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Masks now mandatory in indoor public settings in KFL&A

Kingston’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore has issued a public health order making masks mandatory inside any indoor public setting. Mayor Bryan Paterson issued the announcement on YouTube on Friday, Jun 26, 2020. 

“That means masks will be required for going into grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, hair and nail salons, as well as community centres, houses of worship, libraries and inside buses and taxis,” the Mayor said.

He added that the move comes in response to the rise in the active number of cases seen in Kingston over the past few days, traced to a nail salon in the west end. Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health announced the outbreak on Thursday, June 25, 2020, originating at Binh’s Nail and Spa.

KFL&A Public Health is asking anyone who has visited the salon in the past 14 days to get tested for COVID-19, and to self-quarantine while they await the results. 

The mayor said the rise in cases is a good reminder to adhere to public health advice. “This rise in new cases was not unexpected,” he said. “But as a community, we can do better. Over the next year we’re going to see successive waves of new COVID-19 cases, but we can minimize their impact by making sure we stay vigilant — wearing masks, washing hands and practicing physical distancing.”

Dr. David M. Berman re-appointed Director, Queen's Cancer Research Institute

Dr. David M. Berman re-appointed Director, Queen's Cancer Research Institute

On the recommendation of Dr. Steven Smith and with the support of Dean Richard Reznick, Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen's University, has appointed Dr. David M. Berman to a second term as Director of the Queen's Cancer Research Institute (QCRI). Dr. Berman has served as Director since January 2015, and his re-appointment commences July 1, 2020.

Dr. Berman earned his BA in Psychology at University of Pennsylvania and combined MD/PhD in Genetics and Development at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. This was followed by a residency and a postdoctoral fellowship in Pathology/Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Berman was appointed as an instructor at Johns Hopkins University in 2001, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008. He joined Queen's University in 2012 and is Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine with cross appointments to Oncology and Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. In addition to his role as Director of the QCRI, he served as Director, Division of Cancer Biology and Genetics from 2015 to 2018.

As Director, QCRI, Dr. Berman oversees three divisions: Cancer Biology and Genetics, Cancer Care and Epidemiology, and Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG). The Institute is comprised of 40+ faculty members whose research covers the entire spectrum of cancer research, working as an integrated unit under one roof. Knowledge translation and collaboration is a unique strength of the structure of QCRI, which is proud to celebrate 40 years of clinical trials excellence and innovation by CCTG in 2020.

Dr. Berman's focus on integrated knowledge sharing has attracted distinguished cancer researchers to Queen's from around the world, led to improved collaboration across translational research teams, streamlined institute governance policies, and improved communication through the launch of a comprehensive newsletter that highlights the publications, awards, and innovations of the QCRI's members.

A clinician scientist, Dr. Berman's research and clinical expertise focus on bladder and prostate cancer diagnosis. Since 2015, he has been the PI/Co-PI for research grants totaling more than $5.2 million in funding and has 83 peer-reviewed publications. He continues to work as a classroom and clinical instructor, sharing his expertise in cancer biology and urological pathology.

Please join Dean Reznick in congratulating Dr. Berman on his re-appointment as Director.

University Holidays July 1,2,3

From the Principal:

It hardly needs to be said that the last few months have been exceedingly busy for us all.  That we have had to adapt to a new way of life that none of us could have foreseen has been stressful and frankly, exhausting.  But our community has weathered this difficult time with a great deal of creativity, flexibility and resilience, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished and of everyone’s hard work and dedication preparing for a very different fall and a future that is still largely uncertain. Recently a number of my colleagues at other universities have announced university-wide holidays to both recognize the extraordinary work being undertaken and to offer some time to rest and recharge for what lies ahead.  I am following suit and declaring July 2nd and 3rd university-wide holidays.  For those who already have July 2nd and 3rd scheduled as vacation, the days should not be deducted from your vacation allotment. Employees who are required to work on July 2nd and 3rd should speak to their managers to find an alternative time to use these designated university holidays.

