Development of a commercial protocol to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscle progenitor cells (hPSC-SMPCs) with transplantation potential

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of methods to differentiate human PSCs (hPSCs) into skeletal muscle cells. This has allowed, for the first time, the development of cellular models to study muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the possibility to utilize these cells for cell therapy applications. However, the reliability, efficiency and prober characterization of cells produced from these differentiation protocols remains a roadblock for their routine utilization by the research community.

Cited: Partnered Knowledge Mobilization Between Research and Media Organizations

This is project that creates audio documentaries that are grounded in academic research. As part of this project, Mitacs interns will work for three distinct podcasts: Cited Podcast, Crackdown, and Blue and Goldcast. These podcasts are meant for a general audience, and have wide popular and critical appeal. They are developed in a unique collaborative approach (putting students, scholars, and professionals together), which makes for a compelling final product. Mitacs interns will conduct original research and reporting to support the development of these podcasts.

Development of a novel Saccharomyces yeast RNAi production and delivery platform

Heavy pesticide and antibiotic use are prevalent in modern agriculture and is an essential requirement to feed the ever-increasing human population. Their increased use, however, has also resulted in a loss of ecological biodiversity, environmental contamination, emerging pesticide/antibiotic resistance and is an economic burden to farmers, especially in low income nations. The research proposed aims to develop novel alternative agricultural bio-control technology centered around Baker’s yeast, a common and non-toxic organism used in baking and brewing.

A Novel Combination Therapy to Target Primitive Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells

Modern molecular targeted therapies have shown promise in treating some blood cancers, but a cure remains elusive for most acute leukemia patients. This is largely due to the survival of some leukemic cells that possess unique properties and can cause treatment failure or relapse, warranting identification of new, distinct targets for improved therapies. In collaboration with Signalchem Lifescience Corporation (SLC), we aim to develop and test a new drug combination strategy to target acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient cells that are resistant to current therapies.

Analysis of protein interaction complexes by advanced mass spectrometry workflows

The analysis of protein-protein interactions is critical for understanding cell growth control, and how aberrant connections contribute
to cancer and other diseases. Mass spectrometry is a critical tool in this field, but sample complexity, instrument dynamic range and
resolution limit some applications. This project will evaluate the use of the SelexION ion mobility device and High Resolution TOF
with Zeno pulsing for enhanced separation and detection of cross-linked peptides from protein complexes and to detect posttranslational
modifications of proteins, specifically phosphorylation.

Multi-biomarker test for the management of acute cardiac transplant rejection

The high incidence of acute organ rejection following heart transplantation poses major problems for patients, clinicians, and the healthcare system. A major clinical challenge in this regard arises from the difficulty of accurately

Towards personalized surgical spine reconstruction post tumour resection

We aim to develop tools to assess patient outcomes following treatment and removal of bone metastases. We will identify markers for enhanced patient outcomes, so as to predict which patients may benefit from more aggressive treatments to better their quality of life. We also aim to use 3D printed bone implants to help in the treatment of patients with bone metastasis. These implants will serve as a local reservoir for the anticancer drugs that will improve bone regeneration while also preventing tumor recurrence.

NGS-based estimation of quality of selective pre-amplification of bacterial RRN operon using Phi29

Rapid identification of bacteria in blood is important for the early identification of infection and emergence of resistance to therapy. There is no wishful, fast and simple, technological solution for this quest. Some of infections are life-threatening and requires fast and focused drug treatment as soon as possible. The present approach is to use empirical therapy and wait for culture results (if positive) to modify treatment, i.e. to remove unaffected drugs and add/increase drugs which will attenuate identified pathogen.

Targeting the GAS6/AXL Pathway in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells with a Novel Combination Therapy

Blood cancer (leukemia) is common, with ~48,600 and 6,400 new cases expected in the United States and Canada respectively in 2016. The National Cancer Institute (US) calculated an overall 5-year survival rate of 56% for various blood cancers. This is because most current therapies are short-lived; drug resistance and relapse pose significant clinical problems. Life-long treatment is required, with potential long-term side-effects and a high cost.

Up-regulation of the antigen presentation machinery in metastatic cancer using small molecules

As a primary cancer progresses to the deadliest form, metastatic cancer, the cells undergo several genetic and epigenetic alterations referred to as the metastatic gene signature. Part of a metastatic gene signature is the downregulation of genes associated with immune recognition, which can be seen in multiple cancer types as the down regulation of the antigen presentation machinery (APM). This internship project will contribute to the collaborative investigation of APM and its potential as future therapeutics in the prevention of cancer progression.

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