Vancouver, BC – “Human Microbiome Research: An Introduction,” by Daljeet Mahal, won first place for the best short film at Gene Screen BC 2012. Daljeet was awarded $3,500 in prize money for his film at the packed gala held tonight at Science World at Telus World of Science.
The winning video explores the human microbiome which is the sum total of all of the microbes and their genetic elements in the human body. In the film, three experts in the field of human microbiome research are interviewed. Dr. Janet Hill, Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe and Dr. Patrick Tang provide their perspectives on the importance of human microbiome research and the relevance of this scientific field to the general public. Furthermore, Dr. Tang specifically provides an overview of how genetic tools are essential to the field of human microbiome research in order to identify bacterial profiles of the human body. Antimicrobial products such as hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps are also discussed in the context of their effect on the human microbiome.
Gene Screen BC is a short-film competition presented by Genome BC and the BC Clinical Genomics Network (BCCGN). This partnership has facilitated up and coming filmmakers and scientists to compete by creating short films on the role of genetics and genomics in human health. The purpose and focus of Gene Screen BC is to create a resource of films that inform and excite members of the public, including high school students, teachers, and physicians about the issues related to genomics and human health. Films can be in any format including documentary, short fiction or animation.
“We know that the films from last year’s competition have been used widely and extremely effectively. We have confirmed what a powerful tool storytelling can be when explaining the advances and complexities of genomics,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. “We are gratified that these visual tools are serving to increase understanding for public audiences, including youth across the province.”
The filmmakers competed for $4,500 in prizes. This year’s People’s Choice winner was Ben Paylor who walked away with $1,000. His film, entitled “Deflating the Genomic Bubble” documents the discussion between two researchers - Lauren, a behavioral scientist and Marcus, a genomics scientist – about the unrealistic expectations of genomics research in regards to their impact on disease and health. Lauren’s behavioral research institute has just lost its government funding, which prompts her to question the financial favor being shown to the biomedical field of genomics. What follows is exploration of the problems leading to the hype surrounding genomics, as well as a few suggestions as to their solutions.
Films were required to have an educational message, be 3-10 minutes in length and have PG rated content. “We are delighted that Genome BC is working with us on such a worthwhile initiative. It has been a highly successful partnership which we hope to continue for many years to come,” says BCCGN co-leader Dr. Jan Freidman.
Judges included science media personality and scientist Dr. Jennifer Gardy. The films will also be distributed to schools through Genome BC’s Geneskool educational program to be used to encourage debate and discussion. They will also be used by the BC Clinical Genomics Network in its genomics education program to inspire BC physicians to learn more about genomics and health.
Everyone can view the films at www.genescreenbc.com/2012-videos.
About the presenting sponsors:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $550M in research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. www.genomebc.ca
The British Columbia Clinical Genomics Network (BCCGN) supports the advancement of scientific knowledge and its application to improved health outcomes in British Columbia through its network of clinical investigators and coordinated access to state-of-the-art genomic technologies, genetic research methodologies and support services. For more information, visit our website at www.bccgn.ca.
For additional information on this event, please contact:
Communications Specialist, Genome BC