Season Four of "Behind the Breakthrough" features 10 new episodes of fascinating, in-depth conversations with UHN scientists about their ground-breaking medical research, including, (L to R), Drs. Eleanor Fish, Shaf Keshavjee and Andrea Iaboni. (Photos: UHN)

Season Four of the acclaimed UHN Research podcast "Behind the Breakthrough" launches Wednesday, Oct. 12, with 10 new episodes featuring fascinating, in-depth conversations with UHN scientists about their ground-breaking medical research.

This season of the 2022 Canadian Podcast Awards nominated series includes interviews with:

  • Scientist Emerita, Dr. Eleanor Fish, whose research into a naturally occurring protein in our bodies, called interferons, shows they are an effective therapeutic for the treatment of viruses.
  • Dr. Shaf Keshavjee and the story of how he revolutionized transplant with his breakthrough invention of an ex vivo perfusion machine that sustains and repairs damaged lungs while outside the body.
  • Dr. Andrea Iaboni and her creation of a "toolkit" that has gone worldwide as a standard of care in long-term care homes. It is designed to help staff implement infection prevention and control protocols while at the same time deliver safe and compassionate care to residents with dementia during outbreaks.

"It has never been more important to tell these stories," says Dr. Brad Wouters, UHN Executive VP of Science and Research. "Over the past few years, and throughout the pandemic, we've seen first-hand how science deeply impacts us.

"As a society our level of engagement and interest in medical research is at an all-time high. While we often learn of medical advances through articles, it's important to realize that there is a very human side to science. It is driven by real people.

"'Behind the Breakthrough,' while delving into important breakthroughs, also sheds a light on the people that make science happen."

For example, listeners will hear world renowned stem cell scientist Dr. Gordon Keller reveal how his early years growing up on a mixed farm in rural Saskatchewan and returning to help his parents with the fall harvest throughout his undergraduate years, helped shape his work ethic in the lab.

Dr. Lorraine Kalia trained for years with Canada's National Ballet School and rose to the corps de ballet of the National Ballet of Portugal before pivoting her career to the pursuit of an early intervention treatment for Parkinson's disease.

And, Dr. Jonathan Irish speaks to how he was a five-time provincial canoeing champion on a path to competing for Canada at the Olympic Games when he decided helping patients conquer cancer was to be his chosen path.

"'Behind the Breakthrough, underlines that there is a comp​lex and interesting story about the work and the people who do the work at UHN," says Gillian Howard, UHN VP of Public Affairs and Communications.

"In addition to this diversity of stories, what connects all our researchers in Season Four is their passion for medical research and a relentless drive to improve the lives of patients by discovering new treatments and cures."

Season Four​ episodes of "Behind the Breakthrough" drop every Wednesday from Oct. 12 to Dec. 14. The podcast is hosted by Christian Cote and has been nominated by the 2022 Canadian Podcast Awards in two categories – "Outstanding Health and Fitness Series" and "Outstanding Science Series."

"Behind the Breakthrough" is a co-production of UHN Research and UHN Public Affairs and Communication. For more on the show go to: "Behind the Breakthrough."


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