Year in Review: Top 10 SCN Stories of 2022
From the launch of a new strategic plan and new branding to the formation of four new impactful partnerships and the largest research investment to-date, take a look back at the top headlines of the year.
In 2022, the Stem Cell Network continued to build and advance Canada’s stem cell and regenerative medicine (RM) sector, investing in impactful research and clinical trials, training next-generation talent, and supporting the knowledge mobilization and transfer of stem cell and regenerative medicine research.
As we move into the new year, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the SCN Top 10 stories of the year, showcasing the diverse work and accomplishments of the Network and our community.
- January 26th: The Stem Cell Network and Mitacs launched the SCN-Mitacs Industry-based Internship Partnership aimed at pairing the brightest graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with Canadian RM-focused biotech companies The program placed four next-generation leaders within companies that are moving innovative therapies and technologies into the marketplace and the program will reopen for applications on January 16, 2023. Read about the program and interns.
- April 1st: Cate Murray is announced as the Stem Cell Network’s new President and CEO. Cate served as SCN’s Executive Director & COO for six years, passionately advocating for SCN and providing the know-how and vision to successfully lead the Network forward. Since 2017, she has secured $69 million in federal funds to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research. Today, she is driving successful change and the growth of SCN. This work will ultimately lead to innovative therapies and technologies that will benefit the health of Canadians for years to come. Learn more about Cate and the SCN Team.
- April 6th: Canada’s Stem Cell Network launched IGNITE 2022-2025, a three-year strategic plan funded by the Government of Canada through a $45 million Budget 2021 commitment. Additionally, SCN released a refreshed brand identity and updated vision: To power life-saving therapies and technologies through regenerative medicine research for the benefit of all. Read more.
- May 9th: The Stem Cell Network partnered with Sandrine Soubes from Tesselle Development to deliver Daring to Dare®, a development program for women trainees in stem cell and regenerative medicine. In total, 41 women are participating in the program, reflecting, connecting with peers, and developing strategies to navigate the complexities of professional transition. Learn more.
- May 12th: Canada’s Stem Cell Network announced $19.5 million in funding, its single largest investment in regenerative medicine research. With in-kind and cash support from 34 partner organizations valued at $22.4 million, this investment allows Canada’s RM research community to harness a total of $42 million over the next three years. The funding supports 32 RM research projects and clinical trials involving more than 400 researchers, clinicians, and trainees from across Canada. Learn more about the investment and specific funding projects.
- June 9th: Medicine by Design and the Stem Cell Network announced a strategic partnership focused on training the next generation of leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs who will drive the field of regenerative medicine forward, translating research discoveries, navigating pre-clinical experiments, conducting clinical trials and understanding the requirements for successful commercialization, to ensure Canada’s global competitiveness for years to come. The partnership kicked off with a training workshop titled, Spotlight on Clinical Translation: Making the Leap from the Lab Bench to Phase I Clinical Trials. Learn more.
- June 22nd: The Stem Cell Network congratulated its Scientific Director, Dr. Michael Rudnicki, on being admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national academy of sciences. He is one of only 12 Canadian members of the 362-year-old academy, joining the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and many of the world’s most eminent scientists. Dr. Rudnicki was selected for his groundbreaking work in stem cell research, and specifically in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Learn more about Rudnicki and his research.
- July 18th: The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Stem Cell Network launched the UK-Canada Exchange Programme Awards in regenerative medicine. The program awarded 13 projects, providing funding for travel and skills exchange between RM researchers in the UK and Canada and facilitating closer collaboration between UK- and Canada-based researchers. The exchanges will take place starting in January 2023. Learn more about the program.
- October 3rd-5th: More than 500 experts from Canada’s stem cell community gathered in Vancouver to discuss the latest research, science and clinical advances at the 11th annual Till & McCulloch Meetings (TMM). Highlights included: two patient speakers sharing their stories receiving stem cell therapies for diabetes and COVID-19-related illness; the announcement of the TMM Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Connie Eaves for her 50+ years of work advancing treatments for leukemia and breast cancer; the recognition of Dr. Tyson Ruetz for his outstanding work as a trainee in the field of neural stem cells and aging with the Drew Lyall Award of Excellence; and the announcement of Dr. Karoliina Tuomela as the inaugural Andrew McKee Fellow in Type 1 Diabetes supported by JDRF Canada and the Stem Cell Network. Learn more about TMM.
- October 20th: Canada’s Stem Cell Network (SCN) announced the appointments of Nadine Beauger, Michael Kallos and Reza Moridi to its Board of Directors. The new members bring a wealth of diverse experience and expertise in their respective fields and are tremendous assets to the Network as SCN continues to drive research from bench to bedside and advance the regenerative medicine sector in Canada. Read more about the three new Board members.
We would be remiss if we did not highlight community members for their notable scientific achievements in 2022, including Order of Canada Appointees Timothy Caulfield and Allen Charles Edward Eaves, National Academy of Inventors Fellow Molly Shoichet, Canada Research Chairs Penney Gilbert and Benjamin Blencowe, and Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Academy of Health Science Fellows Fabio Rossi, Bernard Thébaud, John Bell, Paul Frankland, Elie Haddad, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, and Valerie Wallace.