Picture [left to right]: Philip Barbulescu (Co-Editor-in-Chief), Karen Yeung (Co-Editor-in-Chief), Kitty Liu (Design Director)

With this issue of IMMpress Magazine, we shine the spotlight on how modern media and scientific communication has shaped the public perception of science. It is impossible to discuss any aspect of modern society without acknowledging the role that science and technology have played in enhancing our quality of life. In this digital age with information at our fingertips, there is a growing interest in understanding the science that permeates our daily lives. Simultaneously, it is now easier than ever for scientists to communicate with the public audience through social media—however we have seen that like a game of broken telephone, the spread of information can take on a mind of its own in the face of innocent and purposeful misinterpretation. Given the speed at which misinformation can spread, scientists have an important responsibility to engage the general audience in open and effective dialogue to communicate information in a meaningful way. We continue this dialogue with our fellow Department of Immunology alumnus, Dr. Derek Clouthier, who speaks on importance of creating meaningful discussion between scientists and the public (p18).

We open this issue with a commentary on the age-old discussion regarding the compatibility between science and faith (p7). We also explore how technology has accelerated and broadened the spread of scientific ideas through social media (p16), the rise of popular science (p12), the success of science outreach initiatives (p15). On the flip side, we examine how the spread of misinformation can contribute to the erosion of public trust in science (p22) and the importance of clear communication in science (p24). Next, we highlight cases of academic paper retractions (p25) and how media interpretation of scientific misconduct has rocked the perception of Alzheimer’s disease research (p10). With increasing conversations over science powering the ever-swaying nature of public opinion, we revisit historically controversial topics in the media and give an updated view on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (p14), corruption in “Big Pharma” (p26), and advances in gene therapy (p28). Lastly, we take a look at what careers await prospective PhD graduates, breaking down the paths of a PhD in biomedical science (p2), comparing jobs in academia versus industry (p20) and the public sector (p32), as well as tracking trends in government support for research funding in Canada (p34). We close with a new segment on student IMM-trepreneurship, featuring recent Department of Immunology alumnus Dr. Melanie Girard, the founder of PHDOODLESHOP, a small business creating science-themed illustrations (p30).

We would like to thank our wonderful team of writers, editors, and designers who have given their time and voices to this issue of IMMpress Magazine, especially as we enter our 11th year of publication! It is with deep gratitude that we say goodbye to our Co-Editor in Chief Philip Barbulescu as he steps down from his position. We are thankful for his years of dedication and contribution to the IMMpress team as writer, designer, editor, and leader. At the same time, we would like to extend a warm welcome to James Pollock as the new Co-Editor-in-Chief. We are also saying goodbye to our Social Media Coordinator Salma Sheikh-Mohamed and welcoming Tianning Yu as her replacement. We hope our readers enjoy this issue, and as always stay safe and healthy!

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