Using Natural History Collections to Shed Light on Long-term changes in colour, diet, and the effect of global climate change on seabirds

Global climate change threatens to drastically alter the behaviour and fitness of many species, and the ability to predict how Canadian wildlife will respond to these changes is imperative in planning management strategies. In this study, we will examine long-term changes in bill colouration, diet, and abundance of the Atlantic Puffin. We will collect feathers from museum specimens spanning >100 years, and use stable isotope analyses to estimate how puffin diets have changed over time.

Factors affecting nuclear transport of FIV

In this research we will determine how the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) moves through cells of an infected host. The FIV is very similar to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and like all retroviruses moves from the cell membrane through the cytoplasm and then into the nucleus of infected cells. Once in the nucleus, the viral genome integrates permanently into the host cell chromosomes. We will identify host proteins that promote or delay virus movement and replication in the cell, and test small chemicals designed to inhibit nuclear transport.

The Use of Transgenic Plants and the Chloroplasts of Green Algae to Produce Low-cost Oral Therapeutics for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious, common and chronic health problem. In Canada, more than 2 million Canadians are living with diabetes today. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes that accounts for approximately 90% of diabetes cases. The cost of diabetes care is almost 4 times as much as for someone without diabetes. The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that the total cost of diabetes will continue to escalate and could reach $15.6 billion by 2010 unless dramatic actions are taken.

Model Predictions of the Effects of Vaccination on the Epidemic Growth Rate of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics

Influenza is associated with thousands of hospitalizations and deaths annually in Canada. The cornerstone of influenza control is the annual trivalent influenza vaccine administered prior to the start of the flu season. The annual vaccine does not provide perfect protection for all recipients and it is difficult to measure the vaccine’s efficacy at the start of the flu season, while the epidemic is growing. A mathematical model will be used to generate a typical influenza season using publically available data from FluWatch, a Canadian influenza surveillance system.

Development of Control Strategies for Western Flower Thrips Associated with Vegetation Propagation Material used in Floricultural Greenhouses

The use of propagative material represents one of the major methods used for crop establishment in the Ontario floricultural greenhouse industry. A portion of this propagative material is important but there also is substantial inter- and intra-provincial movement. It is important to remain vigilant to potential introductions of insect pests through transfer of this plant material which may result in problems with insecticide resistant insect strains, contamination of otherwise insect free greenhouse facilities with cosmopolitan insect pests, and/or alien invasive species.

Field Validation of C-PODTM (DNA Ident Inc.) Technology for Genetic Sample Collection Through Investigation of Large-scale Range Expansion of American White Pelicans in Ontario

Biologists - from field ecologists to epidemiologists to agricultural scientists ¨C are often faced with the daunting task of collecting hundreds or thousands of samples in the field for genetic analyses and tracking those samples from field collection through genetic analysis to final data analysis. DNA Ident Inc. recently developed C-PODTM genetic sample collection containers that preserve genetic material (e.g., tissue, blood, feathers) and use an electronic data chip to record and track sample information from collection through analysis.

Rescue of Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation of F508CFTR Protein in Cystic Fibrosis by Stop Transfer Sequence Containing Verotoxin

The intern will generate DNA sequences to make modified verotoxin proteins that will effectively disrupt the breakdown of a mutant protein (the CFTR protein) that is found in patients with cystic fibrosis. The mutant CFTR protein has normal function but is degraded in cystic fibrosis individuals because of the mutation. The modified verotoxin will reduce the breakdown of the CFTR protein, and hence increase expression of the mutant CFTR protein and subsequent restoration of normal function of cells expressing CFTR protein.

Identification of Protein Targets for a Proprietary Antibody Generation Technology

Amorfix Life Sciences has had success producing highly specific antibodies, which can be used to diagnose disease. The company has recently gained access to an algorithm (ProMISTM) which allows to predict antibody targets on proteins in their diseased state, allowing development of very specific antibodies with diagnostic and therapeutic potential. The proposed project involves a comprehensive approach of identifying suitable protein targets involved in disease for the new algorithm by extensive database and market report mining.

Bioinformatic Tools for high throughput design of Environmental Immunodiagnostics

Environmental Proteomics NB is a biotechnology design and production company that develops systems to measure levels of important proteins, in particular proteins involved in major environmental and industrial processes. Environmental Proteomics uses computational analyses of genetic and protein data, or bioinformatics, to develop these molecular systems to detect and quantitate specific proteins, even in the presence of complex contaminating mixtures.

PopModel toolkit extension of methodological and user-interface modules: from prototype to beta testing

This research internship expands a prototype of population modeling (PopModel) computer software that was designed to meet the needs of the Saugeen Ojibway - a pair of First Nations deploying and managing the largest Aboriginal commercial fishery on the Great Lakes. A transdisciplinary approach is taken among researchers with advanced expertis in mathematics/statistics, computer software development, and fisheries ecology.