Day #1: Scientific Discoveries 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 1:00 – 4:30 pm

More details are coming soon! We're working hard to put together a curriculum that includes Canada's leading investigators, healthcare professionals and up-and-coming researchers. 

1:00 pm - Welcome & Introduction

Presented by:

  • Dr. Wyeth Wasserman — Vice-President Research, BC Children’s Hospital, PHSA; Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; Senior Scientist, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics

Program Moderator: 

  • Emilie Théberge  Emilie is a graduate student in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, training under the co-supervision of Dr. Jessica Dennis and Dr. Wendy Robinson. For her research, she is passionate about investigating the biological differences between women and men that contribute to their risk of developing depression and heart disease. In her free time, Emilie loves to enjoy BC’s trails through jogs and hikes with friends, and also loves dance, drawing, and coffee.
1:15 pm — Research Presentation

Scientific Discovery is Just a Beginning to Helping Children Lead Healthier Lives
A key challenge in automotive safety research is making cars safer. A similar challenge exists with the use of medicines (drugs). How do we make drugs — the prescribing of which is the most frequent of all medical interventions — safer for all patients? Drugs are like cars; a great help in many respects, but that help sometimes comes with a substantial cost of harm. I use the sciences of pharmacology and medical genetics to understand why some people benefit from drugs and others are harmed. How scientific discovery is "Just a Beginning" in helping children lead healthier lives will be discussed in this presentation, using these two sciences as examples. The great thing about clinical pharmacology science is that discovery can occur as part of any medical specialty because every doctor uses drugs to treat patients. This is great news for aspiring scientists who often ask — what field of medicine should I consider as the most promising for scientific discovery? The answer? Any and all of them. There is much more to discover!

Presented by: 

  • Dr. Bruce Carleton — Dr. Carleton has been at the BC Children’s Hospital for nearly 30 years. He is Director of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Programme and Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Genetics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Population & Public Health at UBC. He is Chair of the Division of Translational Therapeutics in the Department of Pediatrics and a Senior Clinician Scientist at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. His work in human genetics is more recent, since 2004. When he isn’t working he can be found boating, hiking, biking and surfing in exotic locations. The latter of course pre-pandemic. Now his exotic destinations include El Patio de Cabana and La Kitchen.
2:00 pm — Break

15 minute wellness break

2:15 pm — Research Jeopardy

A classic game show with a twist! This interactive game will let you compete for prizes and put your classroom knowledge to the ultimate test.

2:30 pm — An Introduction to Research

For the activities below students will be separated into smaller virtual groups: 

Group #1 — At Home Experiment: Extracting DNA from a Banana
DNA provides instructions for assembling proteins that perform most of the work in the cell. Therefore, researchers can learn a lot about an organism just by studying its DNA. For this hands-on experiment, we will break apart the cells in a banana and extract its DNA in a similar way scientists extract DNA for analysis in the lab. This activity will only require common household items to complete so you can follow along and perform the experiment at home.

Please note, you will be responsible for arranging the required materials: Peeled ripe banana, hot water, salt, liquid dish soap, resealable ziplock bag, cold rubbing alcohol, coffee filter, narrow glass, wooden stirrer

Presented by: 

  • Samantha Mar — Sam is a Master’s student in the Francis Lynn lab at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. She attended Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver for high school. More recently, Sam completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at UBC and started grad school this year. Ever since doing high school labs, she has always been excited to perform experiments and test out hypotheses. Outside of school and research, Sam enjoys exploring nature and the city as well as preparing elaborate meals for friends and family. She is looking forward to leading everyone through a fun, hands-on experiment.

Group #2 — Behind-the-scenes demo: Isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from human blood
Blood is a rich source of immune cells. Immunologists need to isolate immune cells (white blood cells) in order to perform experiments to better understand the mechanism of the immune system. One way in which white blood cells can be isolated from blood is through a process known as density gradient centrifugation, wherein different components of blood are isolated based upon their different densities. Discover how this is done in BCCHR labs with fresh human blood. 

Presented by:

  • Kwestan Safari — Kwestan is a Master’s student in experimental medicine in Dr. Laura Sly’s lab at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University. Kwestan’s project focuses on targeting intestinal fibrosis in Crohn’s Disease, which is a type of Inflammatory bowel disease that Canada has the highest incidence of in the world.

