London Health Research Day highlights the future of Canadian science

From looking through the microscope to drafting publications, health research trainees are the heart and future of Canadian science. On May 10, 2018, health research trainees from across the city of London gathered to present their innovative science at the seventh annual London Health Research Day.

Nearly 400 trainees, including Master’s and PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows and medical students, presented research spanning all areas of health. Together, the presenters represent medical labs from across Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Faculty of Health Sciences. This includes labs at Robarts Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

Andrew Nicholson, a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Ruth Lanius, presented on his team’s research with fMRI imaging and machine learning to predict post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its dissociative subtype with the hopes of one day improving early diagnosis. Meanwhile, Jessica Rodgers, a PhD student working with Dr. Aaron Fenster, presented on her team’s development of a 3D transvaginal ultrasound system. This innovation produces a 360° 3D image to improve needle placement during interstitial gynecologic brachytherapy, a process where devices containing radioactive materials are inserted directly into body tissue to combat gynecologic cancers.

More than 750 participants, judges and guests attended to learn about the latest in health research.

“London Health Research Day is the largest event of its kind in Ontario. The event allows trainees from across our city to present their best science and hone their research presentation skills,” says Dr. David Hill, Scientific Director, Lawson Health Research Institute.

Dr. Doug Jones, Chair of the London Health Research Day Academic Committee and Vice Dean, Basic Medical Sciences at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, acknowledged the exceptional science and strong presentations delivered by the event’s participants.

Participants presented either poster or platform presentations, with a portion selected for judging. Trainees also participated in the LHRD Poster Passport program. For each poster presentation they listened to and provided feedback on, they received a sticker to add to their passport. If they collected six different stickers, they were entered into a draw for a chance to win prizes like an Apple iPad.

The Lucille and Norton Wolf Health Research Lecture Series 2018 keynote presentation was given by Dr. Janet Smylie. Her presentation was titled “Our Health Counts: Community Partnered Approaches to Indigenous Health Assessment and Response.” Dr. Smylie is Director of the Well Living House Applied Research Centre for Indigenous Infant, Child and Family Health at St. Michael’s Hospital and CIHR Applied Public Health Research Chair in Indigenous Health Knowledge and Information. She is a global leader in the field of Indigenous health and health research.

Dr. Smylie also participated the evening of May 9 in Exchange: A London Health Research Day Forum on Diversity & Inclusivity. She was joined by leading female researchers who presented on issues of equity, diversity and inclusivity in the careers of health researchers and potential solutions for the future.

Janet Smylie

Above: Dr. Janet Smylie delivers The Lucille and Norton Wolf Health Research Lecture Series 2018 keynote presentation at London Health Research Day

LHRD 2018 also included a special presentation by Dr. Alastair Buchan titled “Precision Stroke Medicine and the Role of Translational Clinical Research.” Dr. Buchan is a world-renowned neurologist and stroke medicine researcher from the University of Oxford. He has roots with past training and work experience at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and London Health Sciences Centre.

The event concluded with a Networking and Awards Reception where poster and platform awards were presented to the day’s top-scoring participants. For a full list of winners, please visit the London Health Research Day website.

To see more photos from the event, visit the London Health Research Day website

London Health Research Day is presented in partnership by Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.