Advanced Materials and Technologies for Medical Imaging Detectors and Techniques

The proposed Mitacs program will provide internships for six graduate (thesis-based MSc and PhD) students, and two Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs) in a competitive R&D environment at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) – Canada’s newest health research institute. Interns will be involved in research projects which aim to develop and commercialize the next generation of customized detectors to improve medical imaging applications, which are chosen on the basis of the demands of the healthcare system and commercial opportunities developed in the TBRHRI.

Development and commercialization of novel reference material for food allergen and gluten proficiency testing - Year two

The planned research program aims to address an existing gap: the lack of commercial availability of reference materials for food allergens to be used in the context of analytical method development, validation and performance testing. In particular, naturally incurred samples representing food matrices where priority allergens are likely to occur, in a controlled and calibrated fashion are not available. Allergens targeted include egg, milk as well as wheat gluten (targeting both wheat allergen and Gluten testing).

Implementation of a chip-based MDTMA platform for evaluating prostate cancer treatment response and mode of action. - Year two

Prostate cancer is the disease of the old, effecting 1 in 7 Canadians with a death burden of 1 in 28. The management of the disease becomes extremely difficult with the development of the nonresponsive and aggressive form of the cancer. Thus, the clinicians are rendered helpless and hence there is an urgent need for the development of new targeted therapies. Response to chemotherapy drugs varies for every individual, leading to adverse effects in many. Hence every individual responds to chemotherapy drugs differentially, matching the right dose for individual patient is a big challenge.

Treating advanced retinal degeneration – rebuilding multiple co-dependent retinal layers with stem cells

Despite dozens of clinical trials (and countless animal trials) to regenerate the retina with stem cells, none have solved the challenge successfully. This is because the retina has many layers, and all layers are necessary in order to restore vision in patients with advanced retinal degeneration – ~1M patients in Canada and >50M worldwide. Here, we developed a strategy that stratifies a suspension mixture of subretinal graft (including stem-cell-derived RPE and photoreceptors) into correct orientation and layering resulting in replacement of the lost retinal layers.

Evaluating Dementia Inclusivity in Retirement Communities

Retirement Communities (RCs) are an attractive bridge between aging-in-place/staying at home and going to full care/LTC by allowing older adults to remain independent while still receiving minimal assistance, as well as access to activities and socialization opportunities. With the mean age of residents being 85 years old, these communities offer unique insight into the future of Canada’s aging population.

Understanding the cellular mechanisms sustaining functional capacity improvement with prehabilitation in colorectal cancer patients

Cancer is associated with weight loss, decreased muscle strength and inflammation. This has a tremendous impact on daily activity, autonomy and quality of life, involving both patients and care-givers. I previously worked on a preoperative intervention called ‘pre-habilitation’, a personalized exercise and nutritional supplementation delivered before surgery. The main idea is to prevent postoperative complications utilizing the time before surgery to put the patient in a better physical, nutritional and emotional state.

Improving the mechanical properties of thermoplastic blends using nanoadditives

Blending different polymers in order to produce new engineering material with added value is a standard method in polymer industry. Incompatibility between immiscible polymers is the main challenge in preparing these blends. This incompatibility can result in poor mechanical and morphological properties. Using compatibilizers and nanoadditives are two main methods of compatibilizing immiscible polymer blends.

Temperature and dosage dependence of biological damage induced by ultraviolet germicidal irradiation on pathogens and comparison with conventional chemical wipes

Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) represent a common complication for hospitalized patients and can produce significant financial implications for the health care system. Unfortunately, mobile and handheld devices are recognized as a hub for bacteria and viruses that can cause these infections. To aid in a remedy for this, ultraviolet light is an emerging technology that is becoming increasingly popular for germicidal surface disinfection in healthcare.

Photons to Fish (PHISH): Ecosystem indicators of fish productivity

Recreational fisheries in Canada are estimated to provide over $2.5 billion dollars to local economies each year. There is a growing concern that industrial activities, climate change, and other factors may negatively impact the productivity of these fisheries and the freshwater ecosystems that support them. However, direct estimates of fish productivity are extremely challenging to undertake, especially in remote locations like Canada’s north.

Investigating Learning Cultures and Practices that Foster Experiential, Collaborative and Self-Directed Learning

The fundamental purpose of this research is to identify and understand ways in which workplaces can become “schools”, and facilitate meaningful learning for their employees. The intern will describe the main characteristics of an organizational learning culture that fosters experiential, self-directed and collaborative learning, document organizational practices that support such a learning culture and collect stories from organizations who have successfully developed such a culture.

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