Winter 2021 CSMB Newsletter

Message from the President

Imogen CoeMy very best wishes for 2021.  My wish for this year is a complete and thorough vaccination of all Canadians against SARs-CoV2 and a return to all those activities that have been on hold for so long now.  The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of science for Canada and CSMB has been actively engaged in reminding policy-makers, particularly at the federal level, of the importance of basic science and research. Medical treatments and vaccines are the result of long term and sustained investment in fundamental scientific research that have increased our knowledge of infectious disease agents as well as cellular and molecular responses to disease.  Unprecedented levels of investments and coordinated responses globally have led to the development and testing of vaccines in record time. The Canadian government has invested heavily in COVID-19 related research, and these investments must be applauded while noting the pay-off, in reduced human suffering and economic damage, which comes with placing rigorous science and evidence-informed decision-making at the core of public health policy.

Consequently, we must continue to advocate for continued and increased investments in basic research in Canada, even in times of pandemic. We cannot predict exactly how new knowledge created by dedicated scientists in labs across the country might help in future health or climate challenges.  But we do know that, based on our experience and history, that discovery based scientific and biomedical research findings will serve to make us more ready, more responsive and more resilient, to future challenges.

Over the last months, the CSMB has continued meeting with Members of Parliament, Senators, and key civil servants (including the CIHR President and VP, and Canada’s Chief Scientist) to build relations and expand our network of science supporters. You can read more about these meetings below.

Scientists must also take a strong stand in support of evidence-based decision making and public outreach in support of science-based communications relating to COVID19. I am therefore happy to report on two initiatives CSMB has had a leadership role in developing: the #ScienceUpFirst and the joint statement of science societies in support of widespread COVID-19 vaccination. It is important to support the efforts of Canada’s public health agency and other bodies to bring the pandemic under control.

CSMB aims to have principles of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility at the heart of all its activities and initiatives. The Membership and Diversity Committee, led by Paola Marignani, has developed the CSMB EDIA statement, and we are proud to share this statement here and on our website.

Despite the pandemic and its evident impact on research labs and research activities across the country, we are still pushing forward on our regular activities in support and promotion of the research of our members.  This newsletter provides updates on our two upcoming meetings: the 64th Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences on Protein homeostasis (June 14-17, 2021) and the Life Science Careers Expo (May 2021) which aims to showcase the career paths that exist in the life sciences and provide resources career development tools to trainees. These virtual meetings are excellent opportunities to stay connected, even while socially distanced and we encourage you to come out to zoom world and join us.

Please stay engaged with the CSMB – it is more important than ever, while we are dealing with the challenges of COVID19, that we continue to work together to advance and promote science in Canada.

Imogen R. Coe

President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences


The CSMB takes a stand in favour of vaccines

Canadian Science Societies statement in support of widespread COVID-19 vaccination

The CSMB was proud to participate in a joint statement with Presidents for Canadian Science Societies in support of widespread vaccination for COVID-19.

The many biochemists, cell and molecular biologists of the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences understand the incredible power of vaccination as a way harnessing our own immune systems to protect us against this serious infectious viral disease”, says Dr. Imogen R. Coe, President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences. “We also unequivocally endorse the rigorous evaluation of vaccine efficacy and safety by Health Canada.“

Dr. Coe adds: “We are speaking up today because we are worried about the amount of misinformation that is being published on social media. We are worried for our families and communities, too, just like everybody else. Vaccines save lives, and there is widespread support for vaccination in the scientific community – it is important to get this message out there. “

Read the full statement published on the website


The CSMB President Imogen R. Coe is also on the steering committee of #ScienceUpFirst.

#ScienceUpFirst is a social media movement developed by a team of independent scientists, health care providers and science communicators to stop the spread of misinformation around COVID-19. Our goal is to put science first and we need your help!

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ScienceUpFirst, and share our expert-vetted posts with your friends and followers. You can also join the conversation by sharing science using #ScienceUpFirst.

Advocacy updates

Participate in Let’s talk budget 2021

let's talk budgetThe Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mona Fortier, launched pre-budget consultations on January 25th. These discussions allow the government to hear the best ideas from Canadians and experts across the country about how Budget 2021 can support Canadians through the pandemic and help us build back better.

When COVID-19 is under control and Canada’s economy is ready to rebound, the government has a plan to make smart, targeted investments to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery and begin to repair the damage done by the pandemic. These pre-budget consultations are an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can best invest to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and build a greener, more competitive, more inclusive, and more resilient economy.

Read the full press release here:

Visit the consultation website here:

There is a short survey you can fill to share your ideas on where the government should invest to jumpstart the economy to recover from the pandemic. We believe investing in science is one of the important ways the government can increase Canada’s resilience and create the innovation and jobs needed for the knowledge economy.

The CSMB as an institution will participate in the consultations, but individuals can also do this, so we invite you to participate also.

Meeting with Parlimentaries in support of science funding

The CSMB board has continued meeting with Members of Parliament, Senators and civil servants to advocate for continued support for science by the federal government.

Following our meeting with Senator Doug Black, he asked an important question about science funding on the Senate floor, on December 16:

Senator Gold, my question concerns science. I think we can all agree that science is leading us out of the darkness of COVID. We can all see that science matters more than ever. Senator Gold, what we all know is that the role of government in supporting research in science is fundamental.

In countries where science is aggressively supported, such as Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., that’s where science breakthroughs are occurring, where many of the best scientists are being attracted to and it is where the private sector is making investments in science beside government. We have seen this vividly with the development and manufacturing of COVID vaccines.

Unfortunately, Canada is a different story. We have no Minister of Science. Your government did away with that position in the last cabinet shuffle. Indeed, what we have is underfunding of science in Canada as has recently been pointed out by your Industry Strategy Council.

Senator Gold, will your government commit in the next budget to raising the allocation of funding for science from 1.5% to 2% of GDP, as is the case with our G7 partners?

Senator Douglas Black – December 16 2020

View the videoclip here

The CSMB also met with Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief scientist of Canada, former Minister of Science MP Kirsty Duncan, CIHR President Michael Strong and VP Tammy Clifford and MPs from all political parties. Many Parliamentarians support science and understand its importance for Canada, and can be strong allies that can advocate for us and provide insight into the workings of the Senate and the House of Commons. These meetings help CSMB build important bridges between scientists and politicians.

Welcome to new Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The CSMB is pleased to welcome the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne who was named Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry on Tuesday January 12th. We look forward to engaging with Minister Champagne and his team in the future!

Academic Science Societies and their role in informing policy

The Panel “Roles & Responsibilities of Academic Science Societies in informing Policy: Lessons & Observations from Around the World ” organized by CSMB President Imogen R. Coe at the Canadian Science Policy conference on November 17, 2020 brought together leaders of scientific societies in Canada, the USA and Europe:

cspc panel

  • Imogen R. Coe President, Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences
  • Stephen B. Heard President, Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution
  • Charles Bourque President, Canadian Association for Neuroscience
  • Hilary Lappin-Scott President, Federation of European Microbiology Societies (FEMS)
  • Shohini Ghose Past President , Canadian Association of Physicists
  • Susan Amara President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

The panel was an opportunity share approaches taken by science leaders from around the world and in different branches of science to inform policy and build relations with the government. Panelists highlighted the importance of working as a team with other scientists, but also with elected officials to increase understanding and support for science.

Canadian Science societies in particular share many of the same objectives, such as increased support for science funding through CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, promoting Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility, and ensuring that government policies and informed by science. Building relations and sharing resources will certainly help us achieve those objectives.

The above-mentioned joint statement of Canadian Science societies in support of COVID vaccination was a tangible result of the coming together of science societies leaders and working together on issues that matter to all. We look forward to further collaborations.


Trainee Opportunities

February 17, 2021: Grant writing with an EDI perspective

Grant writing with an EDI perspectiveThe Ryerson Career and Co-op Centre (RCCC), and the Canadian Society for Molecular Bioscience (CSMB) are pleased to announce a career development offering to support trainees, graduate, undergraduate students and early career professionals with their career development.

Join us for an online webinar led by Dr. Imogen R. Coe where she will discuss best practices on writing equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) statements for grant proposals and job statements.

Event details: ‘Grant Writing With An EDI Perspective’
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Time: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm EST
Hosted: via Zoom

Interested in attending? You can register by following

Participants are encouraged to bring drafts of their EDI proposals.

This event is open to Ryerson science students and members of the CSMB.
Interested in joining the CSMB? Visit

If you require any accommodation support, please contact Leia Faso at

This event is part of a series of events co-organized in collaboration with the Ryerson Career & Co-op Centre and the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium. The webinars cover topics such as writing effective CVs (held on November 17, 2020), grant writing from an EDI perspective and careers beyond the lab. Keep your eyes open for links to register!

February 18, 2021: How to get the most out of the Life Sciences Career Expo

Are you excited about the Life Sciences Career Expo (LSCE) 2021?

To prepare you for it, LSCDS will hold an information session. Here, you can learn more about the conference structure and what you can do before, during, and after the event to maximize your benefit from this event. In addition, we will give an overview of the Whova software to familiarize you with the virtual conference platform.

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Eastern Time (EST)
Location: Zoom

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility

The CSMB Membership and Diversity Committee has recently published a statement on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility.

CSMB Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The mandate of the CSMB is to advance and promote molecular biosciences in Canada. We are committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the community of molecular biosciences. It is only by leveraging all of our human capital that we will reach our full potential. We believe that all members, visitors and event participants should be treated with dignity, respect and kindness. CSMB does not tolerate any form of discrimination (age, cultural background, ethnicity/race, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, neurodiversity, political affiliation, parental role, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic circumstance). CSMB is committed to proactively promoting a culture of equity, diversity and inclusivity through the work of our board members and committees by identifying and tackling barriers to participation.

So you want to host an inclusive and accessible conference?

facetsAna Sofia Barrows, Mahadeo A. Sukhai, and Imogen R. Coe recently published an article on best practices to host an inclusive and accessible meeting.
As scientific organizations continue to recognize the importance of implementing strategy to create inclusive conferences, various researchers and organizations continue to substantiate the need for inclusion, some of them by providing generalized useful tips to create inclusive conferences (Martin 2014; Bagues et al. 2017; Bouvy and Mujoomdar 2019), but there continues to be a gap in available resources for Canadian scientific organizations who are seeking guidance in how to plan and run an inclusive conference within a Canadian context. We provide this Editorial, which is not intended to be a cardinal or comprehensive set of recommendations, but rather, a set of guiding principles and suggestions.
Read the full article here:

Meeting updates

64th Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences

CSMB-Prrince meeting

The 64th Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences (CSMB) will be held virtually on June 14-17, 2021. The conference will focus on Protein Homeostasis, and it is with pleasure that we invite you to participate, based on your research in this field. We encourage the trainees in your laboratory to participate as well.

The conference will bring together a growing network of researchers working in the field of protein homeostasis in Canada. The organization of this meeting is built on our first successful PRinCE (Proteostasis Researchers in Canada, Eh) symposium that was held in June 2019 in Toronto. In addition to expanding the network, we will continue the tradition of timely and relevant CSMB conferences.

The conference will address various topics relevant to normal protein function and protein defects, such as protein folding, protein trafficking, protein degradation, phase separation, as well as neurodegenerative and infectious diseases. We expect to have up to 50 short talks by participating PIs, and there will be two virtual poster sessions for more presentations including those by trainees. Speakers will be chosen from submitted abstracts.

For more information and registration beginning January 15, 2021:

Life Science Careers Expo

Life sciences career expo info session advertisementTo learn about what the LSCE has to offer and how to prepare for it, be sure to attend our information session on Thurs, February 18th, 2021 between 4 PM – 5 PM EST. To register for the event:
Early-bird registration for the Expo:


Opportunities from partner organizations

The CSMB is a member of the International Union for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and of the Pan-American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

The general mission of the Pan-American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – PABMB is to foster the advancement of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology within the Americas. In furtherance of this purpose, the Association has specific programmes devoted to support PABMB Symposia and Conferences to be held in annual meeting of the Affiliated Societies; sponsorship of special courses for advanced students in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, participation of Young Scientists to attend Courses and Scientific Meetings and exchange of faculty and students between institutions. Information, guidelines and online application forms are available at PABMB webpage

The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – IUBMB  is devoted to promoting research and education in biochemistry and molecular biology throughout the world and gives particular attention to areas where the subject is still in its early development. It  organizes or sponsors meetings, workshops, symposia and training sessions on biochemical and molecular biological education and provides free textbooks and journals to training institutions in developing nations. The Union also funds short-term fellowships for younger and mid-career biochemists and molecular biologists to travel to other institutions to perform research not possible in their own laboratories and provides Travel Fellowships for young scientists to attend its Congresses. Sponsorship of meetings and fellowships is restricted to regions that belong to the IUBMB. Read more:

International Science Council Awards

International Science Council Award nominations aim to recognize individuals, groups, and initiatives launched by the ISC and its members that serve to advance science as a global public good, by, for example promoting international, interdisciplinary scientific research cooperation, striving to bring scientific knowledge into the public domain, innovating in science education and outreach, or promoting the free and responsible practice of science. Nominations are accepted in the following five   categories:

  1. Science for Sustainability
  2. Science for Policy
  3. Policy for Science
  4. Scientific Freedom and Responsibility
  5. Early Career Scientist.

The International Science Council has extended the deadline for nominations for their awards.  This extension is an opportunity for you to consider submitting worthy candidates to raise the profile of Canadian contributions to science.

 Call for nominations for International Science Council Awards to be presented at the ISC General Assembly in 2021 (deadline 1 March 2021). Please submit nominations to Geoffroy Lambrecht, by February 5.

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  • News about CSMB members
  • Images that represent molecular biosciences that could be used for our website and newsletter (full credits will be given to the image source)
  • Job openings
  • Advocacy opportunities open to our members

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The official journals of the CSMB are Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Genome.