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Found on Twitter Up arrow

Twitter is all about being selective and applying some common sense. Given some of the misleading and downright fake information that hits social media, that is not always an easy task but Twitter is arguably still the best single source for breaking news. It has a critical mass of users across many disciplines and you get to choose who you follow. Pick only those you know or trust, and before you hit that ‘Follow’ button take a good look at a few days worth of content. Don’t accept a single tweeted headline as the final word and if it includes a link, check it out. Use a good Twitter client like Hootsuite (which we use at Genome Alberta) to help keep topics and streams separated. Finally, like any other social or traditional media outlet, become media literate.

Be sure to follow @GenomeAlberta and @mikesgene on Twitter and see who we follow to give you an idea of how we put it to use.














Thanks to the following for helping our Twitter feed become an interesting and informative stream.

@CIRMnews The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is California’s Stem Cell Agency. https://www.cirm.ca.gov

@CRGenomica The Center for Genomic Regulation is a biomedical research institute headuartered in Spain. http://www.crg.eu

@fdesouza Francis deSouza is CEO of Illumina. http://www.illumina.com

@IAmBiotech One of the social media accounts for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. https://www.facebook.com/IAmBiotech

@MedcanClinic The MedCan Clinic is a Toronto based full service health clinic. http://www.medcan.com

@PLOS PLOS is a nonprofit publisher and Open Access advocacy organization. https://www.plos.org

@TELUSHealth Telus Health is a technology provider for the health care industry. https://www.telushealth.co



Genomics in Society Up arrow

To get your latest full version of Genomics in Society news, visit genomealberta.ca/newsletters
You can subscribe to receive your bi-monthly edition direct to your email, cancel a subscription, and view all of our back issues.

B.C. woman advocates for genetic testing after sister nearly dies of adverse drug reaction

After almost losing her sister to an adverse drug reaction, a B.C. woman is advocating for a policy that would add a genetic test for drug allergies along with the battery of other tests that babies receive already.
Source: Global News

Unmuzzled government scientists are ready to talk

“Gag orders”, "shushing”, “waiting for permission”. Whatever forms it took or how you might want to describe it, federal scientists feel they can now talk about the work they do. Hear from a couple of scientists about their new communications works.
Source: Maclean’s

How to fight misleading GMO labeling (in Canada)

A seemingly simple and official looking logo is not only misleading to consumers, but in Canada it is illegal.
Source: dietwald’s blog

2017 list of 'predatory' science journals published, hundreds claim to be Canadian

Canada has many solid scientific achievements to be proud of but in the usual list of end of the year roundups, we have one achievement we would rather not be known for. University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall produces an annual list of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. This year hundreds of new entries carry a Canadian name.
Source: Ottawa Citizen

Events Up arrow

Genome Alberta has an extensive Events Calendar on our website. Visit GenomeAlberta.ca to see all the events, and sign up for our newsletters while you're there!

Movie: Still Alice

Is it science or fiction? You be the judge. As part of the Science in the Cinema series you can attend a free screening of the movie, Still Alice, sponsored by The Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine. Also in attendance will be Dr. Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, an expert on dementia.

When: January 19, 2017
Where: Globe Cinema, 617 - 8th Avenue SW (Downstairs Theatre), Calgary

Free admission and popcorn!

Questions? Contact medevent@ucalgary.ca

Precision Medicine World Conference

Recognized as a vital cornerstone for all constituents of the health care and biotechnology community, PMWC provides an exceptional forum for the exchange of information about the latest advances in technology (e.g. DNA sequencing technology), in clinical implementation (e.g. cancer and beyond), research, and in all aspects related to the regulatory and reimbursement sectors.

When: January 23 - 25, 2017
Where: Computer History Museum, Silicon Valley California

Conference details and registration

Genome BC: 2017 Winter Symposium

This free annual event is hosted by Genome BC. The symposiums are designed to encourage interaction between researchers and industries working in the life sciences to come together and share ideas and views in specific research areas, programs and projects. Opportunities for networking and collaboration will be provided throughout the day. This year's theme is Putting Genomics to Work: Development, Detection and Delivery. All project associates (including staff, technicians, graduate students, post-docs, etc.) from all Genome BC and Genome Canada research competitions are invited. Colleagues who are interested in learning more about Genome BC and regional funding opportunities are also invited to attend.

When: January 24, 2017, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Where: SFU Segal Graduate School of Business, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC

Click here for Event Agenda
Click here for Information and Registration

12th Annual US DOE/Joint Genome Institute Meeting

This meeting will be of interest to researchers working in the areas of energy and environmental genomics and synthetic biology . The program will feature international speakers on a range of topics, such as microbial genomics, fungal genomics, metagenomics, and plant genomics; genome editing, secondary metabolites, pathway engineering, synthetic biology, high-throughput functional genomics, high-performance computing applications, and societal impacts of technological advances.

When: March 20 - 23, 2017
Where: Walnut Creek, California

More information and registration details.

Canadian Global Crops Symposium

As a delegate you will:
  • Have an opportunity to meet with presidents and CEOs of many of Canada’s largest agribusiness corporations
  • Network and build strategic partnerships with grain merchants who represent Canada’s leading commodity exporters
  • Hear discussions on the road ahead in research, policy, trade and where Canadian crops will be in 2030
  • Learn how Canadian grain producers are stepping up investment and productivity through adoption of new technologies to meet world market demand
  • Gain insight into the future diversification and growth of Canada’s crop-based agriculture
When: April 10 - 12, 2017
Where: Hyatt Regency Calgary

More information and registration

Agricultural Institute of Canada - AIC 2017

The Agriculture Institute of Canada, AIC, is presenting a Conference to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba in April of 2017. This year's topic will be "Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Environment". Agriculture and the environment are intricately linked within a complex ecosystem, with agriculture both depending on and impacting critical natural resources. Canada’s agriculture sector is an important steward of the environment and has an important role to play in meeting today’s global sustainability and climate-smart goals.

When: April 24 - 26, 2017
Where: Delta Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Further information and details on registration can be found here.


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