Algae are microorganisms present in all aquatic environments with the ability to grow using sunlight as energy source. This ability can be harnessed to produce biomass for various purposes of industrial interests such as biofuel, animal feed, nutrients, etc. This project seeks to improve the productivity of an algal growth facility while reducing energy costs by exploring alternative illumination methods.
Detailed profiling with modern analytical technologies has shown that most cancer types are composed of multiple small sub-populations with distinct molecular signatures. Correct identification of the cancer subtype can predict its response to a particular treatment. Genomics has commonly been applied for this purpose, but in some cases, our ability to predict drug response may be enhanced by instead measuring the drugs direct protein target.
Antibodies are used for treatment of many diseases, including cancer. Within the human immune system, antibodies fight invading bacteria and viruses. We have devised a way to make high-quality antibodies in the laboratory and target them to specific disease-related proteins that have been identified by the scientific community and in our lab. Ensuring that these antibodies work in cells the way we intend them to in the body is a critical step of identifying their potential as therapeutic agents and also in the commercialization process.
Chronic kidney disease is a growing problem in Canada and worldwide and is associated with obesity, diabetes and vascular disease. Current therapies only treat symptoms of CKD and have no impact on inflammatory and fibrotic process that underlie the progression of the disease toward hemodialysis, kidney transplantation, or death.
KINARM Labsâ¢ provide robust and objective measures of brain function and dysfunction by the precise measurement of human behavior with robotics. Created by neuroscientists, KINARM Labs allow clinician-scientists to detect and quantify the sensory, motor and cognitive impact of a diverse range neurological impairments caused by stroke, cardiac arrest, TIA, mTBI, concussion, MS or Parkinsonâs - all in a short
Cancer is a devastating disease defined by genetic changes that result in the activation of proteins that encourage cell growth or prevent cell death. Modern oncology aims to specifically target these tumour-promoting proteins, which has the secondary benefit of leaving normal cells unharmed, unlike chemotherapy. Recently, a number of drugs that specifically block tumour-promoting proteins have been produced, yet the results are underwhelming: most targeted therapies show an initial benefit, followed by the development of resistance.
Fucoidan is a polysaccharide found in brown algae (seaweed). ARC Medical Devices Inc. markets fucoidan purified from brown algae for post-surgical veterinary use to reduce interorgan adhesion development. This product works very effectively, prompting a desire to develop a similar product for use in humans. The challenge to this, however, is that fucoidan is an extremely large molecule of heterogeneous composition, making it difficult to meet the higher standards of purity and homogeneity required of medical materials for use in human subjects.
Antibodies are the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical market, and with modern engineering technologies antibodies can be programmed to target devastating diseases. Within the immune system, antibodies fight invading bacteria and viruses. High-quality synthetic antibodies directed to disease-related targets have immense therapeutic potential. Development of cell-based assays to enable rapid identification of functionally active antibodies is a critical step in the commercialization process.
In human viral diseases, misbehaviour of the cellular machinery utilizing ubiquitin is frequently observed. Ubiquitin is a small protein that attaches to target proteins in human cells and signals for their destruction. Human deubiquitinases are enzymes that remove ubiquitin to keep protein levels in balance. Viral pathogens have evolved proteins that mimic human deubiquitinases to evade the immune system by interfering with host ubiquitin-dependent processes.
Vaccination remains the most effective preventative measure for influenza infection. Seasonal influenza epidemics and the emergence of pandemic strains have increased the global demand for influenza vaccines, putting significant pressure on vaccine manufacturers. However, current vaccine manufacturing strategies rely primarily upon production in eggs, an age-old method that needs to be significantly improved. Recently, research from our lab identified a panel of novel compounds termed viral sensitizers (VSes) that increased virus production up to 1000 fold in cultured cells.