Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Article

Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Article

At the end of October, Trevor Young, the Dean of University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine wrote an article for their News publication. He wrote of innovation in healthcare and the various ways the Faculty of Medicine has striven to be a leader in this area. The research discoveries coming out of the University of Toronto fuel application, and the connections within and beyond the Faculty of Medicine facilitates an eco-system of innovation.

Among the infrastructure to drive the application of research are the commercialization support services, accelerators such as H2i, and the Translational Research Program.

“The University also offers more than 80 programs and courses that empower aspiring entrepreneurs to learn more about developing ideas and launching their own business. Among them is the Institute of Medical Science’s Translational Research Program (TRP), which welcomed its fourth cohort in September. This two-year master’s program helps build students’ ability to take discoveries out of labs and apply them in new ways.”

To finish off the article, Trevor Young states that collaboration is integral to innovation and stresses the importance of a network of researchers working together to drive innovation.

Read the full article here.

IMS50 Scientific Day Recap

IMS50 Scientific Day Recap

IMS50 Scientific Day was held on May 9, 2018 and out TRP students, staff and faculty participated in the special day. It was a great day of celebrating student and faculty achievements and hearing about all the exciting research being done at the IMS.

Highlights from the day include over 100 student poster presentations, an engaging IMS50 Panel Event featuring Alumni, Students and Faculty, moderated by TRP professor, Dr Rich Foty, and an excellent keynote address from Stefan-M. Pulst on targeting Ataxin-2 as a strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

The day ended with an awards ceremony and reception – recognizing all the remarkable achievements of our students and faculty over the last year. Click these links to see a full list of the student and faculty award winners. This year, TRP student and Director was recognized.   You can see a more detailed synopsis of the day by checking out IMS’s “Scientific Day Moment” on twitter.


TRP student, Craig Madho, receives three leadership awards

TRP student, Craig Madho, receives three leadership awards

Congratulations to TRP student Craig Madho on winning the Roncari Book Prize at IMS50 Scientific Day! The Roncari Book Prize Honours the memory of Dr. Daniel Roncari. It is presented to a student who has contributed to the academic experiences of graduate students. IMS50 Scientific Day was created to highlight the achievements of students and teachers and to initiate an environment where the two groups can interact.  In honour of IMS’s 50thanniversary, events will be held all year long.

Craig is currently finishing up his capstone project with his group members which looks at how nutritional resources for cancer outpatients can be improved. At the TRP he is an active member of the student social committee and organizing students to fundraise for cancer research through participating in the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer.

His leadership skills extend to the IMS community. He is the co-president of the Institute of Medical Science Students Association and co-founder of the groups’ mentorship program. The program’s aim to create a stronger student community. Craig is also a member of the Student Alumni Faculty Engagement committee and contributes to events such as UofT Talks.

In recognition of his contribution to enriching the graduate community, Craig is a proud recipient of two more awards at the University: The Graduate Community Development Fund award (GCDF) and the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award.

The GCDF award recognizes students who go above and beyond in making contributions to the graduate experience. The award was created in partnership with the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto.

The Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award is given to students who volunteer not just at the University, but in the surrounding community as well. Madho was only 1 of 8 students part of the Institute of Medical Science to be given the award

Our heartful congratulations to Craig!


AR/VR Seminar: “Developments in Medical Realities” by Andrea Bielecki, President of INVIVO Communications Inc.

AR/VR Seminar: “Developments in Medical Realities” by Andrea Bielecki, President of INVIVO Communications Inc.

A workshop was held on May 17th at the TRP by INVIVO Communications INC.

Andrea Bielecki, President, and James Hackett, Creative Director presented the possibilities for virtual and augmented learning experiences in biological sciences, medical contexts, health education and well-being applications. The seminar covered developments in AR & VR, challenges and opportunities of the different technologies & devices.







TRP Capstone Project featured at UofTMed Student Showcase 2018

TRP Capstone Project featured at UofTMed Student Showcase 2018

Our second-year graduate students, Catherine Rivers and Haley Roher, highlight their Capstone Project on the importance of falls prevention for older adults at the Faculty of Medicine annual Student MedShowcase event on April 20, 2018. They gave attendees a chance to try out an aging simulation suit, which health care providers can use to develop empathy for patients. Read more here.

