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A podcast about the people behind the world-leading research at UHN
UHN Podcast Behind the Breakthrough Cover

What is the cure for Alzheimer’s? How can we help prevent the elderly from falling? Will stem cells regenerate a damaged heart? 

Over 1,000 researchers at UHN tackle these and many other profound health issues every day. For most, the pursuit of discovering a cure or better treatment is personal. You can feel their passion in these intimate one-on-one conversations about their pioneering work and revealing personal stories of how they got to where they are today.

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Season 1 Episodes:

Heather Ross Hero Image

Episode 1 – Dr. Heather Ross on heart failure, artificial intelligence and a near-death experience

Air Date: October 8, 2019 | Length: 42:07

In this episode of Behind the Breakthrough, we hear from cardiologist Dr. Heather Ross about her pioneering work with artificial intelligence, how she handles failure—especially after two rejections from medical school—and how a brush with death brought her closer to her patients than ever before.

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Karen Davis Hero Image

Episode 2 – Chronic pain and scientific baseball, with Dr. Karen Davis

Air Date: October 15, 2019 | Length: 34:56

In this episode, neuroscientist Dr. Karen Davis talks to us about pain. What is it? Can we predict it? What does personality-type have to do with it? While the complexity of pain is still not well understood, the uncertainty doesn’t stop Dr. Davis and her team. “We all have doubts,” she says. “But what drives most of us is a very fundamental curiosity … and the more we interact with patients the more it motivates us to think outside the box.”

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Camilla Zimmermann

Episode 3 – Challenging the meaning of palliative care, with Dr. Camilla Zimmermann

Air Date: October 22, 2019 | Length: 43:20

Dr. Camilla Zimmermann talks about how her research has helped change the practice of palliative care from end-of-life care to a more wholistic approach that answers the question, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” Dr. Zimmermann also reveals how the death of her parents when she was a teenager shaped her career, her initial reluctance to admit to colleagues her desire to be a palliative care specialist, and how stigma still hangs on the concept of what is palliative care.

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Milos Popovic

Episode 4 – Robotics, rehabilitation therapy and learning from failure, with Dr. Milos Popovic

Air Date: October 29, 2019 | Length: 32:03

We sit down with Dr. Milos Popovic to hear about his transformational shift from aerospace engineering to rehabilitation research, and how it led to his invention of a medical device that delivers electrical stimulation to restore upper limb mobility to people with paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and stroke. Originally from Belgrade, Dr. Popovic shares how he narrowly escaped Yugoslavia’s brutal civil war as military soldiers banged on doors looking for conscripts.

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Mathieu Lupien

Episode 5 – Meet the cancer codebreaker, Dr. Mathieu Lupien

Air Date: November 5, 2019 | Length: 47:38

In the battle to defeat cancer, award-winning UHN researcher Dr. Mathieu Lupien is a modern-day version of the Bletchley Park World War Two codebreakers. Dr. Lupien searches the human genome, trying to crack the origin of how and why cancer starts. He knows deciphering that enigmatic code is one of the keys that will lead to a cure for cancer. Dr. Lupien also talks about the Terry Fox loonie he carries in his pocket at all times as a reminder of the commitment and importance of the work done in his lab, how a line in a TV show he watched as a child in Quebec has fuelled his research career,” and his advice for kids who want to go into science.

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Jenny Campos

Episode 6 – Overcoming ‘imposter syndrome’ and helping the elderly live well, with Dr. Jennifer Campos

Air Date: November 12, 2019 | Length: 40:02

Growing up, the death of Dr. Jenny Campos’ grandfather from a preventable fall while carrying groceries up a flight of stairs shook her family to the core. Today, it is the driving force behind her research in falls and driving collision prevention in the elderly. By simulating real life challenges in Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s renowned Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (CEAL), Dr. Campos is finding ways to help older adults live well.

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