Message from the Chair

Rita KandelAs we start the new academic year we welcome our new and returning students and trainees and those faculty who joined LMP over the summer. As our existing LMP community will attest, you have made the right choice. The University of Toronto is a global leader in research and teaching, a fact confirmed by its No. 1 ranking in Canada and its 22nd place worldwide (according to the Times Higher Education). This is testament to the work of our faculty and the staff who support them so be sure to take advantage of this highly talented group of individuals.

This is a formidable time for all our trainees and students as they have much to learn, many skills to acquire, and for those just starting their programs they are learning to navigate the system.  Faculty are busy writing grants and manuscripts, delivering clinical service, teaching, and developing new tests and guidelines, just to mention a few activities. This is all occurring on a background of great change. For example, artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly and has the potential to profoundly affect our clinical practice. Next generation sequencing, proteomics, and high resolution imaging are almost routine techniques. Precision medicine, which is rooted in Laboratory Medicine, is rapidly entering into clinical practice and changing the role we play in patient care. CRISPR/cas9 technology has allowed human genome editing.

The upside of all of this is that we now have many of the tools that will allow us to make very fundamental advances and to increase our understanding of disease in ways we could not conceive just a few years ago. We know that about 80% of medical decisions are based on what we in LMP do and investigate -- what a great time to be a student, trainee or faculty member in LMP!

Over the summer, the executive and I gave a lot of thought to what LMP needs to do to be ready to lead these changes, including:

  • new ways of teaching,
  • how to provide mentorship,
  • development of new programs,
  • supporting research and academics, and
  • engagement of alumni and creating a donor community in LMP.

As we embark on transforming LMP for the future, our focus will be on promoting innovation and facilitating excellence in academic activities and research with the goal to impact health. The Vice Chairs will be sharing their initiatives with you in future newsletters.  If you have any ideas you would like them to consider, please contact them or myself.

Much has been happening in LMP over the past couple of months:

  • We are about to advertise for a new tenure track professor.
  • We are actively involved in recruiting several new clinical faculty
  • We are in the final stages of recruiting a Director for Continuing Professional Development  
  • Professors Paul Hamel and Stephen Girardin, with input from CLAMPS, have reinvented the LMP1001 graduate seminar course which should improve the student experience. Supervisors are expected to attend when their students are presenting, however I encourage everyone to show up as often as possible to experience the breadth of work being conducted in LMP.  
  • Defending PhD students will be presenting their work in an hour long seminar in advance of their defense. I encourage you all to attend as I know you will hear some excellent science.
  • Investigators and students have communicated with our MPs about the Fundamental Science Review Panel report  and the need for more stable research funding.
  • Together with Paula Nixon, our clinical program directors have been preparing for internal reviews in advance of the Royal College accreditation:
  • Dr. Shashie Sade (Anatomical Pathology),
  • Dr. Tony Mazzulli  (Microbiology),
  • Dr. Rumina Musani (Hematopathology), and
  • Dr. Scott Boerner (Area of Focused Competence in Cytopathology).  
  • We welcomed two new program directors who join our group of very dedicated clinical educators:  
  • Neuropathology - Dr. Patrick Shannon
  • Forensic Pathology- Dr. Jayantha Herath

So as we turn our sights to moving forward I can’t help but think of Dr Seuss who said, “… this is your day! Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.”

Rita Kandel MD, FRCPC
Professor and Chair