Development of hyaluronan fragments for improving wound repair outcome.

We propose to identify HA fragments sizes that are useful for promoting wound repair using an assay funnel of 2 D culture screens to identify relevant reagents and then characterize their effects on wound repair using an animal model of excisional skin wounds and human 3D co-culture of skin cells.

Development of a real-time analytical tool for predicting the tissue fate in ischemic stroke

Thrombolytic therapy is the mainstay of stroke treatment. However, this treatment can be potentially harmful. A patient-specific model of expected outcome would greatly facilitate the treatment decision making process both for clinicians and patients. We propose to develop a clinical tool by incorporating the imaging and clinical dataset to predict the fate of tissue in ischemic stroke. We expect the product to enable real-time quantification of expected tissue outcomes using patient- and tissue- specific thresholds.

Commercialization of a cell stretcher/incubator device

Nowadays, most of cell biomechanics studies based on cell stretching have focused on small stretching magnitude, without the ability to visualize cell behavior and morphology during stretch. We therefor decided to build a cell stretcher/incubator providing the physiological conditions of cell culture (37°C, 5% CO2) while also allowing the application of a wide range of stretching magnitudes. The device consists of a cell stretcher/incubator designed specifically to be mounted on a microscope stage and thus, allows long term (several hours) in situ visualization of cell morphology.

Identification of a molecular profile predictive of metformin sensitivity in human breast cancer.

Breast cancer (BC) accounts for 15% of all cancer cases in Ontario, affecting 8,700 women in 2009.  Thus, there is a great need for the development of new anti-cancer agents and the identification of patients who are best suited for tailored treatment.  The drug metformin has emerged as a potential therapy for BC.  Metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, but clinical studies have demonstrated that it can inhibit BC.  However, it is unclear how metformin inhibits BC and which patients would be most suitable for metformin therapy.  Therefore, the goal of the project is to determi

Interplay between monocytes/macrophages and cardiomyocytes in diet-induced diabetes

Insulin controls blood sugar and is required for the entry of sugar (glucose) into blood cells from blood. Excess body fat in obesity or high fat diet makes body resistant to insulin. Due to this insulin resistance, sugar accumulates in the blood and over time this leads to an increase in blood sugar and development of type 2 diabetes (T2D).  Normally insulin resistance precedes the development of T2D by 10-20 years.  Because insulin resistance is associated with cardiovascular problems, people with T2D are at a high risk for heart disease.

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.