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July 2013

Boosting stroke research through Mitacs Globalink

Globalink Research Intern Lizeth Orozco, a fourth year Biotechnology Engineering student from Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey, is spending her summer contributing to research on post-stroke infection. Under the guidance of Dr. Christian Lehmann and Dr. Juan Zhou, of Dalhousie University’s Department of Anesthesia and Pharmacology, Lizeth is using mice to determine which drugs are most effective in boosting immune functioning of stroke patients.

Severe brain damage induced by a stroke produces a reduction of immune functioning, which can result in fatal infections threatening the survival of patients after a stroke. Given that 20-25% of patients fall victim to infection post-stroke, this research is highly significant.

The objective of Lizeth’s research is to understand why immune functioning reduces after a stroke.  She is also collecting and analyzing data from tests of various drugs and corresponding dosages, in order to help decipher which treatment could potentially improve the human immune system to stave off post-stroke infections.

The research project has its own rewards. “If successful, the scope and application of these drugs will be profound, and will have a significant impact on stroke patients. On a personal level, the possibility of helping people improve their quality of life is an amazing feeling.”

When asked what her favorite experience in Canada has been so far, it was difficult for her to narrow down, “I love the city of Halifax, and the people are extremely nice. It has been great to meet so many people from diverse backgrounds while learning and sharing knowledge for the purpose of bettering the lives of others. I have learned so much already!”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Nova Scotia for their support of the Globalink research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Globalink program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, , the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

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