Brilliant science + beautiful art + gourmet food = 25 years of Lunenfeld impact
(February 3, 2011 – Toronto, ON) Twenty-five years of top-ranked scientific research was celebrated last night as donors, journalists and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute scientists met during Dinner with Scientists, presented by Leadership Sinai, Mount Sinai’s community of young philanthropists and volunteer leaders. As co-host, CBC News Anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake, put it: “The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute is a major contributor to the life of our city and a symbol around the world of what Toronto has to offer.”
Ms. Mediwake and her co-host and CBC co-anchor Dwight Drummond welcomed some 250 guests and 25 of the Lunenfeld’s principal investigators to the occasion, which raised nearly $250,000 for research at the Institute.
Chair of the evening, Beverley Hammond, President of Veritas Communications and Leadership Sinai board member, added her welcome and invited remarks from Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital, and Deputy Minister George Ross, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. Each honoured Dr. Lou Siminovitch, Director Emeritus and Founding Director of the Lunenfeld, for his contributions to building the Institute’s prominence and assembling a team of world-class scientists. Dr. Siminovitch spoke about the history of the Institute and the founding principles upon which it was based and continues to thrive.
With a scientist seated at each dinner table, guests had ample opportunity to delve into the specifics of researchers’ expertise. Lightning rounds provided a snapshot of some of the most innovative biomedical research worldwide. Fourteen scientists met the difficult challenge of distilling their research into a two-minute, two-slide presentation. The result was an informative briefing on developments in the diagnosis and treatment of some of the most devastating illnesses today. For instance:
- Dr. Isabella Caniggia discussed her work in placental development and pre-eclampsia
- Dr. Ian Rogers talked about umbilical cord and adult stem cell research
- Dr. Andrea Jurisicova described her efforts to understand female infertility
- Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras, Lea Reichmann Research Chair in Cancer Proteomics, discussed cancer biology
- Dr. Sabine Cordes spoke about objective tests for psychiatric conditions
- Dr. Helen McNeill talked about her use of fruit-flies to dissect tissue polarity
- Dr. Frank Sicheri discussed his work on improving drugs through crystallization
- Dr. Laurence Pelletier explained how powerful microscopy reveals new processes critical for cell division
- Dr. Rebecca Gladdy talked about the application of genomics to investigate the mechanisms that lead to soft tissue sarcoma
- Dr. Lyle Palmer showcased the new and ambitious Ontario Health Study
- Dr. Fritz Roth described his new method to efficiently inactivate multiple genes
- Dr. Kathy Siminovitch, Sherman Family Research Chair in Genomic Medicine, discussed autoimmune diseases and the promise of personalized medicine
- Dr. Jeffrey Wrana, Mary Janigan Research Chair in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, described the concept of network biology in organ development
Lively question and answer sessions followed the presentations.
Guests also focused their attention on a silent auction of microscopy images submitted by scientists and their trainees, dubbed the Art of Science. The beauty of stem cells, protein complexes and cellular structures featured in these stunning works prompted much fierce bidding.
Dinner with Scientists provided an exclusive forum for learning about the most recent advances in medical science from those whose discoveries have changed the way we understand complex human illness and improve our ability to live healthy lives.