Development and Optimization of Advanced High-Throughput Behavioural Testing Platforms for the Screening of Mouse Models of Schizophrenia

Operant chambers equipped with touchscreens are a new technology that has been used for the mass behavioural phenotyping of rodent models of neurological disease. These chambers have the potential to make behavioural testing more reliable, faster, and translationally valid to human cognitive testing. To further increase the utility of these systems, technology capable of tracking animal behaviour in the chamber will be integrated into the operant system.

Applying Traditional Chinese Medicine to Osteoporosis

Herbal medicines are mainly used to maintain health, prevent diseases and treat chronic conditions. Although many Canadians have taken or are regularly take herbal products, there still are concerns about the safety and quality of these products. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease called silent thief since there are no symptoms until bone fractures happened. The fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. Especially for women approaching or being in menopause, lose 2-3% of their bone mass each year.

Formulation scale-up and characterization for a manganese-based contrast agent

To design effective and patient-specific cancer therapy, sensitive detection of relapse and distant metastases by non-invasive medical imaging is essential, for which MRI offers tremendous potential due to wide availability of the equipment in clinic and avoidance of ionizing radiation. Although gadolinium-based contrast agents are the most frequently used for MRI, they are associated with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and brain deposition. Thus, less toxic manganese ions (Mn2+) are exploited as an alternative for tumor detection using MRI.

Airway-On-A-Chip: Development and In Vitro Validation of A Microfluidic Cell Culture Model for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disorder of the lung, and one that affects 2.6 million Canadians and 380 million people worldwide. Although the disease affects a large population worldwide the therapies used for treatment remain imprecise. With the lack of disease modifying therapies there is a pressing need to discover novel targets to promote new therapeutic discoveries and ultimately improve the care and health outcomes of patients with COPD.

Optimization of Angiotensin II Receptor type 1 Blockers (ARBs) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) is a lung disease that cause a lot of suffering to the Canadian population. To accelerate the drug discovery process, an old blood pressure lowering medication was tested to block the progression of COPD. A patient study showed that the old medication did provide some protective effect to the lung airways of COPD patients. However, we have found that this old medication does not slow down COPD by lowering blood pressure, but rather by acting on a new, unknown target.

Characterization of striatal innervation by drNPC-A9 cells in a rat model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurological disorder. Over the course of the disease the brain cells that produce dopamine are slowly dying. The loss of these dopamine-producing cells means that less dopamine is available in the brain, causing many symptoms such as tremors. Unfortunately, brain cells cannot regenerate, so a patient’s symptoms will worsen over time. In the current project we aim to investigate human dopamine cells (i.e. drNPC-A9) that were grown in a petri-dish by New World Laboratories.

Therapeutic Intervention of Cannabinoids in a Pre-Clinical Rat Model of PTSD

National Legalization of Cannabis has occurred in Canada. Very little is known about the different compounds in the Cannabis Plant. The two main compounds are THC and CBD. Both of them have shown some benefits for different conditions. We would like to determine the best dose and ratio of compounds within the Cannabis plant for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Anxiety to build evidence for a large-scale clinical trial. More data will help support safe and effective use of Cannabis, which may provide an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.

Pilot-scale preparation of phospholipid-free small unilamellar vesicle formulations with potential in treatment of hepatic diseases

Lipid-based nanoparticular drug formulations are a successful technique to enable targeted treatment. The Canadian company Precision Nanosystems Inc. (PNI) develops the innovative instrument family NanoAssemlr for lipid nanoparticle preparation based on microfluidics. These instruments are fast, easy-to-use and provide a high batch-to-batch reproducibility and quality. Recently, we developed a novel lipid nanoparticle formulation with the unique feature of selective liver targeting, which could only be prepared with NanoAssemlr Benchtop at relatively small scale.

Cell Preservation Techniques for Novel Probiotics

The purpose of this project is to develop encapsulation technologies that enable probiotic cells to maintain their dormancy and shelf stability within new food products. The project covers a discovery, validation, and scale-up phase. It addresses the use of various materials to produce capsules of probiotics and formulation of different products using them. The outcome of this project will allow DoseBiome to formulate probiotics in different kinds of food with extended stability, shelf life, and potency for everyday consumers.

Discovery of Novel E3 Ligands for PROTAC Development

Protein degradation induced by PROTACs (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) constitutes a novel modality of drug discovery, with advantages over the traditional approach. This approach is still at infancy and there is a lot to learn in this field. The trainees will work under academic supervisors at University of Toronto, who are experts in chemical tool development in collaboration with Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Toronto to expand the number of chemical tools and technologies, which will enhance the scope and understanding of PROTAC drug development.