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September 4, 2018

Volume 35 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

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.

Genome BC helps to understand climate change

Genome British Columbia has funded six new projects under its Sector Innovation Program. The projects will add to the broad understanding of climate change impacts and the role genomics can play in the development of adaptation and mitigation solutions.

New wheat variety unveiled for Prairie producers

August 16th was the launch party for a new entry onto the crop scene. AAC Crossfield is a new Canada Prairie Spring Red wheat variety that was developed through a partnership between the Alberta Wheat Commission and Canterra Seeds. Farmers will be able to purchase seeds for spring 2019 planting.

New Research Chair aims to harness stem cells to repair bone and cartilage

Dr. Daniel Coutu is the new Research Chair in Regenerative Orthopaedic Surgery at the Ottawa Hospital. He was born and raised in Montreal, and completed his PhD at McGill, followed by postdoctoral studies in Switzerland and Germany. The University of Ottawa Division of Orthopaedic Surgery took the lead in fundraising to create the Chair, through The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

Canada Research Coordinating Committee consultation

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) has launched a national consultation to stimulate support for science and to position Canada as a global leader in research excellence. The committee was created to improve the coordination efforts of Canada's granting agencies - the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The deadline has been extended to September 10th so if you want to have your say, visit the CRCC website.

And while you are in a consultation frame of mind don’t forget Genome Canada is looking for input as it drafts a new strategic plan. More information and links on the Genome Canada website.

Annual reports available

This is Annual Report time! Here are the Genome Centre reports posted to date:

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.

Whoop Whoop – Goop is Coming to Canada

It has happened again. Goop is trending in our corner of the media world.

The Goopers are coming with an ecommerce selection of products for Canadians and the first Goop Health Conference in Canada. The event will happen – where else – in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and admission will start at $400.00.

While many are looking forward to getting more Goop, scientists such as Tim Caulfield are looking at ways to push back on the lifestyle website and product line founded by actress and celebrity-for-life Gwyneth Paltrow, and a CBC story suggests Goop marketing has exploited attitudes towards women’s health. Even the British tabloid The Daily Mail takes exception to Goop recommendations with this magazine rack headline – “Gobbledy goop! Gwyneth Paltrow's wellbeing website recommends a bee-sting treatment that could kill you and goat milk that gives you gas, because the star didn't want tips fact checked”.

Elsewhere however the outlook seems rosy for Canadian Goop. The Kit, an advertising supplement that appears regularly in newspapers across Canada, embraced the announcement and Dressed to Kill Magazine quoted Ms. Paltrow as saying, “We have a lot of admiration for the Canadian state of mind”. She also seems to be a fan of poutine, though we can’t really be sure what she thinks should be done with it as she also thinks coffee is a suitable enema. Canada’s Mitsou Magazine takes on Goop as well in this 26 minute audio chat with Elise Loehnen who will be at the heart of Goop’s great Canadian adventure. You’ll get the answer to some of the unanswered questions such as “are you often asked whether you’re the healthiest person alive, working for Goop and drinking all that special water and having access to all those wellness products?”.

More information on this exciting new entry into the Canadian market is available – if you dare - on the Goop website.

Alberta Epigenetics Network News Up arrow

Epigenetic analysis of aggressive brain tumors

Glioblastoma is a brain cancer with devastating prognosis. It is caused by numerous genetic defects, which make it difficult to treat. A new study demonstrates how epigenetic analysis of tumor samples collected in routine clinical practice could be used to better classify and treat the disease. The results were published in Nature Medicine and you can read the media release from the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Science on the organization’s website.

Epigenetics at NC State University

Matt Shipman is author of a Handbook for Science Public Information Officers and a Public Information Officer at North Carolina State University. He is also an always present social media voice for science communications so a couple of his recent articles caught our attention. What is the Epigenome? What is Epigenetics? is a quick introduction to epigenetics that is handy to keep in mind if need a good lay explanation to what epigenetics is all about. He built on that with an article about what is going on at NC State to create new tools to study the epigenome.

