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Graduate Speaker Series

October 8 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm EDT

Graduate Speaker Series is a bi-weekly series for UofT students featuring UofT graduate students from all academic backgrounds presenting their research and ideas to a general audience of graduate students. We invite all UofT graduate students to attend, engage with speakers, learn about academic disciplines other than their own and build new connections.

Register here.

This week, we hear from two speakers:

Jasmine Carter
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Pharmacy

The Placental Transporter Project: A Scope Inside the Effect of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus on Placental Drug Transporter Expression

In 2019, Ms. Jasmine Carter began researching placental protein drug transporters in Dr. Micheline Piquette-Miller’s laboratory. Thus far, she has been learning various in vivo and in vitro laboratory techniques with placental tissue and ovarian cells with cell culture techniques. Millions of women become pregnant each year around the world; it is important to improve the quality of care and reduce disparities in maternal research. In order to mechanistically examine the impact of prevalent maternal disease on the regulation of drug transporters and establish the potential clinical relevancy, a number of questions need to be answered such as: What is the effect of pre-eclampsia and auto-immune diseases on the expression of drug metabolizing transporters in the human placenta and are maternal-fetal cytokine concentrations associated with these changes? The presentation will take a scope inside the literature and laboratory with a translational approach. Information from this study aims to contribute to high quality, evidence-based and respectful care to help to enable prediction of fetal drug exposure and disease effects to ultimately assist in developing therapeutic guidelines related to drug and dosage selection.

Rachel Mariani
MEnvSc Candidate, Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences

“Crop Diversification Through the Anthropocene Epoch”

The “Anthropocene Epoch” denotes the geological time in Earth’s history where human activity is the dominant factor influences both biotic and abiotic environmental systems. The core scientific ideas behind the existence of the Anthropocene are related to four primary lines of scientific evidence including: climate change, changes in land stratigraphy, impacts on Earth’s geomorphology, and biodiversity loss. However, there is a fifth line of evidence emerging that also points to the Anthropocene as a viable geological time period. Changes to Earth’s biogeography is a new defining feature of the current time and for the past 60 years, the planet has seen major changes in its biogeography. The largest shifts in biogeography are changes in crop diversity, particularly the expansion of crop types beyond their centres of domestication. Changes in crop diversity and biogeography have been documented at global and continental scales, yet a main theme remains unclear: have these changes have unfolded at national scales, where drivers of crop diversity change differ widely. My thesis addresses this theme, by using open access data from the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization, to determine how countries differ in terms of recent changes to crop diversity. The dataset leads to insights on changes in the amount of farmland being allocated to 339 crop species across 221 countries worldwide, from 1961 to 2017. I found that for 172 of the countries analyzed, the most prominent periods of diversification occurred in the mid 1980s; a time period that also represents a period when countries become more similar to one another in their crop composition. My research expands on previous work and aims to determine how these trends can be applied to better understand the impact humans are having on global systems.