Article by Dorsa Derakhshan
Graphic design by Abeeshan Selvabaskaran
The IMS Scientific Day is the academic highlight of the year for IMS as it has been established with the purpose of showcasing novel and current research by the students in this program.1 Held on May 17, 2022 at Hart House, this event provided students with the opportunity to showcase their research achievements, network with their peers and compete for student awards such as the Laidlaw Manuscript Competition and the Alan Wu Poster Competition.1,2
Kyla Trkulja is a first year MSc. student at the IMS researching novel therapies for lymphoma and a member of this year’s planning committee. For her, the highlight of this event was the outdoor student booths as well as meeting new people after two years of virtual networking and conferences (which are just not the same as in-person!). With regards to the planning process, she mentioned that the greatest challenge the committee faced was the uncertainty around whether the event would be held virtually or in-person – especially in light of the rapid rate with which the pandemic was evolving. She encourages IMS students to join the planning committee as it was an incredible experience to be involved in the decision-making process for the keynote speaker presentation, the research panels, and the themes of the event.
Dr. Gelareh Zadeh was the distinguished keynote speaker of this year’s IMS Scientific Day. Through her engaging presentation, she showcased key findings of her current research on clinically relevant molecular data driving surgical management for brain tumours. Importantly, she discussed the significance of this work and its implications for clinical decision-making and current management paradigms. For Dr. Zadeh, one of the most noteworthy aspects of this year’s scientific day was the long-awaited opportunity to network in-person following the easing of pandemic restrictions. She stated that it was immensely refreshing to finally meet with faculty and students in person. Additionally, another highlight of this year’s event for Dr. Zadeh was the novel delivery of poster presentations through an electronic poster format. She graciously provided words of encouragement for future IMS students, emphasizing participation throughout graduate school, as well as the importance of building supportive relationships both within and outside of the lab for future scientific collaborations.
The Great Hall of Hart House featured an enthusiastic crowd of students and faculty who had attended to learn and evaluate student poster presentations. One notable presentation was from Delara Emtyazi, a second year MSc student at IMS who presented her translational research on the behavioural effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and focused ultrasound (FUS)-assisted drug delivery on a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rodent model. Similar to comments provided by Kyla and Dr. Zadeh, Delara also mentioned that the highlight of this event for her was the return of in-person networking with peers and faculty after a prolonged period of working remotely. Moreover, she shed light on her process of preparing for her presentation, noting that it was similar to her preparation for program advisory committee (PAC) meetings. She had initially developed an outline to incorporate key findings into a power-point style format, which was ultimately adapted into a poster. For future student presenters, Delara emphasized the creation of visually appealing posters which are not text heavy and feature captivating and digestible figures and images, especially in methods and results sections of the poster.
- Institute of Medical Science. Scientific Day [Internet]. University of Toronto. [cited 2022 Jun 10]. Available from: https://ims.utoronto.ca/scientific-day
- Institute of Medical Science. Scientific Day Student Awards [Internet]. University of Toronto. [cited 2022 Jun 10]. Available from: https://ims.utoronto.ca/scientific-day-student-awards