| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Higher Education : Innovation + Job News

99 Higher Education Articles | Page: | Show All

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Researchers uncovers method to trick cancer cells to stop growing

While undergoing research on an anticancer drug targeting colorectal cancer cells, researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre found something surprising. The researchers discovered that the drug can actually trick the cancer stem cells into responding as if they had been infected with a virus, which in turn, limit the cancer cells' ability to multiply.

The findings were published academic journal Cell, and for Dr. Daniel De Carvalho, lead researcher on the project since its start in 2012, the finding is significant as colorectal cancer recurs in 50 percent of patients and is among the top three leading causes of cancer-related deaths. “We work with DNA methylation inhibitors, such as azacitidine and decitabine, both of which affect DNA methylation have already been approved by the FDA for use in myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of blood cancer,” Dr. De Carvalho said. “We are very interested in the ability of epigenetic agents to identify markers that are found mainly on cancer cells. Epigenetic drugs track down cells that have a lot of epigenetic markers, which are more likely to be cancer cells, whereas chemotherapy kills proliferating cells first, regardless of their epigenetic markers and regardless whether they are tumor or normal cells.”

The team found that these DNA methylation inhibitors make cancer cells more likely to attract immune cells, and in a phenomenon he calls ‘viral mimicry’, the drugs then trick the cancer cell to look like a cancer infected cell. “Combining epigenetic therapy with immunotherapy, where the brakes of the immune system are released, will probably improve patient response. We are currently starting trials to test this hypothesis.”

“By targeting colorectal cancer stem cells with a new anticancer agent, Dr. De Carvalho has succeeded in limiting the ability of these cells to grow and maintain tumors,” said Dr. Katie Wright, senior manager of Research Communications at the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “This novel approach could potentially complement therapies for more effective treatment of other cancers.”

For 2016, Dr. De Carvalho is excited to continue research and hopes that this basic discovery will eventually improve patient care. “We are continuing this work in multiple fronts. First, by doing clinical trials to evaluate the synergistic effect of epigenetic inhibitors with immunotherapies,” he said. “We are also evaluating the effect of epigenetic therapy on the T cells. T cells are the ‘soldiers’ of the immune system. We want to know whether we can make these soldiers stronger by using epigenetic therapy.”

University of Toronto professor develops new ultra-sensitive blood test

One of the biggest keys to preventing or treating cancer effectively is rapid detection and diagnosis; for the two of four Canadians that will have cancer in their lifetime, detecting it early can mean the difference between life and death.

Dr. Shana Kelley, a professor from the University of Toronto’s faculty of pharmacy, has discovered a tool to make diagnosis easier. Currently, doctors employ surgical procedures to extract samples from tumors that are then tested to determine the type of cancer a patient has, a process process that is both invasive and time consuming.

In contrast, Kelley has developed an extremely sensitive blood test that uses sensors on a chip to detect cancer mutations. “Dr. Kelley’s new blood test using microchips to detect cancer mutations has the potential to transform cancer screening. Finding cancer before symptoms are noticed greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.” said Dr. Katie Wright, Senior Manager of Research Communications, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division.

The development is based on recent research that show that significant levels of cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) are present in the blood of cancer patients, and contain the potential to reveal the mutational spectrum of a tumor without the need for an invasive sampling of the tumor. Currently, conventional means of using these samples requires differentiation between the nucleic acids that originate from healthy cells and the mutated sequences shed by tumor cells, which can take time and is often complicated by excessive handling.

With Kelley’s chip-based technology, the test would not require sample purification, and would be capable of detecting the presence of mutations within 15 minutes. The same day that she published her findings in Nature Chemistry, Xagenic Inc., a molecular diagnostics company developing the lab-free Xagenic X1 platform, announced the exclusive acquisition of this technology.

Ryerson Digital Media Zone announces historic partnership with OneEleven, Communitech

Local entrepreneurs had reason to celebrate last week as the Ryerson Digital Media Zone, Toronto's OneEleven and Waterloo's Communitech announced a historic partnership.

Going forward, entrepreneurs taking part in one of the three startup accelerator programs will have have access to the facilities of the other two incubators.

