7 episodes

University Health Network has over 1300 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows performing research in seven different research institutes, at sites all across Toronto, Canada. Each of these trainees has diverse experiences, backgrounds, research, and stories to share. The Seeds of Science podcast provides a platform for UHN graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to tell their stories and to connect and learn from each other. Furthermore, through the podcast, trainees offer their advice to junior trainees and undergraduate students who are considering a research career. In Season 1, each episode spotlights a single trainee at different stages of their training - whether Masters or PhD candidates, or post-doctoral fellows. Learn about their exciting research, their unique goals for the future, and what they enjoy doing outside of their research. Proudly supported by UHN Office of Research Trainees (ORT) and brought to you by research trainees at the Krembil Brain Institute and Toronto General Hospital Research Institute.Disclaimer: The views expressed in the podcast episodes are not necessarily those of UHN or ORT.

UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science UHN Office of Research Trainees

    • Science

University Health Network has over 1300 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows performing research in seven different research institutes, at sites all across Toronto, Canada. Each of these trainees has diverse experiences, backgrounds, research, and stories to share. The Seeds of Science podcast provides a platform for UHN graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to tell their stories and to connect and learn from each other. Furthermore, through the podcast, trainees offer their advice to junior trainees and undergraduate students who are considering a research career. In Season 1, each episode spotlights a single trainee at different stages of their training - whether Masters or PhD candidates, or post-doctoral fellows. Learn about their exciting research, their unique goals for the future, and what they enjoy doing outside of their research. Proudly supported by UHN Office of Research Trainees (ORT) and brought to you by research trainees at the Krembil Brain Institute and Toronto General Hospital Research Institute.Disclaimer: The views expressed in the podcast episodes are not necessarily those of UHN or ORT.

    Episode 6: Cristiana O’Brien

    Episode 6: Cristiana O’Brien

    In this episode, Rima chats with Cristiana O’Brien, a master’s student researching Leukemia. in Dr. Courtney Jones’s lab at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at UHN.
     The episode follows Cristiana's scientific journey from loving microscopes at a young age to becoming a lab technician to now pursuing research in her masters as a more mature student, Cristiana is determined to pursue her passion in science despite the challenges and competitiveness involved, and of course benefits from her support system, incredible mentors, many relaxing hobbies (knitting, cooking, gardening, etc) and her wonderful cats. Tune in to hear more about the benefits and barriers she's faced in her scientific journey as she researches novel regulators of mitochondrial metabolism and oxidation, in order to generate new therapies for leukemia that target those metabolic vulnerabilities.
    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 23 min
    Episode 5: Kevin Robb

    Episode 5: Kevin Robb

    In this episode, Emily chats with Kevin Robb, a 5th year PhD student at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, Krembil Research Institute, under the primary supervision of Sowmya Viswanathan and co-supervision of Rajiv Gandhi.  
    This episode dives into Kevin’s research into cell-based therapies and particularly his work with mesenchymal stromal cells, a heterogenous cell population that has shown promise in treating inflammatory conditions including osteoarthritis. Kevin’s research attempts to address an important question – therapeutically, why are some mesenchymal stromal cells more effective than others? Kevin and Emily discuss his recently published manuscript, the topics of patient heterogeneity and personalised medicine, and Kevin’s experiences navigating mental health challenges particularly during his Masters degree. Tune in to learn about Kevin’s exciting research and hear how his involvement in the communities including the Stem Cell Network and the UHN 2SLGBTQIA+ committee has helped him grow both personally and professionally. 

    See this link for a list of terms used in this episode, mental health resources for TeamUHN and University of Toronto students, and further information about Kevin - including pictures of his nail art!
     
    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 30 min
    Episode 4: Dr. Leif Simmatis

    Episode 4: Dr. Leif Simmatis

    In this episode, Rima chats with Dr. Leif Simmatis, a post-doctoral fellow in the labs of Dr. Yana Yunusova and Dr. Babak Taati at KITE, the research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at UHN. 
    The episode follows Leif's scientific journey where his experiences from undergraduate to PhD and post-doctoral stages helped guide him into choosing between academia, medicine and industry career paths. Leif dives into his interesting published research from his PhD studies on upper limb robotics technology that can characterize impairments in various clinical populations, from transient ischemic attacks to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or migraines. His current research focuses on developing digital speech biomarkers for neurological disorders, to support clinical decision-making and he hopes to stay in research but transition into industry in the digital health space. Tune in to hear more about his work, the inspirational individuals that have been part of his journey, and what eventually led him to choose this career path.

