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About Sickkids
About SickKids

June 16, 2005

Flat Stanley joins SickKids Research Institute as summer student

TORONTO — World traveler Flat Stanley is coming to the Sick Kids Research Institute to accept a position as a summer student in the lab of Dr. Stephen Scherer, a Sick Kids senior scientist, and an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto .

Working in Dr. Scherer's lab, Stanley will continue his contributions to the Flat Stanley Project (http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.ca/ ) by getting a first-class education in mapping the disease genes discovered on Chromosome 7 and performing DNA extractions from samples. Stanley will be accompanied by six-year-old Andrew Stewart, who is acting as Stanley 's guide on his visit from Mr. Buck's class at Centennial Hylands Elementary School in Shelburne, Ontario.

“In order for Canada to be internationally competitive, we need to interest our children and teens (and paper dolls) in science,” said Dr. Scherer. “This can be done in a fun and interactive way.”

In the book, Flat Stanley , by Jeff Brown, Stanley is squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. Being paper-thin, Stanley is able to visit the world and meet all kinds of amazing people by traveling around in an envelope.

The book was written in 1964, but the project, which has seen Stanley orbiting the earth in the space shuttle, walking down the red carpet at the Oscars with Clint Eastwood and meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin, began in 1995 and is designed to improve the reading and writing skills of elementary school students while they learn about new people and places.

Stanley and the Sick Kids Research Institute have a shared love of education. There are currently 405 graduate students and 242 postdoctoral fellows training at the Sick Kids Research Institute. Many of these trainees have come to Canada and to Sick Kids from around the world to train with leading scientists with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities.

The Sick Kids Research Summer Program provides opportunities for undergraduate university students to conduct research in a laboratory/clinical setting at The Hospital for Sick Children under the supervision of a Research Institute scientist. The 12-week program runs during the period from May to August. Approximately 5,000 university undergraduate students apply to the Sick Kids Research Summer Program each year. There are currently 150 summer students working in this year's summer program.

The Hospital for Sick Children, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada 's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. Its mission is to provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca .

Photo opportunity:

Friday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.

The Hospital for Sick Children – genetics lab (meet at Main Information Desk in Atrium lobby)

Dr. Stephen Scherer teaches Flat Stanley and six-year-old Andrew Stewart about genetics

A do-it-yourself science experiment, to help kids learn about DNA using household supplies, is available.

For more information, please contact:

Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Suite 1742, Public Affairs, First floor Atrium
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8
Phone: 416-813-5058
Fax: 416-813-5328