Why Brain Matter Matters: Navigating Neurodegeneration: LMPSU’s Most Successful Conference Yet


By Jenni Bozec

On Saturday, January 13, many braved the wintery weather to attend the “Why Brain Matter Matters: Navigating Neurodegeneration” conference organized by the LMPSU (Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology undergraduate Student Union). The event proved to be a resounding success, drawing a diverse crowd of well over 400 attendees, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, members of the public and alumni.

The LMPSU chose the topic to shed light on the intricate world of neurodegeneration, a pressing issue in contemporary biomedical and clinical research. The conference was designed to allow speakers and attendees to delve into the complexities of brain matter and the challenges posed by neurodegenerative disorders in a way that was accessible to a broad audience.

The conference featured a diverse array of speakers from the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto who are leading researchers in the field of neurodegeneration. The day kicked off with Dr. Gabor Kovacs who explained the background to Neuropathology and tauopathies, including his own research on neuropathology of neurodegenerative diseases to identify early biomarkers and therapy targets.

He was followed by Dr. Martin Ingelsson on “Development of novel therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease”. Dr. Carmela Tartaglia presented her research on the role played by repeated concussions on the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Dr. Karun Singh spoke on “Applications of human neural organoids to study neurological disorders”, then Dr. Olga Rojas examined how what was happening in our gut can affect our brain. Dr. Jeehye Park then discussed her research in using mouse models to identify the early events in ALS pathogenesis.

The final speaker of the day, Dr Michael Pollanen, focussed on the human cost of neurodegenerative conditions. Using his research on Nodding Syndrome in Uganda as a framework, he brought home the effect neurodegeneration can have on families and communities. He also tasked the young research students in the room with ensuring that their future research challenges the status quo of focussing on those diseases affecting white individuals of European descent in the field of brain research.

The conference successfully created a dynamic space for learning and understanding. LMPSU Co-President Rachelle Lee said, “It has been seven months of hard work so now it is great to see it finally come to life. I love seeing all these amazing researchers able to share their knowledge with the audience in this way”. LMPSU External Affairs Officer, Linus Schweizer, added, “The conference is a fantastic learning experience and an opportunity to meet like-minded students and faculty. It gets a broad range of people together under one roof where we can discuss really important topics like this. We’re such a great research institution but it can be a little intimidating – this was an opportunity for undergraduate students to access these expert researchers and get inspired.”

LMPSU’s meticulous planning and hard work were evident in the seamless execution of the conference. Speaker, Dr. Pollanen, commented, “I can’t believe this conference was organised by undergraduate students. It was so well run and they managed to attract an excellent range of speakers and a broad audience. They’ve worked incredibly hard, and it shows, I was very impressed.”

Dr. Jeff Lee, undergraduate co-ordinator of the LMP Specialist Program, commented, “I am always very impressed by our undergraduate students and what they can achieve but I think this year they excelled. The turnout and engagement for this conference has been fantastic and shows what a great platform it is for engaging undergraduate students and many others with the incredible research happening at the University of Toronto. I can’t wait to see what they do next year!”

LMPSU Mentorship Social + Fall Election

Come out to the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Student Union’s first event of the school year! We will be having our fall election speeches for 2nd year representatives.
Come meet your mentors/mentees! Mentorship pairings will also be announced during the social‼️ A prize will be given to the mentorship pair that wins the kahoot trivia🎁🎊‼️ Free food and drinks 🧋🍩🍕 available so join us for a fun night💫, where you can meet and make friends in LMP across all years. 🤝
Location: MS2278
To apply for 2nd year representative positions (2 available), please fill out this form:
The deadline for submission is September 19, 2021, 11:59PM EST. Please feel free to contact us at lmpexecs@gmail.com if you have any questions.
Looking forward to seeing you all there!

LMP SURE Info Session

Take a look at the pictures from the LMP SURE info session we had yesterday. A big thank you to everyone who could make it. For those who missed out, we discussed the different research opportunities available in LMP. This includes, the research opportunity program, the SURE summer program, research courses, and research excursions. For more information check out this link, and stay tuned for upcoming events


Neural Stem Cells Academic Seminar

Hey Everyone! Check out the pictures from our Academic Seminar on neural stem cells today. A big thank you to Dr. Scott Yuzwal for his time and expertise. Also, thank you to everyone who made the time to come out to the event, we hope you enjoyed the talk. Stay tuned for our upcoming events, and make sure to join us next time to get in on all the fun

Annual BBQ 2019

Last Thursday we hosted our annual BBQ. All LMP students, faculty, and staff were invited, the turnout was amazing. The event had a lot of delicious food, fun games, and interesting conversations. Thank you to all the students and staff who were able to make it. For those who missed the event, make sure to catch our upcoming activities and join in the fun!

Event: Maximize Your Next Manuscript!

Hey everyone! There will be an event tomorrow afternoon at the MaRS building, featuring Dr. Brooke Laflamme. All are welcome as we discuss how to maximize the impact of a manuscript. Please see the attached photo for all the details. Hope to see some of you there!


Last Friday night we hosted a joint pub night with IMMSA! We had a very nice turnout, and a wonderful time chatting with people we don’t get to see often. Even though it was snowing out, inside the bar was warm and swell – because of friends, and also because of the buzz from the booze.

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We hope you had fun as well. Now get back to studying! JK, don’t stress. Life is short. Take care of yourself. Christmas will be here soon, and that’s a beautiful thing.


Pumpkin Carving Social November 2018

Happy Reading Week!!!

Our first social of the year on Nov 2 was a BLAST! Thanks to everyone who came out Friday night to hang with us. We had so much fun carving the pumpkins, not only because it brought people together but also because we got to stab things and destress after all those midterms. And the levels of creativity displayed by the end results are truly amazing – really, LMP people are actually cool. See for yourself if you don’t believe me.


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Even if you played games the whole time (I played games the whole time) I’m sure you got something out of it, whether it’s the candies or the baos or the juiceboxes or even a new friend. We couldn’t have thought of a better way to kick off the fall break, and we hope, if for some reason you missed this one, that you’ll join us next time (or join us again, obviously)!


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