McGill researchers included in IRIC-led cancer initiative

$10M awarded to IRIC for the development of new cancer-fighting drugs and immunotherapies

NEWS PROVIDED BY Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal Jun 04, 2019, 12:56 ET

Dr. Nada Jabado at the Research Institute of the MUHC and Pr. Morag Park from the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre will join forces with IRIC, CRCHUM, MILA, and the Centres de recherche du CHUL et CHUS to provide new cancer-fighting drugs and immunotherapies. This initiative led by IRIC was awarded a $10-million dollar grant from the government of Quebec’s Fonds d’accélération des collaborations en santé, at the BIO International Convention, held in Philadelphia this week. Read more.


Taking stock of the implications of genomic advances

by Patrick McDonagh

Yann Joly is the researcher director for the Centre of Genomics and Policy, and Bartha Knoppers is its director (Photo: Owen Egan)

In November 2018, Chinese biophysics researcher He Jiankui shocked the world with the announcement that he had created the world’s first gene-edited infants. A storm of condemnation followed.

“The fact that you can now edit genes more precisely than ever before raises some classical issues that have been coming up since the in vitro birth of Louise Brown, the first ‘test tube baby,’ in 1978,” says Bartha Knoppers, PhD, LLB’78, BCL’81, director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, based in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.

In response, she and CGP colleague Erika Kleiderman, BSc’10, outlined these “classical issues” in the January 2019 Canadian Medical Association Journal; they included the potential for eugenic manipulation, the possibility of future health risks to children unanticipated by the gene-editing, a general concern about regulatory frameworks, and the potential for a chilling effect on less controversial gene-editing research. Read more here


The unanticipated early origins of childhood brain cancer

Canadian researchers identify earliest traces of brain cancer long before the disease becomes symptomatic

Brain tumours are the leading cause of non-accidental death in children in Canada, but little is known about when these tumours form or how they develop. Researchers from SickKids, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and McGill University, have recently identified the cells that are thought to give rise to certain brain tumours in children and discovered that these cells first appear in the embryonic stage of a mammal’s development – far earlier than they had expected.

Their findings, published today in Nature, could lead the way to the discovery of better treatments to attack these lethal tumours.

“The brain is extraordinarily complex. These findings are not only important for better understanding brain tumours but they will also allow us to learn more about these cells and how they work, in order to help children with neurodevelopmental delays. What we have accomplished as a team in this study brings hope for patients,” says co-lead of the study, Dr. Nada Jabado, paediatric hemato-oncologist and senior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and a professor of Pediatrics and Human genetics at McGill University. Read more here.


Québec siblings with rare orphan disease lead to discovery of rare genetic diseases

Discovery of mutations in ACTL6B gene offers insight into brain development

Mutations in a gene involved in brain development have led to the discovery of two new neurodevelopmental diseases by an international team led by researchers at McGill University and CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center.

The first clues about the rare disorder arose after doctors were unable to diagnose why two siblings from Québec City were experiencing seizures and neurodevelopmental deficits. Desperate, the children’s family turned to Carl Ernst at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal for answers.

Ernst, who is also a professor in McGill’s Department of Psychiatry, and his team used harvested skin cells from the toddlers and “reprogrammed” them to assume a stem cell-like state—induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). By making neurons from the iPSCs and comparing them to those of healthy individuals, the researchers found that they did not develop properly. Upon further investigation, they discovered a potential culprit: the family carried a mutation in ACTL6B – an epigenetic regulator implicated in neuronal development.

Read more here.


 

Read More Posts From This Section »

Funding, Jobs and Other Announcements:

Jobs and Other Opportunities:

  • Research Associate Position – Laboratory of Dr. Thai Hoa Tran, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • McGill Doctoral Internship Program offers McGill’s doctoral students at the end of their degree the opportunity to learn and grow outside of academia through a 3-month remunerated internship. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Click here for testimonials.

