11 episodes

A podcast about pioneering medical research and the people behind it at University Health Network, Canada's largest research and teaching hospital.

Behind the Breakthrough University Health Network

    • Medicine

A podcast about pioneering medical research and the people behind it at University Health Network, Canada's largest research and teaching hospital.

    Beating back Alzheimer’s, one poem at a time, with Dr. Donald Weaver

    Beating back Alzheimer’s, one poem at a time, with Dr. Donald Weaver

    In the final episode of Season One of Behind the Breakthrough we hear from Dr. Donald Weaver, director of the Krembil Research Institute. Dr. Weaver talks about his groundbreaking research into Alzheimer’s disease, and explains how drug research works and the challenges of getting to a clinical trial. He also talks about why his response to questions about “What next?” is a cheery “More failure!,” the purpose of his weekly story-telling in team meetings, and talks about his poetry career.

    • 37 min
    Using computers to understand cancer, with Dr. Michael Hoffman

    Using computers to understand cancer, with Dr. Michael Hoffman

    In this episode of ‘Behind the Breakthrough’ Princess Margaret Cancer Centre scientist Dr. Michael Hoffman explains how he leverages the power and speed of computers to understand the origins of cancer. He says cancer is a disease of the DNA –the genetic code that determines our individual characteristics. Essentially, our DNA acts as a program telling our cells what to do. In the case of cancer the wrong program gets run and cells divide in an unrestricted manner. The goal of Dr. Hoffman’s lab is to determine if there is a way of predicting when the wrong program gets run –before it ever happens.We also learn that from age 4 Dr. Hoffman was in awe of the magic of computers, and how he turned his love for computers into a career in the emerging field of computational biology. He also speaks to the critical importance of training the next generation of cancer researchers, and how he views Twitter as a virtual meeting place for scientific exchange

    • 31 min
    Pioneering treatments to get spinal cord injured patients mobile, with Dr. Kristin Musselman

    Pioneering treatments to get spinal cord injured patients mobile, with Dr. Kristin Musselman

    Dr. Kristin Musselman is a pioneer in research designed to get patients with partial spinal cord injury up and walking again. She joins UHN’s ‘Behind the Breakthrough’ podcast to talk about her latest research, how it relies heavily on patient input, and the satisfaction of seeing those same patients try new strategies to regain mobility and maintain their balance.

    • 30 min
    Reversing blindness and the serendipity of science, with Dr. Valerie Wallace

    Reversing blindness and the serendipity of science, with Dr. Valerie Wallace

     Dr. Valerie Wallace is on a mission to reverse blindness. The award-winning senior scientist and co-director of the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute at UHN’s Krembil Research Institute sits down with Behind the Breakthrough to discuss the serendipity of science, the curiosity that drives her and the changing landscape of women in STEM.“If you don’t ask the hard questions, you won’t get amazing answers,” she says. Hear more from Dr. Valerie Wallace about her career, inspirations and why she calls herself an explorer.

    • 35 min
    Repairing broken hearts with stem cells, with Dr. Michael Laflamme

    Repairing broken hearts with stem cells, with Dr. Michael Laflamme

    In this episode of Behind the Breakthrough, we hear from cardiac pathologist and award-winning principal investigator at the McEwen Stem Cell Institute Dr. Michael Laflamme. His mission: to restore the function of injured hearts by replacing scar tissue with healthy heart muscle cells made from stem cells.He shares why it’s important to put your career aspirations to paper early on, what it’s like to co-found a company that’s been acquired for $1US billion, and why researchers should try to be scientifically fearless.

    • 28 min
    Overcoming ‘impostor syndrome’ and helping the elderly live well, with Dr. Jennifer Campos

    Overcoming ‘impostor syndrome’ and helping the elderly live well, with Dr. Jennifer Campos

    Growing up, the death of Dr. Jenny Campos’ grandfather from a preventable fall while carrying groceries up a flight of stairs shook her family to the core. Today, it is the driving force behind her research in falls and driving collision prevention in the elderly. By simulating real life challenges in Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s renowned Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (CEAL), Dr. Campos is finding ways to help older adults live well. In this episode, Dr. Campos delves into her pioneering work with virtual reality and motion simulation technologies, how she has learned to find a work-life balance in academia, and why it’s so important to mentor the next generation of young scientists in STEM.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

Review breakthrough ,

Bring on Season 2!

Loved listening to season 1. Great to know what leading Scientists are up to in our own backyard. If you can, bring on season 2!!!

RVC1980 ,

Excellent scientific insights in plain language

Really impressed with this series. Such a broad range of subject matter, and totally incredible to learn about the scientific discoveries taking place here in Canada. Science is EXCITING, but the language of science is oh so daunting! I really think that the host and his guests have done a great job of explaining the complexities of their work in terms that are digestible to those of us not quite as savvy with our scientific lingo.

ksully12345 ,

Fascinating and easy to digest

Totally captured by this podcast!! Usually we hear about the research (which is COOL), but not the researchers themselves. Love learning about both!!

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