Letter from the Editors

by Jason Lo Hog Tian, Mikaeel Valli, and Stacey Butler

Jason Lo Hog Tian

We hope you all have had a restful and rejuvenating summer break and are ready for the start of the new school year. With the beginning of a new chapter, we would like to reflect on the hard work of the IMS Magazine team this past year. Our biggest goal since taking over as Editors-in-Chief was to restore and maintain quarterly releases of the magazine. We are proud to have accomplished this goal, releasing four insightful magazine issues this year covering diverse topics including the GI Tract and Gut Microbiome, Men’s Health, Patient Engagement in Research, and Novel Laboratory Methods. This could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of our team of journalists, copy editors, executive editors, designers, social media team, and distribution team. We thank all the team members who are graduating and moving on from the magazine and we look forward to working with many who are staying with us for the upcoming year.    

I would also like to acknowledge the outgoing co-Editor-in-Chief Mikaeel Valli for his many years of service and dedication to the magazine. It has been a great pleasure to work with and learn from him and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for him. This being his last magazine issue, Mikaeel has left us with a few parting words:

Mikaeel Valli

When I reflect on my involvement with the IMS Magazine over the years, I can certainly attest that I have grown as a person and learnt a lot along the way. I vividly remember sitting in one of the lecture halls in the Medical Science Building back in September of 2016 where I was attending my first MSC1010-1011Y class. The executive team from IMS Magazine at the time made a guest appearance showcasing the accomplishments of the magazine. I was excited when they said they were recruiting photographers. I felt this would be a perfect way to get involved with the IMS community and apply my photography skills while embarking on a rigorous research program at IMS. I am grateful that the team welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to experiment with different composition and lighting techniques to communicate with readers. 

Little did I realize that my role as a photographer would expand within the organization to include other positions. I soon became a journalist for feature articles—which gave me the privilege to be at the pulse of what was happening at IMS by interviewing faculty and writing about their cutting-edge research. By 2019, I was promoted to feature executive editor and by 2021, I became co-Editor-in-Chief. Not only have I learnt a wide range of life science topics through writing and editing articles, I also have come to realize how important it is to make our content understandable and relevant to readers with diverse backgrounds within and outside the IMS community. This needs effective science communication, which is an art that requires content to spark an interest in readers while at the same time, accurately inform them the advances of scientific research. I cannot be prouder of all the journalists’ and editors’ work over the years that were able to make a deep connection with readers, allowing them to have a firm grasp on complex topics—which is not an easy feat!While I am sad to leave the magazine, I must say it was a truly enjoyable six years that I will forever cherish. I want to acknowledge that it was an absolute pleasure partnering with co-Editor-in-Chief Jason Lo Hog Tian for the past year in producing four exciting issues together. These issues were made possible with support of the brilliant executive team—Stacey Butler, Elizabeth Karvasarski, Dorsa Derakhshan, and Sandy Che-Eun Lee. The future is bright, and I cannot wait to read the upcoming issues of the IMS Magazine.

Lastly, we are thrilled to welcome Stacey Butler who is the incoming co-Editor-in-Chief that will be working with Jason going forward. She also had a few words to share as she transitions into her new role for the upcoming year:

Stacey Butler

Since joining the IMS Magazine in 2019, I have learned a great deal about science communication from Mikaeel and I am truly grateful for his support and mentorship. I feel very fortunate to be stepping into Mikaeel’s shoes and joining Jason as co-Editor-in-Chief of the IMS Magazine. I am looking forward to working with our team of talented graduate students to showcase the cutting-edge scientific discoveries and celebrate the diversity of our IMS community. 

On behalf of the entire IMS Magazine team, we would like to thank you for your readership, we hope you enjoy reading this issue, and we look forward to producing more magazine issues in the upcoming academic year!


Jason Lo Hog Tian, Mikaeel Valli, and Stacey Butler

Jason is a 5th year PhD student examining the mechanisms linking HIV stigma and health under the supervision of Dr. Sean Rourke

Twitter: @JasonLoHogTian

Mikaeel is a 5th year PhD student. He works with Dr. Antonio Strafella’s lab that uses neuroimaging techniques to understand the underlying mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease with non-motor complications.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mikaeel-valli/

Stacey is a 3rd year PhD student. Under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Gershon, she is evaluating the quality of care for patients with respiratory disease using a population-based approach.  

Twitter: @StaceyJButler