A comprehensive genomic study for the virus SAR-Cov-2 itself and COVID-19 patient samples will be studies analyzed to understand the nature of the virus developments, and to find genomic biomarkers that helps in diagnosing and the treatment of the disease. We will try to understand the molecular network of the virus in the body and investigate the role of the coexisting agents as well in the patient samples. The bioinformatics tools and wet-lab experiments will help us to create a pipeline to react to any similar future epidemic/pandemic.
Many babies die within the first month of life from infectious diseases. Despite successful neonatal vaccination programs, it is not yet possible to accurately predict if a vaccine will work on a newborn child, at the individual “personalized” level. We need to better understand the mechanism of antibody generation after vaccination to improve immunization programs. This project will work in that direction by analyzing novel data obtained from neonates in The Gambia and then validate the findings with data from Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Up to half of patients with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) will develop ICU-Acquired Weakness (ICUAW). Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) holds promise to both prevent and treat ICUAW. NMES applies electrical impulses to muscles through electrodes placed on the skin to induce muscle contractions, and is highly effective in maintaining muscle mass and strength following limb injury, when loading and exercise is limited.
Seriously ill patients with COVID-19 require ICU care, and have high rates of mortality, especially amongst patients with concurrent diseases such as high blood pressure. Recent clinical data demonstrate that disease progression is associated with an overwhelming, atypical cytokine response known as “Macrophage Activation Syndrome” (MAS). Macrophages are immune cells that can directly damage tissue or release cytokines that also damage distant organs leading to their failure.
The detection of SARS-CoV-2, the causative of COVID-19, is challenging because the used techniques, such as nucleic amplification, cannot detect a whole virus. Instead, it amplifies nucleic acids that can be fragmented with no information about the presence of an infectious virus. We propose to use a technology based on the use of a physic characteristic of molecules called Raman spectroscopy, a non-destructive technique capable of identifying samples on a molecular level. The sample of interest is exposed to laser light, producing Raman waves.
Current cancer immunotherapies, although highly successful, are complex to implement, costly, and only effective in small patient populations with specific cancer types. We propose to overcome these problems by developing small molecules to induce immunogenic cell death (ICD), a cancer cell death process that engages the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells and to generate immunological memory. Cuprous Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CPI) has identified ICD-inducing compounds that are enhanced by copper (Cu) as an adjuvant.
3D-printed personal protective equipment can provide a locally-sourced manufacturing network to address shortages for Canadian front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, however little is known about the harmful germs that can live on 3D-printed material. Certain metals-ions are known to have anti-microbial properties and can be incorporated into 3D-printed plastics.
Thousands of 3D printers across Canada are producing PPE for frontline workers. Different printers and materials affect the quality and safe re-usability of parts. Trying to track down this information for every single one of millions of parts would be impossible. The purpose of this project is to improve the quality and safe re-use of 3D printed PPE by developing a system for printing a unique identification code onto every single part that will let end users know what type of material was used and how and when the part was printed.
Western red-cedar asthma (WRCA) is the most common form of occupational asthma in British Columbia and is caused by sensitivity to a molecule found in the wood called plicatic acid (PA). Patients suspected of having WRCA must complete two inhalational challenges to determine sensitivity to PA, an expensive and time-consuming process. There is need for a cheaper and quicker method of diagnosis. Blood is relatively easy to access and useful in studying WRCA. Changes were observed in the blood-based molecular biomarkers in WRCA patients during inhalational challenges.
Arthritis is a chronic disease that severely decreases the quality of life and affects almost 4.6 million Canadians, costing $33 billion for the Canadian economy every year. Affected individuals experience pain and disability through an extended period of time. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a common form of arthritis, is an autoimmune disease characterized by the inflammation of the synovium, or synovial membrane, a connective tissue that provides a cushion between bones and tendons and muscle around a joint.