Angela C. H. McDonald

Angela is a PhD student in the Stem Cell and Developmental Biology program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She is currently utilizing pluripotent stem cells to understand the genetic regulation of endoderm development. As an avid supporter of public science education, she co-founded the high school outreach initiative StemCellTalks sits on numerous public education committees including the International Society for Stem Cell Research Public Education Committee and the Stem Cell Network Public Outreach Committee.

Posts by: Angela


Stem cells in 60 seconds: Quick lessons in communicating science

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 12/23/13

> Last Friday afternoon, I raced over to a University of Toronto neighbourhood pub for the annual Ontario Stem Cell Initiative (OSCI) holiday party. This year, OSCI decided to change up the usual scientific poster session and created a science communication competition — right up my alley. The competition was called “Stem Cells in Sixty…Read more

Stem cell defects may help explain premature aging in Down Syndrome

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 10/16/13

> This week, while perusing my favourite news websites, I discovered that October is Down Syndrome Awareness month in the US. We Canadians however, have reserved our Down Syndrome Awareness week for the first week of November but nevertheless, this got me thinking about the current state of Down Syndrome research and what stem cell…Read more

Taking a leap: Regeneration of the non-human primate heart

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 06/25/13

. Some of the “what ifs” of stem cell researchers written on chalkboards at the 2013 ISSCR meeting. Researcher Charles Murray is working on one listed here. While giving my stem cells some much-needed attention in the lab this morning, I reflected on another great ISSCR annual meeting. I’ve gone to this meeting every year…Read more

Making pancreatic beta cells, Doug Melton style: ISSCR 2013

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 06/14/13

. Shortly after I started my PhD in 2009, Time magazine profiled a Harvard Stem Cell Institute researcher, Doug Melton, who dedicated his research program to understanding the development and biology of pancreatic beta cells following the diagnosis of his children with type I diabetes. Over the years, I have followed Melton’s progress towards creating…Read more

Male infertility: Stem cells to the rescue?

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 11/27/12

Last month, I blogged about recent stem cell advances toward a solution for female infertility. While this post may have left you excited about the potential for stem cells to help women with fertility complications start a family, it may also have left you wondering: “What about the other half?” After all, male infertility accounts…Read more

Will stem cells eventually outperform pharmaceuticals or will they come to Big Pharma’s rescue?

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 09/11/12

You don’t have to follow pharmaceutical industry news to know that this summer has been a disappointing one for Alzheimer’s research. Many major media outlets covered the failure of potential Alzheimer’s drug bapineuzumab (Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson) in Phase II/III clinical trials, announced earlier this summer. Another disappointment came late last month with the report of…Read more

Airway epithelial cells created from human patients could provide a powerful drug-screening tool for Cystic Fibrosis

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 08/30/12

If you tuned into the evening news on Monday night (at least here in Canada), you would have seen my PhD supervisor Janet Rossant, discussing a recent advancement in stem cell differentiation. Amy Wong, post-doctoral fellow in the Rossant lab, created a protocol for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into mature airway epithelial cells. The…Read more

Scientists lose the paper cranes and become experts in nucleic acid origami for siRNA delivery

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 08/13/12

It takes precision, focus and persistence to perfect the art of origami. So perhaps it is no accident that researchers have needed to apply the same skills to overcome challenges in siRNA delivery, right down to the folding. A couple of years ago, my fellow blogger Paul Krzyzanowski introduced us to RNA interference (RNAi) technology….Read more

Lessons in pluripotency from ISSCR 2012

Author: Angela C. H. McDonald, 06/29/12

Pluripotency describes the potential of a stem cell to differentiate into any cell type in the body. Embryonic stem cells derived from the early pre-implantation embryo are pluripotent as well as their engineered counterparts, iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells). Many labs have focused on understanding the gene regulatory networks maintaining pluripotency. This knowledge allowed Kazutoshi…Read more