Sharing Medical Images for Research: Patients’ Perspectives

Michelle was our second YSP student this summer and did a great job at particpating in one of our studies in looking at patients’ willingness to share their medical images for research. This study is also part of the MiNE project.

Here is what Michelle had to say:

“My name is Michelle Cheung and I am a rising senior at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California. In my free time, I love to bake, read, travel with family, and take Barre classes. I also enjoy volunteering with friends at local charitable events and the Key Club at school. I am very interested in human biology and hope to study genetics and biotechnology next fall.

I really enjoyed the three weeks with the YSP Research Program. I learned so much about medical imaging modalities and had the amazing opportunity of helping research assistants survey patients at the Sunnybrook Hospital for the MiNE project. At first, it was a little daunting, but over time, I became more confident and comfortable interacting with patients, and grew to love surveying. The continuous surveying each day highlights the aspect and importance of repetition in conducting scientific research. Above all, it was an absolute pleasure getting to know the MiDATA and VBIRG lab. I’m grateful to my mentors and the lab members for exposing me to a whole new lab world I never thought existed beyond the traditional wet labs.”

Great job Michelle!

Have a peek at Michelle’s award winning poster and…

… I’ll see you in the blogosphere.

Pascal Tyrrell

Wow! What a Busy Summer….

Over 20 students in the lab this summer beavering away at some great projects. Last week my two Youth Summer Program (University of Toronto) students finished their three week stay with us. 

Jenny and Michelle both did fantastic work.

Today Jenny will show you her poster entitled:“Comparing Healthy and Unhealthy Carotid Arteries”

Jenny Joo is from Richmond Hill, Ontario, entering her senior year of high school. She plans on studying life science at the University of Toronto in the future. She spent the last 3 weeks in U of T’s YSP Medical Research program, where she was placed in two different medical imaging labs: The MiDATA lab of U of T and the Vascular Biology Imaging Research lab at Sunnybrook Hospital. 
Jenny chose to do research on the MRI scans of the carotid artery because it focused on both research and clinical aspects and had this to say about her experience with us: “It has been an enriching 3 weeks working with my PI, Pascal Tyrrell, my mentors, John Harvey and Moran Foster, and the rest of the research group.” 

Great work Jenny Joo!

Have a peek at her poster and…
… I’ll see you in the blogosphere.

Pascal Tyrrell

From YSP to Hanging Out at Stanford: Michelle Cheung

Hello! My name is Michelle Cheung and I am a rising 2nd year student at the University of Toronto. I was one of the Youth Summer Program (YSP) students in Dr. Pascal Tyrrell’s lab in the summer of 2016. During the program, I helped with the Medical Imaging Network Enterprise Project by surveying patients at Sunnybrooks hospital for their perspectives on sharing medical images for research.
Before entering Pascal’s lab in 2016, I took part in YSP the summer before in 2015. It was my two years in the summer program that made me aware of U of T. Being able to live in the dorms, attend classes and labs, and explore the city made me fall in love with the campus, especially the fast-paced metropolitan city life in contrast to the suburban life back home in California. More importantly, through the program, I was exposed to the lab environment. Of course, it was more than the allure of lab coats and micropipettes, but my time in the labs sparked my interest in research, hence am now pursuing genomics and hoping to learn more about hereditary diseases. Thus, when it came down to deciding which college to attend, all these factors placed U of T high up on the list.
Near the beginning of second semester of my first year, I started thinking about what to do over the summer. I couldn’t waste the 4 months and knew I needed the exposure and experience in professional labs if I plan on becoming a genetics researcher, hence started looking for research internships.
I was offered an internship position at the biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, back in California, and it was quite an interesting experience applying for the position. I thought the first phone interview went decent but I was aware that I didn’t express enough interest in a particular aspect of research associated with the position. A month later, I interviewed a second time. It went really well until the interviewer said, “Let me ask you a challenging question.” I was expecting a deep theoretical question, and it ended up being, “Introduce yourself and your career goals in Cantonese.” In all fairness, my auditory skills are on point and I can understand conversational Cantonese, however, truthfully, my speaking skills had grown too rusty after not speaking it at home anymore. Hence, in my response, I managed to fluently get out my name, age, and school. I tried talking about my hobbies; trying to say “hiking with friends” turned out in me saying “taking walks with friends”, and “baking” turned out to me saying “cooking”. I was stumped when trying to describe my career goals as I blanked on how to say genetics and research and complicated bio words. Least to say, the awkward silence as I tried to come up with the right thing to say was mortifying. Little did I know that the interviewer would become my current manager (great guy), but hey, he hasn’t brought up the mortifying experience and I now have an embarrassing interview story to tell and a lesson learned.
Meanwhile, my parents connected with a family friend who was a scientist at Stanford. She was looking for a student research trainee to help her with her research project studying pulmonary disease, working with mice, and it was a fitting role for me.
I found out I was accepted to the research internship at AbbVie and luckily, the timing works out with my shadowing at Stanford. One internship would give me more practical lab experience while the other would give me a taste of the bio corporate industry. Hence, it’s the best of both worlds this summer – getting to experience both academic and industry research.
All in all, I am here today, about 1.5 months into the research internships, and having a blast. I had a wonderful first year of undergrad, and as I reflect, am very grateful for my time in YSP for bringing me to U of T and exposing me to the medical research world.     
-Michelle Cheung

Another Reason Why a Brain Boo-Boo Is Bad.

Rostam Rashidkhani – YSP 2015

Rostam Rashidkhani is a grade 12 International Baccalaureate student at the Toronto French School and he was a Meds – Youth Summer Program student with me this summer.

Rostam is intrigued by the sciences and enjoys biology, chemistry, and physics in school. He has participated in a number of University of Toronto summer programs and is looking forward to University life!

