University of Calgary

Dropping In

Submitted by alumni on Sat, 11/05/2016 - 12:50.

Dropping In

What is that pink image on the screen, those tubes of fruit flies, kids’ art work and cancer samples? Join us on a tour of a lab that is striving to advance cancer research.
By Jacquie Moore

1 Cancer Samples

Cancer samples are prepped for transport to the brain tumour stem cell core facility where they will be studied for genetic alterations and drug resistance.

2 Dr. Ian Restall

Dr. Ian Restall is the first postdoctoral scholar to receive the new Clark H. Smith fellowship, created to support trainees in brain tumour research; he specializes in brain tumour-initiating cell biology and experimental therapies.

3 Dr. Marco Gallo

Recently recruited investigator Dr. Marco Gallo was attracted to the Clark H. Smith Centre for both its renowned tissue bank and its reputation for collaborative research with colleagues who span the spectrum from clinical to basic science.

4 Dr. Jennifer Chan

Dr. Jennifer Chan’s research interests are pediatric-oriented; she was attracted to the Clark H. Smith because, as she puts it, “the ingredients for excellence — the people, ideas, space and infrastructure — are all here.”

5 Artwork

Artwork inspired by Chan’s kids, Harmony and Aurora: they drew the stick figures standing on a computer-generated strand of DNA, and Chan inserted the molecule in the sky.

6 Mice

Mice share about 90 per cent of their genes with humans; the pink image on this screen is a tumour-bearing mouse brain used to study the effects of drugs identified through screening.

7 Collection tubes

Collection tubes are used to gather tissues, blood and body fluids from brain cancer patients that are put into the tissue bank.

8 The Electroporator

This manual gives instruction for how to use the electroporator, an appliance housed in a specialized room that drives genetic material into cells using electric current; it allows investigators to carry out specialized animal procedures for cancer modelling.

9 Fruit flies

The same gene that causes brain cancer in humans is found in fruit flies. These tubes contain fruit flies (Drosphila), that are being used as a model organism to understand cell growth.