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November 2, 2016

Volume 28 Issue 3


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

Leading health organizations in Canada and China teaming up to accelerate precision medicine

Genome B.C. is one of six organizations that are part of a new partnership to find new individualized therapies for cancer and other diseases. The partnership, between China-based BGI, Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation, Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Genome BC, and Deloitte Inc. will focus on applying next generation sequencing technologies and big data to accelerate personalized medicine and improve outcomes for patients.

More details are available on the BGI website.

Dr. Richard FedorakNew University of Alberta Dean of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Richard Fedorak has been appointed as dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry for the period November 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021. He is currently interim dean of the faculty.

Full details of Dr. Fedorak’s background are available on the U of A website.

Universities of Calgary and Alberta are top draws for research money

The latest Research Infosource survey of University research revenue is out and the province’s research universities are doing well. The University of Alberta was #5 with 470 million and the University of Calgary was right behind with 350 million. The University of Lethbridge crept up a notch to #34.

You can read more in the Calgary Herald and or head straight to the complete list.

Don Rix distinguished keynote address available online

Richard Resnick delivered the 2016 Don Rix lecture on October 25th in Vancouver. He spoke about The Genomic Revolution and its Impact on Human Kind: A whirlwind journey through homo sapiens' deepening understanding of the genome and its dizzying applications in medicine, agriculture and society.

The event was sponsored by Genome BC and the recording of the lecture is now available on YouTube. The lecture runs about an hour, and is followed by a 45 minutes Q & A session.

New compensation guide for Canada’s bio-economy released by BioTalent Canada

This annual publication is a national review of job descriptions and experience, skills and education required to effectively function in the most popular roles in Canada’s biotech sector. The survey and guide come with a $500 price tag but if your organization is in a recruitment phase you might want to give it some consideration.

Help support Science Borealis

Genome Alberta was one of the founders of Science Borealis, the only blog network dedicated to Canadian science. Last week was the final week of our Reflections: 100 Voices for Canadian Science Communication project. We started this project as a complement to Agence Science-Presse’s #100LaScience campaign, which shared science journalists’ thoughts on science communication. Our project would not have got off the ground without the initial help of Science Borealis volunteer and ASP journalist Pascal Lapointe, and the long-term dedication of Science Borealis volunteer Peggy Muddles who did some fantastic artwork for the project.

There were featured quotes from a range of Canadians involved in science including Minister Kirsty Duncan, researcher Tim Caulfield, and Genome Alberta’s Communications Director, Mike Spear. Many of them have also made it on to Science Borealis t-shirts and mugs including Mary-Anne Moser from Beakerhead, and Eric Meslin from the Council of Canadian Academies.

Get your own 100 Voices for Canadian Science Communications swag at Science Borealis and help out a good cause.

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.

We Now Know When HIV Arrived in the U.S.

Scientists have been looking at how HIV entered into the United States and have dispatched the myth that one man was the source of the North American AIDS epidemic. The new research trended across many media sources and the fact that ‘patient zero’ was Canadian gave it a little extra boost here. Discover Magazine did a good overview of the research and made the point that focusing on a single patient overshadowed broader elements of the spread of HIV. Scientific American took us back to 1971, about a decade before HIV was recognized as a disease, and noted that HIV was isolated in 8 blood samples taken at the time. CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks talked with Canadian scientist Dr. Michael Worobey who said patient zero was never a fair characterization of how HIV came to North America.

The best story however is probably How One Man Was Wrongly Blamed for Bringing AIDS to America in The Atlantic magazine. It is written by Ed Yong who is arguable one of the best science writers around but who is also a big hit on social media and can get a story trending all on his own.

Before the Flood

As your trending editors are typing this, the new documentary about climate change that includes the involvement of big names like Leondardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese has not aired yet, but it is nevertheless getting a lot of trending attention.

The climate change special makes its general release splash on October 30th on the National Geographic channel but trailers are not hard to find. The film’s supporters have pulled out all the stops to make sure people tune in and even the United Arab Emirates will be in on the premiere broadcast. DiCaprio hosts the program and visits five continents, and talks to scientists, world leaders, activists and local residents to outline the changes we are already seeing and to look at how we can act to try to prevent the inevitable damage.

Before the Flood has already seen the light of day at the Toronto International Film Festival where it was called a “rousing call to action”. The NY Times was not overly impressed with the film while The Guardian felt that DiCaprio used ‘his clout and his carbon footprint’ to do a good job at raising the level of awareness. You can judge for yourself how will the film works and if you didn’t see it on October 30th, YouTube will come to your rescue.

Found on Twitter Up arrow

Every morning here at GenomeAlberta our web browers opens a series of tabs that give us a window on the latest news in biotech and gives us a snapshot of what is trending across social media. We know the topics that are getting a lot of attention and we know what is popular within our own social media community. We see the best time of day to send out Tweets and we know what geographic areas are the most active within our commnunity. Throw in some media monitoring so that we can assess tone and attitude and we end up with a pretty good idea of what needs to be communicated.