This summer Rostam looked at what causes brain problems after traumatic brain injury and how best to detect these changes with MRI. Recent brain imaging studies, including those in former professional football players, indicate that persistent brain inflammation after a single moderate head injury or repeated milder traumatic brain injury may be very common, may contribute to cognitive problems. More importantly, the chronic brain inflammation related to traumatic brain injury may be treatable. Looking for chronic traumatic brain inflammation with followup MR may be a way to reduce cognitive impairment.

Well done, Rostam!

Enjoy the read and…

… see you in the blogosphere,

Pascal Tyrrell

Some R&R with UofT YSP and Elizabeth Lehner…

Elizabeth Lehner – YSP 2015

Maybe not all rest and relaxation but certainly radiology and rheumatology! Here is a great example of why collaboration between disciplines is so important in medicine. Elizabeth recently graduated from Iroquois Ridge High School and will be a new University of Toronto student this fall. See her post below. 

Great job Elizabeth!!!

Many people are familiar with the word arthritis. This is probably because one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older report having arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a specific form of arthritis that unfortunately can lead to severe disability and joint replacement. 

Over the past several weeks, I participated in the 2015 YSP research program with the Division of Teaching Laboratories within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and had the opportunity to look more closely at Rheumatoid Arthritis and ways to better diagnose this debilitating disease.

Under the supervision of Prof. Pascal Tyrrell and the Department of Medical Imaging at U of T, I was introduced to various imaging modalities including MRI machines, CT scanners and ultrasound machines. The work by Dr. Tyrrell was of particular interest given his studies on inflammation and the use of the various imaging modalities.

As part of this program I also participated in specific lab tasks including dissections and micropipetting and was exposed to clinical work such as suturing and operating an ultrasound machine. In addition, the program provided me with the opportunity to participate in daily workshops led by two instructors from the Division of Teaching Laboratories, Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed. These workshops provided important overviews on a variety of topics relating to research that were very interesting.

The things I learned in this program provided me with a much better understanding of various research and medical issues that I think will be of use to me as I begin my studies at the University of Toronto this fall.
I would very much like to thank Prof. Pascal Tyrrell, Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed for allowing me to be exposed to the various projects and for answering the many questions that I had during the program. Thank you!

Elizabeth Lehner

A YSP Student Perspective: MRI and Carotid Artery Disease

Hershel Stark, MED YSP 2014 Student

Throughout the month of July, I participated in a research program with the Division of Teaching Laboratories within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. I was assigned to work with Prof. Pascal
Tyrrell and the Department of Medical Imaging, and spent the majority of my time with the Vascular Biology Imaging Research Group (VBIRG) at Sunnybrook Research Institute. I would like to discuss my experiences, what I gained from the program, and how I can take those skills with me into the future.

Essentially, the program was composed of presentations and shadowing opportunities in which I was introduced to various imaging modalities used in both the clinical and research fields. I primarily studied MR imaging, but was nevertheless exposed to other modalities including ultrasound and CT.  Towards the end of the program, I had two principal objectives: to present my experiences to the VBIRG group and to design an infographic for displaying. Below is a copy of my infographic:

Notwithstanding the abundance of knowledge I gained from studying the subject content, I acquired a variety of essential research skills by partaking in the program. Shadowing proficient researchers as they collected
and analyzed data provided me with a thorough insight of a researcher’s methods and techniques. The researchers that I worked with appropriately explained their individual roles on the research team, which led to my understanding of the significance of collaboration in scientific and medical research.
One last aspect of the program that I would like to address is the daily workshops that were conducted by two instructors from the Division of Teaching Laboratories, Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed. Each of these brief workshops focused on an important general topic relevant to research in general, ranging from discussing common scientific practices to elaborating on literary research. I believe that the combination of skills and knowledge that I obtained from all elements of the program will be useful in my potential
research career in university.
 Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank all of those that contributed to making the program a truly enjoyable and intellectually stimulating experience. I would like to extend my gratitude to
Dr. Alan Moody and the members of the VBIRG group for allowing me to shadow their research projects, as well as to Prof. Pascal Tyrrell and the Department of Medical Imaging at U of T for constructing the program and offering much assistance in the formation of my infographic. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Chris Perumalla and the Division of Teaching Laboratories in the Faculty of Medicine at U of T for formulating the research module of the Youth Summer Program, and Jastaran Singh and Jabir Mohamed for providing guidance as instructors throughout the program.
Best of luck in all of your future endeavours,
Hershel Stark

A YSP Student Perspective: Ultrasound – Not Just for the Unborn Child

Angela Lo, MED YSP 2014 Student
When you think of ultrasound, what’s the first thing you think of? Babies. All that fun stuff. Well, it turns out that ultrasound can be used not only for clinical testing, but also for research purposes. For
example, it can be used as a diagnostic tool to survey images of the body or also used as a device that monitors health conditions in research studies.
During the past three weeks, I (Angela!) have had the opportunity to participate in a research module in the medical imaging department at The University of Toronto. Through this program, I have been exposed to various imaging modalities including both MRI machines and CT scanners, but one of the modalities that interested me most was the ultrasound machine. Why? Because of its noninvasive procedures and its ability to make both 2D and 3D images in real time while still being a fraction of  he cost of an MRI.
During my time in the program, I was also able to observe the various uses of the ultrasound machine and how it can be used as a research tool in the flow mediated dilatation study. Blood vessel health can be studied by having an ultrasound take images of the brachial artery to measure blood velocity and the percent change in FMD. By knowing the percent change, researchers can monitor arterial health and use it as a preventative measure.
Overall I had an amazing experience learning about all he imaging modalities and the great benefits and potential each one holds.
Happy reading,
Angela Lo