Congratulations are extended to Mojgan Rastegar, Genevieve P. Delcuve, and James R. Davie on the recent article: Epigenetic Analysis of Pluripotent Cells. Published in Human Stem Cell Technology and Biology, A Research Guide and Laboratory Manual, pages 273-288.
Email message from the David T. Barnard, Ph.D., President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba - dated November 23, 2010
Melissa Bailey is currently a project student with Dr. Mojgan Rastegar, Biochemistry & Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba
It is my great pleasure to announce that two University of Manitoba students have been named Rhodes Scholars for 2011. That two of three Prairie region Rhodes Scholars for 2011 are University of Manitoba students speaks volumes about the quality of students we attract to this institution; the high-calibre of faculty who teach and mentor them in research opportunities; and the abundance of support services in place at this university to help nurture and encourage students to be the best they can be.
The Rhodes Scholarships do not focus exclusively on academic achievement. Applicants also are assessed on their dedication and commitment to the betterment of their community and the people who live there. These students consistently demonstrate excellence, not only in the classroom and laboratory, but on our campus and in our cities, towns and neighbourhoods. They are outstanding students and tremendous people.
The University of Manitoba has produced a total of 95 Rhodes Scholars since the award was created in 1904. That’s more than any other university in Western Canada and is, particularly given our relatively small population, something in which we should all take great pride.
This year, we are honoured to celebrate two exemplary students. Melissa Bailey is in the process of completing a B.Sc.(Hons.) in genetics and microbiology. She has taken full advantage of the opportunities placed in her path during her studies at the University of Manitoba. She has conducted research in genetics and stem cell biology and has worked at both the National Microbiology Laboratory and at the Max Planck Institute of Microbiology in Germany. Outside of her academic pursuits, Ms. Bailey is an accomplished athlete in aerial dance. Her commitment to her community is evident in her work as a coordinator of the Let’s Talk Science program in public schools and her development of dance programs for disadvantaged youth in Winnipeg. Ms. Bailey intends to use her scholarship to pursue her interest in stem cell research through a M.Sc. in Clinical Medicine.
Jody Reimer is completing her B.A. (Hons.) in Mathematics and Religion. In addition to her academic excellence, Ms. Reimer is also active in language studies, hiking, cycling and community outreach. She has taught as an assistant at the university, as well as a volunteer in India with the Ten Thousand Villages program. She has studied in Finland as part of her degree program, and has been a dedicated leader in recreational programming. Ms. Reimer intends to use her scholarship to pursue an M.Sc. in Mathematics through research in the application of mathematics to problems in biology.
Both of these exceptional students will now have the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England for two or three years, beginning in October, 2011. They take with them all they have learned and experienced here at the University of Manitoba. It makes me very proud to know that this institution, and the people who work here, have helped these two women attain this prestigious distinction.
I also wish to congratulate Braden O’Neill, a recent graduate of the University of Alberta, who was the third Prairie region recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship for 2011.
While I send my congratulations out to our two new Rhodes Scholars, I also wish to take this opportunity to offer my heart-felt thanks to the dedicated members of the President’s Advisory Committee on Rhodes Scholarships who work diligently to identify prospective applicants, help mentor them through the application process and assist in preparing the applicants for the rigorous interview process. Indeed, my thanks go out to the entire university community. Each of you, in your way, help to support and nurture these leaders of tomorrow. Thank you for your commitment to this process.
Congratulations again to our most recent Rhodes Scholars. Their accomplishments make me very proud to be a member of this university.
David T. Barnard, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Manitoba
Dr. Marcel C. Blanchaer: April 4, 1921 to July 12, 2010
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Marcel Corneille Blanchaer on Monday, July 12, 2010 at the age of 89 - click here for full obiturary Dr. Blanchaer was born on April 4, 1921 in Belgium. Dr. Blanchaer was Head of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Manitoba, from 1964 to 1972. In 1991 Dr. Blanchaer was appointed Professor Emeritus. His research areas were in clinical chemistry and muscle metabolism resulting in over 60 publications. However, Dr. Blanchaer was best known for his innovative teaching methods. From the very beginning of the era of personal computers he developed numerous computer-based tutorials in biochemistry which received international acclaim. This work was acknowledged by the Saunderson Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Education Excellence Award of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. His computer tutorials can still be viewed on the net - Biochemistry Case Studies (Tutorials)
Join us in congratulating Dr. Francis Amara on the opening of the Inner City Science Centre on Thursday, December 10, 2009! Five years ago Dr. Amara had a vision & with a lot of very hard work - the vision is now becoming a reality!