Awards – Call for Nominations:

Funding Opportunities

Read More Posts From This Section »

June 2019

  • June 20, 2019 at 12:00pm – HG Summer BBQ to be held at the Three Bares Fountain, outside the Redpath Museum.  Register here by June 12, 2019

Pre-announcement of Harmonization of Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGSD) Program

Canada’s three federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have announced the harmonization of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) Program.

On June 27th, 2019, the Tri-Agencies will launch the first phase of the CGS D harmonization with a new common CGS D landing page, as well as a harmonized timeline and program description.  In addition, starting with the upcoming CGS D competition, institutions will submit their health research applications to CIHR in a process similar to that of NSERC and SSHRC. As such, eligible Canadian institutions will receive quotas corresponding to the number of CGS D applications they may submit to each granting agency for consideration in the national competition.

It is important to note that applications will continue to be submitted via each of the agency platforms (CIHR: ResearchNet, NSERC: On-Line System, SSHRC: On-Line System). SSHRC will be launching a fully automated online application process, including letters of appraisal for its Doctoral awards competition (SSHRC On-line System).

More information to follow once it is available.

Harmonized competition timeline

 

June 27 Granting Agencies official launch
GPS deadline to submit recommended applications for all 3 agencies (SSHRC, CIHR & NSERC) Early October
October 17 Direct applications are due to agencies.
November 21 Institutions submit their allotted quota of applications to agencies.
April Notice of decisions are released.

2019-2020 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program

The Vanier scholarship program was launched by the Government of Canada to attract and retain world class doctoral students. The following is for general information only. Complete details regarding the Vanier program can be found on the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship website.

This funding opportunity encourages students to pursue their doctoral studies at institutions different from those where they completed a previous degree(s) in order to broaden research horizons and seek new challenges. Candidates nominated by a university at which they have completed a previous degree will be asked to provide a compelling rationale as to why they have chosen to remain or return.

Value and Duration of Award: $50,000 per year for three years

Eligibility Criteria:

  • To be considered for a Vanier CGS, the applicant must be nominated by only one Canadian university.
  • A minimum McGill-equivalent CGPA of 3.70 for ALL degrees obtained to date (i.e. Undergraduate and graduate). Note: Only students who completed their undergraduate training in a university other than McGill will be considered unless a compelling justification can be provided.
  • For current PhD-level students: you must have completed fewer than 20 months of doctoral studies by May 1, 2020.
  • For MSc students: you must have completed the MSc requirements, or transferred to the PhD, no later than September 2020.
  • Demonstrated past and/or current leadership potential as described by Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.

Deadline for applicants to submit a hardcopy of application, all official transcripts, letters of reference: September  10, 2019.


New courses

MATH 682  –  Statistical Inference-  Fall 2019

This course is offered by QLS in conjunction with the Math department.  The topics covered  include: Conditional probability and Bayes’ Theorem, discrete and continuous univariate and multivariate distributions, conditional distributions, moments, independence of random variables. Modes of convergence, weak law of large numbers, central limit theorem. Point and interval estimation. Likelihood inference. Bayesian estimation and inference. Hypothesis testing.

EXSU 505 – Trends in Precision Oncology – Fall 2019

This course is designed to provide students with novel and emerging paradigms in cancer detection, management and treatment, and enable them to identify key knowledge gaps that need to be filled by the next generation of clinicians and scientists in oncology.  EXSU 505 will be taught as a series of multidisciplinary lectures based on students active participation. The course will include assigned readings, two group oral presentations combined with short written (individual) assignments, and a final written assignment in the form of a succinct research proposal  Student performance will be evaluated based on participation and successful  completion of written and oral assignments.  For further information please contact course coordinators:  Dr. David Labbé or Dr. Livia Garzia.


5-Week Courses on Academic Writing and Presenting

This spring, Graphos is offering 5-week, pass/fail courses designed to help students develop clear and coherent manuscripts and oral presentations.

