Researchers at Dal are doing their part to heal the world through prevention, collaboration and entrepreneurship

Every day, researchers and health-care leaders around the world are inching closer to finding better treatments and cures for illnesses that affect millions of people globally.

And right here at Dalhousie, our world-leading researchers are tackling diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and childhood obesity through cutting-edge work and innovative approaches.

On May 31, at an Open Dialogue event during Dal Alumni Days, don’t miss an opportunity to hear directly from four Dal researchers who are doing just that. Presented in lecture-style (with lots of time for Q&As), learn how they are developing cancer-killing viruses and tumour-shrinking glass, how we are just one step closer to unlocking the key to curing Alzheimer’s disease, and how an innovative new program is empowering children and youth as change agents for the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families and communities.

Together, the faculties of dentistry, health, medicine and the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation are presenting the event and shining a light on how research and work happening at Dal is making an impact on a local, regional and global scale


Dr. Shashi Gujar – Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Gujar is developing methods to strip cancer of its ability to hide from the immune system by using oncolytic viruses to target and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Treating cancer with oncolytic viruses not only kills the existing cancer, it establishes protection against a recurrence, especially since the virus therapy promotes long-term immunity against possibly recurring cancer and targets cancer stem cells which are extremely difficult to destroy with conventional treatments.


 Dr. Daniel Boyd – Faculty of Dentistry

Dr. Boyd is passionate about glass and the revolutionary benefits it can bring to health care. An exceptionally versatile material, it can be turned into a microsphere that can be used to block the blood supply to tumours of the liver or uterine fibroids causing them to shrink and disappear without surgery. He’s also using glass to transform dental material into a bone cement that can be injected into the spine, bond with the bone and repair fractures. Glass can be used as a desensitizing agent for toothpaste, blocking the tubules that lead to the nerve and preventing the pain that cold and hot drink can often trigger. It can also be used to treat osteoarthritis, one of the most pressing medical issues around the world, with synthetic bone grafts.

 Dr. Sara Kirk – Faculty of Health

A professor of health promotion in the School of Health and Human Performance and the Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute, Dr. Kirk is co-lead of Uplift NS, an innovative youth-centered program that seeks to understand how we can create supportive environments for chronic disease prevention. She applies a socio-ecological approach that considers how individual behaviour is influenced by other broader factors, such as income, education and societal norms.


Dr. Sultan Darvesh – Faculty of Medicine

A neurologist and a chemist, Dr. Darvesh is the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation’s Irene MacDonald Sobey Chair in Curative Approaches to Alzheimer’s Disease. He has spent more than 20 years searching for the key to unlocking the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease. He pioneered the world’s first technology to diagnosing the disease in its early stages and is currently working on treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s. To aid his research, he has established the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank, where donated brains could be carefully stored and studied to understand how brains affected by Alzheimer’s disease differ from healthy brains and those affected by other forms of dementia.

Janet MacMillan, APR, Fellow, CPRS – Moderator
Janet is Vice Chair of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) and is currently serving as Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Dalhousie (Interim). Janet has devoted much of her professional and board governance career to guiding and supporting successful organizations in their growth trajectories and breakthrough moments. She serves as lead strategic counsel to some of NATIONAL Public Relations Atlantic’s clients and teams (a firm she co-founded and co-owned) and specializes in such areas as risk, reputation and crisis management, citizen engagement, governance and regulatory matters. She guides clients in such sectors as health, education and resources, renewable/traditional energy as well as commercial and infrastructure development. Janet is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD); a fellow, and accredited (life) member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, is certified by the U.S.-based Institute for Crisis Management and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).




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