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‘Scientific growth’

Science and art merge during annual BioMedicine symposium


By Michelle Osmond

Biomedical sciences and art are not two things that normally fit together.

But from July 7-8, the Faculty of Medicine did just that. BioMedicine 2016 is a symposium that highlights research by graduate, postgraduate and undergraduate trainees in biomedical sciences. The illustration and artwork competition is a component of the symposium that gives researchers the opportunity to present their work with an artsy twist.

Theme of perspective

Dr. Ann Doward, associate professor in the Division of BioMedical Sciences and the Discipline of Genetics, is on the symposium planning committee. She says the artwork is another means to showcase the symposium and all the exciting things that are happening in biomedical sciences.

“It has evolved into a themed competition. This year’s theme was ‘Perspective’ and there was a separate scientific illustration competition,” she said.

The winning illustration, Cytidine Deamination in the World of Grand Theft Auto, by Justin King, is featured on the front cover feature of the symposium booklet, while the winning artwork created by Emma Quinlan, Darwin’s Perspective, is featured on the back cover.

The BioMedicine 2016 Illustration and Artwork Competition is open to students, faculty and staff in the Division of Biomedical Sciences or participating partners in the symposium.

1/ Through the Forest

Kathleen Fifield's winning entry in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition.

Photo: Kathleen Fifield

2/ Vision of a Dormant Neuroscientist

Bandhan Mukherjee's winning entry in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition. Vision of a Dormant Neuroscientist placed second in the artwork category.

Photo: Bandhan Mukherjee

3/ Adipocytes and Breast Cancer in Three-Dimensional Co-Culture

Nikitha Pallegar's winning entry in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition. She placed second in the illustration category.

Photo: Nikitha Pallegar

4/ Olfaction

Bandhan Mukherjee's entry in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition.

Photo: Bandhan Mukherjee

5/ The Monster

Mahdi Agsharpour's winning entry in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition.

Photo: Mahdi Agsharpour

6/ Thermosensitivity of Activation Induced Cytidine Deaminase of Different Species

Emma Quinlan's winning entry in in the BioMedicine 2016's illustration and artwork competition.

Photo: Emma Quinlan

7/ Cytidine Deamination in the World of Grand Theft Auto

Justin King's submission placed first in the illustration category.

Photo: Justin King

Presentations and participation

Now in its second year, the symposium featured presentations and participation from the Division of BioMedical Sciences, the Department of Biochemistry, the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Psychology.

There were six speakers during the two-day event, including Dr. Richard Bucala, Yale University; Dr. Michael Cox, University of British Columbia; Dr. Mark Harris, University of Leeds; Dr. Scott Napper, University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. Lynn Raymond,University of British Columbia. The keynote speaker was Dr. Mary Disis, University of Washington, whose presentation was titled Immune Modulation of Cancer.

The smell of fear

The students’ presentations were also a highlight. Like Samatha Goodman’s research presentation, The Smell of Fear: Communication of Conditioned Odour Memories Between Adult Rats.

Ms. Goodman’s project involves investigating the communication of danger between rats. The animal is trained to associate a specific odour with a shock and the animal then becomes afraid of that odour. The findings show that if the fearful animal is placed in a cage with a naive animal that is only exposed to the odour, the naive animal also becomes fearful when they are re-exposed.

“The trained rat has somehow communicated this specific fear to his naive cage mate,” explained Ms. Goodman. “Rats are known to communicate through both pheromones and ultrasonic vocalizations and our preliminary data indicates that pheromones may be involved, hence the title The Smell of Fear.”

‘Necessary for scientific growth’

“As a province, Newfoundland is continuously diversifying and the scientific community exemplifies this; collaboration between different disciplines in the medical faculty is increasingly common,” added Ms. Goodman. “Communication across medical disciplines is necessary for scientific growth and our annual BioMedical symposium exemplifies this attitude. By collaborating in such a broad manner, aspects of a research project that may have otherwise been overlooked are brought to the surface and addressed, thereby providing the presenter a chance to strengthen their work before it is submitted for publication. I personally look forward to hearing the comments and suggestions from those people with expertise far outside of my own knowledge.”

“The symposium really increases the awareness of students and faculty to the research activities and encourages students to achieve research milestones, with students, staff and supervisors working together,” added Dr. Doward. “It’s also great for increasing the visibility of BioMedical Sciences’ research to the university community and community partners or government.”

More than 170 people were registered for each day of the symposium.

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