The 26th Annual Cumming School of Medicine Symposium

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The 26th Annual Cumming School of Medicine Symposium

May 25 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

For 26 years, the Cumming School of Medicine Symposium has gathered top scientists from around the world who are making a difference in health-related sciences. From personalized medicine development to global HIV prevention initiatives, the Symposium aims to encompass a diverse range of speakers that will be of interest to students, staff, and faculty of the various departments and institutes within the Cumming School of Medicine.

Guest Speakers

Carrie Bourassa, PhD
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples Health, Canada

Carrie Bourassa is a Chair in Indigenous & Northern Health and Senior Scientist at Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, Ontario and the Scientific Director of the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Prior to taking the Chair position in October 2016 and the Scientific Director Position in February 2017, she served her communities as a Professor of Indigenous Health Studies at First Nations University of Canada for fifteen years. Dr. Bourassa is an Indigenous community-based researcher and is proud to be the successful Nominated Principal Investigator on two Canada Foundation for Innovation Grants that funded the Indigenous Community-based Health Research Lab in 2010 (re-named Morningstar Lodge) and most recently in April 2016 the Cultural Safety Evaluation, Training and Research Lab at FNUniv. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and is a public member of the College Council, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Carrie’s research interests include the impacts of colonization on the health of Indigenous people; creating culturally safe care in health service delivery; Indigenous community-based health research methodology; HIV/AIDS, HCV among Indigenous people; end-of-life care among Indigenous people; dementia among Indigenous people, Indigenous Water Governance and Indigenous women’s health. Carrie is Métis, belonging to the Regina Riel Métis Council #34.

 

Ian Frazer, MD, DSc, FRCPC
Professor, University of Queensland, Australia

Vaccination — from development to global application with the man who saved millions of women from cervical cancer

By Leah Hohman

Dr. Ian Frazer, a clinical immunologist and professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, is best known as the co-inventor of the Gardasil vaccine. Now, Frazer focuses his research on the immune response to epithelial cancers such as skin cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) associated infections and novel approaches to vaccine development.

Every year, more than 530,000 women worldwide receive the diagnosis of cervical cancer. It’s the second most common type of cancer in women, and one of the deadliest. In 2012, cervical cancer was responsible for an estimated 266,000 deaths, accounting for 7.5 per cent of all female cancer deaths.

The Gardasil vaccine protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is the precursor to almost 100 percent of cervical cancers. HPV has also been linked to the development of other forms of cancer. Gardasil is currently undergoing a Phase I clinical trial to repurpose it for the treatment of head and neck cancers.

Prior to the application of Gardasil, more than 70 per cent of sexually active Canadians were estimated to contract HPV, making it the most commonly transmitted STI in the country.

Since the approval of Gardasil in Canada in 2006, there has been a dramatic decline in HPV prevalence. However, cervical cancer is still a problem. Approximately 1,550 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and an estimated 400 will die from it. The vaccination status for Canadians is sitting at approximately 56 per cent, which is well below the target (more than 85 per cent).

Over the course of his career, Frazer has had the rare opportunity to see vaccine development through basic science, clinical trials and global application. During this year’s CSM Symposium, he’ll speak about his work on the Gardasil vaccine, as well as recent research taking place in his lab.

For more information on Dr. Frazer, check out the recent biography by Madonna King: Ian Frazer: The Man Who Saved a Million Lives.

 

Catherine Hankins, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Deputy Director, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Netherlands

University of Calgary alum Dr. Catherine Hankins was Chief Scientific Adviser to UNAIDS in Geneva during 2002-2012. She led the scientific knowledge translation team focused on ensuring ethical and participatory biomedical HIV prevention trial conduct, convening mathematical modelling teams, and supporting country implementation of proven biomedical HIV prevention modalities. Currently, she chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and the Scientific Advisory Group of the USA National Institutes of Health HIV Prevention Trials Network. She is a Good Participatory Practice (GPP) Advisory Committee member for the USAID-funded Coalition to Accelerate and Support Prevention Research (CASPR).

Previously, she was principal investigator of ‘The Canadian Women’s HIV Study’, research involving prisoners and people who inject drugs, and population-based epidemiological studies. Her current scientific interests include implementation science, novel biomedical HIV prevention, women and HIV, and participatory research conduct.

