Echinacea purpurea is a popular herbal medicine with a global market of ?$1 billion but there is tremendous variability yet limited distinction between the products on the market. Amway Canada is a leader in the production and distribution of Echinacea products, and now aims to leverage the company`s unique Echinacea resources by sequencing the plant`s genetic code and identifying new and improved traits related to both agriculture and natural health products.
Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia), a threatened species in Ontario, breed primarily in either banks at lakeshores or at exposed surfaces in man-made aggregate pits that occur with and without waterbodies. Pits are suspected to be ecological traps for this species but the relative trade-offs in nesting at pits vs. natural sites are poorly known. Availability of aquatic emergent insects is expected to be highest at lakeshore colonies with associated nutritional benefits including Omega-3 fatty acids. However, Bank Swallows may experience differential mercury exposure depending on habitat use.
Glass sponges build their skeletons out of silicon dioxide (i.e. glass). While these animals are found all over the world in very deep water, they only exist shallower than 50 m in a few places in the world. In very rare cases, new sponges grow on top of existing, dead sponges and form reefs in a similar manner to coral reefs. As with coral reefs, the structure formed by the reefs is ecologically important because it provides complex habitat and shelter for other animals.
We recently developed a rapid and cost-effective pre-clinical technology that is well suited for precision medicine the ex ovo chicken embryo ChorioAllantoic Membrane (CAM) assay. Our goal is to perform a pilot study that combines tumor genotyping data and the use of personalized CAMavatars, to predict drug sensitivity in renal cancer patients and to test newly developed cancer therapies. We also propose technical advances to the CAM technology and the development of a humanized CAMavatar model that can be used for testing immunotherapy.
Across Canada, many families struggle to find high quality, affordable child care. Most child care options for families are limited to daytime and weekday work hours; this creates even greater challenges for shiftworkers who rely on paid child care. When child care is not available, mothers usually bear the greatest burden as many women, whether parenting alone or with a partner, act as the default primary caregiver.
Tissue engineering works to replace damaged tissue and organs, and has applications in treating diseases such as diabetes. To improve the performance of tissue engineering treatment and research, our lab has produced the microwell system which creates microtissues in the form of cellular balls. The microwell system has been used used internationally under the brand name AggreWell, supplied by STEMCELL Technologies and allows researchers to produce enough microtissues to treat diseases in animal models, such as mice.
The recent legalization of marijuana in Canada opens the opportunity to study in detail the effects of cannabinoids on human physiology. This academic-industry initiative will combine resources to isolate compounds from cannabinoids to study their effects on bone cells. Specifically it will examine the effects of cannabinoid compounds on how the destructive osteoclasts form and act upon the bone in vitro. This cell culture work will pave the way for future clinical studies. Bone-wasting disorders like osteoporosis are a major economic burden and inflict a large population of the elderly.
Three of Saskatchewans bat species roost in trees and migrate long distances annually: hoary bats, eastern red bats and silver-haired bats. Migratory bats are facing a variety of threats, such as habitat loss, climate change, pesticide use, and fatalities at wind energy facilities. Large numbers of bat fatalities have been recorded at wind energy facilities across North America. If current fatality rates continue, the population of hoary bats, the species most commonly killed by wind turbines, could decrease by up to 90% in the next 50 years.
Agricultural pesticides are one of several stressors contributing to the global decline of insect pollinators. More specifically, there is strong evidence of harm from neonicotinoid insecticides. Many jurisdictions are implementing new rules to restrict use of these common pesticides. While regulators have largely focused on reducing pollinator exposure to neonicotinoids, other insecticides also have the potential to harm pollinators.
Globally cities are expanding and this has a negative impact on natural systems. Green infrastructure (GI), such as green roofs, retention ponds, or urban tree canopies, is used to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather and provide resources for people in the city. However, GI can also provide a benefit for native species and wildlife by providing a habitat for them to live. Although this is commonly suggested, to our knowledge, no one has attempted to quantify the effects of GI on natural systems.