Development of a commercial protocol to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscle progenitor cells (hPSC-SMPCs) with transplantation potential

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of methods to differentiate human PSCs (hPSCs) into skeletal muscle cells. This has allowed, for the first time, the development of cellular models to study muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the possibility to utilize these cells for cell therapy applications. However, the reliability, efficiency and prober characterization of cells produced from these differentiation protocols remains a roadblock for their routine utilization by the research community.

Functional Characterization of Mammaglobin-1 Isoform in Breast Cancer

Many genes are implicated in the development and progression of breast cancer. One of these genes, mammaglobin 1 (MGB1), is specifically found in breast cells. MGB1 is routinely used for the detection of invasive breast cancer that migrate to distant organs of the body and form a secondary tumor. However, the specific role of MGB1 in breast cancer progression is still unknown. Our preliminary findings suggest that MGB1 is a potent inducer of cancer cell aggressivity. More recently, we have observed that the MGB1 gene is capable of generating multiple forms of MGB1.

Development of Fungal-Specific Stress Response Inhibitors for the Treatment of Fungal Infections

Drug resistance of medically relevant microorganisms poses a grave threat to human health and has severe economic consequences. Fungal pathogens pose an additional complication as they are closely related to their human host. Current therapies to treat fungal infections are limited and drug resistance has already emerged in the clinic. We have conducted extensive research on fungal drug resistance mechanisms and propose to target these mechanisms in combination with existing antifungals.

Creating an integrated data management platform for food banks to address poverty

The City of Saint John has been facing the generational poverty challenge for decades. The poverty rate in this city is 19.7%, which is more than five percent higher than the average rate of the province (14.5%) and the country (14.4%) [1]. Having access to real-time data of low-income families and people suffering from poverty has also become an issue for government at the local, provincial, and national level. Food banks as one of the best sources to have access to disadvantaged individuals are substantial sources of data to understand and identify challenges of low-income families.

Development of a novel Saccharomyces yeast RNAi production and delivery platform

Heavy pesticide and antibiotic use are prevalent in modern agriculture and is an essential requirement to feed the ever-increasing human population. Their increased use, however, has also resulted in a loss of ecological biodiversity, environmental contamination, emerging pesticide/antibiotic resistance and is an economic burden to farmers, especially in low income nations. The research proposed aims to develop novel alternative agricultural bio-control technology centered around Baker’s yeast, a common and non-toxic organism used in baking and brewing.

Quantifying the value and risk of restoring wetland habitats in agricultural landscapes

Wetlands provide critical habitat and valuable ecosystem services. Land use conversion in Ontario, however, has led to substantial wetland loss. The restoration of wetlands on agricultural properties has the potential to offset wetland loss, yet these wetlands are also susceptible to contamination by pesticides.

Study of biomechanics during equine rehabilitation: development of harness system and rehabilitation protocol

The aim of the internship program is to develop a rehabilitation harness for horses and study its use together with a computerized lift system designed for rehabilitation of injured horses. Measurements used to direct harness design and rehabilitation protocols include movement analysis of the horses, physiological measurements and analysis of behaviour. The lift system was developed by the partner organization RMD Engineering, Inc. RMD has a material interest in the success of the rehabilitation harness proposed in this project.

Development of the Tat-GluN2BCTM peptide as a novel therapy for acute myocardial infarction

Acute myocardial infarction (commonly known as a heart attack) is a major disease of the cardiovascular system and a leading cause of death and hospitalization in North America. It results in 7.4 million deaths globally per annum. Current clinical medications only prevent the disease but cannot cure it after a heart attack occurs. Scientific evidence suggests that DAPK1 is a vital protein that can cause heart damage during a heart attack, and I have created a compound that is able to reduce the level of DAPK1 in the heart so as to prevent heart damage.

Enabling and Accelerating Fragment-based Drug Discovery – An Excellent Opportunity To Combine Innovation and Education

One of the most promising strategies for discovering our future medications is via fragment-based lead discovery (FBLD). FBLD involves the screening of libraries of small molecules to first identify weak binders to essential target proteins of diseases. These binders are then synthetically matured to larger, more potent inhibitors/leads via medicinal chemistry design efforts. However, there are major bottlenecks to achieving this critical step which have discouraged many pharmaceutical scientists from pursuing this approach.

Long-Term Prevention of Catheter Infections using Chemical Coatings

Infections acquired through long-term catheter use are a major problem for nearly 20% of all patients. This project seeks to apply Econous Systems’ anti-fouling MEG-OH coating to biomedical plastic catheters to see if they prevent the 3 most common microbes: E. coli, C. Albicans and S. Aureus, from growing. This will initially involve in vitro testing using a flow-through model to simulate blood flow, monitoring first static and then dynamic microbe growth using fluorescence microscopy. In vivo testing will follow using rats as a preclinical model.

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