According to Valerie Fox, the Digital Media Zone's executive director, the partnership came about because the three organizations quickly came to understand the importance of collaborating with one another.

“We all understand the importance of collaborating amongst ourselves,” she says. “Startups are going to where they'll get the best help. Each incubator has its own strengths, and there are some startups that could, in a sense, use help from all three of us.”

She adds, “In the best interest of our entrepreneurs, I think this type of collaboration enables us to really help them, as well as strengthen our community at the same time.”

Fox says that Tuesday's announcement simply formalizes a relationship that has existed between the three incubators for a while now. “I think what’s interesting is that we’ve been doing this for a while now, but now what we’re doing is saying that it's been formalized,” says Fox. “In a way we're saying to our entrepreneurs, 'Seriously, this is going on, so take advantage of it.”

Besides gaining access to additional facilities, the entrepreneurs and students that benefit from this partnership will also gain better access to mentorship, capital and, perhaps most importantly, potential customers.

And while this partnership is the first of its kind in Canada, Fox says she both expects and hopes other organizations announce similar partnerships in the future.

“Ontario depends on this type of collaboration; it's only strengthening us.”

Source: Ryerson Digital Media Zone

Ontario spending $6.8m on campus-based accelerator programs

The provincial government continues to unroll elements of its youth jobs strategy. The latest announcement came recently from Reza Moridi, minister of research and innovation. The program is called Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLAs), and the goal is to help student entrepreneurs "harness their ideas, their vision and their enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow," he said in a statement outlining the initiative.

CLAs will provide funding to select post-secondary institutions across Ontario t"o create, improve and sustain a culture of entrepreneurship among students and youth in their regions, and to integrate these entrepreneurial activities with investors, industry, and other stakeholders in their region. The Toronto-area institutions to receive funding under the program:
  • The University of Toronto, which will receive just over $3 million in funding over two years. That money will be distributed across the university's existing accelerator programs: the Creative Destruction Lab (Rotman School of Management); the Hatchery (at the faculty of applied science and engineering); the Impact Centre (based in the faculty of arts and science); and UTEST (the university's Innovation and Partnerships Office). U of T’s Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will also be involved, coordinating efforts at the three different campuses.
  • Centennial College, which is partnering with ventureLAB (a non-profit regional innovation centre). Their goal is to help support the creation of 60 businesses in the coming two years, and they will be focusing their work on several priority neighbourhoods within Toronto, to try to reach youth who might not have ready access to accelerator opportunities otherwise.
  • Ryerson University is receiving $2 million from the CLA program, and will use the money to support existing entrepreneurial programs, as well as to create "new learning zones includ[ing] the Design and Fabrication Zone, focusing on early stage design and technology; a zone in the new Student Learning Centre; and the Biomedical Zone, to be formed in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital."
  • OCAD University, which is getting nearly $1 million to support its entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, called the Imagination Catalyst. (As we reported this spring, the Imagination Catalyst also includes a specific stream for social enterprise.)

Across the province the government is planning to put a total of $20 million into CLA programs over the next two years.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ministry of Research and Innovation, University of Toronto, Centennial College, Ryerson University, OCAD University

U of T president lays out vision of "The University and The City"

When Meric Gertler was announced as the new president of the University of Toronto a few months ago, it generated a fair bit of buzz: not just because UofT is a major local institution, but because of Gertler's profile in particular.

He came out of the humanities—the first UofT president to do so in decades—and his area of academic expertise is the geography and economy of cities. The buzz was generated in large part out of curiosity about whether Gertler would take a more active role in involving UofT in the broader life of the city.

A few days ago, Gertler began to address some of those issues in a major speech delivered to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

"My starting point," he said, "is that the relationship between universities and their host regions is fundamentally symbiotic. It is mutually enriching, along multiple dimensions. Simply put, a strong university helps build a strong city, and a strong city helps build a strong university. We need to leverage this relationship to mutual advantage if we are going to advance our shared prosperity."

Gertler then moved on to lay out three central points: universities help keep their home cities dynamic and contribute vitally to economic development and flexibility; universities in general are large institutions and thus by nature "stabilizing forces on urban economies, and on the local neighbourhoods they inhabit"; and universities serve as conduits, connecting their home cities, via relationships with other universities, to cities around the world.

