Investigation of immunological mechanisms of peptide immunotherapy

Although early clinical trials have been positive, peptide vaccine mechanism of action (how tolerance is induced) is unknown. The primary objective of these studies is to identify changes in gene expression and cytokine expression that are correlated with vaccine treatment. These changes could provide insight to mechanisms of action and may reveal potential genetic biomarkers that could then be validated for use in clinical development of peptide vaccines, and also the treatment of allergic disease.

Development of a Rapid Point of Care test for Food & Water Safety

The project involves the development of a rapid detection test kit that will enable food processors to measure the absence or presence of potentially harmful pathogenic organisms prior to shipment to the general trade. The interns’ main objectives will be to dramatically reduce the assessment time for the tester- currently ranging from 4 to 5 days- to an elapsed time of minutes. The kit will benefit the food processor to reduce microbial risk and potential cost from a recall, while the consumer will have safer foods.

The Energetics of Forearm Crutch Gait: The impact of a dynamic shock absorber

Many people who use crutches for their short-term or long-term mobility experience problems associated with crutch gait such as overuse injuries to the arms, discomfort, and fatigue. Forearm crutches enable people to be mobile and live independent and active lives, however many individuals experience fatigue associated with the increased energy demands of this type of gait. A new type of crutch has been developed with a shock-absorbing component that aims to alleviate impact on the joints.

Metabolic Lipid Abnormalities in Prediabetes and Insulin Resistance

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and has been associated with increased lipids (fat) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Our research focuses on regulation of blood lipid levels by controlling both intestinal and liver fat (lipid/lipoprotein) metabolism. We have previously shown in our laboratory that a naturally occurring hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) can lower intestinal lipoprotein production.

Diagnostic screening for conscious awareness in brain injury and disease: Visual component

Since the mid 1970s, medical personnel have used the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) as an important tool to rate and describe levels of consciousness. This scale is rudimentary and subjective, often resulting in misdiagnoses in cases where people lack the capacity to communicate. In some unfortunate situations, severe neurological damage can render people unable to move. Inevitably, these people are deemed vegetative when in actuality; many are simply ‘locked in’. Family members and professionals alike are left wondering…are they in there?

Understanding Stress Signaling in Childhood Cancers: ROS signaling pathways

The Sorensen laboratory-based Childhood Cancer Research Program is specifically focused on elucidating the genetic and biological determinants of the metastatic process in childhood cancer. Metastatic disease remains the single most dominant driver of adverse outcome in most childhood cancers, particularly in childhood sarcomas. There are two basic strategies in the program for studying metastatic disease in childhood cancers. The first is to focus on cell stress signaling.

Neurological structures extraction and analysis for spinal disease diagnosis and intervention

31 pairs of spinal nerves, containing both sensory and motor nerve fibers, serves two important functions: pathway for sensory, motor impulses and are essential for spinal reflexes. Damage of spinal nerves has been one of the major concerns in diagnosis, treatment and spinal intervention. This project proposes to promptly and accurately extract neurological structures from MRI images. Once achieved, the partner organizations can use this for surgical planning and treatment. It will greatly improve their efficiency and reduce complications during surgical interventions.

PET/MR imaging in lung cancer radiotherapy applications

Recently, a new whole-body PET/MRI scanner was developed and installed at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in London, Ontario and remains the only installation in Canada. Two major challenges concerning PET imaging include the need for correcting for loss of photons, called attenuation, due to interactions with patient tissues and the impact of respiratory induced organ/tumour motion during scanning. Corrections for attenuation are currently performed using X-ray CT.

Effect of novel iron chelators on cell growth inhibition by anti-mitotic drugs and irradiation

Iron is required for the growth of all animal cells, being necessary for the proper function of diverse enzyme systems and the expression of certain genes, as well as for the production of oxygen radicals that function as signal transduction intermediates and help defend against microorganisms.

Detection and quantification of organ toxicity biomarkers

In recent years, the interest given to disease biomarkers has boomed. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are exploring ways to use biomarkers to speed up the drug development process, as well as to rapidly assess  diseases state, staging, progression and response to therapy. Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) Mass Spectrometry (MS) has been shown to be well suited for the selective and sensitive quantification of proteins in plasma and has recently emerged as the technology of choice for disease biomarker study.