Congratulations to Dr. Francis Amara, for the excellent article "Inner City Science Centre Brings Group Together" published in the Winnipeg Foundation's Spring 2009 magazine!
Posted April 21/09
Key to rare genetic disorder found
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009
Barbara Triggs-Raine with Carl Kleinsasser and his daughter Mackenzie. Kleinsasser lost a child to BCS.
Scientists at the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Institute of Child Health have discovered that a small change in a gene (EMG1) that is involved in cell growth is the cause of Bowen-Conradi Syndrome (BCS). Their findings were published in the online edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics and will be published in the print edition next month.
BCS is an inherited disorder that affects children, preventing them from growing and developing. Affected children typically die at birth or in early childhood. It occurs quite frequently among Hutterites of the Canadian Prairies and U.S. Great Plains. Knowing the genetic cause of this disorder is very important to this population as it provides a clear tool for diagnosing the condition and at the same time offers hope for a treatment in the future.
The Manitoba-led multidisciplinary group was made up of researchers in the Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Microbiology, Pediatrics & Child Health, Physiology and the Centre for Investigation of Genetic Disease at the Manitoba Institute of Child Health. The research also included an international team from the Excellence Center at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. Their team had been working with the same gene in yeast, where it was found that if it wasn’t present the yeast would die. This work hinted at the importance of the gene and encouraged the Manitoba team to move forward with their studies of the equivalent human gene.
The team in Manitoba localized the gene to human chromosome 12 in 2006. They have searched through a region containing 59 genes on this chromosome, spanning a region of approximately 2 million nucleotides, to find the one change that causes Bowen Conradi Syndrome.
“Identifying the gene was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Although we knew approximately where to look in the haystack, the needle was camouflaged to look like the surrounding hay,” said Dr.Barbara Triggs-Raine. “The experiments we performed to make sure that we had the needle, and not the hay, were what showed EMG1 to be the right gene.”
Start-up funding from the Manitoba Institute of Child Health and subsequent funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation, together with strong cooperation from the local Hutterite community, were central to the success of the research team.
The gene that is affected is involved in making ribosomes, large molecules essential for making proteins that are required for cells to grow. Genes involved in synthesizing ribosomes have been identified to be defective in several genetic disorders such as Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome and Diamond-Blackfan Anemia.
The Manitoba Institute of Child Health is the research division of The Children’s Hospital Foundation. The Institute is dedicated to excellence in pediatric research. At the Institute, more than 220 world-class pediatric medical researchers, technical staff, students and support staff are involved in over $8 million of research and clinical trial activities each year. For more detailed information, visit http://www.mich.ca/.
Inner-city youths eager to learn in high-tech lab
Article by Nick Martin - Winnipeg Free Press
Friday, January 2, 2009
Ben Salins, coordinator of the Inner City Science Centre in the Niji Mahkwa School
with students Spring McKay (left), 11, and Cheyenne Johnson, 13, who will be in this program in the new year. The school’s principal calls it a “great opportunity.” ( WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES)
A story published April 2 announced that the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg School Division planned to build and operate an inner-city science centre at Niji Mahkwa School, a nursery to Grade 8 school at Stella Avenue near Salter Street with a 100 per cent aboriginal student population.
The centre would be open evenings and weekends for community use.
Now that centre is almost ready to go with the same equipment that graduate and medical students would use. Teachers will receive training in January and February, and elementary school students should be learning alongside U of M medical and science students by March.
There's something new and world-class in the old storage room down the hall at Niji Mahkwa School -- a university medical and science lab.
Every large university medical school does outreach, and they've all been the same -- until now, said Dr. Francis Amara, head of the biomedical youth program and a professor of biochemistry and medical genetics at the University of Manitoba.
Amara is unaware of anything else anywhere quite like the Inner City Science Centre.
The $100,000 lab will bring students as young as Grade 4 together with university professors and graduate students using the same sophisticated equipment as the medical campus a few blocks away.
Amara pointed to one machine on which students will be able to grow and manipulate cells.
Another is a $20,000 microscope, attached to a biomedical imaging screen on which students can manipulate material under the microscope.
