Giving families the tools to care for children affected by Zika

Thousands of kilometers away in Halifax, Canada, Mitacs Globalink intern Lisandra Oliviera is working with a team of researchers at the IWK Health Centre to conduct a systematic review of intervention therapies for parents of children with disabilities similar to microcephaly – a family of conditions known as neurodevelopmental disorders. The parenting intervention includes an “orientation” for family members to develop their parenting skills in ways that will help with management of symptoms and improved mental health for the children.

A gut reaction that’s creating opportunities

Thanks to a Mitacs Accelerate partnership with industry, researchers have discovered how a type of dietary fat can provide relief for this disease, and create business opportunities for the treatment of other conditions.

John Miklavcic was working on his PhD at the university’s Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition when he began an Accelerate internship with Biolipids Inc. The goal was to look into whether gangliosides — special kinds of dietary fat that help prevent infection and regulate the immune system — could be used to treat IBD.

Award Winner Interview: Emily Morris

Can you tell us a bit about the research you did through Mitacs Accelerate that led to you winning the 2013 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation – Master’s?

Calgary medical start-up taps into research talent through Mitacs

Despite this, many patients who have problems with the quality of their sleep do not seek medical diagnosis, and when they do, diagnosis and initiating treatment can be an arduous process that is disruptive, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.

Preventing outbreaks of foodborne illness before they spread

Investigators determined that the source was contaminated vegetables from a popular Mexican fast-food restaurant chain. Although the outbreak had no fatalities, E. coli contamination poses a potentially deadly health risk and costs the North American food industry billions of dollars every year.

A simple solution in a single line

Robotic arm to aid with mental health treatment

TMS treatment involves the placement of a magnetic coil near a patient’s head. The coil produces magnetic pulses that induce currents in the patient’s brain. TMS is approved for mental health treatment in Canada and has had promising results treating illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia.

2015 Mitacs Postdoctoral Award for Outstanding Innovation: Pamela Ovadje, University of Windsor

Pamela Ovadje, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Windsor is the recipient of the Mitacs Postdoctoral Award for Outstanding Innovation for her research with Calgary-based Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR) Inc.

Sensitizing compounds for cancer-treating viruses find new use in vaccine production

Beyond understanding how oncolytic viruses work, Rozanne and other researchers at the University of Ottawa have studied how these viruses can be enhanced with “viral sensitizers,” small molecules that increase their efficacy. Recently, her research into how viral sensitizers can therapeutically enhance oncolytic viruses has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

New product benefits from Accelerate intern’s expertise

But while the Halifax-based startup had worked-out the mechanical design of its brace, its team knew they needed people with expertise in body movement and rehabilitation to test it. That’s where Mitacs Accelerate came in. With expertise from two interns, Spring Loaded was able to make some big strides in its research.

One of those interns was physiotherapist Tony Ingram. Having just arrived from Newfoundland after completing his Masters in Kinesiology at Memorial University, Tony had an in-depth knowledge of knee function and chronic knee pain.

Finding new uses for existing drugs

During the summer of 2014, researchers at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy were looking into whether a group of drugs called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — normally used as anti-depressants — could be used to treat Alzheimer's.

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