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What We're Reading

Hello BMSA-ers!

We have a couple short, yet intriguing reads for you this week. We are in the thick of it when it comes to midterm season, but remain calm and study hard… reading week is on the horizon.

Contributor Ramtin Hakimjavadi

Courtesy of

Altruism is a complex topic of discussion in biology. Trina Doyle - a single mom of two from Tignish, P.E.I. - has set out to simplify matters by exemplifying as close to pure altruism as one can. She will be travelling to Toronto General Hospital to donate a portion of her liver to the University Health Network’s living organ donor program. The recipient, she may never know.

Before she began her journey to become a living donor, she would donate blood as often as she could and even pursued becoming a stem-cell donor. To Doyle, learning about the possibility of donating her organs seemed like just another opportunity to help people in need. Take a read to learn more about Doyle’s inspiring journey, the value of living donors in the healthcare system, and how her selfless act has begun to inspire others.

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Cancers researchers around the world are coming together, combining knowledge and resources in the global Pan-Cancer project to study the genetic fingerprints of DNA-damaging processes that cause cancer. Chemical and physical agents that cause cancer leave a specific fingerprint of damage in the DNA, or a “mutational signature”. These fingerprints will allow scientists to discover previously unknown chemicals, biological pathways and environmental agents responsible for causing cancer.

The research will inform the current understanding of the causes of cancer and possible prevention strategies. Moreover, the publication of this paper in Nature on February 5th joins 22 other papers from the Pan-Cancer project. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are achieving a historical level of collaboration in cancer research. The result is the largest database of whole cancer genomes to date, an unprecedented step towards an “open science” approach to advance cancer research.


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