"We can do manipulation of genetic materials here," he said.
The Inner City Science Centre is a partnership of U of M, Winnipeg School Division and the Winnipeg Foundation, but Amara expects parents will work to raise money to cover the annual operating costs of about $13,000.
"We know why kids in the inner city are at risk, not represented in proportion to the general population in medical school," said Amara.
Three years ago, Amara and other medical professors at U of M started talking about how to do effective outreach, after working on a Science Buddies program which saw them take equipment to about 15 schools. Universities also bring kids to campus for a tour or hold a short summer camp, said Amara.
"Universities all do it the same way -- you go to a school for half an hour. You might as well get a video from the Discovery Channel," said Amara.
But the Inner City Science Centre will operate 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. once it's up and running. Teachers will come there for training January and February, then start bringing their students.
"We want to create an attitude of science," he said.
When students walk by the lab, "It gets the smoke coming out of their ears," laughed Niji Mahkwa principal Rob Riel. "It's a great opportunity for the children to see a fully functioning high-end science lab within a school."
Niji Mahkwa will probably block off a week at a time for classrooms to use the Inner City Science Centre. "Like in universities, we'll do some course work and some lab work," Riel said.
Graduate student Ben Salins said the lab will inspire inner-city kids and push their science knowledge and ambitions to higher levels.
"We don't have too many First Nations doctors," said Salins, a program co-ordinator for the project. "If Canada is going to regain its pre-eminence in science, it's very important something like this happens."
Niji Mahkwa students Spring McKay and Cheyenne Johnson are avid members of Science Buddies who eagerly await being able to get into the science centre regularly.
"I'd like to be a doctor," said Cheyenne.
"Me too," echoed Spring.
Please see the following article written by Dr. Jane Evans.
(click on Canadian Pioneers to view the pdf)
Jane Evans. CANADIAN PIONEERS: John Laurence Hamerton.
Genome Volume 51, Number 4, April 2008 page iii-iv
January 31, 2008
Eugene Burchill with Dr. Louise Simard, Head
Presentation of the Double Helix quilt to the
Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Double Helix was designed in memory of Francis Crick after reading of his death in 2004. It is not meant to be a representation of the structure of crystalline DNA, but is rather a symbol of the era of intense activity in determination of the structures of biological molecules which was, to a large extent, triggered by the Watson/Crick model.
About the Artist
Eugene Burchill (Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba, retired) was born and raised on a farm near Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Educated at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Leeds (England), he taught for six years at the University of Victoria and for thirty one years at the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Burchill's interest in art quilts began with drafting templates and scaling patterns for his wife. This led him into design and when, after retirement, there was no rush to realize them, he took a deep breath, bought a sewing machine and started sewing.
His designs are strongly influenced by the geometric works of the late M.C. Escher, Dutch artist and print-maker.
New program nurtures budding scientists
|The graduating class of the Head Start Biomedical Youth Program.|
Fifteen Grade 5 and 6 students got hands-on experience as budding scientists in the recently launched Head Start Biomedical Youth Program.
The program ran for one week with the young scientists receiving their graduation diplomas on Friday, July 13 at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.
The program targeted Winnipeg inner city schools, with a specific focus on Aboriginal schools Niji Mahkwa, Marion and Fort Rouge.
Dr. Francis Amara, associate professor and senior scientist, department of biochemistry and medical genetics, Faculty of Medicine, said this initiative is designed to give students of under-represented minorities and low socio-economic backgrounds an introduction to science and research.
The goal of the program is to encourage them to learn more about science and to eventually pursue careers in the health profession.
Jasmine Boulette, who proudly said she’s entering grade six at Niji Mahkwa School had a great time.
“I really liked the tour and the science experiment,” she said.
When asked what she would like to accomplish as a scientist, she answered, “I want to learn how long mosquitoes live and I want to cure cancer.”
Boulette’s excitement was demonstrated by all 15 participants as they toured the lab facilities at both St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre and the Faculty of Medicine and later participated in hands-on experiments with grad students.
Next year the program will continue, and Dr. Amara would like to see more inner city students have the opportunity to participate.
“I am hoping that this program will create a sustainable interest in science, and have an impact on the career choices for these children,” said Dr. Amara.
The Head Start Biomedical Youth Program and the Science Buddies Program are proudly sponsored by the Faculty of Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Sanofi-Aventis Biotech, MINDSET Manitoba, and the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education.