Fast Five: Meet Dr. Dean H. Betts

Fast 5 features quick, personal profiles of our research team members. This week, it’s Dr. Dean. H. Betts, 
Professor; Director, Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Developmental Biology; Scientist, Genetics and Development Division, Children’s Health Research Institute; Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry; Department of Biology, The University of Western Ontario.

1. What are you reading for pleasure right now?
I like reading a wide range of things such as news, magazines and fiction, but I have a short attention span – so, right now I’m reading Tales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry, which is a collection of 11 interconnecting stories about life inside an apartment building in Bombay.

2. What is the most worthwhile non-monetary investment you’ve made?
Obviously, my family. Even though we bought our Labrador, Quinn, she has been a great addition to the family, too.

3. What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid if you can’t do something. Go for it! Even if you don’t succeed, you’ve tried and made life more interesting, and even learned something about yourself in the process.

4. What prompted you to get into regenerative medicine?
I initially started out as an embryologist, but one day a clinician-scientist at the Ontario Veterinary College approached me out of the blue and asked if I could derive canine embryonic stem cells – and I replied, sure, why not?  I am a big proponent for clinically-relevant animal models for regenerative medicine.

5. If you could buy one new toy for the lab right now – if money was not an issue – what would you get and why?
We’re getting into extracellular vesicles and exosomes at the moment and would love a nanoflow cytometer that can sort (they’re coming!). I’ve got to know what specific cargo is contained in the different types of vesicles.