News

Maryam wins first place for her ORT Summer Student Presentation!
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The Office of Research Trainees Research Day provided an opportunity for University Health Network summer students to share their research with the UHN Research Community. Similar to a Three Minute Thesis presentation, each student was given three minutes to present one slide and discuss what they had learnt at University Health Network. Maryam’s presentation highlighted her learning experience with the Window Chamber Model and Fluorescence Intravital Microscopy developed by the DaCosta Lab. She discussed the significance of the imaging technology in cancer research as it allows scientists to observe, track, and record cells in vivo over a biologically-relevant period of time. She…

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Welcome, Maryam!
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We are excited to welcome Maryam Naimi to our lab as a summer student! Maryam will be a first-year student in the Life Sciences Program at the University of Toronto in September. She joins us a member of the University Health Network Summer Student Clinician Scientist Program.  She will be working as part of our Leukemia Program, conducting literature reviews, helping to develop research questions and aims, and assisting with preliminary wet-lab experiments. She will also be working side-by-side with our Research Technicians, learning about cell cultures, gaining experience in Western Blot and microscopy techniques, and observing rodent surgeries.

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Welcome back, Rachel!
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We are excited to welcome back Rachel Jacobson to our lab as a summer student! Rachel Jacobson is a 3rd year student at Wilfred Laurier University returning to the DaCosta lab for her second consecutive summer as a summer student. She is majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in biology and chemistry. Rachel recently returned home from her 7 weeks abroad where she volunteered on Magen David Adam (MDA) ambulances around Israel. After completing her training, Rachel became certified as a First Responder with MDA and spent a total of 5 weeks completing shifts alongside other volunteers, medics, and paramedics.…

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Arcturus Phoon has been accepted into the Materials Science & Engineering, Master of Engineering Program!
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We are extremely happy to announce that Arcturus has been accepted into the Materials Science & Engineering, Masters of Engineering Program at the University of Toronto! Congratulations, Arc!! Arcturus joined the lab as Research Technician in February 2020.  It became immediately apparent that Arcturus’ diverse background and experience in materials science played a vital role in our clinical study.  Our first-in-human phase II clinical trial evaluates a medical imaging device that uses fluorescence image-guided technology to visualize carcinoma in breast tissue in real-time during breast conserving surgery.  Arcturus was responsible for operating the device in the operating room and in…

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Dr. DaCosta contributes to the PMCF “Art of Conquering Cancer” campaign
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The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (https://thepmcf.ca/) is featuring “The Art of Conquering Cancer,” which discusses how art and creativity are essential components of science. The feature includes a video where Dr. DaCosta and other renowned researchers express the need to ‘think outside the box’ and explore the unknown in order for cancer research to grow and achieve breakthroughs. In addition, Dr. DaCosta is the featured image on the PMCF site. Finally, the feature includes a series of major breakthroughs that have been “driven by creativity” at the Princess Margaret. “Without new thoughts and free-thinking there would be no new discoveries.”

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Welcome back Zuha!
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We are excited to welcome Zuha Qureshi back to the DaCosta Lab as a summer student. Zuha is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, earning a degree in Human Biology and she has been a research student in our lab since 2019. Zuha has been an integral part of our clinical trial program, helping to develop a new trial investigating the facial microbiome using fluorescence image-guided technology and microbiology techniques. Zuha has also participated in a Phase II clinical trial, in which fluorescence imaging technology is used for intraoperative visualization of breast carcinoma. This summer Zuha will…

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Dr. DaCosta presents at the first Institut Curie – Princess Margaret Jamboree
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Dr. DaCosta presents invited talk entitled, “A Prospective Multi-center Phase III RCT Evaluating Intraoperative Fluorescence Imaging for Real-time Margin Assessment During Breast Conserving Surgery,” at the first Institut Curie – Princess Margaret Jamboree in May 2022, focused on breast cancer research.  This research “jamboree” was intended to foster collaborations that advance translational research across the two institutions, the Institut Curie (IC; Paris, France) and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM; Toronto, Canada).  

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New publication in Radiation Research
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Our recent publication in Radiation Research, “Assessing the Accuracy of Bioluminescence Image-Guided Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy of Orthotopic Pancreatic Tumors Using a Small Animal Irradiator” is a collaboration between the DaCosta Lab and Dr. Robert Weersink. In this preclincal study, Dr. Sara Rapic (former Post-doctoral fellow) and Timothy Samuel (Ph.D. candidate) demonstrated the improved accuracy of using 3-dimensional bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to deliver targeted high dose radiotherapy in orthotopic mouse models of pancreatic cancer. This BLI image-guided precision in the delivery of radiation therapy to pancreatic tumors in vivo ensures the precision of the treatment using a novel small animal irradiator. This methodology allows us to…

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The Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund
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Dr. DaCosta and other scientists discuss the opportunities for scientific breakthrough at PMCC as a result of the historic donation of $50 million in honour of the late Canadian philanthropist, Allan Slaight. Allan Slaight The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation announced a historic $50 million gift for cancer research in honour of the late Allan Slaight, a Canadian broadcast mogul, radio pioneer and visionary philanthropist.  This donation will establish the Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund, generously provided by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso and The Slaight Family Foundation.  Along with other scientists at PMCC, Dr. DaCosta discusses how the Allan Slaight Breakthrough Fund…

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Welcome new cancer research technician II!
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We would like to welcome a new research technician to our lab: Dr. Emily Chen, MD, Research Technician II Emily was previously part of our lab from 2009-2016, during which she helped to pioneer our first animal window chamber models to study the tumor microenvironment.  In re-joining our lab, Emily will be responsible for conducting animal surgeries involving the use of our novel window chamber systems for direct microscopy imaging of human orthotopic tumors.  Emily will also help lead the development and validation of new intravital imaging models of cancers including solid cancers (e.g. pancreatic, brain and breast tumors) and…

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