Most crucially, Gertler concluded by focusing on what can be improved. "We have an obligation to do more, and it is in our own best interest to do more," he said, inviting civic leadership across Toronto "to help us find imaginative ways to deepen our relationships and work with one another."

Gertler said he had recently begun talks with the presidents of OCAD, Ryerson, and York, "to explore potential collaborations aimed at addressing the region’s most pressing challenges."

Separately, the Unversity of Toronto is deep into planning with the universities of Western and Waterloo, "to establish a joint entrepreneurship accelerator in the new MaRS tower."

Gertler also hopes to work more closely with the municipal government—though he steered clear of political issues in his remarks—"to find new ways to inform debates, provide analysis, and bring our evidence and expertise to bear on the most important urban issues of the day."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: "The University and The City," delivered by Dr. Meric Gertler, president, University of Toronto, on May 29, 2014.

OCAD U and CSI announce new partnership

Toronto has a growing number of accelerators, innovation hubs, and other organizations designed to help support young ventures launch and develop successfully.

Up next: many of those organizations, along with more traditional institutions, are starting to collaborate, forming partnerships that capitalize on their strengths and creating opportunities for people from various sectors to share their respective areas of expertise. A few months ago, for instance, Ryerson and St. Michael's Hospital announced a partnership to help the former's engineers and the latter's clinical scientists work together.

Another new partnership was announced recently between OCAD University and the Centre for Social Innovation. The goal is to develop a social enterprise-specific stream within OCAD's overall entrepreneurship hub, called The Imagination Catalyst. The Imagination Catalyst was created to help young enterprises with commercialization; this new partnership will do the same for social ventures in particular: enterprises that have some human, cultural, or environmental goal.

As part of this new collaboration, OCAD U will offer residencies to three CSI members at its Imagination Catalyst incubator, helping with access to funding, and providing other entrepreneurship support. CSI, meanwhile, will offer membership—including access to space, a vibrant community, and other funding sources—to all those incubated by Imagination Catalyst.

"Apart from start-up funding, introductions to venture /angel investors, etc., we believe any incubator experience is enhanced if you have a diverse set of start ups in the space," explains Petra Kassun-Mutch, executive director of Imagination Catalyst.

"Diversity in our case means legal form, scale, sector, and level of experience. We believe the social enterprise sector is an extremely important and growing part of the start up community space."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Petra Kassun-Mutch, executive director, Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University

TRIEC celebrates 10 years of helping skilled immigrants

More than a decade ago, the Toronto City Summit Alliance (now CivicAction) and the Maytree Foundation conducted some community outreach, asking what the most compelling issues facing Toronto were—including which issues were being neglected and required more attention.

One key issue that came up in that survey: integrating immigrants effectively into the city's labour market. And so those consultations led to the creation of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

This week, the organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary at an awards ceremony that will also honour individuals and organizations for their leadership in this sector.

When that initial survey was conducted, community groups said that while there were many immigrant settlement organizations, "there weren't a lot of organizations that were focused on this issue of opportunities for skilled immigrant labour," says TRIEC's executive director, Margaret Eaton.

And the resources that were being devoted to the issue were scattered. "Mentoring had been done in different organizations," she goes on, but once the new organization was formed "they came together under that umbrella," allowing for a better distribution of talent and increased scale of activity. The core of TRIEC'S activities is a one-to-one mentorship program that currently has 1,300 pairings; Eaton says that those who go through the program see an average increase in earnings of 62 per cent.

Reflecting on the past decade, Eaton says that "one of the big things we've seen is that some things have stayed very much the same: skilled immigrant unemployment is still double what it is for university-education Toronto-born population. if anything, it has gotten worse through the recession."

When asked why she said that, one key factor is that "the economy has changed so much. we're now seeing secondary migration—[people] coming to Toronto first, then moving elsewhere in Ontario or out west," where there are more plentiful job opportunities.

On the positive side, there is now an Ontario commission looking at regulated professions to try to make their requirements much more transparent to the applicants, easing the process for new immigrants who want to transfer their credentials from elsewhere so they can pursue their professions here.

