Around town: Operation Med School

Medical students learning from professor.This one’s for you if you have a high school student around the house who is thinking that med school could be a good option for post-secondary.

A group of enterprising Grade 11 and 12 students is putting on a one-day pre-medical conference for high school peers. Run as an annual event, Operation Med School exposes attendees to many aspects of working in health care by giving them a chance to meet medics, biomedical researchers and other professionals in the field of medicine. The Vancouver event takes place on Saturday, February 18, at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre of the University of British Columbia. (The team also runs similar events in Toronto and Calgary.) Admission includes a lunch card as well as networking opportunities with people who can help guide a future medical career.

Dear reader, I’m sure if you cast your mind waaay back (or even waaaay-er back for some), to those intense days of career planning for high school graduation, you will no doubt remember the heady mix of giddy excitement at the prospect of adulthood mixed with a good dose of

Around town: All creatures, great and small

vet_students_clinical_training_2006-08This weekend will see a gathering of the province’s veterinarians and staff in downtown Vancouver for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the Society of British Columbia Veterinarians (SBCV) Chapter Fall Conference and Trade Show. The program seems predominantly small animal–oriented, but in reality, vets across BC handle all sizes of patient, quadruped and biped, skin, scales, fur and feather in their daily working lives.

Have you ever wondered just how oddly varied a day’s work must be for a veterinarian?

While your local GP will open the surgery door to see only one species waiting in line, anything goes in the veterinarian’s waiting room—mammal, reptile, avian…fish?

For an example of the oddness routinely encountered by veterinarians, the first time I met with a chinchilla on the consult list, something that looked like a gremlin popped out of the pet carrier onto the table—not quite the fluffy cat I was expecting. Luckily the practice library (pre-Internet days, oh

Around town: 16th International Conference of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Mertz_and_Ninnis_arrive_at_Aladdin's_CaveThis week, Vancouver is hosting the 16th International Conference of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Jointly organized by three associations—the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences and the Pan-American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology—conference attendees will attend sessions over five days. These include two plenaries delivered by Nobel Prize winners, including Dr. Andrew Fire (2006; RNA gene silencing-interference by double stranded dsRNA).

The conference theme this year is “Signalling Pathways in Development, Diseases and Aging.” This is certainly a broad scope, since the three cover just about everything a cell will do in its lifetime. But why the excitement over cell signalling pathways? What are they, and how are they involved in aging, disease and development? And just why are biochemists and molecular biologists so interested anyway?

In a nutshell, it’s all about exploration.

Around town, a.k.a. back to school

By User Ancheta Wis on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons One of the reasons for highlighting upcoming science conferences in Vancouver in my Around Town series is that it gives me a push to find out more on a subject I may have little exposure to. It’s also a great inspiration for a regular series of blog posts!

Last month, press releases ahead of one of these conferences, the 68th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, caught my eye. As is common in the promotion of meetings for large organizations, the preceding month saw a few press releases announcing some of the research coming to the Vancouver Convention Centre. The first reported a preliminary study on the effect of daylight saving time (DST) on incidence of ischemic stroke, and the second investigated engagement in various mentally stimulating activities in older age and the effect on development of thinking and memory problems.

When I blog about upcoming events, I

Around town: 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

By The SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe Salish Sea—where?

Don’t worry if you’re scratching your head, wondering where in the world it is; the Salish Sea came into named being just under six years ago. In July 2010, the three bodies of North American West Coast water—Puget Sound, the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia—all came under the common regional name of the Salish Sea. Straddling the Canada–United States border, the new sea covers all the water from Desolation Sound in the north to Oakland Bay at the south end of Puget Sound.

It’s a busy area, with ship traffic heading to major ports