Mitigating the risks associated with radio-frequency cardiac ablation

A cardiac arrhythmia is defined as an abnormal heartbeat which happens when the patient’s heart beats too fast, too slow, or in other irregular patterns. Although arrhythmia can occur without any symptoms, it is typically associated with heart palpitations, chest pains, fainting or heart failure. One type of treatment option is an interventional catheter-based procedure, which involves a technique called cardiac ablation. In such procedures, a catheter is advanced from the groin area into the heart.

Improving signal processing in hearing aids to support music and emotional speech

Hearing aid research has traditionally focused on improving speech intelligibility for people with hearing loss, but there is increasing interest in addressing other aspects of hearing that contribute to quality of life, particularly music and other non-linguistic information. Listening to music through hearing aids is often dissatisfying due to distortions introduced by current algorithms. Hearing aids restore the intelligibility but not the emotional content of speech, which is carried by acoustic cues that are similar to salient dimensions of music.

Design of an Interface for the Intuitive Control of a Unmanned Air Vehicle fleet in Emergency Situations

The project consist of developing a novel interface to control a fleet of quadcopters in an emergency situation. The interactive system will have to interpret the user intent in such a way that minimum cognitive resources are required. Humanitas products target non experts in robotics whom need to maximize their concentration on medical support and logistic, thus they require an intuitive and not monopolizing control interface. It will also be required that feedback information can be sent to the user without using the visual feedback of their application control screen.

The Semaphorins, a role Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes both Crohn’s disease (CD), and ulcerative colitis (UC). Approximately 230,000 Canadians are affected by these diseases and they have important repercussions on quality of life and on both personal and societal direct and indirect costs. The cause(s) are poorly understood, and treatment is largely symptom-based and not curative. Commonly used drugs may have potentially important adverse effects such as cancer and serious infections. Moreover, some patients are resistant to these drugs. Therefore, safer and more efficient therapies are needed.

Modeling of dynamic seat and backrest adjustments for manual wheelchairs

During an average day, a wheelchair user will be required to undertake a variety of different tasks. However, wheelchairs are usually designed in a fixed configuration and cannot adapt to different situations. Models such as PDG Mobility’s “Elevation” wheelchair address this issue by allowing users to adjust their position while still seated. We aim to research the effects of these seat configuration changes on wheelchair stability and maneuverability.

RF Resonant Chemical Sensor System for Biomarker Detection and Biomedical Applications

Sober Steering is developing a wearable alcohol sensor system that communicates with a vehicle to prevent drunk driving. The FitBit-style wearable device will communicate wirelessly with a Sober Steering module located behind the dash of the vehicle to provide interlock functionality and instant alerts. The wearable alcohol sensor system will be monitored and controlled by a smart phone app (ideally controlled by parents or fleet vehicle dispatch). The proposed project aims to further develop sensors capable of providing alcohol sensing functionality for the wearable device.

Inhibition of the fungal-specific histone deacetylase Hst3: a novel broad spectrum strategy to fight fungal pathogens

A number of fungal pathogens cause life-threatening infections in patients whose immune system is crippled. Among others, these include patients treated with cancer chemotherapy and patients who receive organ or blood cell transportation. Pre-term infants, elderly patients and patients in intensive care units are also at risk of developing life-threatening infections. Moreover, fungi cause very painful medical conditions such as vaginal infections. We discovered a fungal-specific enzyme that is essential for viability of the most common fungal pathogen, known as Candida albicans.

High-frequency ultrasound and optical coherent tomography – application for imaging, diagnosis, and measurements on samples of soft and hard tissues

The goal of the study is to research, test and compare imaging, diagnostic, and quantitative assessment capabilities of the high-frequency ultrasound (HFU) technology and the optical coherent tomography (OCT) for dental applications. A set of samples (possibly hard and soft tissues) will be specifically prepared by the research team from the host university and then imaged, and analyzed in order to determine anatomical features and possible diseases conditions. A newly developed scanning acoustic microscope as well as a prototype of a dental ultrasonic system will be used in this study.

Evaluating the impact of the BC Dairy Association Food Explorers program on willingness to try new foods in children

Eating a variety of foods from the four food groups is part of a healthy diet and is important for supporting the growth and development of children. Avoidance of new foods (neophobia) and familiar foods (pickiness) are common in children and limit food quantity and quality. The BC Dairy Association developed the Food Explorers program that introduces new and familiar foods to children in kindergarten and grade 1 classrooms. The goal is to increase the willingness to try new foods and ultimately positively impact diet. The program is widely delivered in BC but has not been evaluated.

Enhanced and Conformation Specific G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) Expression for Autoimmune Diagnostics

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are proteins present on the surface of a cell that are the targets of >30% prescription drugs. These GPCRs are involved in various diseases ranging from hypertension, airway diseases to taste disorders. Detection of antibodies for GPCRs in various disease states is a challenging task. The main goal of this project is to develop novel methods and improve existing methods to overexpress a couple of GPCRs for potential use in diagnostic assays. The industry partner, Acudex Inc.