Neuroimaging biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease identified through brain, brainstem and spinal cord imaging

In the current functional and structural neuroimaging project, we aim to identify functional and structural changes that correlate with disease presence and its severity  staging) and that can serve as a basis for future development of PD neuroimaging biomarkers. To achieve this objective we will use our expertise in functional neuroimaging of the cervical spinal cord (CSC), brainstem and brain (simultaneously), as well as in micro-structural neuroimaging of the spinal cord.

Predicting Scleral Lens Rotation Based on Corneoscleral Toricity

Patients with corneal disease often require treatment with scleral lenses. Unlike regular soft contact lenses, these lenses are much larger and have a space between the cornea and the lens that is filled with fluid before lens application. These lenses are extremely useful in cases of extremely ocular dryness and in patients with irregular corneas. Adjusting these lenses to perfectly mold the surface of the eye is of the utmost importance to ensure that the patient is comfortable and sees well with their lenses.

Validation of Novel, Tumor Microenvironment-based Targets for Biological Therapeutics

ImmunoBiochem is developing novel anti-cancer therapeutics to address unmet need in intractable solid tumors. Because solid tumors are highly heterogeneous and evasive, recognizing cancerous cells, while avoiding damage to normal tissue, is a challenge. As a result, many targeted therapies quickly come up against resistance, resulting in patient relapses. ImmunoBiochem is solving the issue of tumor versus normal recognition by exploiting cancer targets in the tumor environment – a collection of features that are uniquely present in tumors and absent in the environment of normal cells.

A capacity building initiative for rural community health research in Northern Newfoundland and coastal Labrador

Rural physicians are well positioned to conduct impactful community-based research but their research progress is often impeded by scarce funding and a lack of research assistance to bring projects to fruition. These issues are profound in Northern Newfoundland and coastal Labrador (NNCL), some of the most geographically remote areas of the province.

Visualization of lipid and protein deposition on contact lenses in a sophisticated in vitro eye-blink model

Contact lens discomfort is one of the primary reasons that cause people to stop wearing them. The discomfort may be due to the buildup of tear film components on the lenses during lens wear. The purpose of this project is to understand where most of the tear film components are depositing on the lens, such as the back or front of the lens. These findings will help researchers and companies develop better and more comfortable contact lens materials in the future.

Probiotics for Animal Health - neonatal and pre-weaned calf

This project aims to develop a novel collection of probiotics for animal health, specifically newborn and pre-weaned calves. Probiotics are a safe and sustainable way of ensuring the health of animals in the agricultural industry. The probiotics will be designed to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates in pre-weaned calves, and to increase the long-term health of the animal, which will directly affect production (both beef and dairy).

Platform development to assay immune cell chemotaxis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important global health problem afflicting 384 million people and causing 3 million deaths worldwide each year. Currently, there are no effective therapies for COPD patients. In this proposal, we are developing a novel technology that will both monitor the severity of disease in COPD patients, and allow researchers to better study potential targets and pathways for the design of new COPD drugs. Immune cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, play important roles in the lungs of COPD patients.

ATP citrate lyase (ACLY) as a novel anti-cancer drug target for hepatocellular carcinoma

The net 5-year survival rate for patients suffering from liver cancer is less then 20 percent and the number of cases is rapidly increasing in Canada. Unfortunately, currently available oral chemotherapies can only extend median survival by 3 - 4 months making the development of new and effective drug treatments critical. The proposed study aims to pave the way for a new class of drugs to help fight liver cancer and give hope to patients suffering from this deadly disease.

Effect of ROS on neurovascular decoupling in epilepsy

In order for the brain to function well, it is important that blood vessels within the brain are healthy. In a healthy brain, these blood vessels can become larger and smaller when necessary, but this is no longer possible after epileptic seizures. An important group of compounds that regulate the size of blood vessels is ROS, but too much ROS is unhealthy for the brain. Therefore, we believe that too much ROS is produced during epileptic seizures. Luckily, the brain also contains antioxidants, which can normally clear the brain from ROS, but possibly not enough during epilepsy.

Evaluation of MRI-based estimation of cortical thickness

The most important structure in the human brain is the cerebral cortex. It makes it possible to perceive our visual environment and sounds, to perform motoric actions such as grasping an object, to speak, to understand speech, etc. The cerebral cortex is a 2-5 mm thick sheet, embedded in the skull. Analysis of MRI data makes it possible to estimate the thickness of the cerebral cortex. In certain neurological conditions such as mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis, the thickness of specific cortical areas decreases faster than in healthy aging.

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