ACDC: What’s in the name?

Eleftherios Diamandis and graduate students from the ACDC lab in tribute mode

Having a distinct name like Eleftherios gives you a lot of advantages. People never ask you to spell your name, and they remember it without much trouble.

Ha! If only!

When I make restaurant reservations, I simplify things by going with the name Elvis. Nobody has ever asked me to spell it, and I get a smile in return. When people ask me for the name of my research laboratory, I reply, “the ACDC lab.”

The usual response is, “I’ve heard that name before. Is it a band from the ’70s?”

But of course it is. And the follow-up question is always, “Does your lab’s name have anything to do with the band?”

Well, it does and it doesn’t. The name was chosen many years ago for two reasons: to celebrate one of my all-time favorite rock bands, AC/DC, and to outline the scope of my research laboratory – ACDC stands for Advanced Centre for Detection of Cancer.

I have tried repeatedly to reach out to AC/DC and let them know about the research laboratory that shares their name and is devoted to fighting cancer, but with no success. In fact, not only is the lab named after them, but to celebrate the music of AC/DC, we formed a rock band within the lab with me representing Angus Young (lead guitarist and music composer) and my graduate students playing the other members. We created a poster and shot a video of the AC/DC song “ Chase the Ace.”

Until recently, I thought naming a research lab after a rock band was rather unique. That changed when, in 2014, I met my friend and fellow physician and scientist Steven Boyages from Australia. Boyages revealed that he’d created a digital communications company and named it “Red Zeppelin” to celebrate the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. The name is meant to connote inspiration, and capture the imagination and innovation of the band.

Eleftherios P. Diamandis Eleftherios P. Diamandis is the biochemist-in-chief for the Laboratory Medicine Program at the University Health Network and head of the clinical biochemistry division at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada. He is also division head of clinical biochemistry at the laboratory medicine and pathobiology department at the University of Toronto. Diamandis is a fanatical music lover. Apart from rock, he also listens to Greek folk, classical and other types of music, but he dislikes rap (which he suggests should be called “crap”).