Improving high-quality lipid production in the commercially important microalgae, Euglena gracilis

FAs are an integral part of lipids (oil, fats, wax esters, etc.) that are essential to human health. Lipids with desired chemical and physical properties can be produced by manipulating their FA composition. Euglena gracilis is a commercially important microalgae capable of producing lipids with diverse FA composition. This project aims to study three different approaches; (i) metabolic engineering (ii) media optimization (ii) plant-based inducers, for controlling the production of FAs to produce lipids with desirable characteristics.

Improved Phenotyping of Macrophages Using Cell Line Models, Gene Expression Signatures, and Protein Secretion Data

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a 3rd leading cause of death, which decreases lung function due to irreversible airway obstruction. Lung immune cells, such as macrophages, play an important role in the disease progression. However, researchers don’t fully understand their diversity and functions. Models of macrophages are useful to better understand patient macrophages. We will first obtain 3 types of model macrophages and compare their characteristics (such as gene expression and secreted proteins) with recently published COPD alveolar macrophage data from literature.

Wild bee pollinator habitat restoration through dietary breadth, nutrition and microbiome characterization across Canada

Wild bees are vital to our parks, gardens, greenspaces and ecosystem services, but we know surprisingly little about their habitat requirements and dietary breadth. In this proposal, we will characterize wild bee nutrition including their health and microbiomes across Canada. The postdoc will learn skills in bioinformatics, science writing and science communication. The W. Garfield Weston Foundation will benefit from furthering their mission to facilitate transformative research on the microbiome that will improve the health of Canadians.

Investigating mycelial-plant biomass mat application to reduce early-colonizing weeds in row-crop agriculture

The intern will be investigating the use of plant crop biomass filled with fungal mycelium as means of stopping early-colonizing weeds in row crop agriculture. The crop biomass will be applied to the fields in liquid form and will solidify into a mat-like barrier. The intern will be coming up with the correct liquid formula in lab, and testing this initially in greenhouse trials. Once a suitable formula has been found, it will be produced at a larger scale and tested in fields owned by the industrial partner.

Development of biomarkers to assess health impact of exposure to algal toxins in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and effectiveness of mitigation measures at marine open-pen salmon farms

Atlantic salmon are Canada’s top aquaculture export and contribute $1.5 billion annually to British Columbia’s (BC) economy. In BC, blooms of toxic algae are a common problem for salmon farmers, often resulting in large production losses due to lost growth and disease with high mortality. I recently identified for the first time at BC fish farms two algal toxins, domoic acid (DA) and okadaic acid (OA) that are likely associated with mortality at these sites.

Enhancing the development and sustainability of Greenland halibut fisheries in a rapidly changing Arctic.

Fisheries are a fundamental contributor to socio-economic growth in northern Canadian communities and are a management priority considering limited alternative economic opportunities available in the region. The proposed research aligns with core research needs of industry/resource managers to meet three objectives: 1.

Effect of off-bottom oyster aquaculture on coastal bird populations

The coastal ecosystem of Prince Edward Island (PEI) represents an interface between the open marine waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the sandstone, densely populated province of PEI. It is one of the wildest landscapes remaining in PEI and hosts several species at risk (including the endangered piping plover and red knot). This research is part of a larger project to more fully understand the dynamics of coastal ecosystems.

Electroplated Phosphonate Quaternary Ammonium Antimicrobials for Corrosion, Wear and Antimicrobial Resistant Metal Surfaces

We are proposing to use a rapid, safe and green electroplating process to adhere antimicrobial phosphonate quaternary ammonium materials onto receptive metal surfaces. Pathogenic infections are responsible for approximately 60% of all hospital acquired infections. In order to help stop the spread, high contact surfaces such as bed rails in hospitals, door knobs etc. require surface treatments that provide both corrosion and antimicrobial resistance. Alternatively, these materials may also be helpful in providing these properties to metal implants such as prosthetic hips.

Evaluating synergism effects of selected plant extract compounds with metal-based antimicrobials for their antibacterial and anti-biofilm potency.

The progression of bacterial antimicrobials resistance (AMR) has led us to an era that urgently requires alternative antimicrobial therapies. Metal-based antimicrobials (MBA) are increasingly seen as part of the solution. Several metals are already extensively used to prevent and treatment of infections. Silver/copper ionizers are presently used to control pathogens in Canadian hospital water distributions systems.

Evaluation of nutrition (growth medium) on terpene production in Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa plants accumulate a suite of volatile biochemical compounds known as mono- and sesquiterpenes that determinethe characteristic scent of the plant, and contribute to its therapeutic properties in two ways. First, a 10-carbon terpene (amonoterpene) precursor makes up part of cannabinoid molecules, the key medicinal constituents of C. sativa plants. Second, someterpenes (e.g., geraniol and ?-caryophyllene) have potent medicinal properties of their own. There is therefore substantial interest inenhancing terpene production in cannabis plants.