Economic development often has dire consequences for wildlife and environmental conservation. In Taiwan coastal waters, a small dolphin population is being affected by large-scale habitat loss and degradation resulting from development projects, pollution, vessel traffic and a massive fishing industry.
Clearcut logging and acid deposition affect plants, lichens and slugs (lichen consumers) and may facilitate the introduction and spread of alien invasive slugs, which can increase grazing pressures on at-risk lichens. The main research goal of this project is to improve our understanding of how clearcutting practices affect herbs and slugs and facilitate both the introduction of alien slugs and increased grazing on endangered lichens.
Vaccines are one of the most important medical breakthroughs, proactively saving millions of lifes and reducing human morbidity. Yet there remains a need to make current vaccine formulations more effective and affordable, which requires testing and optimizing new formulations. In addition, there remains diseases for which there are no efficient vaccine. To develop and test new vaccines or vaccine formulations, Sanofi Pasteur and other manufacturers often rely on animal testing.
Helicobacter pylori (HP) is a bacterium that causes 65% of gastric ulcers and cancers worldwide. Current anti HP treatments often fail because the bacteria have become resistant and they have serious side effects. We are looking into using molecules produced by bacteria called Lactobacilli that are a natural component of the human gastro-intestinal flora to treat and/or prevent Helicobacter infections. The novelty of our approach is to focus on the molecules that Lactobacilli release (i.e. their secretions) and that could be administered to patients in a controlled and reliable manner.
Life on the planet has evolved in constant presence of radiation, some of which comes from space, and some of which comes from natural sources in the Earth. This natural background radiation (NBR) is a normal component of biological life. One way we can study the role of NBR in life is to see what the effects are when we take it away. This is difficult to do at the surface of the planet and requires that we go deep underground to shield out some of these parts of NBR.
There are many exciting therapeutic applications for proteins. Many diseases are caused by faulty enzymes, which can sometimes be replaced. Antibodies and antibody-like molecules are being developed to specifically target cancers and other diseases. However, in order to administer these products, they must be made in a way that has minimal effect on the patients immune system. To make them viable commercially, they also have to be made in a robust, cost-effective process.
Plastics are the prime contributor to the global litter crisis. Every second, a quarter tonne of non-degradable plastics enter the worlds oceans. Despite this, petroleum-based plastic production continues to increase, with more than 300 billion kilograms of virgin plastic produced annually. Our team is slightly altering the metabolism of a strain of bacteria to efficiently mass produce biodegradable plastic from hemp substrate. Unlike other biodegradable plastics, ours has excellent strength and flex characteristics.
Viruses that infect the brain, such as Zika virus, are a significant threat to public health in Canada since many are poorly understood, and no vaccines or antivirals exist to combat them. We are investigating the use of “mini-brain” organoids derived from human stem cells as a model to study Zika virus infection that mimics the physiology of the human brain. Here, we seek to optimize our methodology for infecting brain organoids with Zika virus.
In the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, California bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis california) populations have declined by 60% since 2011, likely due to a new mite infestation, Psoroptes ovis. These mites cause hearing loss and impaired awareness in wild sheep, possibly increasing their vulnerability to predation by cougars (Felis concolour). To assess this risk, data from GPS-collared bighorn sheep between 2014 and 2019 will be compared, in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia.
This project aims to develop genomic tools to enhance Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) aquaculture in Canada. Genomic tools have the power to improve selective breeding programs by accelerating production, increasing profitability, and ensuring environmentally responsible practices. However, genomic tools are lacking for the Eastern oyster. This study will design and validate the first high-density panel of genomic markers specific to C. virginica. The partner organization (LÉtang Ruisseau Bar Ltd.) is the leading producer of Eastern oyster hatchery seed.