As part of its 10-year anniversary, TRIEC is also looking to the future, and expanding its strategic objectives. "One of those," says Eaton, "is employer culture—looking at the glass ceiling that immigrants experience."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Margaret Eaton, executive director, TRIEC

Ontario and Alberta launch collaborative innovation program

The provincial governments of Alberta and Ontario have reached an agreement to work with academic and industry partners to collaboratively pursue research projects that have strong potential for commercialization, according to an announcement made earlier this month.

The two year Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program (AOP)  will be jointly managed by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF). Each province will provide up to $2 million for the project with the aim of industry partners matching those sums in each province as well.
According to an Ontario government backgrounder on the program, AOP "will draw on academic expertise to address challenges faced by industry, such as the conservation of water and energy, developing better insulated building materials, environmental remediation, stormwater management, converting waste into energy, and modular manufacturing and assembly."
In order to participate, applicants will have to go through a two-step selection process, and their proposed projects must span no more than two years.

To be eligible, projects must include at least one industry partner that operates in both provinces, or multiple industry partners that collectively operate in both; a research partner from an accredited Ontario academic institution; and a research partner from an accredited Alberta academic institution.

The first step in the process is submitting an Expression of Interest, due by June 9, 2014. A review committee will assess those EOIs, and select applicants will be invited to continue to the next stage of the application process. Complete details are available on the AOP website.
Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation

Showcasing Toronto's young gaming talent at Level Up

"One of the first things I did when I got here [in 2010]," says Emma Westecott, assistant professor of game design at OCAD University, "was try to find out who else was teaching games."

She found a kindred spirit in Steve Engels, a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Toronto. They met, and they had their students meet, and "one of the things that became evident was that a lot of the games our students were making could be much better if they were working together." So they started doing just that, and it went well enough that they decided to set up a showcase at the end of that first year of collaboration.

It's four years later, and this past weekend Level Up marked its fourth instalment: an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional showcase of student work in gaming that allows graduating and senior students to show off their work, engage in a bit of friendly competition, and—crucially—meet potential employers.

This year more than a dozen institutions participated, and over 50 team projects were included in the showcase. Organizers estimate that 1,000 people attended—200 more than last year.

Why an off-campus showcase? "It became obvious to me that with a new subject matter," Westecott explains, "that working with community was the best way to build expertise."

Toronto has a well-established gaming sector—it's a growing and dynamic part of our local economy—and one key goal of Level Up is to help introduce students into that community, sniff out potential internship opportunities, and tap into a network that will help them as they leave school. It's also a great way to measure your progress.

"For our students, it helps them see what their games are like in comparison to what other games are being made; from potential employers' point of view, it makes it easier to see everyone in one place."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor, Game Design, Digital Futures, OCAD University

Ryerson launches business incubator program with South African University

While on an official tour of government and institutional sites in South Africa recently, Ryerson president Sheldon Levy announced that the university would be launching a new business incubation program, offering a total of eight fellowships to students from four different South African universities. The fellowships will allow student entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their ventures at one of Ryerson's several incubators, including the Digital Media Zone, Centre for Urban Energy, and the Fashion Zone.

“The future of the global economy is in the hands of our young people,” said Levy, while making the announcement at the University of Witwatersrand. “Ryerson is proud to partner with South African universities in promoting entrepreneurial innovation and great ideas.”

Meanwhile, Professor Adam Habib, Wits University Vice-Chancellor, emphasized that international partnerships like this are crucial for regional development. “Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in the social and economic development of South Africa and Africa. It is imperative for higher education institutions to play their part in nurturing, training and developing future entrepreneurs."

Fellows will be selected in a two-stage process: first the originating universities will generate a short list of candidates, and then each Ryerson incubator's steering committee will make the final selection based on proposed business plans and video pitches. The fellows who make the cut will have travel and accommodation costs covered, and will each receive a three or four month placement at the most suitable incubator for their needs.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ryerson University
Photo: Wits University

Ryerson prof finds that gender-diverse groups produce better science

Trying to improve gender diversity in organizations started out as a question of equity and justice—it was just the right thing to do. But there's been a growing body of anecdotal evidence that it actually may lead to not just different but better decsion-making. A Ryerson professor, along with some colleagues at Rice University in Houston, decided to research that issue more formally. They've just issued  the results of a study they conducted looking at the impact of gender diversity in the conduct of science, specifically.

