Page 2 - Labatt BTRC Annual Report 2019-2020
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 2 IMAGINE 2019-20
Introduction DR. JAMES RUTKA
I am pleased and proud to provide you with this year’s introduction to the Annual Scientific Report of the Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC). We have had, once again, a highly productive and memorable year characterized by numerous successes, honours and awards. All Principal Investigators have garnered numerous multi-year grant awards and have published their work in the best scientific journals. Students and researchers, from all corners of the world including Italy, China, France, Japan, Ukraine, and the United States, continue to join us for advanced training in the lab. We celebrated the seventh annual Mike and Dianne Traynor Lectureship in brain tumour research, and our lecturer was Dr. Toshihiko Wakabayashi from Nagoya, Japan. He spoke at the inaugural scientific research retreat of the Labatt BTRC in Killarney, Ontario. Our 22nd Annual Labatt BTRC Academic Lecturer was Michelle Monje
from Stanford University.
This past year, Michael Taylor and colleagues published a seminal report in Nature on recurrent noncoding U1 snRNA mutations driving cryptic splicing in Sonic Hedgehog medulloblastoma; Cynthia Hawkins and Uri Tabori published an integrated and clinical analysis of 1,000 paediatric low-grade gliomas in Cancer Cell; Peter Dirks published on medulloblastoma
arising from the persistence of rare and transient Sox2 positive granule neuron precursors in Sci Report; Annie Huang and her lab group published on advancing biology based therapeutic responses for atypical teratoid tumours in Neuro-Oncology; Vijay Ramaswamy and colleagues published on the molecular correlates of cerebellar mutism syndrome in medulloblastoma in Neuro-Oncology; and Sunit Das and his lab published on the role of BMP signalling mediating glioma stem cell quiescence and conferring resistance in glioblastoma in Sci Report.
We are actively involved in three separate Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Program Grants through the efforts of the Dirks, Tabori, Huang and Rutka labs.
We look forward to sharing future issues of Imagine with you as we strive to translate our research observations into tangible clinical benefits for patients, both adults and children, with brain tumours.
James T. Rutka OC, O Ont, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FRSC, FACS, FAANS
Director and Principal Investigator
The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre
Since our move to the new Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL) on September 17th, 2013, we have quickly expanded to fill the space that has been allocated to us on the 17th floor. We now have a record 164 personnel working within the Labatt BTRC at this site. This includes all Masters and PhD students, post- doctoral fellows, research assistants and associates, and Principal Investigators. Our space on the 17th floor of PGCRL is comprised of
a balance of office and wet lab bench spaces for the conduction of scientific studies. We are also enjoying the friendly “neighbourhood” space which enables individuals from the 16th -18th floors to come together to discuss ongoing science and research projects. The Labatt BTRC played host to numerous invited scholars and scientists last year. Our academic lectureship program is becoming the envy of brain tumour centres around the world.
Research in the BTRC continued during the pandemic. Staff and trainees, such as Dr. Visvanathan pictured here, adapt to the new normal of reduced building capacity, masking and physical distancing.

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