Dr. Timothy Samuel successfully defends his PhD!
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The DaCosta Lab congratulates Dr. Timothy Samuel for successfully defending his PhD on May 2, 2023! His PhD thesis, entitled “In Vivo Effects of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy on the Pancreatic Tumor Microenvironment,” focuses on improving our understanding of how different elements of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment (e.g., tumor cells, blood vessels, oxygenation and collagen structures) respond to high-dose radiotherapy. This work provides both important preclinical research methodologies and scientific findings that can help broaden the capacity for pancreatic cancer research and move the field forward. In addition to studying pancreatic cancer, Tim has led several collaborations (both within and…

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New publication in Science Advances!
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A representative image of an in vivo orthotopic BxPC3-DsRed-5xHRE/GFP tumor foci, taken using intravital fluorescence and SHG microscopy. BxPC3 cells (DsRed) are shown in red, HIF activity (5xHRE/GFP) in green, blood vessels (APC-CD31) in cyan, and fibrillar collagen (SHG) in white. Scale bars, 100 μm The DaCosta Lab is pleased to announce that our publication, “Quantitative Intravital Imaging for Real-time Monitoring of Pancreatic Tumor Cell Hypoxia and Stroma in an Orthotopic Mouse Model” has been accepted in Science Advances. Authors: Dr. Timothy Samuel, Dr. Sara Rapic, Cristiana O’Brien, Michael Edson, Yuan Zong, and Dr. Ralph S. DaCosta Abstract: Pancreatic cancer…

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Dr. Shirley Wang is promoted to CRCII!
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Dr. Shirley Wang has been promoted to Clinical Research Coordinator II.  Dr. Wang has worked in the DaCosta lab since 2018, managing several clinical trials, namely the FLIGHT Phase IV trial, the ALA Breast Cancer Phase III trial, and the Wound Area Reduction trial. She has been responsible for ensuring project milestones are met, initiating new clinical trials, directly supervising research teams consisting of staff members and students, and assisting with preparation of research grant applications.  In addition, she has developed a strong working relationship with surgeons, physicians, unit and PK nurses, operating room staff, pathologists, and medical imaging team…

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Dr. Elyse Digby successfully defends her PhD!
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Dr. Elyse Digby successfully defended her PhD thesis on April 4, 2023!  Her PhD research project focused on applying novel small molecule photosensitizers to improve the efficacy of PDT.  She studied the design of photosensitizers that would be selectively activated in cancers overexpressing certain enzyme targets (e.g.., human NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1), a photosensitizer that was able to directly target and damage DNA (Br-DAPI), and a proof-of-concept molecule that was demonstrated to produce ROS without the requirement of light (where the limited penetration depth of visible light used in PDT is a drawback of the therapy). One of the exciting things…

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Lyndsey de Guzman joins the DaCosta Lab as a Masters student
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Welcome, Lyndsey de Guzman, who joins the DaCosta Lab as a Masters student! Lyndsey completed a major in Bio-Medical Sciences and a minor in Business at the University of Guelph. Her undergraduate research project focused on the development of spontaneous osteoarthritis with a concentration of integrin α1β1 and the transforming growth factor beta. She used histological techniques through sectioning and grading with the OARSI scoring system of dissected mouse knee joints. Lyndsey’s impressive academic achievements include consistently being on the Dean’s List throughout her undergraduate program and graduating with distinction. Lyndsey will apply her extensive experience with animal experiments to…

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Dr. Elyse Digby wins the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship award and joins the DaCosta Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow
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Welcome, Dr. Elyse Digby, who joins the DaCosta Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow! Elyse obtained her PhD in Biological Chemistry from Dr. Andrew Beharry’s lab at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus, where she designed, synthesized, and applied novel small molecule photosensitizers to enhance the efficacy and selectivity of photodynamic therapy against cancer.  Elyse will apply her expertise in chemical biology research and in vivo fluorescence microscopy to her new role and lead the leukemia program in the DaCosta Lab. She will be responsible for investigating the complex biology between leukemia cells and the bone marrow microenvironment in real-time using…

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DaCosta Lab presents at the MBP Virtual Open House
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On November 5th 2022, the Department of Medical Biophysics held a virtual Open House to students who were interested in enrolling in a Masters or PhD program. Faculty and students across the department showcased their research to prospective students. If you are a student and are interested in joining our lab, refer to our poster talk to learn more about ongoing projects.

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Dr. DaCosta presents at the ‘Future Investment Initiative’ Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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Dr. DaCosta presented at the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This conference convened CEOs, policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs and young leaders from around the world. Dr. DaCosta participated in in-depth conversations about new pathways for global investment, analysis of critical industry trends, global energy crisis, and geopolitical conflicts that present profound challenges. He networked with world leaders and experts to shape the future of international investment and the global economy

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Chris Gibson wins the SGS Conference Grant and presents at the WMIC 2022 Conference
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Chris was invited to give an oral presentation at the 2022 WMIC Conference in Miami Beach, Florida. For this trip, Chris won the SGS Conference Grant. At WMIC, he presented “First-in-human intra-cavity imaging of 5-ALA-induced fluorescence during breast cancer surgery.” The purpose of Chris’ talk was to present both the strengths and shortfalls (with potential solutions) of the fluorescence imaging technology that were discovered in a real-world, first-in-human clinical setting. The presentation was very informative to other scientists who were developing similar technology with shared aims to improve clinical care.

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Michael Edson and Emily Chen presents a poster at the WMIC 2022 Conference
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Michael and Emily were invited to present a poster at the WMIC 2022 Conference in Miami Beach, Florida. They presented “Quantitative Intravital Imaging for Real-time Monitoring of Pancreatic Tumor Cell Hypoxia and Stroma in an Orthotopic Mouse Model,” which discussed the investigation of the spatial and temporal influence hypoxia on the pancreatic tumor microenvironment in an in vivo model. The hypothesis is that intravital fluorescence microscopy can be used to directly study the pancreatic tumor microenvironment in vivo at a cellular resolution over several weeks. Their poster presentation was well received.

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