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How I explain my job to my kids: Dragons Are Everywhere

Cancer is a modern day dragon, fully grown to the size of large buildings, complete with flames and magic. Freeing the world of dragons is no easy feat, even with swords, magic spells or weapons. Bombs might work, but they could harm others. If we search for the young dragons, they can be destroyed more easily. The most ideal solution is to simply catch the dragon eggs, where a single action can stop it from hatching. While large dragons are easy to find but hard to kill, young dragons can hide extremely well and eggs, well they can hide almost anywhere. Focusing on hunting dragon eggs is the...

From start to finish: It’s a Team Effort

To take an idea from discovery into the clinic, it takes a large team of researchers and scientists from many disciplines and areas of specialization, clinicians, surgeons, businessmen and advisors. It is truly gratifying to see your work used in clinical practice, but it takes real commitment and belief in a project to sustain the level of effort needed to make it – anywhere between 5 – 10 years of research are required. A good example of this is the team I am fortunate to be part of. We are using light as an early cancer detection mechanism to screen oral tissue. The process began with...

Meet Dr. MacAulay, enthusiastic skier turned research scientist!

Hello, my name is Calum MacAulay and I am a Research Scientist in the Integrative Oncology department at the BC Cancer Agency. The majority of my time is spent doing research, and I am especially motivated in knowing it will make a difference in the patient care and clinical side. I have been fortunate to have great teachers growing up, which shaped my thinking early on. Starting with my Mother, who taught me to read from her astronomy textbooks, and I was encouraged in elementary school to share my father’s work in pathology. Growing up with four active boys in the house, something was...

Discovery Day and introducing Dr. Calum MacAulay

There are two exciting things to share with you this month. We have a new guest blogger, Dr. Calum MacAulay, and later this month is our inaugural Discovery Day event on June 21, 2011. Dr. MacAulay will share his experience as a research scientist in the BC Cancer Agency’s Integrative Oncology department. The work that Dr. MacAulay is a part of is truly fascinating, and focuses largely on early cancer detection and developing devices to do so. He has a great way of explaining what he does, and I hope you find it interesting too. Before I hand over the reins to Dr. MacAulay, I invite you to...

Starting my research at the BC Cancer Agency

I applied for an NCI-C Fellowship while at the University of California at Irvine and was invited by Dr. Lloyd Skarsgard to come up for an interview at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. After the interview, he encouraged me to come to the Agency after my post-doc stint (I got the Fellowship!) I knew I wanted to come back to Canada and settle by the ocean so I didn’t even apply to any other cancer research centres. I drove up to Vancouver with a scrawny, stray Siamese cat that adopted me in California. I named him Brutus to encourage him to get bigger (which he did!) and bought a house in...

Introducing Dr. Gerry Krystal

With the turn to each new blogger, I always get a little excited about learning the story of the featured blogger. This month is no exception. With his cross-Atlantic and cross-continent adventures, Dr. Gerry Krystal will provide you posts that are both entertaining and informative. Dr. Krystal has had a very successful career as a researcher at the BC Cancer Agency and he continues to push boundaries of knowledge with his recent discoveries into how our diet interacts with the growth and spread of cancer. Thank you for reading, Douglas

Looking ahead: Proud to be a partner in discovery

I am now in a leadership role where my time is half administration and half clinical practice. The latter allows me to still test medical hypotheses through clinical research and to still see patients most days of the week, which I love. I got into oncology because of the connection with patients and would hate to lose that. What I like about being in a leadership role is that I can contribute to improving the care for today and for tomorrow. In my role, I help enable the oncologists’ abilities to deliver care and foster an environment that helps oncologists find improvements through...

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