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  • December 20, 2017
    A medication used to treat joint and skin conditions might also help people whose only hope of surviving cancer is receiving stem cells from a donor, according to research by a University of British Columbia scientist.Transplants of blood stem cells, which can differentiate into all types of blood cells, can be a cure for life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma. But the treatment is often not pursued, because typical donations – often from umbilical cord blood – are unlikely to take root in a patient’s bone marrow and grow into a self-sustaining, blood-forming system....
  • December 5, 2017
    As scientists make fast and concerted advancements in life-saving technologies, the squeeze on funding could threaten their momentum. That’s where Dr Philip Hieter, President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (CSMB), comes in. To get the ‘biggest bang for their buck’, the CSMB is leveraging its collective knowledge and talents by focusing on the most pressing issues facing fundamental research, like funding. Through advocacy and education, they aim to influence not only present and future scientists, but decision makers in the Canadian government and the world. In 1957 the...
  • November 30, 2017
    In two small offices of the Michael Smith Laboratories, among the controlled chaos of labs and data, a small team of industrious journalists record a radio show and podcast called Cited. Last month, their hard work was rewarded with one of British Columbia’s most prestigious awards for journalism: The Jack Webster Award in Feature and Enterprise Reporting, for their episode The Heroin Clinic.Cited originally rose out of The UBC Terry Project. Founded by Dr. Dave Ng, science educator and director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory at the MSL, and Dr. Allen Sens, a professor in UBC’s...
  • November 30, 2017
    Pioneering researchers are finding astonishing evidence that tiny gut microbes may hold the key to preventing – or even curing – asthma and food allergies. Here’s why they say it’s time we learn to love our bacteria. First published in Allergic Living magazine; to subscribe click here.  Microbes exist everywhere – in water, air, soil, plants and animals, and from the coldest regions of the Antarctic to the boiling hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea. According to microbiologist Brett Finlay, there are far more bacteria on Earth than there are stars in the sky...
  • November 27, 2017
    These renowned individuals are among the 125 laureates of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF), which recognizes Canadian heroes whose work has advanced health.Established in 1994, the national charitable organization aims to inspire pursuit of careers in the health sciences, while celebrating the country’s rich medical history.In April of 2018, an induction ceremony will see Canadian and international leaders recognize six new laureates.Among the inductees will be Dr. Brett Finlay — UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor at the Michael Smith Laboratories — who will add this prestigious...
  • November 6, 2017
    The great quantity of microbes that call our large intestine home have far-reaching influences on our overall health. Dietary fiber, known to scientists as complex polysaccharides, drive gut homeostasis by providing a food source to the intestinal microbiome.Prof. Harry Brumer established an international collaboration with Prof. Eric Martens, at the University of Michigan, and Prof. Gideon Davies, at the University of York, to unravel the intricate strategy adopted by the gut symbiont B. ovatus and other Bacteroidetes species to utilize dietary fiber. Together, they combined their expertise...
  • October 30, 2017
    Aided by climate change, the Mountain Pine Beetle has already spread into BC’s forests and threatens forests in eastern Canada.A quiet battle is being fought in the forests of western North America, and millions of pine trees are dying in its wake. Shades of green that once permeated the flora of British Columbia’s forests are disappearing.The insides of lodgepole pines are turning blue with a fungus — it is aptly named the blue stain fungus.  The trees’ needles are shifting to shades of dull brownish-red. Aerial surveys have observed rolling hills of northwestern pine forests stretching...
  • October 10, 2017
    Lisa A. Reynolds and B. Brett Finlay - both from the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada - explain in an article published in the journal Nature Reviews Immunology how the immune system reacts to foreign substances.Our immune cells are always on the lookout for dangers, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxic substances. When these molecules enter the body - through the lungs, mouth, intestine, or skin - the immune system can react by labeling them as either harmless or dangerous.Most of the time, our bodies accept or...
  • October 3, 2017
    Dr. Bryce Taylor, Chair of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) announced today that Dr. B. Brett Finlay was among six new laureates who have been selected for induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Finlay is a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, with joint appointments in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is internationally recognized in the field of host-microbe interactions and a major leader in efforts to improve Canadian health.Finlay’s research interests are focused on understanding how...
  • September 13, 2017
    Dr. Finlay speaks at The Royal Institution, an organisation devoted to scientific education and research, based in London England.Let Them Eat Dirt: Raising our kids with their microbesQ&A period
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