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Gallie Day: A Celebration of Surgical Science

W.B. Gallie
W.B. Gallie

Gallie Day celebrates the memory and accomplishments of William Edward Gallie who developed our Department of Surgery into the first fullycoordinated training program for young surgeons in Canada. Gallie was born in Barrie, Ontario in 1882, the son of a building contractor. He graduated from the University of Toronto and trained at Toronto General Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children. He pioneered the use of “living sutures” while serving in World War I, and was recognized for his success treating fractures of spinal vertebrae. Although he received many offers to work in the United States, Gallie remained in Toronto, committed to his goal of creating a systematic course here so that Canadians no longer had to travel abroad to complete their surgical training. His devotion was not lost on his students who happily called themselves “the Gallie slaves”. In 1937 they formed the Gallie Club, meeting annually to present major papers. For his birthday every January, Dr. Gallie and his wife entertained his students and former students, who would return from all over the world for a reception in their home on Teddington Park Blvd, overlooking the York Mills ravine.

Julie Roorda
Assistant Editor 2004 - 2009
(with notes from Ernest Meyer and Toronto Star columnist Donald Jones)

To introduce the 40th Gallie Day celebration, Professor James Rutka reflected on the major social, medical, scientific and political changes which have occurred over the past 40 years. The theme of this year’s Gallie Day was “Commercialization and Research”. Commercialization and innovation are key to driving new discoveries and to enable their translation into practical clinical solutions.

These goals embody the essence of what it means to be an academic surgeon in 2014.

James Rutka and Michael Fehlings

James Rutka and Michael Fehlings

The symposium speakers emphasized their passion and commitment to their commercial ventures and the pressing need for the surgeon scientist phenotype to evolve if patients are to benefit from translation of discoveries. Rafael Hofstein (PhD, President & CEO, MaRS Innovation, MaRS Centre) presented his perspectives in a lecture entitled “From Bench to Bedside: Best Practices for commercialization”. Dr. Hofstein emphasized the role that MaRS can play in facilitating translational research and innovation. Milos R. Popovic (PhD, PEng, Toronto Rehab Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research) described a 17-year long journey of developing a concept for electrically stimulating functional upper limb recovery from an idea to a Health Canada approved product, which has gone global. His talk was entitled “Commercialization: Where Brownian Motion Meets Serendipity”. Michael Tymianski (MD PhD FRCSC, Head, Division of Neurosurgery; Senior Scientist, Division of Fundamental Neurobiology, TWRI-UHN), talked about his biotherapeutics company (NoNo Inc) dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of a novel pharmaceutical PSD95 antagonist for the treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury, and pain. His talk was entitled “Commercialization the Hard Way”.

Geoffrey Gurtner

Geoffrey Gurtner

Paul Walker (MD PhD FRCSC, President & CEO, Spectral Diagnostics Inc. and Past Surgeon-in-Chief at UHN) discussed his unique path to developing a product focused on improving outcomes in sepsis. His talk was entitled “Why Commercialize Your Discovery - A View From The Front Line”. Each of the speakers presented a unique perspective but each emphasized the importance of surgeons being involved and leading efforts directed at innovation and commercialization.

This year’s Gordon Murray Lecturer was Geoffrey C. Gurtner, MD (Professor and Associate Chairman of Surgery, Professor [by courtesy] of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA USA). Dr. Gurtner’s talk was entitled “The Art of the Practical: Translating Scientific Discovery into the Real World”. The following words, provided by Dr. Gurtner, summarize his key message: “It is well known that surgeons have pioneered the technologies that have transformed medicine. The treatment of coronary artery disease, solid tumors and critically ill patients were all developed by surgeons and were based on insights gained in surgical research labs. However, as medicine has become more complex, innovation has changed from purely procedural (e.g. new operations) to more completely new approaches to existing disease states (e.g. minimally invasive valve replacement). Recently, new barriers to innovation have also arisen including the corporatization of intellectual property, increasing regulatory complexity, rising health care costs and conflict of interest concerns. These challenges have made it more difficult for practicing surgeon-scientists to bring scientific advances into the clinic. It seems likely that the successful practice of surgery in the future will require a greater familiarity with the process of technology development and an increased ability to work with the private sector. Understanding how medical technology is developed will be required for surgeons to move scientific discoveries into the clinic. Hopefully, these new skills will allow surgeon-scientists to remain leaders in the advancing patient care and medicine” (Geoffrey C. Gurtner).

We had a record number of abstracts submitted by trainees working with our faculty. There were 10 platform presentations and 78 poster presentations. The Gallie Bateman Awards (for Surgeon Scientist Training Program participants) and the McMurrich Awards (for any trainee working with a member of the faculty of surgery) were judged for both platform presentations and poster presentations. The range of assorted topics and researchers highlighted the wide-ranging and tremendously high quality research being conducted in our Department.

We had 10 superb oral presentations, which scored highly. Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) trainees are awarded the Gallie Bateman prizes.

David Cadotte
David Cadotte

First prize went David W. Cadotte (supervisor: Michael G. Fehlings), for his oral presentation entitled “Visualizing Structural and Functional Plasticity of the Human Cervical Spinal Cord”. Jennica Platt (Natalie Causarano, Nancy Baxter, Shaghayegh Bagher, Jennifer Jones, Kelly A. Metcalfe, Stefan O.P. Hofer, Anne C. O’Neill, Terry Cheng, Elizabeth Starenkyj, [supervisor: Toni Zhong]) received second prize for her oral presentation entitled, “Pre-Consultation Educational Group Intervention to Improve Shared Decision-Making for Post- Mastectomy Breast Reconstruction: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial”. Third prize was awarded to Marisa Louridas (Esther M. Bonrath, Dana A. Sinclair, Nicolas J. Dedy, [supervisor: Teodor P. Grantcharov]) for her oral presentation entitled “Mental Practice to Enhance Advanced Laparoscopic Surgical Performance in the Operating Room: A Randomized Controlled Trial”. The fourth prize was awarded to Chethan Sathya (Paul Wales, Damon Scales, Paul Karanicolas, [supervisor: Avery B. Nathens]), for the poster presentation entitled “Mortality among Injured Children Treated at Different Trauma Center Types”.

