Page 2 - Labatt BTRC Annual Report 2020-2021
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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 eighth annual Mike and Dianne Traynor Lectureship in brain tumour research, and our lecturer was Dr. Donald O’Rourke from the University of Pennsylvania. Our 23rd Annual Labatt BTRC Academic Lecturer was Marco Marra from the University of British Columbia. For the first time in our history, these two academic lectures were given virtually given the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This past year, Michael Taylor and colleagues published a seminal report in Nature Communications on the transcriptional landscape of sonic hedgehog medulloblastoma; Cynthia Hawkins and her lab group published on epigenetic activation of a RAS/MYC axis
in H3.3K27M-driven cancer in Nature Communications; Peter Dirks published on PRMT5 inhibition disrupting splicing and stemness in glioblastoma in Nature Communications; 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 subgroup and subtype-specific outcomes in adult medulloblastoma in Acta Neuropathologica; and Uri Tabori and his lab published on the survival benefit for individuals with constitutional mismatch repair deficiency undergoing surveillance in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
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 over 160 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.
Each Mother’s Day weekend, Meagan’s HUG raises brain tumour awareness with a
5 km walk and symbolic hug of SickKids.

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