Sara M. Nolte

Sara Nolte holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Masters of Science in Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences from McMaster University. Her MSc research focused on developing of cancer stem model to study brain metastases from the lung. She then spent a year working on developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies. Throughout a highly productive graduate career, Sara became interested in scientific communication and education. She is now involved in developing undergraduate programs and courses in the health sciences at McMaster, and is looking for ways to improve scientific communication with the public. Outside of science, Sara enjoys participating in a variety of sports, and is a competitive Olympic weightlifter hoping to compete at the National level soon!

Posts by: Sara M.


‘Bad Luck 2.0’ – the transformation to success

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 09/12/17

Over two years ago, an article published in Science took the Internet and media by storm. The paper, “Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions,” better known as “The ‘Bad Luck’ Cancer Study,” used mathematical modeling to demonstrate that most cancers were a result of chance…Read more

Crazy for CRISPR!

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 12/05/16

On November 15th, my social media pages exploded with posts and comments regarding the latest news about how the gene-editing ‘CRISPR-Cas9’ technology had been used in the first human patient. The article, published by Nature, was entitled “CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time.” It described how a group of Chinese scientists…Read more

Made in Canada solutions for the scarcity of stem cell donors?

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 08/08/16

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably come across various campaigns looking for stem cell donors. You may even know someone who needs a stem cell transplant. It is increasingly apparent that there is a demand for stem cell donors for those in need. Who are these people who need stem cell transplants?…Read more

From bench to bedside: clinical trials and cancer drug approval in Canada

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 09/28/15

. Much of what we discuss here on Signals is what’s going on in the lab. I’ve definitely done my share of promoting basic science research in the cancer stem cell field (here and here). By now you, and almost everyone else, must be wondering why these “wonder drugs” aren’t being used yet. Well, it…Read more

Stem cells: like mother, like daughter

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 07/08/15

. If you’re a frequent reader of Signals, you’ve probably seen the phrase “self-renewal” at least once. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably still a bit confused as to what it means. Yes, I admit it, even after being a part of the cancer stem cell field for over six years, I can…Read more

By all means, target the CSCs – but leave the normal stem cells out of it!

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 05/19/15

. I’ve spent a number of posts going on and on about how targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs) is the next big thing for cancer therapies, and how important it is that we study and learn all we can about them (know your enemy, right?). All of this has probably left you with at least…Read more

What’s in a name? A cancer stem cell by any other name is still a stem cell – or is it?

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 03/23/15

> I have previously written about the phrase “cancer stem cell,” and how it can be misleading for researchers and the public alike. As scientists, we go through great pains to be specific in our use of ‘cancer stem cell’ (CSC), referring to a cell that possesses the stem cell abilities of self-renewal and multi-lineage…Read more

Bad luck, bad science, or bad reporting?

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 01/19/15

. If you’ve been on the Internet at all in 2015, you’ve probably stumbled across headlines like “Two-thirds of cancers are due to ‘back luck,’ study finds” (CBSNews), “Most cancers are caused by bad luck not genes or lifestyle say scientists” (The Telegraph), “Cause of cancer revealed: majority of cases down to ‘bad luck’ rather…Read more

Inside a cancer stem cell researcher’s toolbox: CSC markers & flow cytometry

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 12/08/14

> In my previous toolbox articles (sphere formation and xenotransplantation), I’ve talked about assays that are pretty useful in determining the existence of cancer stem cell (CSC) populations based on function. What these assays cannot do is provide us with a way to identify the specific cells. Well, guess what? There’s a tool for that…Read more

More than just the pizza: A new approach to Journal Club

Author: Sara M. Nolte, 09/29/14

> It’s September again! That means new grad students in the lab, seminars and courses start again, committee meetings, grant deadlines, product shows, and… Journal Club. What is Journal Club – and why am I about to spend an entire post talking about it? Ideally, it is a dedicated meeting where lab members come together…Read more