Harnessing the power of horizontal gene transfer for yeast strain development - Year two

Yeast are used on a massive scale in many industrial settings, such as production of food and beverages, nutrient supplements, pharmaceuticals, and others, totaling over $5 billion dollars in annual market value. Most yeasts currently used for industrial purposes are taken directly from nature and not optimized for the specific process requirements of industry. Currently, many tools for strain improvements require genetic modification of organisms, which does not allow for a non-GMO “clean” labeling.

Using bioelectrochemical approaches to study microbes associated with oil and gas operations

Microbial activities in oil and gas operations can be beneficial or detrimental which economically impact the energy industry. Microorganisms can be responsible for souring and microbiologically influenced corrosion which damage oil and gas infrastructure, but they can also play a beneficial role in enhancing energy production, recovering chemicals from waste streams, bioremediation, and biofuel production. The threat of global warming and diminishing fossil fuel resources is creating an ever-increasing drive to implement new technologies for renewable fuel production.

Integrating biodiversity functional guild responses to land use and climate change in natural heritage system update

Urbanization continues to drive the land conversion from natural areas to urban uses dominated by impermeable surfaces. This conversion has direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem services that are critical for a sustainable and resilient ecosystem as well as human wellbeing. Habitat removal and fragmentation accelerate biodiversity loss in urban landscapes. Additionally, climate change exacerbates these impacts even further. Hence, green infrastructure is also becoming more common in urban landscapes to offset negative urbanization impacts.

Treating the Untreatable: Targeting Paediatric Brain Tumours with Multi-omics and Drug Discovery

Brain tumours, including ependymoma, are some of the most difficult cancers to treat. Although the past few years have seen many exciting advances in characterizing these brain tumours, there are few effective therapies available for patients, many of whom are children and young adults (and for whom long-term side effects can be extremely damaging). Until very recently, research in this area has been hampered by a complete lack of cell lines and animal models.

Optimizing G protein-coupled receptor assays for autoimmune diagnostics

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of membrane proteins and are involved in various disease including hypertension and airway diseases. With >30% of the prescription drugs targeting GPCRs, they have immense therapeutic importance. The detection of antibodies against GPCRs in these diseases has been a challenging task due to the lack of efficient detection assays, which are easy to use and economically available. The company Acudex has a long-term interest in the development of GPCR assays for autoimmune diseases.

Multi-species sustainable fisheries management using scientific and traditional ecological methods - Year two

I am conducting a multi-species fish population monitoring project in Quebec’s largest lake (Mistassini), to facilitate community-based fisheries management with the Cree Nation of Mistissini. Mistassini is home to recreational fisheries for walleye, lake trout, brook trout and pike. With a 31% increase in the regional human population since 2001 and increasing fishing pressure, effective monitoring of Mistassini’s harvested fish populations is essential.

Antigen tracking of the DepoVaxTM-R9F cancer vaccine using MRI

Immunovaccine Inc. is developing cancer vaccines using the company’s DepoVaxTM vaccine technology. DepoVax is a patented formulation that displays excellent tumor control and provides a long lasting and specific effect. The way by which this vaccine exerts its effect is unclear but the translational team at Immunovaccine is determined to discover its mechanism of action and why their proprietary DepoVax technology delivers superior responses in comparison to other vaccines.

Understanding the scope for innovations in vaccine technology in the swine industry

Pig production is a vital component of the Canadian agricultural sector. Airborne bacterial pathogens Haemophilus parasuis, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae and Actinobacillus suis are major causes of swine respiratory disease and cause rapidly progressing systemic infections that lead to significant morbidity and mortality. We are developing engineered subunit vaccines that can simultaneously target all three pathogens and can be formulated for needle-free delivery using pressure guns.

Climate change and water use: can increased diversity help protect forests?

Forests provide habitat to more than 65% of terrestrial biodiversity, yet are being eliminated or greatly simplified at an alarming rate under global change (GC). Current forestry practices tend to favour a handful of species, without considering resilience of resulting forests to GC. During the past two decades, studies have investigated the complex relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem service provision to humanity.

Evaluation of neuro-protective effects of novel water-soluble formulation of Ashwagandha root extract alone and in combination with water-soluble Ubisol Q10 using in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson’s disease

There is an increase in brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases as the number of aged individuals is increasing. Currently there is no treatment available that can halt the progression of these diseases. Previous work has shown that a natural compound CoQ10 can prevent brain cell death. Similarly an Ayurvedic Herbal extract, Ashwagandh Root Extract has also shown promising results in some studies. In the present research project we will prepare a novel water-soluble formulation of CoQ10 and Ashwagandha Extract using a patented technology of Nextremedies Inc.