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Biotechnology promises to heal, fuel and feed the world. At its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology - biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. Explore the international technology pipeline and get a glimpse of what tomorrow will be like.

Healthy Appetites

Ashraf Amlani - Friday, July 01, 2011

There is no doubt about the extent to which modern technology influences the way we live. Less than 2 hours after the infamous Vancouver riots started following Game 7 of the Stanley cup finals, a Facebook page was created asking responsible citizens to show up at 7am in downtown Vancouver and clean up the aftermath. 12 hours later, some 10,000 people had shown their support and countless volunteers joined in the efforts to clean up the city. It inspired me to explore a topic I have been pondering for some time now: the smartphone apps revolution within the health sciences industry.  READ MORE

The Power of Stem Cells

Ashraf Amlani - Saturday, April 30, 2011

In 1968, two siblings with severe combined immunodeficiency were successfully treated with bone marrow transplant, which is known to contain stem cells. Ten years later, haematopoietic stem cells were first discovered in human cord blood. Previously, embryonic stem cells have been shown to improve the movements of paralysed rats due to spinal cord injuries. However, it was not until October 2010 that the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells to investigate the use of stem cells for spinal cord injury and ensure that stem cells pose no harm to patients. In the FDA approved study, the stem cells were coaxed to become nerve cells then injected into the spinal cord of injured patients. The results of this novel study will determine whether the beneficial effects of embryonic stem cells can be further investigated in humans.  READ MORE

What's Your Label?

Ashraf Amlani - Thursday, March 31, 2011

SBN Events Coordinator Natalia Subrt recently attended an interesting event organized by IEEE Women in Engineering. She was impressed by an inspiring workshop led by Dr. Tara Cree, a principal at Knightsbridge Leadership Solutions. Natalia shares some key insights about the importance and strategies around developing your own leadership brand.   READ MORE

Geneious: This is no spelling error!

Ashraf Amlani - Monday, January 31, 2011

To most people, the word "genius" brings to mind the image of Albert Einstein. But in the increasingly complicated world of biotechnology, the creation of simple, user friendly tools that process gigabytes of data within minutes and allow users to draw astounding conclusions is nothing short of genius. Since the only code most lab junkies are able to read involves the letters, A, T, G & C, analyzing large datasets of genetic code would be impossible without the help of our colleagues in computer science. Thankfully, many bioinformatic tools currently exist to allow scientists to analyze genomic data. SBN member, Mathew Lee, looks at one such program, Geneious, which is widely used in the genomics sector.  READ MORE

Personalized Medicine: The Evolution of Patient Care

Ashraf Amlani - Friday, December 31, 2010

As a country, Canada spends nearly $30 billion each year for prescription drugs. Take into consideration that, on average, prescribed drugs only benefit 50% of the population, one can see the need to improve the existing health care system. Most cancer drugs work in only 25% of cancer patients, while diabetes drugs work for up to 50% of patients. In addition, adverse reactions from medications can aggravate the patient’s condition, further increasing health care expenditure through emergency treatments and hospital care. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first to personalize medicine when he said "Different medicines for different patients, for the sweet ones do not benefit everyone, nor do the astringent ones, nor are all the patients able to drink the same thing". And while science has made much progress through the centuries, the idea of personalizing medicine is one that holds true to this day.   READ MORE

The Impact of University Research

Ashraf Amlani - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On October 15th, representatives from BC’s Lifesciences sector met to discuss the role of research and innovation in economic development. Part of Life Sciences BC Breakfast Series, the discussion was led by representatives from Boreal Genomics , GenomeDx Biosciences, and the President of University of British Columbia, Professor Stephen Toope. SBN’s events coordinator, Natalia Subrt, brings to you the insider’s perspective on what they had to say.  READ MORE

Economic Darwinism

Ashraf Amlani - Sunday, October 31, 2010

Andrew Tait“ Now in its 24th year, the [Ernst & Young Global Biotechnology]report has become an important resource for life science companies globally who are looking into the future and emerging opportunities.” – Rosine Hage-Moussa, LifeSciences British Columbia. SBN’s event liaison, Andrew Tait, provides the insider scoop on how the BC & Canadian Biotechnology industry is faring through the global economic recession.  READ MORE

April Fool's Joke or Reality

Ashraf Amlani - Thursday, September 30, 2010

April 1, 2050: The lights are low, the music soft, the ambience perfect. The waiter walks over and places your order of grilled salmon with mango salsa and corn salad in front of you. The aroma makes your mouth water and you reach for your fork. That scrumptious dinner is followed by a scoopful of vanilla ice-cream drizzled with hot chocolate fudge. As you savour the last of the dessert, it feels like heaven on earth, until your eyes turn to a small sign posted on the wall. You blink your eyes and pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming. The sign still reads “All our meals are prepared from 100% genetically engineered foods”.  READ MORE

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Ashraf Amlani - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maybe it was the 4,900,000 barrels of crude oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico due to the recklessness of British Petroleum. Maybe it was the recent Green peace activists that recently rappelled down Calgary Towers protesting the cozy relation ship between the government and the tar sands oil industry. Or maybe it is simply the extra carbon tax you pay every time you fuel up at the pump. Whatever the trigger, most of us at some point have given some thought to the rising costs and hazards of fossil fuels. So how does Canada fare in the development of biofuels as an alternative source of energy?  READ MORE

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