The Globe and Mail recently reported a concerning decision made by the Trudeau government: Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced, with very little fanfare, explanation or evidence, the move to cancel one of the most successful science initiatives in the past 30 years. Ottawa is set to eliminate funding for its Networks Centres of Excellence (NCE) program, which would end…
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The widespread use of accessible peripheral tissues for epigenetic analyses has prompted increasing interest in the study of tissue-specific DNA methylation (DNAm) variation in human populations. To date, characterizations of inter-individual DNAm variability and DNAm concordance across tissues have been largely performed in adult tissues and therefore are limited in their relevance to DNAm profiles from pediatric samples. Given that…
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A UBC Okanagan researcher has determined that genes on a specific chromosome may be the answer as to why thoracic radiotherapy leads to a lung injury in some lung cancer patients. Christina Haston, an associate professor of medical physics, recently published a study examining how Chromosome 6 can contribute to radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Her study finds that genetic differences can…
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For those of us who have been following and working in the cell and gene therapy (CGT) field for a significant number of years, this is an exciting time. The current global market for regenerative medicine is US$36B and forecasted to grow to reach US$49.41B by 2021.1 With 977 clinical trials in cell, gene and tissue therapy underway worldwide at the close of the second quarter of 20182, CGT treatments and regenerative medicine-based technologies…
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Everyone wants to know the secret to living a longer and better life. Dr. B. Brett Finlay, UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at the Michael Smith Laboratories, teamed up with his daughter, Dr. Jessica Finlay, a recognized environmental gerontologist, to write a new book that explores the human microbiome and uses scientific fact to highlight the connection between microbes and quality…
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Canada is a biotech powerhouse, consistently at the forefront of change with a strong engine of innovation. This country has a knowledge-rich talent pool and is a destination for investment capital. Biotechnology Focus, with the help several investorsi, has narrowed down the top 5 private venture capital financings in the country within the last couple of years. All these private venture capital companies represent extraordinary advancements in…
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Bottoms Up: The Role of Gut Microbiota in Brain Health

The gut microbiota affects many aspects of human health, and research, especially over the past decade, is demonstrating that the brain is no exception. This review summarizes existing human observational studies of the microbiota in brain health and neurological conditions at all ages, as well as animal studies that are advancing the field beyond correlation and into causality. Potential mechanisms…
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Marijuana, long snuck on to college and university campuses for use in bongs and joints, is now being grown legally at several academic institutions across the country. Eight academic institutions have obtained licences from Health Canada to cultivate cannabis for scientific purposes, allowing them to closely study the drug that was legalized for recreational use in October. Some received special…
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“One of the most amazing things I’ve discovered about the scientific community is that the researchers are so passionate about what they are doing,” says Larry Gifford, Senior Program Director at CKNW and Global News. “When you think about scientists you think about their brains, but what I’ve been really struck by is the heart they put into their work.”…
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Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are a potential unlimited source of insulin-producing β cells for diabetes treatment. A greater understanding of how β cells form during embryonic development will improve current hESC differentiation protocols. All pancreatic endocrine cells, including β cells, are derived from Neurog3-expressing endocrine progenitors. This study characterizes the single-cell transcriptomes of 6,905 mouse embryonic day (E) 15.5 and…
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