Microglia are the brain’s immune cells, and they work together to maintain brain health and remove “junk” that builds up in brain tissue. They are the brain’s tiny helper cells, and changes in their appearance can indicate degeneration or disease in surrounding cells and tissue. In the past, microglia were thought to be inactive unless called upon by threat or…
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Zymeworks is playing a fundamental role is ensuring Vancouver becomes a global centre of excellence in biotech Defeating cancer is an audacious goal, but that’s exactly what the team at Vancouver-based Zymeworks hopes to do. The biotech company has developed protein therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. They’re also developing a new delivery system and…
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Two successful Canadian innovation organizations, CDRD, Canada’s national life sciences venture, and NEOMED Institute, a leading not-for-profit R&D organization building an innovation ecosystem in Montréal, are pleased to announce that effective today, they are bringing their respective capabilities and resources together under a new co-founded pan-Canadian enterprise, adMare BioInnovations. Working from sea to sea, and reaching globally, adMare is focused…
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The University of British Columbia has reaffirmed its strong commitment to enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion in research by endorsing the Government of Canada’s Dimensions charter. Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada is a pilot program that aims to address systemic barriers, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. Institutions that endorse the Dimensions charter, unveiled earlier this month…
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New Approaches to Study the Genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorder May Lead to New Therapies

Canadian neuroscientists are using novel experimental approaches to understand autism spectrum disorder, from studying multiple variation in a single gene to the investigation of networks of interacting genes to find new treatments for the disorder. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects more than 1% of children, yet most cases are of unknown or poorly defined genetic origin. It is highly variable…
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Walking the Tightrope

Imagine, you are walking on a tightrope. If you fall to one side of this narrow line, zombies are waiting to eat you up. On the other side, it is a fall into a crazy deep canyon. Terrifying, isn’t it? However, there is good news! By having the prefect concert of one’s movement, balance and coordination, tightrope can be mastered.…
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Our paper was driven by BC Cancer’s efforts toward precision oncology in British Columbia. Precision oncology uses DNA and RNA sequencing to find molecular anomalies that may be the driving force behind a cancer. At BC Cancer, we use this information to guide treatment decisions as part of our Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program. However, it’s one thing to have sequence information from a tumour…
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Two million Canadian children are classified as having a rare disease. As these children and their families navigate these complex, life-threatening, or chronically debilitating conditions, their stories are often similar — they spend years experiencing a diagnostic odyssey that includes many hospital and clinic visits, tests and several misdiagnoses before a firm diagnosis is established. Over 80% of rare diseases…
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Inside all of us are trillions of tiny molecular nanomachines that perform a variety of tasks necessary to keep us alive. In a ground-breaking study, a team led by SFU physics professor David Sivak demonstrated for the first time a strategy for manipulating these machines to maximize efficiency and conserve energy. The breakthrough could have ramifications across a number of…
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Once upon a time in Canada, almost all medical research did not consider differences in sex and gender. “I think people were sex- and gender-blind,” Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice president, research and international, told the Straight by phone. “We had people studying cardiovascular disease and assuming it was a men’s disease—and not thinking about women’s particular issues.” She pointed out that the…
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