Bacon and Eggheads

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This flagship series brings together Parliamentarians with experts in science and engineering, showcasing outstanding Canadian research accomplishments. Its purpose is to provide unbiased insight into topical scientific issues, within a non-partisan forum. This prestigious forum represents a unique opportunity for scientists to communicate important findings to a distinguished and influential audience.

The series is organized by PAGSE, an umbrella group of 25 + science and engineering organizations operating under the auspices of the Royal Society, and is supported by NSERC.

When cells choose the wrong time to die

Alexander MacKenzie
University of Ottawa

In medicine, as in politics, timing is everything. When cells die prematurely, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and muscular dystrophy can be the consequence; when they linger, the consequence can be cancer.

The University of Ottawa’s Dr. Alexander MacKenzie has studied cell death in spinal muscular atrophy – a fatal inherited form of infantile paralysis. The result is the discovery of a gene family that has a major impact on apoptosis – the most common type of natural programmed cell death. This, in turn, has led to the creation of a biotechnology company and new therapeutic approaches for a wide range of disorders. The first product of this endeavour, an agent designed to treat ovarian cancer, is slated for trial in the new year. Dr. MacKenzie will talk about these discoveries and the often indirect path from basic research to new treatments.

Dr. Alexander MacKenzie is a molecular geneticist in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa, an attending pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Director of the hospital's Research Institute. He recently was appointed Vice President, Research at Genome Canada, the agency that supports Canadian genomic and proteomic research.

--the Speaker of the Senate, the Hon. Daniel Hays
--the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Peter Milliken
--Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE)

DATE: Thursday, March 11, 2004 from 7:30 am - 9:00 am