Cornerstones of Academic Writing (CEAP 642)
Fundamentals of Academic Presentations
(CEAP 652)
Literature Review 1: Summary and Critique
(CEAP 661) 

If English is not your first language and you are new to academic writing in English, please consider these specialised courses:

Strategies for Effective Communication in English (CESL 631)
Fundamentals of Academic Writing in English (CESL 641)
Pronunciation for Effective Communication (CESL 651)

Doctoral students and many Master’s students can take the courses without extra fees, thanks to the University’s tuition sponsorship program.  Registration is also open for our fall and winter courses, including CEAP 665 (Lit Review 2) and CCOM 614 (Communicating Science to the Public).

If you have questions about these courses or other Graphos and McGill Writing Centre offerings (workshops, peer writing groups, writing retreats, tutorial service), please contact us at graphos@mcgill.ca.


Graduate Mobility Awards 2018-19

The Graduate Mobility Award, successfully launched in 2016, encourages graduate students to study and conduct research abroad as part of their McGill degree program.

A recent review by the Quebec Ministry of Education has led to changes in the program rules. New regulations concerning award value and eligibility criteria will therefore come into effect as of April 1st, 2019. Applications approved at the Faculty level as of April 1st  must adhere to the amended regulations.

 Amendments in Value of Award

Going forward, the amount of funding provided by the Graduate Mobility Award must be between $750 and $1,500 per month. The amount of funding for travel of duration shorter than a month will be prorated accordingly.

 Amendments in Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the Graduate Mobility Awards, students:

  • May travel for up to 2 terms (period may not exceed 8 months);
  • Cannot undertake a research project in a country where they hold citizenship (unless they are a permanent resident or citizen of Canada);
  • Cannot undertake a research project at an institution where they have previously completed a degree.

Other Mobility Opportunities

The GPS website lists several external funding opportunities that support international travel. These include, but are not limited to, the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements for CGSM, CGSD and Vanier holders; the Québec / Foreign Government Scholarship Program with multiple destinations; and the Mitacs Globalink Research Award which provides $6,000 for 12–24-week research projects at universities overseas.


Important update on the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

On February 14, 2019, Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made important changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program. The new guidelines are effective as of February 14, 2019 and apply to applications received on or after this date.

Students now have 180 days from completion of their studies to apply for their PGWP from within Canada or from outside of Canada.

  • Be careful: Your study permit becomes invalid 90 days after completion of studies or the day on which it expires, whichever comes first, as per section 222 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. If you don’t apply for your PGWP before your study permit becomes invalid, you must either: apply to change your status to a visitor or leave Canada. See timeline below.

The new guidelines state that students who have changed their status to a visitor before their study permit expires, may subsequently apply for their PGWP from within Canada

  • Be careful: If you submit your PGWP application online from within Canada as a visitor, you will not have the authorization to work while you wait for your PGWP. Only PGWP applicants who had a valid study permit at the time they submitted their PGWP application can work full-time while waiting for a decision on their application as per section 186(w) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

New guidelines now require applicants to include both their transcript and proof of completion of studies when applying for their PGWP. Students that have taken a leave of absence, may still be eligible for the PGWP.

  • Be careful: The eligibility requirement for the PGWP is that you maintain a full-time student status in Canada throughout your studies. If you are concerned that you do not meet this eligibility requirement, please meet with an immigration advisor at ISS.

For the full text, please see IRCC’s website.


Important immigration update concerning study permits

As of January 11, 2019, international students must meet the following study permit conditions:

  • Remain enrolled until they complete their studies and
  • Actively pursue their studies

Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) now provides guidelines on how to determine whether or not an international student is compliant to their study permit conditions. These guidelines highlight the following:

  • International students in Quebec must be enrolled in full-time studies in order to be considered actively pursuing their studies.
  • International students are expected to make reasonable progress to complete their program.
  • International students who take an institutionally approved leave of no more than 150 days will be considered compliant and be considered to have actively pursued their studies.
  • If the leave is more than 150 days, then international students will need to change their status to a visitor or leave Canada prior to the end of the 150 day period.
  • International students in Canada with a valid study permit and who have deferred their admission can remain in Canada with their study permit up to 150 days, after which they must change their status to a visitor or leave Canada.

For more information, refer to IRCC’s website or contact ISS.


 

Read More Posts From This Section »