OICR Biolabs: Interview with Phedias Diamandis

May 30, 2017

OICR Biolabs: Interview with Phedias Diamandis

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news-photo The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research has recently started to offer training on cutting-edge cancer research equipment to the Ontario research community via Biolab Operations, we talked to one of their recent Participants Dr. Phedias Diamandis, an OMPRN research and grant recipient, based at the University Health Network in Toronto:

Q. What is your role and your research area?

I am a neuropathologist and clinician scientist in the Laboratory Medicine and Pathology program at the University Health Network. I am also an associate scientist in OICR’s Translational Genomics Laboratory. My research mainly focuses on using multi-platform molecular analysis to identify new diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers for brain tumors. I am also interested in machine learning-based high content image analysis of pathological slides.

Q. What OICR Biolab training sessions have you attended so far?

I have attended training sessions on bright-field light microscopy, confocal microscopy, lipofection and CRISPR/CAS9 technologies available at OICR.

Q. What aspects of these sessions do you find most interesting or relevant to your research? How do you apply what you have learned to your research?

The sessions have all been great. When I was a graduate student, I only attended sessions relevant to my project. I realize now that this was a mistake. I now try and attend as many sessions as I can. Sometime I attend because I want to educate myself on technologies I am thinking of using in the future. Other times I attend sessions on technologies I am currently using but aware I am not maximizing their potential. Sometimes I even attend sessions on technologies I admit to knowing very little about. I like how the sessions include experienced representatives who know every aspect of the instrumentation, and attendees with projects at different stages of use. Not only do you get an overview of the capabilities of the instruments, but also extremely valuable discussion on the challenges and successes people have had with the technology. This is perhaps the most useful as it helps me assess if and how I can get the most out of a given technology. Getting some practical hands on training is also a huge plus to become better acquainted with the technologies for future use.

Q. Are there any sessions in the upcoming schedule you are most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to learning more about some of the live cell imaging systems available. As a pathologist, I still believe there is valuable information at the cellular level that cannot be digitized by molecular analysis. Merging molecular analysis with cell phenotype using live cell imaging technologies is a powerful tool I think to link cell phenotype to specific genotypes.

About BioLab Operations at OICR

BioLab Operations at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) manages state-of-art advance equipment for translational cancer research. In addition, educational seminars, workshops, and hands-on training sessions are offered on existing and new equipment and advanced technologies to researchers at OICR, UHN and other academic institutions and hospitals in Ontario. In less than a year of the BioLab Operations, over 230 researchers have attended 27 sessions and found these to be extremely useful. BioLab Operations' mandate is to educate on the most recent technological advances in cancer research, to promote proper and effective equipment use, to provide in-depth knowledge on applications, and to train the new generation of researchers. In the near future, BioLab workshops and training sessions will be posted at the OICR BioLabs website, OICR main web page, and at the OMPRN and UHN websites. A link will be provided in future communications. Any inquiries can be addressed to Dr. Vanya Peltekova, Lead Biolab Operations at OICR at vanya.peltekova@oicr.on.ca.

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