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September 1, 2016

Volume 27 Issue 5


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

We feature stories that are relevant to Canada’s genomics community. If you have anything you’d like to see highlighted here, drop a note to info@genomealberta.ca

Same great newsletter - Fresh new look

We are pleased to roll out our updated newsletter as part of our new and improved website. If you need to adjust your newsletter subscription settings, please visit genomealberta.ca/newsletters anytime to subscribe/unsubscribe. And we'd love to know what you think of our fresh new look: info@genomealberta.ca

Genome Alberta 2015-2016 Annual Report

Now that the chances of a postal strike seem to have diminished many of you will be receiving our 2015-2016 Annual Report celebrating 10 years. Yes, there are printed copies in the mail because this year it is a special wall calendar edition featuring some of our success stories, information on our first 10 years of operation, and notable dates in Canadian Life Sciences.

If you don't want to wait, you can download a .pdf version right now. If you don’t receive a printed copy in the mail soon, e-mail us and we’ll send your very own, limited edition wall calendar.

New Brunswick universities to share $100-million in government funding

The Government of New Brunswick has signed a contribution agreement with the federal government under the federal Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Infrastructure Fund, which will result in investments totaling $98.6 million. The federal government will invest $49.3 million, the provincial government, $35.2 million, and universities, $14.1 million, in several projects. The provincial government is contributing the institutional share of college project funding.

Related items: Canada and New Brunswick invest in infrastructure at Université de Moncton

New U of S Plant Research Centre launched to design crops for global food security

The University of Saskatchewan launched its Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P2IRC) on August 29th. The P2IRC is led by Maurice Moloney, executive-director of the university’s Global Institute for Food Security.

Read the complete news release on the Centre’s website.

Olympic debunk

Those funny looking strips of tape, the chilly sounding ice bath, or taking in water through a tube instead of a glass, Tim Caulfield challenges some of the latest techniques athletes are using to gain an edge in competition.

Twenty two grade 11 students had the summer of their lives this year

The Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program helps grade 11 students broaden their experience and exposure to health science and biomedical research. The program runs for six consecutive weeks during July and August at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge. Alberta Innovates Health Solutions has some video of the students talking about their summer experience. Check them out.

Brock University and its incoming president will not to proceed with her appointment

In a statement from John Suk, Chair of the Brock University Board of Trustees, the University announced that Wendy Cukier will not become President and Vice-Chancellor. The statement did not elaborate any further and said it was a mutual decision. The announcement of her appointment was made in December of 2015 and she would have taken over the position on September 1st.

New face at Genome Alberta

We are pleased to announce that Anita Ludwar has joined Genome Alberta in the role of Business Analyst. Anita was with us most of the summer as an Intern but effective September 1st she is in the fulltime working world and you can contact her at ALudwar@genomealberta.ca

Trending Stories Up arrow

Here is what trended online and in print with the broader 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. Summer can be a pretty slow time for news of all kinds and science is no exception. There were no big trends so we have a selection of some of the stories that trended quickly and disappeared almost as fast.

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

Science critical for farming post-Brexit

We have included this in our Trending section but consider it a short snapper. This article by Dr. Helen Ferrier, Chief Science Regulatory Affairs Advisor for the National Farmer’s Union in the UK wrote this article which they made freely available across the Internet. It was picked up and re-posted dozens of times and the posts and re-posts were tweeted and re-tweeted even more. The original was seldom referenced and it wasn’t even prominent on the National Farmer’s Union website but here is the link so you can read what countless others around the world have been reading.

SciWords – one word, multiple meanings

This idea has been trending across Twitter for only a few days but within the science communications community it is moving fast. Science is chock full of jargon. Some of it is important to keep scientific and technical meaning clear, but often it is a quick shorthand that means different things to different people. The American Geophysical Union is both active and influential on Twitter and has started a campaign to collect those multiple meaning words and offer some alternatives.
Read more about the campaign and about best practices in science communication on the AGU website.

Whole genome sequencing: Online course

This is another different kind of inclusion for our Trending Stories but it has been all over social media. The online course will take you behind the scenes to explore this emerging technology and says it will offer a unique insight into modern genetics laboratories and state of the art sequencing facilities. The course will be led by clinical scientists who are using whole genome sequencing to shape decisions about patient care and appropriate treatments.

The course starts September 19th and if social media is any indication, it will be well attended – virtually of course.  

Found on Twitter Up arrow

While you were off enjoying the sunshine Twitter hit 1.3 billion registered users of which 313 million are active monthly users. We are pleased to say that 1,929 of those users now follow @GenomeAlberta so we had a pretty successful summer as well. That may seem to be a small drop in an ocean of 313 million active users but those followers magnify our messages many times over.

See how we put it to use in science and research communications by joining @GenomeAlberta and @mikesgene on Twitter – we’ll be sure to find you even in that vast sea of users.

This edition of what we Found on Twitter comes to you from the following:

@DrKhouryCDC Dr. Muin Khoury pops up regularly in our Twitter section. He is Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Genomics. http://www.cdc.gov/genomics/default.htm

@IAmBiotech One of the official accounts for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization based in Washington, DC. https://www.facebook.com/IAmBiotech

@OttawaHospital The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals. http://www.ottawahospital.on.ca

@phylogenomics Jonathan Eisen is a Professor at University of California Davis and active in promoting good science communication. https://phylogenomics.wordpress.com

@ScienceMin Official account for the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canada Minister of Science. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/science.html

@SpringerNature The main account for Official channel for the publisher, Springer Nature. http://www.springernature.com/us/

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.