The upshot: "Here we present the first empirical evidence," the authors write, "to support the hypothesis that a gender-heterogeneous problem-solving team generally produced journal articles perceived to be higher quality by peers than a team comprised of highly-performing individuals of the same gender."

In short: scientific investigations conducted by gender-diverse teams tend to produce work that is independently assessed to be better than work produced by teams that aren't diverse.

Lesley Campbell is a professor in Ryerson's department of chemistry and biology. "Gender diversity, at a minimum, improves the likelihood that you are going to be doing effective science," she said in a statement explaining her work. "Gender diverse groups and groups that are diverse in a variety of ways might actually be more effective ways to do team science and team work.  We now have scientific evidence to back that suggestion up."

Her study analyzed work produced by 157 research groups from a California-based ecological institution, spanning 1997-2006. Work produced by gender-diverse teams were cited 34 per cent more than homogenous teams; that work was also deemed to be better quality during the peer assessment process.

"We all come to the table with different ways of problem solving," Campbell says. "It’s not just about the facts that we know but the way that we do things really does differ between men and women…There are very different ways that groups with gender diversity complete things."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Gender-Heterogeneous Working Groups Produce Higher Quality Science (Study)

Shedding light on the gender gap for Canada's MBA graduates

Women have made significant strides in the workplace in recent decades, of course; just how far we still have to go as a culture in closing the gender gap isn't always as clear. A new study out of non-profit Catalyst sheds light on one aspect of that gender gap: what happens to Canada's MBA graduates. The news is concerning.

"Across job settings, women in Canada fare worse than men from the start. Women working in Canada each made $8,167 less than men in their first post-MBA job," the report finds. Moreover, "at 72 per cent, the majority of women started out in an entry level position, compared to just 58 per cent of men."

That gap persists among MBA graduates who are assessed to have high potential. Catalyst research also examined the drivers that lead to post-MBA success—who advances rapidly, and attains the most senior positions. Among the factors that lead to this success are being given critical work early on (generally understood as work with direct profit and loss impacts) or international travel opportunities. On both counts, male MBA graduates are given more opportunities than their female counterparts. For instance, of this so-called "high potential" cohort, 29 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women were given an international assignment.

One consequence of this: "women in Canada were more than twice as likely as men to choose a non-corporate employer following completion of their MBA." The report finds that "corporate Canada is experiencing a talent drain, especially among women, into non-corporate firms at rates higher than in other regions around the world."

Which is why, also, the report concludes with this: "These findings profile a wake-up call for Canadian organizations: the time to act is now."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: High Potential Employees in the Pipeline: Maximing the Talent Pool in Canadian Organizations

Provincial and federal governments expanding opportunities for skilled immigrants

The Ontario Bridge Training Program assists skilled immigrants by providing support while they get their credentials, licenses, and professional certifications settled in their new home, and helping them find jobs in their fields once they have.

Recently, the provincial and federal governments announced that they will be "expanding and enhancing" the program over the next three years.

Details are right now scarce—representatives for Ontario's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration could not spell out any of the particulars—but we're told that more announcements are coming soon. What we do know is that the province is putting $63.6 million into the program over three years, and the federal government is kicking in another $16.6 million; of that pot $15 million of provincial money is "additional support."

Mamdouh Shoukri is president of York University, which runs a certification program for skilled immigrants, and which hosted government officials for the announcement. "These important programs are helping to build a globally connected economy and to support diversity in our communities," he said, addressing an audience of dignitaries and skilled immigrants.

Representing the federal government, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander chimed in: "We need to remind ourselves of that economic logic of immigration, of the desire of immigrants themselves to work in their fields, to build lives, to provide for their families, and to contribute."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

UofT student creates smarter traffic lights

Here's something we could all use less of: gridlock. A political lightening rod and increasing limit on daily routines in Toronto, traffic congestion eats up our time, not to mention reserves of patience and good humour. Now one UofT student thinks she's found a way to help tame congestion, by getting the lights at individual intersections to communicate directly with one another.