    Abbreviations used in this episode:
    KITE - Knowledge Innovation Talent Everywhere - it is the research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, a world leader in rehabilitation science. KITE’s areas of focus include prevention, restoration, enhanced participation and independent living. 
    ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
    EMG – electromyography
    TIA – transient ischemic attack
    MCAT – Medical College Admission Test
    PI – Principal Investigator


    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 25 min
    Episode 3: Christina Lam

    Episode 3: Christina Lam

    In this episode, Emily chats with Christina Lam, a 4th year PhD student in Dr. Stephen Juvet’s lab at the Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute.  
    The episode highlights Christina’s passion for translational research, and her particular interest in immunology and harnessing regulatory T cells to improve solid organ transplant tolerance. Christina discusses her personal story of how she navigated graduate school whilst recovering from a car accident in 2019, a journey that ultimately taught her patience and self-compassion, and helped fuel her desire to improve patient healthcare. Tune in to hear Christina’s words on managing her own perfectionism and imposter syndrome during graduate school, plus her love of science communications... and romance novels!


    Terms used in this episode (See ORT website for references):

    Immunosuppressants - Drugs that inhibit or prevent the activity of the body’s immune system. Since the immune system can attack transplanted organs as they are not recognized by the immune system as the body’s own cells, immunosuppressants are often taken by people who have organ transplants to help lower the chance that their body will reject the transplanted organ 


    Graft - In medicine, a graft is a piece of living tissue that is surgically transplanted


    T-cells - A type of white blood cell that play a large role in the body’s immune response. There are different kinds of T-cells that have a variety of important functions in controlling the immune response. 


    CRISPR - The acronym stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. Technically, the term CRISPR refers to DNA segments that are short, regularly interspaced, and palindromic (they are the same sequence of DNA read forwards or backwards) that bacteria and archaea have inserted into their genomes that surround pieces of viral DNA from previous viral invaders called “spacer sequences”. A protein called Cas uses CRISPR sequences as a guide to recognize and destroy other viruses with similar spacer sequences. But when people mention the term CRISPR, they are often referring to the use of this CRISPR-Cas recognition system to target specific parts of DNA; the function of Cas protein can be altered to do other tasks at the CRISPR site that it recognizes. Whether the CRISPR site is used to insert other DNA, turn off genes, turn on genes, and/or other uses depends on the molecular technologies used.  


    Imposter syndrome - Occurs when an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite external evidence of their competence  


    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 21 min
    Episode 2: Noor Al Kaabi

    Episode 2: Noor Al Kaabi

    In this episode, Rima chats with Noor Al Kaabi, a master's student in Institute of Medical Sciences program at UofT and part of Dr. Dmitry Rozenberg's lab at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute.
    The episode follows how Noor's journey of exploring various research topics in undergrad such as refugee mental health and improving care for organ transplant recipients with UHN's Kidney Health Education and Research Group, eventually led to her master's project where she was directly involved in developing a cross-sectional study using both quantitative and qualitative approaches to study the relationship of respiratory symptoms with health related quality of life, physical activity levels and daily functioning of people with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD). Tune in to find out how Noor finds balance between her work in research and her other interests including science communication, photography, and becoming a personal trainer.
    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 27 min
    Episode 1: Dr. Sriranga Kashyap

    Episode 1: Dr. Sriranga Kashyap

    In this episode, Emily chats with Dr. Sriranga Kashyap, a postdoctoral fellow in the BRAIN-TO lab at the Slaight Family Centre for Advanced MRI in Toronto Western Hospital. 

    The episode follows Sri’s multidisciplinary research guided by his interest in the hippocampus, a region involved in learning and memory. From his Bachelor thesis project analyzing rodent brain slices, to his Masters and PhD projects in which he developed cutting edge methods of non-invasive brain imaging in humans, Sri’s journey took him across India, Europe and North America and required changing his field of study several times. Tune in to find out how he managed handling the uncertainty of change and set-backs, his words of wisdom on learning, and whether he prefers pancakes or waffles?
    UHN Trainee Podcast: Seeds of Science is proudly supported by the UHN Office of Research Trainees. For more information on the podcast and interviewees, visit our webpage: https://uhntrainees.ca/trainee/seeds-of-science-podcast/

    • 26 min

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