Message from the Vice-Principal

Message from Dr. Rose Goldstein, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations)
Dr. Rose Goldstein, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations)

One of the best parts about living in Montreal is that I am fortunate to live downtown and can walk to work. Every day I lace up my sneakers (or boots at this time of year), grab my backpack, and hit the pavement for 15 to 20 minutes to get to the office.

In the morning, my walk helps me focus on the day ahead. Heading home at night, I appreciate the chance to decompress. It may sound counterintuitive, but within the hustle and bustle of downtown Montreal I find time to reflect. Lately, inspired by the articles in this issue of Headway, I’ve been thinking about how research affects our lives in very tangible ways.

The idea of “building a better world” lies behind the articles that follow, and through my daily walks I’ve gained a new understanding about why this theme is so appropriate. It recently hit me that my routine could undergo changes, both big and small, in the coming years as the result of research being conducted at McGill today.

For example, if next month I suddenly have more time to cross a busy inter- section, it could be because of one of the McGill-led transportation studies that are helping to make Montreal streets safer and more efficient. A few years from now, the cars zipping past may be propelled by Earth-friendly biofuels, thanks to our researchers’ advancements in combustion engine designs. It’s even possible that McGill research on pain-killing and cancer-preventing foods, and progress in the bio-engineering of bones and ligaments, will keep me trekking around my hometown longer than previous generations could have ever imagined.

And our discoveries will resonate far beyond my personal path to campus. With the help of our government and industry partners, we are moving many of these incredible new technologies from the lab to the market. That means our best practices for bike lanes may one day protect cyclists in distant cities. There is even the potential that transplant recipients on the other side of the planet could benefit from faster and easier recoveries after receiving treatments developed at McGill.

I recently marked my first anniversary as Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations), and seeing first-hand the impact of McGill research con- tinues to be a great source of inspiration for me. I am regularly struck by the passion and perseverance of our researchers, how they dive in to tackle enormous problems, no matter how complex, and no matter how long it seems to take to actually create solutions. McGill researchers are up to the challenges!

When it comes to research, change usually happens through incremental pro- gress. There are few “eureka” moments. But McGill researchers never seem to get frustrated. Instead, they quietly and purposefully go about making our world a little safer, smarter and more sustainable — one step at a time. I invite you to read about several such important steps taking place at McGill, presented in this issue of Headway. Some of the research described in these articles will be the basis of great progress — and some world-changing advances — in the not-too-distant future.