Director’s Message

Since mid-March we have all had to face the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UofT had to quickly reorganize itself, as did the Institute of Medical Science. Our priority was to keep the student body safe, while still guaranteeing quality education standards. We quickly reorganized our classes online, and helped students meet all their academic requirements prior to graduation. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our annual in-person meeting, IMS Scientific Day. Thankfully, we were still able to connect and give our students the opportunity to present their work online. A big thank you goes to our graduate coordinators and staff for their organization efforts and tireless work to keep the IMS students informed and supported during the pandemic. 

This period has brought a lot of reflections regarding the new reality that we are living in. I am proud of my department for its ability to transition into digital work and accommodate all the students and their research. Moreover, in these uncertain times, many IMS labs have put together grants and reorganized themselves to contribute their knowledge towards the research for a vaccine, or to better understand the effects of covid-19.  As Ontario slowly re-opens, many laboratories have resumed in-lab work with new protocols: shift hours, reduced shared space, mandatory masks, and frequent hand washing. I encourage all of you to keep up these measures to keep yourselves and your lab members safe. 

The theme of this issue is Bedside to Bench; it tells the stories of individuals who have been inspired by their real-world work experiences to join the IMS and conduct research to solve issues they encounter on the job. Learn how Dr. Lisa Burry’s position as a Clinical Pharmacist at Mount Sinai is guiding her research to prevent delirum and improve outcomes in ICU patients. Read how IMS MSc student Esmaeil Mansouri’s experience in mental health research is informing his work as a registered nurse specializing in cardiology. And find out how Paula Conforti is leveraging two decades of experience as a psychologist working with school boards to develop mental health interventions for youth.

I also want to congratulate the new faculty members that have recently joined us in the IMS and the recent promotions. You will be able to find them on pages 6 and 7. Learn more about them and their inspiring research! I am proud to welcome you to the IMS and I am looking forward to your continued excellence during your time here!

As usual, I would like to thank IMS Magazine’s Editors-in-Chief, Beatrice and Natalie, all the editors, journalists, photographers, social media team, and design team for their excellent production this issue. I know the hard work that went behind each of these pages. And I hope you all find this issue as inspiring as I do!


Dr. Mingyao Liu