Precision medicine and population health: Dealing with the elephant in the room

This is a follow-up post to the JAMA article on the impact of precision medicine on population health. It is written by Muin J. Khoury, Director of the Office of Public Health Genomics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Source: CDC

Canada can lead the world in regenerative medicine — but it won’t happen without strategic investment

Michael May is CEO of CCRM, a Canadian not-for-profit organization which supports the development and commercialization of regenerative medicine technologies, and Peter Zandstra is a professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering and Executive Director of Medicine by Design at the University of Toronto. This Government of Canada blog post looks at how Canada can attract talent and investment to create business opportunities around our existing science.
Source: Canada’s Innovation Agenda

Research and consent: One unforgettable case

A review by Andre Picard of the book Patient H.M.: The Story of Memory, Madness and Family Secrets. Consent may be the biggest issue in this case but the book raises many more questions.
Source: Globe & Mail

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!

Adults Only Night at the Telus Science Centre

Hacking is the art of making something the way you want it, instead of the way it is. Humans have been hacking the world around us since we started making bones into tools. You may have already tried hacking electronics or toys, but what about hacking your life or your mood? How about "Make a DNAquiri"? Lot of interesting things to do. The whole science centre will be open to explore.

When: September 9, 2016, 6 - 10 pm
Where: TELUS Spark 220 St. George's Drive NE Calgary, AB

Check out TelusSpark to learn more

The Long Tail of Personalized Medicine

Genome Alberta is pleased to be co-sponsoring an event at the University of Calgary Campus in the Senate Room (Room 721) at The Hotel Alma.

Dr. Bob Church
will present his views on the topic of "The Long Trail to Personalized Medicine". Dr. Church is well known to Canada’s Genomics Enterprise. He has been instrumental in developing the genetics industry in Alberta and Canada, both as a researcher and administrator, playing a leading role in the ground-breaking research that has led to better genetic testing, personalized medicine and genetic modification. He started the world’s first livestock embryo transfer company, and was part of the team that developed Canada’s first in vitro fertilization program for humans. In Alberta, Church worked with Premier Peter Lougheed to establish the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research in 1980. He was named to the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1993 and to the Order of Canada in 2000.

Please note that we will be posting some of the audio from the event on our website.

When: September 14, 2016, 2:00 PM
Where: University of Calgary, Hotel Alma

Click here for directions to Hotel Alma.

Beakerhead Week

Described as a Smash Up of art, science, and engineering, Beakerhead offers you the chance to be part of hands-on public events, art and contests, or simply wander around to watch science and art in progress. Make your own tiny spaceship, piece of concrete furniture, or maybe a puppet. Take part in a hackathon, join a bike tour of all the major Beakerhead installations, or listen to music inspired by science. There is something for all ages over 5 days, so you can take it in at your own pace.

Genome Alberta is a Beakerhead sponsor to we will see you there!

When: September 14 – 18
Where: Across Calgary

Visit the Beakerhead website for more information and a complete schedule.

Awards Gala and Inaugural Life Sciences Partnering Event

This is an opportunity to celebrate Alberta’s life sciences founders, researchers and entrepreneurs. The day starts with the Annual General Meeting followed by a new partnering event. The evening will conclude with the BioAlberta Industry Awards for Company of the Year and Scientific Achievement & Innovation.

Program of events:
  • 12:30—1:30pm Annual General Meeting
  • 1:30 — 4:45pm Partnering Event
  • 5:00 — 6:00pm Cocktail Reception
  • 6:00 — 9:30pm Dinner & Awards Gala
When: September 26
Where: BMO Centre, Stampede Park, Palomino Room, 20 Roundup Way SW, Calgary

You can find complete information on the BioAlberta website

Global Biotechnology Week Breakfast at the Manitoba Legislature

Global Biotechnology weeks is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and the potential of biotechnology and around the world. This event is sponsored by the Life Sciences Association of Manitoba.

When: September 27, 7:30 - 9:30 am
Where: Golden Boy Room, Manitoba Legislative Building

For more information and to register click here.

Canadian Science Policy Conference

The annual CSPC is back in Ottawa in November and is one of the best opportunities to hear about new developments in science policy in Canada and discuss the current and future state of science with your colleagues. The CSPC has become Canada’s most comprehensive, multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary annual science policy forum and attracted numerous politicians and hundreds of professionals from industry, academia, the non-profit sector, federal and provincial governments every year.

When: November 8th – 10th
Where: Shaw Centre, Ottawa

For more information go to cspc2016.ca

Geeky Summit

Geeky Summit will be the biggest celebration of women in technology and entrepreneurship in Western Canada. Chic Geek envisions more women as makers, builders and creators, leveraging technology to change the world. Geeky Summit will bring together inspirational speakers from across North America and provide hands-on, practical workshops so attendees can walk away with the motivation and tools to start changing the world through technology.

When: November 16, 2016
Where: TELUS Spark 220 St. George's Drive NE Calgary, AB

More information and details for registration can be found here.
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