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Exploring cancer research

Let’s Talk Cancer symposium will welcome more than 250 secondary school students with the goal of inspiring the next generation of cancer researchers. 

More than 250 local secondary students will visit Queen’s University on May 18 to take part in the Let’s Talk Cancer symposium.

Let’s Talk Cancer Organizers. Back row (left to right): Katrina Cristall, Maximilian Niit, Kelly Brennan, Stephanie Guy, Piriya Yoganathan, Catherine Crawford-Brown. Front row (left to right): Zaid Taha, Carmen Chan, Mathieu Crupi, Rodette Nikita Williams, Dr. Victoria Hoskin. (Absent): Haykaz Mangarich, Geoffrey Harrison, and Nadia Bragagnolo.

The full-day event, hosted by the Kingston branch of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT) and Let’s Talk Science, will cover a variety of topics including cancer biology, research opportunities and new developments in treatments.

RIOT member Zaid Taha hopes the second annual Let’s Talk Cancer symposium will encourage young students to take an interest in cancer research and related career opportunities. Based on last year’s success in Kingston, organizers launched new Let’s Talk Cancer events this year in London, Ottawa and Toronto.

“We want the students to have an opportunity to learn about the novel and interesting research taking place at the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute,” says Mr. Taha, a master’s candidate in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences in the Collaborative Cancer Research Program. “The more curious young minds we can inspire, the better it is for the future of cancer research.”

As part of the symposium, students will hear from experts in the cancer research field, including Roger Deeley, Vice-Dean (Research), Faculty of Health Sciences, David Berman, Director of the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, and Doug Kane, Manager of the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington unit of the Canadian Cancer Society.

The morning session will begin with a keynote address from Andrew Craig (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) on precision medicine and combination therapies.  Michael Brundage (Oncology/Public Health Sciences) will then present on clinical aspects and epidemiology. Lois Mulligan (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) will conclude the morning by discussing the importance of stopping the spread of cancers. RIOT members will also present sessions on cancer biology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and novel research areas.

In the afternoon, the students will have the opportunity to receive a tour of the Anatomy Museum with Bruce Elliott (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), hear about the contributions of medical physics and imaging to the cancer field by Andrew Kerr (Oncology/Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy), or take part in an interactive career session led by Siobhan McArdle, Southeastern Ontario Regional Hospice Education Coordinator, and members of RIOT.

“Being a PhD student, a big component of my work is understanding knowledge translation and how to make research accessible to a non-specialist or introductory audience,” says Haykaz Mangardich (Psychology), a member of the Kingston chapter of Let’s Talk Science. “Events such as Let’s Talk Cancer are a tremendous way to connect with students and demonstrate to them the value of conducting research and the appeal of research as a career path.”

For more information on Let’s Talk Cancer at Queen’s, please visit the website.