 

Miguel A. Nicolelis, MD, PhD
Professor, Duke University, USA

Linking brains to machines: from basic science to neurological neurorehabilitation

By Nicole Orsi Barioni

As one of today’s most influential neuroscientists, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis believes that what he does isn’t rocket science; it’s just brain research. To him, he has simply followed his grandmother’s advice.

“The impossible is just the possible that someone has not put enough effort into making come true,” she used to say.

Born and raised in Brazil, Nicolelis is a distinguished professor of neuroscience at the Duke School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. He defines himself as a “storm chaser.” Neurons in our brain communicate and generate electrical signals, which, when recorded, sound like rain storms. Therefore, he listens to what he calls “brain symphonies” and tries to extract the messages they carry. This led him to create a new neurophysiological method, known today as the brain-machine interface (BMI).

Nicolelis had an idea to combine his passions for soccer and science. In January 2008, he made it possible to control a robot in Japan. This kick-started the BMI that six years later allowed a paraplegic person to deliver the kick-off at the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening in Brazil.

In addition to his pioneering research, Nicolelis funded the Walk Again Project — an international association of scientists and engineers who’re dedicated to developing an exoskeleton device to support severely paralyzed patients into recovering their full body motor abilities.

Recently, Nicolelis proved it’s possible to communicate without words, gestures or touch. For the first time, he recorded the transfer of meaningful sensorimotor information in real time. He calls this transfer a “neurophysiological torpedo.” Furthermore, he decided to push the limits and built a prospect of what he defined as a “biological computer.” He did so by having three experimental subjects mentally collaborating into achieving a common goal and named it a “brained.” This demonstrates that edge of what we call “self” is abstract and that in the future we might be able to share and donate our mental abilities.

Nicolelis is scheduled to speak at the 26th annual CSM Symposium on May 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Libin Theatre.

 

Terry Pearson, PhD
Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, Canada

Your world in a drop of blood — Dr. Terry Pearson to personalize diagnostic medicine

By Rachel Kratofil

Dr. Terry Pearson had intended to study English and become an English professor. But when he failed English 100, he turned his attention to microbiology and biochemistry.

For the past 35 years, Pearson has studied tropical diseases; specifically, African sleeping sickness. Moving away from being a full-time academic researcher, Pearson has switched gears to focus on disease diagnosis and has now immersed himself in the entrepreneurial world as co-founder of SISCAPA Assays Technologies, Inc.

A big problem in modern medicine is that many drugs work on some patients but not on others. There’s also a rise in the number of adverse drug reactions and drug-related deaths in the United States and in Canada. How do we ensure that the drug prescribed to a patient will be the most effective option?

Pearson has found a possible solution to this issue. First, you need to establish a baseline for your own set of unique biomarkers, molecules that indicate health or disease. By tracking a set of biomarkers in your blood over time, you’ll know if any biomarkers deviate outside of your own personal range.

Biomarkers can be used diagnostically to alert clinicians if a disease, such as cancer, is progressing. Although there have been over 4,000 potential cancer biomarkers identified to date, there are only a few markers that are used as diagnostics. Pearson wants to unlock the potential of the rest of these cancer biomarkers using antibody-based mass spectrometry, a technique used to identify proteins, peptides or biomarkers in a blood or tissue sample.

Based in Victoria, B.C. Pearson has access to a world-class mass spectrometry facility at the University of Victoria’s Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre. By using mass spectrometry, Pearson is able to screen for at least 20 biomarkers at once in a patient.

In his early career, Pearson worked as a staff scientist at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England with Georges Kohler and Cesar Milstein to develop the monoclonal antibody. This work by Kohler and Milstein received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1984. Pearson’s lab at the University of Victoria has continued to be at the forefront of developing antibody-based techniques ever since.

Now with SISCAPA, Pearson is taking antibody-based diagnostics to the next level.

For more information, watch Pearson’s TEDx Talk.

Details

Date:
May 25
Time:
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Website:
http://cumming.ucalgary.ca/events/csm-symposium

Organizer

Cumming School of Medicine
Phone:
(403) 220-6843
Website:
http://cumming.ucalgary.ca/

Venue

Libin Lecture Theatre
3330 Hospital Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1 Canada
+ Google Map
Website:
https://ucalgary.ca/facilities/buildings/hsc