Biomaterials for the reduction of bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation

Stents are tubes placed between the kidney and the bladder which prevent blockages which might otherwise damage the kidney. Introducing foreign material into this system allows a platform for bacteria to exist and which will potentially cause infections. These are very common. We propose modifying the surfaces of the materials used in stents to make them “non-stick” to prevent bacteria attaching and then causing infections. We can test this in the laboratory and wish to test different types of material under different conditions which mimic the clinical environment.

Optimization of Bull Semen Cryopreservation through Iterative and Rational Media Design

Cryopreserved (frozen) semen provides optimal genetics to cattle and especially dairy farmers, facilitating improved breeding programs. The sperm cryopreservation process significantly reduces fertility compared to fresh sperm. Each percent of reduced fertility amounts to a significant financial loss to farmers. Thus there is great pressure on semen providers to improve post thaw fertility, as it is a significant market decider. In order to be successfully cryopreserved, sperm must undergo a number of damaging processes.

Impacts of once-through cooling on the aquatic environment

Many thermal power plants, including Bruce Power, rely on once-through cooling using water from the Great Lakes. The warmer water that is released back into the lake has the potential to impact temperature sensitive aquatic species that occupy the near shore water close to the discharges. The proposed research will investigate the genetic population structure of three fish species surrounding Bruce Power (lake whitefish, round whitefish, yellow perch), and study the impacts of varying water temperature on embryonic development and post-hatch fitness.

Nutritional value of Mysis diluviana for the growth, development and reproduction of hatchery-reared salmonids

Mysis diluviana, a shrimp-like crustacean, is an invasive species in Okanagan Lake. As part of a strategy by the BC government to reduce the impact of this species on the natural lake ecosystem, Piscine Energetics Inc. has been harvesting Mysis from Okanagan Lake since 2000 and retails the harvested Mysis as fish food to the ornamental aquarium industry. There are indications that Mysis could also be an effective source of nutrition for rearing trout and salmon in hatcheries.

Characterizing lytic bacteriophages against pathogenic E. coli: killing spectrum, efficacy in vivo, and genomic analysis

Bacterial pathogens of importance to animal health and food safety have major and global impacts on agriculture and food industries. There has been an increase in bacterial resistance to antimicrobials, and antibiotic use in livestock and poultry has been questioned due to likelihood of increased antimicrobial resistance. Alternative strategies to contend with bacterial pathogens within the food production chain are therefore needed. Lytic bacteriophages (phages) are bacteria-specific viruses that can lyse and kill their bacterial targets. One of the focuses of SyntBioLab Inc.

Advanced Materials and Technologies for Medical Imaging Detectors and Techniques

The proposed Mitacs program will provide internships for six graduate (thesis-based MSc and PhD) students, and two Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs) in a competitive R&D environment at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) – Canada’s newest health research institute. Interns will be involved in research projects which aim to develop and commercialize the next generation of customized detectors to improve medical imaging applications, which are chosen on the basis of the demands of the healthcare system and commercial opportunities developed in the TBRHRI.

Understanding sharp-tailed grouse habitat selection and lek persistence to inform industrial siting and mitigation strategies

The sharp-tailed grouse is the provincial bird of Saskatchewan and a favourite upland game-bird for hunters. Sharp-tailed grouse are considered an indicator of grassland ecosystem health, and there is growing concern that populations are declining in Saskatchewan and elsewhere. Habitat loss, as a result of conversion of grassland habitat for agriculture and energy production, appears to be one of the major factors influencing grouse populations in Canada.

Role of larval mortality in dynamics of forest tent caterpillar outbreaks

Forest tent caterpillars causes serious damage to hardwood forests across Canada, and outbreaks are currently on the rise in several provinces.
Recent research by our team and others suggests that while parasites and disease play a key role in ending outbreaks, predators attacking young caterpillars could be important in preventing the start of outbreaks.
This project measures predation on young caterpillars in outbreaking and non-outbreaking forests and identifies the predators responsible.

Metabolite pathway mapping in Euglena: A strategy for predictable product optimization

Noblegen Inc. is an advanced bioproducts manufacturer dedicated to developing cost-effective, naturally-derived biomaterials and biochemicals for a wide range of consumer and industry sectors. We employ a unique organism, algae, to continue to do what it does naturally - decontaminate wastewater sustainably and affordably while also generating valuable biomass for use in biomaterials and biochemicals production. In this research, we propose to map out the pathways that are active in algae.

Microbial eukaryotic biodiversity in Oil Sands reclamation

The Oil Sands of Northern Alberta are a significant contributor to the Canadian economy but their management is also an important environmental issue for Canadians. Improved reclamation of tailings waste is an integral part of Oil Sands sustainability as an industry and understanding the role of microbes in the reclamation process has been a major area of study. Microbial eukaryotes (organisms sharing the cellular organization with humans and plants) have only recently been recognized as also playing a role in tailings pond communities.