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September 16, 2016

Volume 27 Issue 6


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

New CEO at Genome Quebec

On September 8th, the Génome Québec Board of Directors announced the appointment of Daniel Coderre as the organization’s new President and CEO.

Mr. Coderre served as Rector of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique since 2009, where he acquired solid expertise in public administration and built a wide network of partners. He holds a doctorate in biology from the Université de Sherbrooke. He began his career in 1982 as a biology professor at UQAM, where he supervised 85 masters and doctoral students and published nearly 100 scientific publications. He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Vice-Rector of Research before being appointed Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Research from 2004 to 2009 and in 2009, as its Interim President. He has held positions on close to twenty committees, boards of directors, scientific, government and international committees and various commissions on science, technology and innovation.

See the full media release on our website.

University of Calgary researchers spearhead transition to a low-carbon future

On September 6th the Federal Government announced $75 million in federal funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for the University of Calgary to lead a team of 270 researchers to tackle the challenge of reducing the impact of energy extraction on the environment.

You can view the details on the UToday website.

In Edmonton, U of A was also awarded $75 million for oilsands research and for research into greener energy sources. The only other Prairie University receiving funding in this round was the University of Saskatchewan which is getting $77.8 million dollars to lead a worldwide water research initiative.

The funding will be put to good use, but this editorial from Paul Wells says that day-to-day research in Canada remains underfunded.

U of A and U of C students benefit from federal-provincial funds

The University of Alberta will receive $82.8 million from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to improve the quality of facilities and infrastructure for research and innovation.

Ten projects will be funded and the money will help with commercialization of spaces where students turn innovative ideas into reality and breathe life into start-up ventures. While contributing to economic diversification, these projects will also improve the environmental sustainability of post-secondary infrastructure.

View the complete media release.

In a similar announcement a few day later the University of Calgary received funding for eight key infrastructure projects totalling $160 million from the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The federal contribution will be $78 million, with the remaining $82 million coming from a mix of provincial funding, philanthropy and the university’s own infrastructure dollars. Details on UToday.

Royal Society of Canada names 2016 new Fellows

The Royal Society of Canada has elected 89 new Fellows, including 2 Foreign Fellows, 2 Specially Elected Fellows and 2 Honorary Fellows. The newly elected Fellows were elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement.

New Alberta-based Fellows include Christian BöK, Department of English, Nigel Shrive, Schulich School of Engineering, and Lawrence Harder all from the University of Calgary, Joseph Rasmussen, Department of Biological Sciences, and Bruce McNaughton Department of Neuroscience from the University of Lethbridge, Bruce Dancik, Professor Emeritus, and David Pearson, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Alberta.

To see other Fellows from Alberta and a complete list from across Canada visit the Royal Society of Canada website (pdf file)

New Alberta research centre hopes to bridge the gap between researchers and farmers

Olds College and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada announced funding for the development of the Olds College Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production. Getting research outcomes commercialized and into on-farm practice is not easy and TAC will work directly with producers to provide information and demonstrations of new technology.

Go to the Olds College website for more information.

University of Lethbridge tenure-track faculty position in public health

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge invites applications for a full-time position in Public Health at the rank of Assistant/Associate Professor. The position commences on July 1, 2016 and will be on interest to anyone who either holds a PhD or has PhD near completion in the field of Public Health.

You can find more details and instructions on how to apply on the University of Lethbridge job posting section.

Latest edition of MetaboNews

MetaboNews is published by The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) in partnership with the Metabolomics Society. It is intended to keep metabolomics researchers and other professionals informed about new technologies, software, databases, events, job postings, conferences, training opportunities, interviews, publications, awards, and other newsworthy items concerning metabolomics.

The September edition of MetaboNews is now online.

And the results are in…

Genome Canada and the CIHR have released the results of the 2015 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition. $4 million is being invested in these projects and you can read the media release and find a link to the successful project summaries on our website.

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.

'Biggest scandal’ in Swedish medicine touches Nobel Prize with two committee members asked to resign

The Washington Post does a good job of covering science but when a science related story also makes it into their Morning Mix section that often means it has trended or that it is about to grow legs and walk across mainstream media coverage. Such is the case with this story which has taken some of the shine from the Nobel Prize for Medicine committee based at the Karolinska Instutuet. Two of the committee members were asked to resign and the Swedish Minister of Higher Education and Research has suggested that just may be the beginning.

It all goes back to the exploits of Dr. Paolo Macchiarini.

Macchiarini is best known for creating tracheas from stem cells but he also raised eyebrows when he started a relationship with a journalist. Read all about that sidebar in his life in Vanity Fair. However it is the misleading claims and success stories about his synthetic trachea research that are far more harmful and this BBC story does an excellent job of tracing the surgeon’s rise and fall. Retraction Watch is already referring to him as the “once world-renowned” surgeon and has a look behind the scenes with the Swedish documentary producers who dug deep into Macchiarini’s past and into what went on at the Karolinska Institutet which recruited him.

Macchiarini has been fired but the story is not over. The ‘superstar’ doctor denies any misconduct and has said he will continue to fight the claims.

Lasker Awards

There are stories that grab headlines across mainstream media lines, and there are stories that find a life on social media and never make it outside those confines. The Lasker Awards managed to cross both lines to make it into this edition of Trending Stories. The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation celebrates the medical sciences and scientists who are transforming lives. The awards were handed out this past week and got some good mainstream coverage including this piece in the NY Times.