From our blog pages:

Common food preservative induces gene expressions

Sodium benzoate is a common food preservative that has been getting some attention from a team of researchers at the University of Chicago, University of Hong Kong, and the University of Georgia. They found that the chemical can trigger a histone modification that influences the expression of some signaling and metabolic genes. More study is needed to get a complete picture of the interaction so you don’t have to head for the kitchen and empty your refrigerator and pantry of food containing the preservative. Sodium benzoate can even be derived from cinnamon, but it is still a good idea to keep an eye on the science news.

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.

Would you eat ‘meat’ from a lab? Consumers aren’t necessarily sold on ‘cultured meat

Meat that is produced from cell cultures is getting closer to hitting the consumer market. The science is ready, but are consumers ready to take a big bight of a burger that has been grown in a lab and not in a pasture? A U.S. survey says that people under 40 are more likely to say that they would try cultured meat.
Source: The Conversation

Blog Carnival: We’re answering this year’s question with a firm “maybe!”

The question was “has regenerative medicine industry come of age?" The not-for-profit CCRM (Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine) collected ideas on the topic from a group of bloggers.
Source: Signals Blog

Don’t want the cops to find you through a DNA database? It may already be too late

Police are analyzing DNA and using genealogy websites to identify potential suspects through familial connections. Investigators are ahead of the technology curve on this one and if you don’t want your information to be part of a “genetic stop and frisk”, chances are you’re out of luck.
Source: The Star

A biography of cannabis

In a couple of months it will be legal to buy and sell marijuana. As the media, researchers, and retailers threaten to tip over the bandwagon as they hop on board, it might be time take a step back from reefer madness and read a bit about our history with the weed. This article will take you from the Stone Age right through to a more modern stoned age.
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!

Join Genome Alberta's CSO to talk about the next big boom

The good news: Alberta’s economy is on the rise. Even better news: The ever-expanding and diversifying industries are laying the groundwork for the province’s next boom. Join moderator, economist Peter Tertzakian, to get an inside perspective on how the convergence of science, technology, education, tourism and energy will transform Alberta, leading to lasting economic benefit.

The event is part of the U of C’s Alumni Weekend and will feature a panel of five alumni:
  • Dr. Elizabeth Cannon BSc'84, MSc'87, PhD'91, President and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary
  • Alice Reimer, BSc’99, MBA’03, Site lead, Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies
  • Ricardo Miranda, BA’06, Minister, Culture and Tourism, Province of Alberta
  • Dr. Gijs van Rooijen, PhD’93, Chief Scientific Officer, Genome Alberta
  • Ian MacGregor, BSc’71, President, CEO and chairman, North West Refining

When: September 8, 2018, 11:15 - 12:15pm
Where: University of Calgary, MacEwan Ballroom

Visit the Alumni Weekend page for more information & registration.

Ag Innovation Showcase 2018

The 2018 Showcase will explore an array of data-driven innovation in novel plant-based foods and nutrition, within the context of dramatic shifts in consumer demand and demographics. This year's 10th Anniversary Showcase features themes of nutrition and sustainability.

Industry leaders, early-stage companies, investors, and other stakeholders committed to food and agriculture innovation throughout the value chain are invited to join engaging discussions and presentations, focused on what was, what is and most importantly, what could be, as the demands of agriculture are met by the challenges to its productivity.

When: September 10-12, 2018
Where: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO

BioAlberta's 19th Annual AGM & Awards Gala

BioAlberta, in partnership with TEC Edmonton, presents the Health & Life Sciences Showcase and BioAlberta's 19th Annual Awards Gala.

Participants will have an opportunity for:
  • Company pitch sessions
  • One-on-one partnering meetings
  • Round table sessions on health economics and natural health products
Registration opening soon!

When: September 24, 2018
Where: BMO Centre, Stampede Park, Calgary

Check the website for details and registration announcements.

5th Annual Canadian Conference on Epigenetics

This symposium is intended to bring together a critical mass of epigenetics researchers, along with key international leaders in the field, to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue on recent advancements in the field of epigenomics with a focus on the impact of epigenetic mechanisms in human disease.

There will be several sessions over the course of the three days including presentations by key international and Canadian speakers.

When: September 30 - October 3, 2018
Where: Estérel Resort, Estérel, Quebec

Learn more and register on the symposium website.

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