Nephrology Issue: Letter from the Editors

Nephrology Issue: Letter from the Editors

The start of a new year always brings new resolutions to help become our better self. For most of us, getting enough sleep, exercise, healthy food, and drinking more water are definitely on our wish-list. What do those healthy habits have in common?! Well, the answer is simple: it involves kidney function! Often we don’t think about our kidneys in our daily routine, however, they play the important role of filtering our body fluids and secrete important hormones. Keeping hydrated not only rejuvenates your skin but also helps the kidney to stay healthy. And so we proudly present the Nephology issue.

The Winter 2020 issue of the IMS Magazine set out to discover the latest research developments in the world of nephrology. Starting with Dr. Richard Gilbert, who has dedicated his career as a clinician and researcher to identifying therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat chronic kidney disease. He tells us about understanding the link between diabetes and kidney function on his journey until founding the biotech company Firbotech Therapeutics. Next, read how Dr. Norman Rosenblum and colleagues are growing kidney organoids from patients’ urine cells in a huge step forward for individualized kidney treatments. He and his team are studying how malformations in kidney development contribute to kidney failure in children and adolescents. Dr. Christoph Licht tackles the issue of rare kidney disease caused by genetic conditions. He studies how the kidney’s vast microvasculature system is affected by overactivation of the complement system – the “ancient biology” that helps our immune systems distinguish foreign tissue from our own. Finally, read about Dr. Lisa Robinson’s work revealing the mechanisms that regulate immune cell trafficking to inflamed tissue in acute kidney injury. She’s identified naturally occurring proteins whose anti-inflammatory effects could be harnessed as a novel therapeutic to limit injury.

IMS students continue the evolution of our previous issue on Women’s Health to advocate for gender equality with a viewpoint on the gender pay gap in medicine. Towards a healthier lifestyle, they discuss the impact of medical wearables and the effect of cannabinoids as an alternative medicine. Lastly, they discuss the effect of monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a food ingredient in light of prejudice towards the Chinese community.

In this issue we highlight several exciting past events including our Summer Undergraduate Research Program with SURP Research Day, and our annual Ori Rotstein Lecture in Translational Research. It’s exciting to shine a light on a new member of the IMS faculty, Dr. Zhon Ping Feng, who is opening the IMS doors to more international collaborations. And finally, we have featured one of our super-involved student and her story: senior PhD candidate Laura Best. Be sure to check out our fun section: this issue’s travel bite brought us to South Korea! Or if you are looking for a good read for these cold winter days, we got you covered with the review of Educated!

Photo by Krystal Jacques

As Co-Editors in Chief we’d like to acknowledge the team of dedicated students who spent their Christmas holidays making this issue a reality, and our photo this year includes the entire Exec Editor team. As Director of Distribution, Jonathan Chio is continually working to expand the reach of IMS Magazine throughout the Toronto community. Look for Director of Photography Krystal Jacques-Smith’s photos throughout the issue –she’s also organizing a professional workshop to help students hone their camera skills. And the fascinating infographic on page 8? It was written by Feature Director Mikaeel Valli, who coordinates the feature articles that accompany each issue’s theme. See page 6 for the writers behind this issue, and page 18 to learn about the fantastic Biomedical Communications Program that produces our stellar design team. We hope you enjoy this issue, and we’d love to hear from you: you can email us at and visit our website at

Happy 2020 and happy reading!

Natalie is a 4th year PhD student using neuroimaging and sensory testing to understand chronic pain under the supervision of Dr. Karen Davis. Outside the lab she loves to write about science and true crime. twitter: @ NatalieRaeOz

Beatrice is an international PhD candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Tymianski at the Krembil Research Institute, working on strategies to promote stroke recovery. Outside the lab she is an avid reader of non-fiction books (check them out in our Book Review section) and loves running. twitter” @ BBallarina