Developmental biologist returns to Brock for seminar Friday

A former Brock professor who is a pioneer in mouse genetics research returns to campus Friday, March 15 to host a seminar on stem cells and mammalian development.Janet Rossant, who taught in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock from 1977 to 1985, will present “Stem Cells and Mammalian Deveopment” at 2 p.m. in AS 216.Rossant is a senior scientist in the developmental and stem cell biology program and chief of research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, as well as deputy scientific director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network. She is also a professor in the departments of molecular genetics, obstetrics/gynaecology and paediatrics at University of Toronto.Rossant’s science.ca profile notes that her “work has major influences in developmental biology, stem cells, and cell lineage. Her major findings are related to the question of how genetically identical cells adopt distinct characteristics during embryo development.“This question is paramount for those who seek understanding of numerous diseases, caused by abnormal development process. This work will influence studies not only of birth defects but even of genetic predisposition to various diseases such as cancer.”Her seminar is presented by Brock’s Department of Biological Sciences. read more

UN climate chief urges greater support for developing countries

“There is still a gap between intent and full implementation that will allow vulnerable countries to make the most of their own abilities and adapt at a faster and more decisive scale,” Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres said while in Kathmandu, Nepal.She was addressing the 8th Annual Community Based Adaptation Conference, which focused on issues such as how to ensure international finance can reach communities in need and how the private sector can better support such communities to adapt to climate change.“Nepal itself is estimated to be losing one per cent of its GDP [gross domestic product] to floods and landslides alone, a figure that will only rise unless the global community puts in place the policies and the pathways to bend the emissions curve down and climate proof communities and development here and across the vulnerable world,” said Ms. Figueres.Ms. Figueres drew attention to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund (GCF), established to become a major conduit of finance for developing country climate action, and in urgent need of resources. “At least ten billion dollars are urgently needed as initial capitalization so the GCF can operate quickly and at scale,” she said.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convoking a climate summit this September, expected to build momentum for a strong global climate agreement in 2015. This weekend, a special two-day high- level meeting will be held from 4-5 May in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to encourage announcements of greater action and ambition by world leaders at that upcoming summit. read more