This project consists of two parts: the synthesis of a variety of nanoparticles using a technique we have developed recently, and the study of individual nanoparticles to examine their properties and polydispersity. Both parts carry major challenges and present unique opportunities for research. The eventual goal of our program is to be able to design nanomaterials with desirable properties in a controlled manner.
Infectious diseases remain the major cause of death and economic losses in animals/humans. One way to reduce this is by vaccination. Unique and sophisticated biotechnology-based approaches are needed to produce safe, cost-effective, and highly efficacious vaccines. Potential benefits of these vaccines could include the induction of long lived immunity, ability to immunize newborns and induction of a broad spectrum of immune responses. One way to achieve this is to develop live viral vectored gene
Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation makes it possible to boost the MRI signal of 13C labelled pyruvate 10,000-fold, overcoming the low natural signal of carbon. This makes imaging of metabolic processes possible, and could provide useful insight on changes in cellular metabolism due to cancer.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) consists in implanting electrodes delivering electric stimuli in deep brain structures to relieve motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Even if DBS is successful in alleviating symptoms for about 50,000 patients worldwide, it is an invasive neurosurgical technique, and its mechanisms of action remain elusive. This therapy could be greatly improved by targeting the cortex, also impacted by DBS. However, a pre-requisite is to understand how cortical activity is impacted by DBS.
My goal is to develop new approaches in speech technologies for physically or cognitively disadvantaged users. This includes applying the specialized automatic speech recognition (ASR) algorithms developed during my doctoral research into real-world tools for speakers with speech disorders. For example, I will develop software-assisted human-human interaction in which speech that is unintelligible because of physical disability is modified to produce a more comprehensible equivalent. This will involve acoustic transformations and speech recognition preprocessing.
Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common blood disorder characterized by low platelet counts and an increased risk of bleeding. Many patients with ITP can be maintained with conventional therapies, but when an invasive procedure or surgery is planned, a short course of treatment is needed to rapidly increase platelet counts preoperatively so that dangerous bleeds can be prevented (termed ‘bridging’ therapy).
Individuals with speech problems face difficulties such as anxiety, poor socialization and poor literacy. Key to effective intervention and therapy is a better understanding of the brain activity associated with speech. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a new brain-imaging technology that, for the first time, allows researchers to monitor the fast-changing brain activity involved with speech. The challenge in using MEG for speech analysis is that existing speech-tracking systems introduce too much magnetic interference.
Many individuals acquire infections each year, yet few progress to critical illness. The current inability to identify the proportion of individuals who will progress to life-threatening illness is a major impediment to effective management of infectious disease. Using malaria as a model, the aim of the project is to identify and validate a panel of biomarkers in blood that reliably detects individuals at risk of lifethreatening disease.
Vaccination is the most effective method for the prevention of a wide range of human illnesses. Vaccines are currently prepared by growing live virus strains in chicken eggs. New strategies are very much needed to improve the speed and efficiency of virus production, especially during disease outbreaks. Recently, Chem Virion has identified new drugs which can significantly boost the growth of viruses. We propose to use these drugs to improve vaccine production. We will focus on using these drugs to increase the production of the swine flu (or H1N1) vaccine in cells grown in the laborat