The trending posts on social media told a slight different story. There was no criticism of the credentials of the winners or any suggestions that somehow they were unworthy, and there were ample posts about the science, links to the winner’s biographies, and to the award pages. Underneath though, there was a cynical take on the lack of diversity across the winners, and it got the attention of our Trending Stories:

Found on Twitter Up arrow

Cheddar is a new digital network that broadcasts live daily from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ Marketsite, and the Flatiron Building and is targeting the business-minded Millenial market. It broadcasts on Sirius XM satellite radio, Facebook, and on its own Cheddar.com website. Starting in October it will also be live on Twitter in among the 140 character posts like the ones we bring you every week. This is the start of what Twitter says will be more live broadcasts covering sports, news and politics. Wonder when we’ll see a live science stream?

While we wait for that to appear, be sure to follow @GenomeAlberta and @mikesgene on Twitter to see how you can put it to use in your science and research communications activities.

This bits and bytes of new and knowledge come to you this week from the following:

@ACOACanada The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/Pages/welcome-bienvenue.aspx

@Bioenterprise03 Bioenterprise is a not-for-profit business accelerator focusing on agri-technology. www.bioenterprise.ca

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

@EpigenomeHacker Swati Kadam has a PhD in Epigenetics and says she has a passion for sharing genomics and the “beautiful” world of science. www.youtube.com/channel/UCqW0TX_XozUbFEg2nN5HDxg

@LifeScienceON Life Sciences Ontario is a not-for-profit, member-funded organization for Ontario's life sciences sector. www.lifesciencesontario.ca/home/index.php

@MacleansMag Maclean’s Magazine is Canada's national weekly current affairs and news magazine. www.macleans.ca

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.

Canadian Journal of Public Health tells researchers to address sex, gender in trials

The Canadian Journal of Public Health now requires all authors to explain how they've addressed sex and gender in their research. One of the Journal’s Board members Jacqueline Gahagan said that “This is an international issue about making sure the evidence that is in peer-reviewed journals reflects the reality of both men and women.”
Source: CBC

Final update from Dr. Paul Kubes, Chair of the CIHR Peer Review Working Group

In July a Peer Review Working Group was established under the leadership of Dr. Paul Kubes to discuss CIHR’s peer review processes. The group has completed their mandate and as Dr. Kube says in this update, “we are passing the baton, so to speak, to the College and Competition Chairs.”
Source: CIHR

Event review: Gene editing - exploring the Canadian context

Canada's Stem Cell Network asked McGill University's Centre of Genomics and Policy to convene a workshop to discuss the Canadian context. Experts in science, ethics, law and policy, as well as government observers met on August 31st to offer insights on ways to shape policy in this complex area. A full workshop report is still to be published but this article by Vardit Ravitsky, Bartha Knoppers, Timothy Caulfield, Rosario Isasi, Erika Kleiderman, and Michael Rudnicki offers some insight into the discussion.
Source: BioNews

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!

Innovation Reactor

Interested in innovation, startups, or just plain curious? Do you have a big challenge that requires a solution? Do you want to be part of the growing Calgary innovation community? If so, come to the 2016 Innovation Reactor, where you will find “solutions and solvers” to “substantial innovation challenges and problems.”

Several speakers will be on hand to talk about area that they feel are ripe for innovation:
  • Claude Laflamme - Education, learning and training in today's vibrant society
  • Sunial Verma - Precision medicine
  • Joule Bergerson - Towards a low carbon future
  • Richard Hawkins - Cleaning up our mess and Alberta's "transformational" economy
  • Lorna Oehlberg - IT and the internet of things
  • March Strous - Biomes
  • Kevan Coyle - The 3Cs of radical change: creativity, community, and collaboration
When: September 19, 2016, 5 pm to 8 pm
Where: University of Calgary, Lobby, EEEL Building

Further information and details on how to register can be found here

Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop

The theme for the 43rd Annual CEW this year is Planning for Uncertainty.

The workshop is an opportunity to share information on current and emerging topics of regional, national and international importance related to contaminants in ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. Participants include students, academics, government scientists and regulators, environmental consultants and industry representatives involved in the field of ecological toxicology and related disciplines.

Genome Alberta is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the conference and we hope to see you there.

When: September 25 - 28, 2016
Where: Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta

Click here for additional information and registration details.

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.

Understanding the Microbiology of Oil and Gas Environments Using Genomics

This session is jointly sponsored by Genome Alberta and the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada and will be co-hosted by Drs. Lisa Gieg and Casey Hubert from the University of Calgary.

The presentations will focus on the application of genomics technologies to better understand the influence of microbial communities that exist in the environments that impact the oil and gas industry. Research into these areas can be used to enhance productivity, de-risk exploration, increase efficiency, mitigate oil spills, and improve environmental performance.

When: September 28th
Where: Nexen Annex Theatre, 801 – 7th Ave. SW. (+ 15 level) Calgary

For more information and to register go to the PTAC website.

The Genomics Revolution and its Impact on Human Kind

The 2016 Don Rix Distinguished Keynote Address will be presented by Richard Resnick on October 25 at 4:00 in the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Dr. Resnick is CEO of GenomeQuest, a maker of genomic software. Under his direction the company has solidified their leadership position in the intellectual property and agriculture markets and he has led its expansion into healthcare. Resnick has extensive experience building and growing innovative technology companies in life sciences.

When: October 25, 2016 4:00pm
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre

The event is sponsored by Genome British Columbia and you can find more information and register free of charge on the Genome BC website.

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

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