Prosthetic Communication software for individuals with special needs

My goal is to develop new approaches in speech technologies for physically or cognitively disadvantaged users. This includes applying the specialized automatic speech recognition (ASR) algorithms developed during my doctoral research into real-world tools for speakers with speech disorders. For example, I will develop software-assisted human-human interaction in which speech that is unintelligible because of physical disability is modified to produce a more comprehensible equivalent. This will involve acoustic transformations and speech recognition preprocessing.

Eltrombopag as a bridge to invasive procedures in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common blood disorder characterized by low platelet counts and an increased risk of bleeding. Many patients with ITP can be maintained with conventional therapies, but when an invasive procedure or surgery is planned, a short course of treatment is needed to rapidly increase platelet counts preoperatively so that dangerous bleeds can be prevented (termed ‘bridging’ therapy).

Design of a novel magnetoencephalograph-compatible tracking system for monitoring speech-related orofacial events

Individuals with speech problems face difficulties such as anxiety, poor socialization and poor literacy. Key to effective intervention and therapy is a better understanding of the brain activity associated with speech. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a new brain-imaging technology that, for the first time, allows researchers to monitor the fast-changing brain activity involved with speech. The challenge in using MEG for speech analysis is that existing speech-tracking systems introduce too much magnetic interference.

Identification of a biomarker panel of life-threatening infectious disease

Many individuals acquire infections each year, yet few progress to critical illness. The current inability to identify the proportion of individuals who will progress to life-threatening illness is a major impediment to effective management of infectious disease. Using malaria as a model, the aim of the project is to identify and validate a panel of biomarkers in blood that reliably detects individuals at risk of lifethreatening  disease.

Improving vaccine production with novel drugs

Vaccination is the most effective method for the prevention of a wide range of human illnesses.  Vaccines are currently prepared by growing live virus strains in chicken eggs.  New strategies are very much needed to improve the speed and efficiency of virus production, especially during disease outbreaks.  Recently, Chem Virion has identified new drugs which can significantly boost the growth of viruses.  We propose to use these drugs to improve vaccine production.  We will focus on using these drugs to increase the production of the swine flu (or H1N1) vaccine in cells grown in the laborat

Course of immune responses generated by live Salmonella vaccine in pigs

Salmonella is the second most frequent cause of foodborne illness in Canada and pork is one of sources for human salmonellosis.  Salmonella has also the potential to cause clinical disease in pigs.  Salmonella is commonly found on Ontario swine farms.  Thus control strategies should be implemented.  Vaccination appears to be one of the most promising approaches.  In Canada, there is currently available a live Salmonella Choleraesuis vaccine for use in pigs and a live Salmonella Typhimurium vaccine for use in poultry.  However, the course of immun

Characterization and amplification of blood cells derived from human dermal fibroblasts

Recently it was shown that cells taken from adult skin could be converted to cells possessing “stem-cell-like” characteristics by a process called cellular reprogramming.  However, the use of these cells is limited by our understanding of how to derive mature and functional cells, such as blood cells that could be used for disease treatment.  We previously showed the ability to generate mature blood cells directly from human skin fibroblasts without establishing a “stem cell-like” state, providing a safer option for cell-replacement therapies.  Our current project proposes to characterize t

Investigation of the role of macrophage and smooth muscle cell sub-phenotypes in human atherosclerosis

Providence Healthcare has established a reputation as one of the leading centres for cardiovascular research and treatment in Canada. Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals Canada is a major provider of pharmaceuticals used in cardiovascular treatment, and has an active research agenda aimed at improving the effectiveness of non]invasive diagnosis and treatment in this field. Pfizer and Providence Healthcare are collaborating on this research in order to develop more effective pharmacological treatments for atherosclerosis.

Left Ventricular Septal Pacing Through Trans-Ventricular Septal Approach - A Feasibility Study

It is well known in Cardiology that chronic right ventricular apex (RVA) pacing (using a pacemaker to regulate heart rhythm by pacing the lower chamber of the heart near the base) might be detrimental to heart function. Right Ventricular Apex (RVA) pacing is the most commonly used for patients. Alternate sites such as right ventricular (RV) pacing, including right ventricular septum and right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT), have not been shown to be definitely superior over RVA pacing.

Palatable Puree: Improving weight status and quality of life among older persons needing dysphagic food products

People with swallowing disorders must eat pureed or minced texture foods to eat safely. However, the process of pureeing or mincing greatly reduces the food’s appeal, often degrades its nutritional quality and can lead to undernutrition. New reformed modified-texture food products have been developed specifically for people with swallowing disorders.