Gelareh Zadeh and Bernard Langer

Gelareh Zadeh receiving the Bernard Langer Surgeon Scientist Training Program Award from Bernard Langer

George Borschel and Chris Forrest

George Borschel receiving the George Armstrong Peters Prize from Chris Forrest

Caldarone Fallah and Fazel

Left to right- Christopher Caldarone, Aria Fallah, and Marion Fazel

The McMurrich Awards are presented to research trainees who are not in the Surgeon Scientist Training Program). The first place award was won by Vijay Ramaswamy (Supervisor: Michael D. Taylor) for his oral presentation, entitled “Recurrence Patterns Differ across Medulloblastoma Subgroups”. Shabana Amanda Ali (Mushriq Al-Jazrawe, Heather Whetstone, Raymond Poon, [supervisor: Benjamin A. Alman]) received second prize for her oral presentation entitled “Cholesterol Homeostasis Mediates Hedgehog Signaling in Chondrocytes and Osteoarthritis”. Third prize was awarded to Kimberly Lau (Hirotaka Tao, Haijiao Liu, Kendra Sturgeon, Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez, Yu Sun, [supervisor: Sevan Hopyan]) for her oral presentation entitled “Anisotropic Stress Orients Remodeling of Mammalian Limb Bud Ectoderm”. Hae-Ra Cho (Hiroki Shimizu, Hiroaki Toba, Sylvia Asa, [supervisor: Mingyao Liu]) received fourth prize for the poster presentation entitled “Deficiency of a Novel Adaptor Protein, Xb130, Is Associated with the Development of Severe Multinodular Goiter”.

Faculty research awards went to Gelareh Zadeh - Bernard Langer Surgeon Scientist Training Program Award - awarded to an outstanding graduate of the Surgeon Scientist Training Program in the Department who shows the greatest promise for a career in academic surgery; Gregory Borschel - George-Armstrong Peters Prize - awarded to a young investigator who has shown outstanding productivity during his initial period as an independent investigator as evidenced by research publications in peer reviewed journals, grants held, and students trained; Avery Nathens - Charles Tator Surgeon Scientist Mentoring Award - recognizing individuals supervising participants in the SSTP who emulate Professor Tator’s qualities, namely excellence in research, commitment to SSTP mentoring and dedication to promotion of Surgeon-Scientists; Laurence Klotz -Lister Prize - awarded to an investigator who has shown outstanding and continuing productivity of international stature as evidenced by research publications, grants held, students trained and other evidence of stature of the work produced.

Niloofar Dehghan and Zane Cohen

Niloofar Dehghan receiving the Zane Cohen Clinical Fellowship from Zane Cohen

George Oreopolous and Oleg Safir

George Oreopolous (right) receiving the Surgical Skills Centre Award from Oleg Safir

The fourth Shafie Fazel Award, established in memory of Dr. Shafie Fazel, is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments during his/her residency both as a surgeon and as an investigator. This was presented to Aria Fallah (PGY 6, Division of Neurosurgery).

The Zane Cohen Clinical Fellowship presented to a clinical fellow who has practiced and achieved at the highest level while being a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgery, was awarded to Niloofar Dehghan (Division of Orthopaedics). The Tovee Award is presented to an academic staff member of the Department of Surgery who has made the greatest contribution to the educational activities of the Department, as exemplified by Dr. E. Bruce Tovee during his outstanding career. This year’s recipient of the Tovee Postgraduate Prize is Oleg Safir, and new mom, Darlene Fenech received the Tovee Undergraduate Prize.

The Surgical Skills Centre Distinguished Educator Award demonstrates the Centre’s commitment to surgical skills education. This award recognizes those individuals who have made exemplary, innovative contributions to teaching and learning in the Surgical Skills Centre over the past year. This was presented to George Oreopoulos. The D.R. Wilson Award for teaching is made annually to the surgical resident who is rated by undergraduate students as an outstanding teacher. Resident Justin Lee “demonstrated both a positive attitude toward teaching and was considered a good surgical role model for undergraduate medical students”.

Justin Lee and NEil Fleshner

Justin Lee receiving the D.R. Wilson Award from Neil Fleshner

group photo

Left to right- James Rutka, Dimitri Anastakis, Michael Fehlings, Rosalind Bradford, and Geoffrey C. Gurtner

group photo

from left to right: Sylvia Perry, Nancy Condo, Martin McKneally, Val Cabral and James Rutka

The 46 judges for the poster competition as well as the 16 timers, who volunteered their time for the poster judging deserve special thanks, as well at the Research Committee members who reviewed and judged the oral presentations.

As we celebrate how great the Day and Evening awards ceremony went, we need to acknowledge the tremendous effort it took from everyone involved. The day could not have gone as well as it did without everyone’s participation and collaborative efforts. Thanks again this year to Andrea McCart for assigning the judges to the posters, Joan Lipa and Gregory Borschel for moderating the sessions, and Sylvia Perry for making sure the day’s and evening’s preparations were adhered to. As we enjoyed our meal, we had a beautiful intermission with enchanting piano playing by Alex Mine and the Jazz Quartet.

A very special thanks goes to Val Cabral for her outstanding dedication and hard work to organize the Surgeon Scientist Training Program, and the Gallie Day events.

Val Cabral with contributions from Michael G. Fehlings

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