Group #3 - Measuring fundamental movement skills in young children. Can you complete the tasks?  
Development of fundamental movement skills in children is critical to set the foundations for an active, healthy lifestyle. Researchers have developed a tool to help evaluate where children are in developing these skills called the TGMD 3 (the test of gross motor development third edition). We will walk through how to use this tool and try out some of these fundamental movements skills as a group. 

Presented by:

  • Alysha Deslippe - Alysha is a behavioural researcher working in the field of health promotion. The majority of her work focuses on improving the dietary behaviours of teens and understanding the factors that affect boys and girls food choices differently. Currently she works as a manager for the Masse lab until she continues her studies at the PhD level in the fall. 
3:00 pm — Break

15 minute wellness break

Time to reset your focus and reenergize! For those that are interested, join us for a short facilitated stretch. 

3:15 pm — Research Presentation

Big Genes and Little Genes
Have you ever wondered why some people are taller than others? Human height is largely under genetic control, but there is no "height gene." Instead, there are many, many genes that affect human height, and most of them have small effects that add up together with other ones. Sometimes, though, a person can have one genetic change that makes a big difference in their final height. Join Dr. Bill Gibson, Medical Geneticist and co-discoverer of Cohen-Gibson syndrome, for a short talk about genetic effects both large and small.

Presented by:

  • Dr. William Gibson - Investigator, BC Children's Hospital; Senior Clinician Scientist, Laboratory for Obesity Genetics and Indirect Calorimetry (LOGIC), BC Children's Hospital Research Institute; Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
4:00 pm — Reach a Researcher

Create a personal connection with one of our world-class researchers. This is your chance to participate in a small group discussion with someone who has first-hand knowledge of the diverse careers available in science and medicine, as well as the benefits and challenges of studying health sciences.

Students will be separated into smaller virtual groups. 

Group #1 - Panelists include: 

  • Dr. Katelynn Boerner — Dr. Boerner is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Tim Oberlander. Her fellowship is funded by the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program and she conducts research examining the influence of sex and gender on pediatric pain over development. She also providers clinical care as a psychologist with the Complex Pain Service at BC Children's Hospital.
  • Nisha Marshall — Graduate Student, UBC Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, Yong Research Team

Group #2 - Panelists include: 

  • Dr. Ed Li  Graduate Student, UBC School of Population & Public Health, Ansermino Research Team; Anesthesiologist
  • Vaishnavi Sridhar — Vaishnavi Sridhar is a PhD candidate in Cell and Developmental Biology in the Conibear lab at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, UBC. She studies proteins required for cell organelles to contact each other and the relevance of these inter-organellar contacts for cellular function and disease. Originally from India, she completed an Integrated BS-MS, majoring in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and moved to Vancouver in 2017 for her PhD. She volunteers with Science World as part of their Scientists and Innovators in schools and community scientist initiative. She is a project coordinator with the youth engagement committee of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) and coordinates projects to engage young learners in STEAM. She is a Graduate Student Ambassador at UBC and shares her experiences about graduate school with new incoming students. She hopes to impart her knowledge and experiences to her mentees. When not in lab, she can be found taking a walk on UBC campus, watching Netflix, volunteering,  doing origami or cooking something delicious.

Group #3 - Panelists include: 

  • Mimi Kuan — Mimi is a Research Assistant with the Division of Neonatology at BC Children's Hospital. She completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University (Pharmacology major and Kinesiology minor) and completed a master's degree at UBC in Experimental Medicine. Throughout her academic journey, Mimi was fortunate enough to dabble in both basic science and clinical researches. Outside of research, she loves hiking, drawing, and playing basketball. 
  • Dr. Claire Seaton — Dr. Seaton is a general pediatrician who works in the BC Children’s Hospital Asthma Clinic and the Inpatient General Pediatric Clinical Teaching Unit. She is also the Program Director of the newly created Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship Program here at BCCH. Her research interests are focused on quality improvement and knowledge translation, and she is currently involved in multiple projects at the provincial level for Asthma and Bronchiolitis research.   
4:30 pm - Closing Remarks


Learn more about participating!