Want to see the result? One way is to @GenomeAlberta and @mikesgene on Twitter and another way is to make sure you are a regular subscriber to this newletter and that you have us on your e-mail ‘whitelist’ to make sure you are getting every issue.

Here is a small sample of what we found in our Twitter feed over the last couple of weeks.

Thanks to the following for stepping up and sharing their thoughts to thousand of their closest friends:

@DanielNorero Daniel Norero is studying bochemistry and plant biology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. He also writes for Biology Fortified and the Chile Skeptic.

@DHSgov One of the official accounts for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov

@FromTheLabBench Paige Jarreau is a Science Communications Specialist at Louisiana State University and a self-professed science communications nerd. http://www.fromthelabbench.com

@HeatherZierhut Heather Zierhut is a researcher, genetic counselor, and educator.

@kellybkrause Kelly Krause is Creative Director at Nature magazine. http://naturegraphics.tumblr.com

@kirkenglehardt Kirk Englehardt is Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications at the Univeersity of Tennessee Chattanooga. http://www.utc.edu

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.

Make America scientific again!

Recent polls in the U.S. indicate that American care more about science than we might think, but when it comes to the Presidential campaign, where did all the science go? On October 17th buried in the mudslinging of the campaign there was actually some discussion about science and politics at a town hall held at Rockefeller University. The big question that can still be asked of the candidates is “What’s your evidence?”
Source: Scientific American

And close on the heels of this article you might wonder why many members of the U.S. science community continue to support Donald Trump. If nothing else he represents change and that alone is enough to get the attention of many voters. By the time the next edition of our newsletter comes out we’ll know exactly how voting went – may the best woman win.
Source: Nature

Mixed results for Liberals on science: A rundown of election promises

During the Canadian Federal Election Campaign in 2015 science was back on the election platform. The Liberals promised a to make evidence based decision and had specific points they would tackle. Evidence for Democracy has done a rundown of the key election promises related to science and made some more detailed comments in the Toronto Star.
Source: Evidence for Democracy

Combating antimicrobial resistance: A role for international law?

This is part of a series of articles from the Canadian Science Policy Centre leading up to the CSPC Conference in early November. The author digs deeper into the special United Nations General Assembly meeting to address AMR as an emerging public health issues.
Source: CSPC

Why is a social scientist working at Monsanto?

Many of you might recognize the name Cami Ryan. She has been part of the GE3LS component of project funded by Canada’s Genomics Enterprise but now she is working at Monsanto. This is her take on why she ended up in her current role.
Source: Cami Ryan blog

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!

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Three days of LGBTQA and STEM speakers, panels, workshops, and discussions on STEM, LGBTQA topics, and the connections between them. The oSTEM National Conference brings together diverse students and professionals from various STEM fields in the interest of professional development and the creation of safe and inviting places to study and work in the sciences.
The schedule includes:
  • Team Building
  • Career and Graduate School Bootcamp
  • Safe Space Dialogue
  • A trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

When: November 11 - 13, 2016
Where: Denver, Colorado

Registration deadline has been extended to November 4th, 2016

Celebrating Women in Technology

Geeky Summit is 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 Georges Dr. NE, Calgary, AB

More information and details for registration can be found here.

Alberta's Bioeconomy Engagement Panel Discussions

The Alberta Wood Waste Recycling Association, in partnership with BioAlberta and the CETC, are hosting panel discussions and a workshop that will explore both the market opportunities for rural communities in bioindustrials and investment challenges that are limiting the growth of the Alberta Bioeconomy, wood recycling industry. Find out how bioindustrial development can create opportunities for rural development through wood waste recycling, biomass extraction, power generation, and emissions reduction.

When: 7 December 2016 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Clean Energy Technology Centre (CETC), 5400 - 24 Avenue, Drayton Valley, AB

More information and details on how to register.

Communicating Public Health Information

Join Canada’s leading health practitioners, communicators, advocates, analysts, and researchers, as they share the latest intelligence and approaches that:

  • Demonstrate how risk prevention and harm reduction increases positive public health outcomes – and saves lives
  • Raise public awareness, stakeholder engagement and government support
  • Conserve scarce public service resources and decrease public expenditure on chronic public health issues and crises
  • Improve public safety and aid at-risk communities

When: December 7 - 8, 2016
Where: Mariott Bloor Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario

For full details of the two-day Agenda and how to register, click here. (pdf file)

Translating and Commercializing Genomics Research

This course is designed for a range of professionals involved in exploitation of technologies, such as business development professionals, business analysts in the investment community, innovation funders, senior researchers actively involved in translation, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

After attending this course, participants will be able to:
  • Plan an exploitation strategy that considers the impact on future research and on clinical adoption.
  • Navigate the regulatory environment that frames the implementation of genomics tools and diagnostics in the clinic.
  • Work within the 'culture landscape' of software licenses and innovation framework.
  • Exploit a variety of business models around biodata, bioinformatics or genomic information.
When: December 7 - 9, 2016
Where: Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

More information and details on how to register.

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