A Growing Phobia

Supervisor phobia, as I call it, is an irrational fear that I have seen often among trainees in my 30-plus years as a faculty member. Yes, some principal investigators are harsh and unsupportive. But in my experience, this phobia is unrelated to a supervisor’s behaviour — or even to a graduate student’s or postdoc’s initial promise. Instead, it describes junior…
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Aiden Gibbons was three days old when doctors noticed he was missing something most people take for granted: the coloured ring-shaped membrane behind the cornea of the eye known as the iris. It’s a genetic condition called aniridia that impacts about 5,000 people in North America at birth. Those living with the defect wear dark contact lenses to limit exposure…
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The power of environmental DNA (eDNA) is just being tapped. Field surveys to determine if species are present or absent can be labour intensive, expensive and subject to uncertainties especially where species distribution is poorly understood or unknown. eDNA has the potential to become a tool for supporting decisions regarding environmental management, monitoring and impacts. To validate eDNA as an…
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To some of my students’ displeasure, I have my office hours on Friday afternoons. I prepare for this ancient tradition of face-to-face, pen-and-paper pedagogy by tidying my office, purging unwanted scraps of paper, removing half-empty coffee cups, and sometimes even plugging in an air freshener. Then I sit in my swivel chair, arms crossed, and wait for the barrage of…
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Dr. David Vocadlo is a Canada Research Chair and professor in the Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University. In addition to his work at the university, Dr. Vocadlo is also the CSO of Alectos Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company he co-founded based on an idea inspired by his academic research. We sat down with Dr. Vocadlo to discuss his journey…
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SFU researchers have created a patent-pending, optical diagnostic probe capable of more safely and non-invasively detect early stage breast cancer. Recent testing of their diffuse optical breast-scanning (DOB-Scan) probe during an initial clinical study at Surrey’s Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre found that it can conclusively confirm cancer, while also providing more detail about “suspicious tissue” than conventional…
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Approximately one-third of Ph.D. students are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder like depression, a recent study reports. Although these results come from a small sample—3659 students at universities in Flanders, Belgium, 90% of whom were studying the sciences and social sciences—they are nonetheless an important addition to the growing literature about the prevalence of mental…
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By the time a person with Parkinson’s disease (PD) receives a diagnosis, they have already lost a substantial amount of their brain dopamine and a lesser extent of brain serotonin. A new international study looked at people with an inherited gene mutation linked to PD prior to or at the earliest stages of disease onset to determine if a reduction…
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B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison has donated $75 million to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver. The St. Paul’s Foundation says the donation is the largest by a private citizen to a single medical facility in Canadian history. “Jim Pattison’s gift will help us realize an exceptionally rare opportunity to build a major medical and research centre from the ground up,”…
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