Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company and a leading developer and manufacturer of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived products, today announced it has signed a distribution agreement with STEMCELL Technologies, a world leader in iPS cell culture media. “This joint agreement with STEMCELL Technologies will make iPSC technology widely available to researchers worldwide, helping advance biological research leading to cellular…
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Researchers Find More Multiple Sclerosis-Causing Mutations

Less than a year after publishing research identifying a single genetic mutation that caused multiple sclerosis (MS) in two Canadian families, scientists at the University of British Columbia have found a combination of two other mutations in another family that made them highly susceptible to the disease. The “double gene” mutation was identified in a large Canadian family with five…
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Imagine this: What if scientists had a tool that allowed them to edit genes directly, altering their underlying DNA? The science-fictional applications, like designer babies or Frankensteined organisms, would be obvious—although ethical and legal rules in science and medicine might prevent such uses. Immediate applications would be more mundane, but also more significant: understanding and treating disease, manufacturing new types…
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Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapies induce clinical remission with remarkable effects on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, very few TKIs completely eradicate the leukemic clone and persistence of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) remains challenging, warranting new, distinct targets for improved treatments. We demonstrated that the scaffold protein AHI-1 is highly deregulated in LSCs and interacts with multiple proteins, including Dynamin-2…
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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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