This week's Vitals: Science in the Cinema and Citizen-Scientist-Astronaut under the sea

Vitals is a weekly roundup of essential news and events in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

FoMD Communications Staff - 11 May 2016

Requesting your assistance for the Fort McMurray Evacuees
The University of Alberta is hosting more than 1000 Northern Alberta evacuees in Lister Centre. We have been asked to appeal to our campus community for volunteer physicians who can make room visits to assess and log emerging health issues among the evacuees in our residences.

At this time, we anticipate a commitment of volunteer resources for seven days beginning May 10, including weekends, to be reassessed on May 16.

We are looking for teams of two physicians per each of the following shifts:

Mornings: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Afternoons: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Evenings: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact our University Health Centre For further information, call 780-492-0864.

Many thanks for leaping into action and ensuring the U of A can provide vital health care to our community when it is needed.

Salute to the FoMD's mentors May 12

At the FoMD, our faculty members go beyond knowledge-sharing and role-modeling to provide personal support and encouragement to the next generation of scientists and health professionals.

Join us on Thursday, May 12 at 3 p.m. in the Oborowsky Degner Seminar Hall (1-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation) to honour the following faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding mentorship: Joseph Casey (Department of Biochemistry), Geoff Ball (Department of Pediatrics), Kim Solez (Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology) and Justin Ezekowitz (Department of Medicine). A short reception follows the award presentations.

Science in the Cinema May 17
Ever imagined who would play you in movie?

Dr. Dennis Slamon is depicted by Harry Connick Jr. in a 2008 film called Living Proof, based on the true story of how the internationally-known cancer researcher from UCLA pioneered the breast cancer drug Herceptin, which was clinically tested in humans right here in Edmonton.

Learn how the revolutionary work of Dr. Slamon has saved thousands of lives thanks to the power of philanthropists Lilly Tartikoff and Ron Perelman, at a special Science in the Cinema screening of Living Proof on Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Garneau Theatre.

The free presentation of the movie will be emceed by Dr. Richard Fedorak, dean of the U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, with a post-show Q & A about cancer research with Dr. Judith Hugh, chair, breast cancer research, Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta (CRINA) and Dr. John Mackey, professor of oncology at the Cross Cancer Institute.

Up Next: Dr. Dennis Slamon's Gairdner Lecture May 24
Following up on Science in the Cinema, our community has the chance to hear from Dr. Dennis Slamon himself, as our visiting speaker at the Gairdner Public Lecture, "New and novel approaches to breast cancer" on Tuesday, May 24 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bernard Snell Auditorium, University of Alberta Hospital.

Attendance to the Gairdner Lecture is free but an RSVP is required as space is limited. Please visit to register. Parking is free to attendees at the hospital's East Public Parkade, southwest corner of 83 Ave and 112 St (entrance off 83 Avenue). Please present your Eventbrite RSVP ticket at the Bernard Snell Auditorium to obtain your parking pass.

Shawna Pandya selected as a citizen scientist-astronaut

FoMD alumna Shawna Pandya, '06 BSc (Hons), '12 MD, trained first in neurosurgery then in general practice, pursuing all kinds of adventures all over the globe, including rotations in cardiac surgery in India, orthopedic surgery in Ecuador, reconstructive surgery at Stanford and Aerospace Medicine at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Shawna Pandya - FoMD

Most recently, Pandya's devotion to technology, innovation and social development has led her deep under the sea with sights on further space exploration. In January 2016, she was named as prime crew for the SeaSpace Exploration and Research Society's Project Poseidon, which aims to further ocean and space exploration, while setting a world record for "most days spent under the sea."

In April 2016, she was selected among the first class of 14 candidates for one of the world's first commercial suborbital human spaceflight research programs, the PHEnOM project.

The PHEnOM (Physiological, Health and Environmental Observations in Microgravity) project trains and supports specialists to engage in groundbreaking research in the areas of health and human performances, pharmacology, science and engineering with the aim to contribute to the larger collective body of knowledge about human exploration in space.

Prior to being named to the Project PHEnOM Citizen-­Scientist Astronaut Corps, Pandya was part of the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero­gravity, successfully completing Scientist-­Astronaut Candidate training with Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), where she experienced slow onset hypobaric hypoxia training, aerobatic flight, and emergency spacecraft egress and sea survival training.

You can follow Shawna Pandya's exciting adventures under the sea and up into space on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Credit: Cooper & O'Hara Photography