Right Turn: Back to school and being brilliant

Author: Stacey Johnson, 09/04/15

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It’s September. I can almost hear the school bells ringing. I can definitely feel excitement in the air. For many, back to school isn’t something to dread: just the opposite; it’s something to get excited about. Tests and homework and waking up early aren’t much fun, but learning and discovering are a huge high for students of all ages.

Certainly that’s the case for Sarthak Sinha, a second year undergrad at the University of Toronto. He contributed a post to Signals last year based on two Ted-Ed videos he was part of. One was about wound healing and the other was on how scars form. He became interested in this work back in high school when he started volunteering at the University of Calgary to investigate stem cell biology and its role in healing skin burns. He was also interested in hair follicle regeneration and worked in the lab of Jeff Biernaskie – a leader in this field.

He has since been recognized with many impressive awards and distinctions, and his six-page CV is filled with publications he has co-authored.

Sarthak is still fascinated with this area of regenerative medicine and is the subject of a Sixty Second Science video by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. You can watch it here.

Sarthak’s newest Ted-Ed video, on balding, is available here.

Luckily for society, while Sarthak is exceptional, he is not the exception. There’s Plan Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 pick Michael Liu who, in high school, worked with Molly Shoichet (University of Toronto) to develop a hydrogel that would move stem cells into stroke-affected parts of the brain. By now Michael is at Harvard University, either going through frosh orientation or maybe he’s already hitting the books.

Divya Nag dropped out of Stanford University, at the age of 20, to launch Stem Cell Theranostics, a drug screening company that uses disease-specific beating heart cells derived from human skin to perform the first “clinical trial in a dish.” Today she’s working on special projects at Apple. She’s hit the ripe old age of 24. Another one to watch.

Do you know an exceptional teen who has a passion for regenerative medicine? If so, let us know. These future leaders are a reason to celebrate and feel hopeful.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
Stacey Johnson

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