Check out their Capstone page.

Photo Credit:  Faculty of Medicine Communication, Christopher Klinger
TRP student & alumna collaborate on Doctor’s Note, Toronto Star

TRP student & alumna collaborate on Doctor’s Note, Toronto Star

Hysterectomy is the most common major gynecologic procedure done in Canada, with more than 100 performed daily. This procedure involves the removal of all or part of the uterus, and may or may not include the cervix, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

Fibroids are the most common reason for hysterectomy, but the procedure can also be used to treat a variety of conditions including unmanageable uterine bleeding, prolapse, and precancerous changes. Hysterectomy can also be part of a treatment plan for cancers of the reproductive organs or to help prevent cancer.

Fibroids are also known as leiomyomas, affecting up to 70 per cent of women. They may grow in the cavity, wall, or outer surface of the uterus. They can vary in size, shape, and location.

Fibroids grow most in perimenopause but can develop any time. They tend to grow over the course of a woman’s reproductive years but generally become smaller after menopause.

Between 35 and 50 per cent of women with fibroids have no symptoms, and their fibroids are first detected during a routine pelvic exam or ultrasound. Others may have longer, heavier, more painful or more frequent periods, bleeding between periods, anemia, pelvic pain, pain during sex, abdominal cramps, constipation or a frequent need to urinate. Women with certain types of fibroids are also at higher risk for infertility and miscarriage.

Patients will often visit the gynaecologist simply because they’re found to have fibroids. But, it’s important to emphasize that fibroids themselves are not a problem; having fibroids that cause symptoms is a problem.

One misconception is that fibroids increase the risk of cancer. Though some people refer to them as fibroid tumours, tumour is a word that defines both benign and cancerous growths. The risk of cancer in this kind of tumour is very low.

Decades ago, hysterectomy was one of the very few options for treating symptomatic fibroids. The procedure can be done through a cut (laparotomy), which involves a large abdominal incision and requires up to six weeks’ recovery time, laparoscopically, robotically, or vaginally. The latter procedures are being done via keyhole incisions and/or a vaginal cut and requires about a third of the recovery time. Another surgical treatment option includes a procedure that allows doctors to remove the fibroids called myomectomy. This option leaves the uterus intact and might help if the fibroids are contributing to infertility. It, too, can be done through open surgery, hysteroscopy (via the cervix), laparoscopy, robotics, or vaginally, depending on the size and location.

Fibroid symptoms are commonly managed with medication. One option is ulipristal acetate, which was first approved by Health Canada in 2013 under the brand name Fibristal. It helps shrink fibroids by blocking the effect of progesterone on the fibroid. Another medication called leuprolide, which is also known by its brand name Lupron, blocks the production of sex steroids, which in turn reduces the fibroid’s size.

Other non-surgical options for bleeding control include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, tranexamic acid (Cyklokapron), a hormonal intrauterine system (Mirena), combined hormonal contraceptives or progestins.

High-frequency ultrasound has been used to heat and destroy fibroid tissue. Uterine fibroid embolization can be done through interventional radiology, and blocks blood flow to the fibroid allowing it to shrink.

If a patient requires surgery, pre-treating with medication can help reduce the amount of time spent in surgery, decrease blood loss and lower the risk of other complications by shrinking the fibroids ahead of time. They can also allow a surgeon to perform a less invasive procedure instead of an open one.

In my practice, the minority of women who come to see me because of abnormal uterine bleeding have a hysterectomy. All options should be discussed and the risks and benefits of each weighed. Your own medical history, personal circumstances and patient preference will help determine which treatment is right for you.

Dr. Michelle Jacobson is a lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Toronto. She is also the co-director of the Familial Ovarian Cancer Clinic at Women’s College Hospital.

Katie Tucker is pursuing a Master of Health Science in the Translational Research Program at U of T and worked as a medical research associate at Allergan, which owns Fibristal, between 2016 and 2017. Doctors’ Notes is a weekly column by members of the U of T Faculty of Medicine.