Message from Chair: Happy Holidays

Happy-Holidays2020.pngThe holiday season is normally one of my very favourite times of the year. The decorations, the cheesy music, catching up with old friends, a bit of well-deserved downtime, and (if we’re lucky) waking up to sparkling fresh snow on December 25th. The annual departmental holiday message has also become part of this happy tradition, an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and give thanks. While this is truer than ever in 2021, as we move through our second pandemic December after 21 gruelling, heartbreaking months, I’m not going to lie – I am finding it difficult to capture that “best of the season” feeling.

A blank white page and a blinking cursor kept reminding me that there really are no adequate words to capture how we are all feeling. So instead, I started thinking about all the things that I am grateful for, things that the pandemic have brought sharply into focus as the things that are most important and worth fighting for.

First, I am deeply grateful for my family. There is no question that we have had some rocky times during the pandemic, but together we have navigated these and come out stronger and closer together on the other side. They are my centre, my foundation, my raison d’etre.

I am also grateful and incredibly proud of all the members of my research team (aka my “lab kids”). Their resiliency, teamwork, creativity and humour never fail to brighten the darkest of days. Their accomplishments this year in the face of adversity are truly inspiring. Because of their talent and commitment to bettering the world through science, I am optimistic that the future is in good hands.

Finally, I am grateful for all the fantastic faculty, staff and trainees in Anatomy & Cell Biology. Your passion, vision, incredible work ethic, collegiality and compassion are the reasons that we have such a great department. Despite the pandemic, we continue to innovate and accomplish incredible things together in the areas of research, education, and social accountability. It is an unusual blessing to work with a team that always has each others’ backs, especially when the going gets tough. Thank you from the bottom of my heart – you are all amazing.

As we navigate through this challenging holiday season and look ahead to another uncertain year, I hope that you will pause and take a quiet moment to reflect on the things that you are grateful for. May you find moments of hope amid the chaos and wonderful glimpses of the joy that still lives under the surface.

Happy holidays from the ACB family to you and yours - stay well, stay safe and enjoy your very well-deserved break.

Alison Allan, PhD
Chair, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology