Trinity One Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream

Welcome to the Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto.

The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream has two main goals. The first is to provide a broad introduction to the study and practice of the Science of Health. The second is to provide an introduction that is intimate, immersive, and interdisciplinary.

A Broad Introduction

The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream examines some of the most challenging issues that confront modern health science. From the understanding of disease mechanisms, through the development of novel and innovative therapies, the pace of scientific discovery is accelerating towards an understanding at the cellular and molecular level as to what constitutes “health” and how it can go wrong. The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream will examine the scientific principles underlying contemporary issues in health science and use these as a platform that builds towards understanding the process of scientific discovery from initial idea to public dissemination of the results.

The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream is complimented by the Basic Science Departments of the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Toronto Affiliated Hospitals and by programs such as the Human Biology Program of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Students enrolled in the Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream of the Trinity One program will typically be students who are looking to graduate with a major or specialist degree from one of the Basic Science Departments of the Faculty of Medicine, such as Immunology, or from the Human Biology program in the Faculty of Arts and Science. The Science of Health stream is particularly suited to students who may be considering a career in research.

Stream Requirements

The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream is composed of two Trinity One seminar credits (TRN125Y and TRN225Y). Students in this stream enrol in TRN125Y in first year and TRN225Y in second year. The two seminar credits in this stream are offered over two years to give students the option of taking, as part of the typical 5.0 credit load in first year, one full credit in math, chemistry, biology and physics in addition to the first-year Trinity One full credit.

First Year:

TRN125Y - Contemporary Issues in Health Science

This course focuses on the scientific principles underlying current controversial issues in the health sciences. The course will explore contemporary topics such as stem cells, transplantation, regenerative medicine, vaccination, and personalized medicine from the perspective of developing opinion based on scientific understanding.

Second Year:

TRN225Y - The Art of Health Science Discovery

Students will be guided through the stages of the scientific discovery process. From initial idea, through literature review, funding (grant writing and assessment), experimental design and critical analysis of data through to the public dissemination of results by publication, the patent process and development of intellectual property.

An Intimate, Immersive, and Interdisciplinary Experience

The small-group, discussion-oriented, seminar courses are the heart of the program. They provide a rigorous introduction to central issues in the Science of Health through a pedagogical process that allows students and instructors to get to know each other, to work collaboratively, and to develop individual perspectives—benefits deepened by the requirement that students take two classes of this type with the same classmates over two years. Each student is immersed in a rigorous academic endeavour, but also an interpersonal and engaging experience.

Furthermore, the nature of the program transcends discipline-based education in that it addresses directly issues important in the Science of Health from different perspectives.  Thus students will encounter challenging and contemporary topics from a range of disciplines and will consider these topics from an understanding of the underlying biomedical science and the principles that constitute scientific rigour through to the consequences of public perception of key issues. For example, the popular press frequently reports on scientific breakthroughs that will change the way that a given disease is treated or prevented, but there are many stages between the initial observation of a scientific result at the laboratory bench and its translation to clinical practice that involve many issues other than the purely scientific. It is therefore important to consider all the relevant disciplinary approaches to get as complete a picture as possible of that discovery. This program makes the interdisciplinary approach a core value, drawing on the considerable disciplinary resources available at the University of Toronto.

Co-Curricular Events

Trinity One co-curricular lunches with guest speakers occur about every third Tuesday between noon and 2:00 p.m. at Trinity. Students are encouraged to keep this time slot open.  

The co-curricular events draw upon the rich resources of the University of Toronto's Centre for EthicsSchool of Public Policy and GovernanceMunk School of Global Affairs, and the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Toronto Affiliated Hospitals. These events enable students in all Trinity One streams to meet guest speakers and to engage in informal but high-level conversation with one another, their professors, and guest experts.

Recent Events

Some of the guests who visited the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program during the 2013-14 academic year to discuss their work included the following, each of whom addressed the Trinity One community over lunch and kindly agreed to be interviewed by a faculty member or student.

Michael Ignatieff

Audrey Macklin

Graeme Smith

Natalie Zemon Davis 

Robyn Doolittle

What Instructors Are Saying

The Trinity One pedagogical environment engages students, brings out the best in them, and encourages them to apply themselves. The program is blessed with some of the best incoming undergraduates in the country, something the teaching staff is keenly aware of. 

As an alumna of Trinity College I’m excited to be involved in the development of this new science stream of the Trinity One program. Students in the Trinity One program streams have a well-deserved reputation for thriving in an environment that deals with challenging issues. This course will be tackling some of the most important issues confronting the Health Sciences in today’s world and the course will provide outstanding students with the opportunity to engage in debate and discussion of controversial issues where public perception may not be fully supported by the scientific evidence.

--Jennifer Gommerman teaches TRN125Y Contemporary Issues in Health Science, and is a Fellow of Trinity College. As an alumna of Trinity College, Professor Gommerman trained at the University of Toronto, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine at U of T. An expert in the role of tissue microenvironments in the development of immune responses, Professor Gommerman’s research sheds light on a range of immunological and autoimmune diseases, notably multiple sclerosis. A recent landmark paper from her laboratory in Nature described a novel population of lymphocytes in the gut that may play a profound role in diseases of the gut mucosa.

The new science streams of the Trinity One program will make available to students in the life sciences the type of small class experiences that students in the social sciences and humanities have benefitted from over previous years. This is an exciting opportunity, not just for the students but for the instructors involved in the courses. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with fantastic students that may be considering the option of moving on to graduate studies in the life sciences.

--Michael Ratcliffe teaches TRN225Y The Art of Health Science Discovery and is a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto as well as being the Interim Provost for Trinity College. Professor Ratcliffe is the former Chair of the Department of Immunology at U of T and is an expert in the development of the lymphoid system. He has served as President of the Canadian Society for Immunology and Chair of the Immunology and Transplantation committee of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Readings in the Biomedical Health Stream

No reading is required before classes begin.

Each instructor will revise his or her syllabus during the summer months and so reading lists will be provided before the end of the summer.