Feb 29, 2024  |  3:00pm - 5:30pm
Guest Seminar Series

Black History Month Seminar Series Day 2

As part of our programming for Black History Month, the EDIIA Committee is hosting a seminar highlighting Black excellence in scientific research.

Seminar Two

Speakers: Dr. Juliet Daniel and Dr. Upton Allen
Date: Thurs Feb 29, 3:00PM-5:30PM
Location: Sidney Smith Hall (SS 1071)
Register here

Seminar Two -Speaker Bios

Juliet Daniel

Dr. Juliet Daniel

Dr. Juliet Daniel is a Professor in the Department of Biology and the Associate Dean of Research & External Relations in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University. Dr. Daniel is not only an accomplished scientist, but also a passionate advocate for women and under-represented minorities in the scientific community.

Academic and Professional Background:
Dr. Daniel’s academic journey started with a BSc from Queen’s University, followed by a PhD from the University of British Columbia. After completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, she joined McMaster University where she established her own research laboratory.

Seminar Title: Dances of the Cure-abbean: Kaiso, cancer disparities and people of African ancestry.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) remains a clinically challenging BC subtype due to its highly aggressive nature and lack of targeted therapies. Intriguingly, TNBC is most prevalent in young Black women, who despite lower breast cancer incidence rates, have the highest breast cancer mortality rates. While the cause of this disparity remains unknown, we recently found that the transcription factor Kaiso is more highly expressed in TNBC tissues from Black women (compared to White women) and significantly correlates with TNBC aggressiveness and poor survival with TNBC. Notably, Kaiso depletion attenuated TNBC cell proliferation, delayed tumor onset in mice xenografted with TNBC cells, and attenuated TNBC cell metastasis to secondary sites. Our findings implicate Kaiso in TNBC aggressiveness and disparities in incidence/outcomes and suggest potential use of Kaiso as a TNBC prognostic biomarker.

Upton Allen

Dr. Upton Allen

Dr. Upton Allen is a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital for Sick Children. He is also a Senior Associate Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program at the SickKids Research Institute. Dr. Allen’s career spans research, leadership, and advocacy in the field of infectious diseases.

Academic and Professional Background:
Born in Jamaica, Dr. Allen obtained his medical degree from the University of the West Indies. He furthered his Pediatric and Infectious Diseases training at the Hospital for Sick Children and earned an MSc degree in Clinical Epidemiology from McMaster University.

Seminar Title: COVID-19 Research among Black and Other Racialized Communities: Lessons Learned

Racialized communities, including Black Canadians, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand the impact within the Black Canadian community, we have conducted research in three areas of Ontario: one with a high number of Black residents (northwest Toronto/Peel region) and two areas with lower numbers of Black residents (Oakville and London). The study looked at the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in participants' blood, indicating previous infection with the virus.

Findings from the study showed that the participation rate among Black Canadians progressively increased during the first year of the study, which was facilitated by an active Community Advisory Group. During the first year of the pandemic individuals from the northwest Toronto/Peel region were 3 times more likely to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies compared to those from Oakville and London. Children and young adults under the age of 19 had the highest rates of infection. These and other data highlight the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities and the need for targeted interventions to address the underlying reasons for these disparities.