Mental illnesses, particularly depression, is one of the leading causes of global disease burden. In addition to reducing the quality of life of patients and their relatives, it costs billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy. Unfortunately, current antidepressant drugs are barely satisfactory and have numerous side-effects. The goal of this project is to discover potential new antidepressant drugs from wild mushrooms native to British Columbia.
Biological manufacturers are now starting to make chemicals and biological products (like proteins) by growing large amounts of microorganisms like bacteria or algae. One major quality control step in the manufacturing process is to check the genetic sequences of these microorganisms because they often not correctly made. This is due to the biological method for manipulating the sequences is not perfect. To check that the genetic sequences are correct, manufacturers typically send samples for DNA sequencing at international service providers.
A radioluminescent material converts ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, into lower energy photons. The use of radioluminescent nanoparticles has been proposed to enhance the efficacy of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in cancer treatments. During a typical treatment, a molecular specie, called photosensitizer, absorbs visible energy to produce reactive oxygen species, which determine cellular death due to the resulting oxidative stress. The required visible energy has a low penetration depth through the tissues, which limits this approach to superficial treatments.
Materials that can store and release significant amounts of energy are a high priority in the modern world due to the reliance of today’s society on propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics, aerospace and mining. Although there has been a thrust in the development of high energy materials, this has only been at the academic level. Industry continues to use old fashioned energetic materials which are primarily composed of highly toxic substances. To bridge the gap between academic advancements and industrial use, knowledge transfer, safety, scalability and cost-effectiveness are critical.
Zanidatamab is an antibody being evaluated in clinical trials to treat breast cancer, biliary tract cancer and gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas linked to the overabundance of a protein known as HER2. Zanidatamab was developed to bind to two copies of HER2 in tandem instead of one, increasing its binding affinity and improving its inhibition of HER2 tumor-promoting activities. The binding of each zanidatamab to two copies of HER2 is proposed to form a network of HER2 linked by zanidatamab.
The miniaturization of microelectronic, optical devices and sensors have pushed the development of smart and precise ways to fabricate these devices. Aerosol Jet microprinting is a great technology allowing to print very small features on these devices. In addition, it opens the possibilities to use functional inks that are optically activated and can act as temperature or molecular sensors.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has burdened the healthcare system and disrupted economies worldwide. One method of combating this pandemic is through serological testing, which can determine who has been exposed to the virus and developed an immune response. This is particularly important for front-line healthcare workers as the test would identify individuals who are potentially immune to reinfection and can return to work. These tests can also identify individuals who are immune to the virus due to vaccination.
Currently, the gold standard pharmacological treatment for depression typically take several weeks before becoming effective. This delayed treatment onset can be devastating because of increased rates of suicide during this wait-period. Thus, there is a need for rapid acting antidepressant drug treatments. Strikingly, a single infusion of ketamine can result in alleviation of depressive symptoms within hours. However, the effectiveness of this drug fades away over time.
Croplands are labeled as “climate change mitigators” given their ability to trap carbon dioxide (CO2) as soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is a complex mixture of compounds, primarily carbon (C), derived from plant litter's decomposition. Healthy soils are now part of “verified C markets”, which are corporate programs in which enrolled farmers receive money for keeping SOM in the ground. Metrics of success are often limited to bulk soil C stocks. This is a critical limitation – not all SOM is created equal and may behave differently in the environment depending on their properties.
This proposal aims to develop the next generation of smart materials to remove hazardous substances Canadians breathe in different environments from enclosed public buildings to industrial facilities. These hazards put the Canadians at risk, especially when in chronic contact even at low concentrations in the air. The Canadian company HFI Pyrotechnics Inc. and the University of Ottawa are partnering to contribute to the development of new filtering technologies against hazardous gases, which will assure the safety of HFI’s employees within their facility.