Samah El-Tantawy was inspired by the awful state of the roads both here in Toronto and in Cairo, where she grew up. Her traffic-management system formed the core of her graduate work (El-Tantawy earned her PhD in civil engineering in 2012), and is based on innovations in artificial intelligence research.

Right now, El-Tantawy explains, there are three types of traffic-management systems operating in Toronto:

  • Set times for light changes, based on prior calculations using historical records; these are optimized, but don't adapt to the circumstances of any given moment.
  • Actuated controls: detectors under the pavement which send calls to traffic lights, so those lights can change based on immediate conditions. The shortcoming with these is that they are operating "as if blind," El-Tantaway says. Since they only have inputs from vehicles in one direction, they don't work based on the state of the intersection or road network as a whole.
  • Adaptive controls that are optimized in real time, based on traffic approaching an intersection; this system exists at about 300 intersections in Toronto. The main limitation with this system is that it works via a centralized command system, and thus requires a substantial communications network. (Any failure in that centralized system has, correspondingly, a huge impact on the whole network.)
The system El-Tantawy has developed is based on individualized intersection control, and comes with lower capital costs and risks of interruption compared to the adaptive control system. As she explains it, "each intersection sends and receives information from its neighbours, and each of the neighbours do this in a cascading fashion." Essentially, the lights at each intersection communicate with the ones at the connecting intersections, and this allows the lights at each intersection to change based on what those neighbouring lights are doing.

Unlike scheduled cascading traffic lights (where you hit a series of greens in a row if traffic conditions allow you to pace yourself just right), this system includes real-time responses to changing traffic conditions. "Each one decides for itself," El-Tantawy says, "but it considers what decisions what might be taken by the neighbours by having a model for each neighbour, and that model is built based on receiving information every second. They are actually deciding simultaneously."

According to El-Tantawy's simulation models, her traffic management system—called Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning for Integrated Network of Adaptive Traffic Signal Controllers (or MARLIN-ATSC)—can reduce delays by up to 40 per cent, and yield a 15-25 per cent savings in travel time. It can also have environmental knock-off effects—up to a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, since vehicles are spending less time on the road and travelling more efficiently when they do.

City of Toronto staff are aware of El-Tantawy's work, and she's hoping it will eventually be implemented in some intersections here. She needs to conduct field tests first, however, and is currently looking for quieter areas suitable for pilot projects next summer.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Samah El-Tantawy

Ryerson and St. Michael's Hospital partner on new research centre

The development of medical science has always been driven by advances in technology, and modern innovations are bringing the two closer together than ever. To help make the most of that relationship, St. Michael's Hospital and Ryerson University have announced a new partnership: an initiative that will allow clinician scientists from the former and engineers from the latter to work together collaboratively.

The Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology (iBest) will be housed in the Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael's, and will include space for about 15 Ryerson faculty members and another 40 or so students—researchers whose work has health care applications. It will also include a new incubator, similar to Ryerson's well-known Digital Media Zone, specifically for the development of biomechanical products that can be commercialized and used in patient care.

"I think it's the increased reliance on technological developments in the delivery of medical treatment that has catalyzed collaborations" like iBest, says Dr. Ori Rotstein, director of the Keenan Research Centre. "In the era before computing to have a computer scientist to help you manage data wasn't really something that you did," he adds by way of example. "Before computers and advanced engineering it was kind of ad hoc."

These collaborations reflect an advancement that certainly is welcome, and perhaps overdue. Though there are many sectors that have been working in this interdisciplinary way for a long time, it has come more slowly in academic medical contexts. Rotstein goes on: "Industry has been doing this for a long time. There are lot of companies that make medical devices that have been doing this for a long time. Academic institutions have been siloed…but the need is really an imperative."

In addition to advances in patient care, iBest will provide new opportunities for student training. "The idea will be that we're going to collaborate in student supervision," Rotstein explains. "That means it's possible if there's a medical student or a resident who wants to do his or her research training in an area that's relevant to science and engineering…they could be co-supervised."

iBest is slated to open in the spring of 2015.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ori Rotstein, Director, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science
Photo: Yuri Markarov, Medical Media, St. Michael's Hospital
99 Higher Education Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts