Celebrating Robarts Leadership in Innovation


Robarts Research Institute's leadership in innovation and research was celebrated on November 18. With a focus on cardiovascular health and research, the day-long event kicked off with the annual Taylor Symposium, featuring Dr. Salim Yusuf, the 2013 J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine recipient. He was joined by Robart’s researchers, Drs. Rob Hegele, Murray Huff and Geoffrey Pickering and other internationally recognized physicians and scientists from across Ontario.
Then more than 200 community members took advantage of a free lunchtime Public Forum which discussed the topic Will advances in medical therapy make cardiac surgery obsolete? Dr. Peter Lin, CBC Medical Columnist moderated the forum panel discussion and question and answer session.  
A little Hollywood glam was added to the day-long event as actor and activist Martin Sheen toured the labs at Robarts, trying his hand at a tele-robotic system for remote manipulation of an interventional catheter. Later, Sheen would take the podium inspiring a crowd of nearly 400 people at the dinner event.  
This was the 29th year for the Taylor Symposium and Prize presentation and yet another opportunity to bring together and learn from the “best of the best” in research, generating a high level of discussion needed to push science forward. “The Symposium is a huge benefit to the teams across Western University and the community allowing Robarts scientists and other experts in the field to exchange ideas,” said Arthur Brown, PhD, and Chair of the Taylor Symposium and Prize Committee. 
The lunch time break during the Symposium provided a perfect opportunity to engage community members in some ground breaking research through the Public Forum. There is a firm belief at Robarts that the public has a right to be engaged in research. “The public, who through donations or government agencies support research, needs to see our advances, to be able to take advantage of new knowledge as it arises, and to take pride in the accomplishments of their scientists they support,” said Brown. Every effort is made present information on the latest medical advances in “lay” language at the Forum so all community members could understand.  
Researchers and community members came together again at the end of the day, however, this time it was at annual Leaders in Innovation Dinner featuring the awarding of the Taylor Prize and keynote speaker Martin Sheen. The award winning actor won the hearts of everyone in the room, generously engaging guests throughout the evening, taking photos, signing his autograph, taking the time to get to know a little about everyone who approached him and even reciting poetry with Prize Winner Salim Yusuf.
The dinner has become an annual celebration and the perfect end to the day. “Science is challenging and rewarding and produces highs and lows as we struggle to make new discoveries and achieve new understandings in medical science. Thus it is good every now and then to celebrate our successes, to pause and reflect on where we were and where we are. Taking the time to do so gives the research community strength and inspiration to "return to the bench" with renewed energies,” said Brown.
View photos from the Robarts Tour with Martin Sheen and the Leaders in Innovation Dinner.
Watch our video about the world-class vascular biology team at Robarts Research Institute.