I know that the last several months have taken a toll.  It has not been easy but I want you to know that I am very optimistic about our future and that is because I know our institution is being sustained by our talented and committed staff and faculty.   I am grateful to you all for the time and energy you have devoted to Queen’s.  Please enjoy your days off – you deserve them.

 

The Southeastern Ontario Medical Organization funds six new projects to help fight the global pandemic.

The Southeastern Ontario Medical Organization funds six new projects to help fight the global pandemic.

From https://www.queensu.ca/gazette/stories/innovative-research-advancing-understanding-covid-19?utm_source=e-queens-gazette_staff&utm_medium=e-newsletter

Modifying existing antiviral drugs for better outcomes and revealing the mechanisms of a mysterious blood clotting syndrome are among six new COVID-19 research projects being pursued by researchers and clinician scientists at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), Kingston General Health Research Institute (KGHRI), and Queen’s University. The research is supported by funding totalling $670,000 from the Southeastern Ontario Medical Organization (SEAMO).  

“These researchers are recognized as leaders and innovators in their respective fields, and their work has the potential to significantly advance global understanding of this complex and perplexing disease,” says Dr. Steve Smith, Vice-Dean Research, Faculty of Heath Sciences, Queen’s, Vice President, Health Sciences Research, KHSC, and President & CEO, KGHRI. 

The list of funded projects is below: 

Paula James and David Lillicrap - Coagulopathy: Understanding and Treating a Novel Entity  

Drs. James (Medicine) and Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), leading researchers in clinical and molecular hemostasis, are studying the links between COVID-19 coagulopathy, an unexplained and potentially fatal blood-clotting syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2, and von Willebrand Factor (VWF), a blood clotting protein. They are collaborating with researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto) and Vermont Medical Center who are studying the effects of the blood thinner heparin on COVID-19, which has been shown in preliminary research to help these patients. The role of VWF in this disorder has not yet been studied, and the KHSC and KGHRI researchers aim to gain better understanding of the mechanisms of VWF in COVID-19 coagulopathy, potentially leading to the development of new treatments.    

David Maslove and Michael Rauh - COVID-19 and the Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care  

Drs. Maslove (Medicine) and Rauh (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) are part of an international genetics study examining why some patients are affected more severely by COVID-19 than others. They will be looking at the genomes of patients admitted to intensive care units across Ontario and then comparing them to those of a healthy control population. Using advanced computing techniques, they will be able to look at hundreds of thousands of subtle genetic variations across the population, to determine which of these are associated with outcomes. Knowing more about these variations will lead to new strategies for fighting the virus.  

Martin Petkovich, Jacob Rullo and Martin tenHove - Coronavirus infection of the ocular mucosa to model infection and systemic immunity 

Drs. ten Hove (Ophthalmology), Rullo (Ophthalmology), and Petkovich (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences) are studying local and systemic immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection using a physiological model that will examine how the virus infects the mucosal layer of the eyes. They will also determine the efficacy of administering a vaccination via this route to see if it generates systemic immunity against coronaviruses, and then use these results to study how the disease progresses in vaccinated and non-vaccinated models.    

Stephen Vanner and Prameet Sheth - The application of metabolomics to enhance detection of COVID-19 and predict disease severity: A proof-of-principle study   

Drs. Vanner (Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit) and Sheth (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) will use specialized mass spectrometry to study the metabolites found in nasopharyngeal (upper throat) samples of COVID-19.  Their aim is to identify the unique signature of these tiny molecules, compared to other causes of respiratory infections such as the common cold. This metabolomic signature holds promise as a more sensitive, rapid and accurate identifier and predictor of the severity of the disease than current methods. It will also enable future studies on COVID-19 detection, prediction of disease severity, and virus identification in asymptomatic individuals. 

These projects are examples of research confronting COVID-19 being undertaken within the Kingston and Queen’s community. The Vice-Principal (Research) also recently announced the first round of results for the Rapid Response competition, fund and support research projects that will contribute to the development, testing, and implementation of medical or social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19.