Automated Multi-Factor Medium Optimization of Human Hematopoietic Stem Cell Expansion Using Design of Experiments

This project aims to support ExCellThera's current clinical trial (ECT-001) to improve blood stem cell transplantation outcomes for patients suffering from a host of blood malignancies. A critical aspect of developing clinical therapies using stem cells involves accurate and robust control of stem cell behavior in controlled laboratory conditions. Cell growth conditions (media) should mimic the native environment of the cell of interest.

Understanding the impact of changes to blood donation deferral screening and criteria for men who have sex with men

Available evidence suggests that up to 71% of individuals will require blood or blood products at some point in their lives. To meet this demand, Canadian Blood Services estimates that approximately 100,000 new donors are required annually. However, current blood donation guidelines in Canada require a 3-month deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM) due to the elevated incidence of HIV in this population, guidelines many see as discriminatory. Given the the improvement in HIV testing technology in recent years, re-evaluation of these guidelines would optimize donor eligibility.

Complementary and competitive interactions between wild and managed bees

A diversity of native bee species inhabit agricultural and urban landscapes and can be more effective pollinators than the widely employed European honey bee. However, honey and wild bee communities often overlap, which means these bees compete for the same floral resources. Studies of competition between wild and managed pollinators are limited due to methodological constraints. This restricts our ability to predict how pollination and bee diversity will be affected by changes in pollinator community composition.

Development of a personalized in-vitro model for dystrophic muscle endogenous repair for drug discovery

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder resulting in progressive muscle degeneration. Satellos Bioscience Inc is developing small molecule drugs that target and modulate DMD muscle stem cells to repair the dystrophic muscle. Despite the advantages of DMD animal models, they are not always predictive of human DMD phenotypes, or their response to drug treatments.

Development, implementation and validation of new anti-E6 therapeutics for the treatment of HPV-associated cancer

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are responsible for almost all cervical cancers. Current treatment available relies on chemo- or radiation-therapy or surgery. These methods have several side-effects with high morbidity and survival of just ~ 70%. Our lab, therefore, develops a more patient-centered approach based on targeting the viral E6 protein, the main culprit of carcinogenesis in HPV-related malignancies.

Identifying probiotics that modulate mitophagy in models of mitochondrial dysfunction

Mitochondria are critical producers of energy and are the platform for various metabolic reactions that support cellular health. Mitochondria suffer from a variety of damage as a consequence of housing these reactive pathways. In order for cells and organisms to survive this damage, dysfunctional mitochondria are removed from the cell in a process termed mitophagy. The goal of this proposal is to identify probiotics that enhance mitophagy, thereby serving as ideal promoters of health by preserving mitochondrial, cellular and organismal function.

A flexible non-enzymatic lactate sensor with long shelf life to detect anastomotic leaks post-surgery

Development of leaks in abdominal cavity following surgery cause acute complications that have a high mortality rate and lead to expensive corrective procedures. These leaks are mostly detected following the development of complications as currently there is no method for their early detection and hence timely intervention which can save lives is not possible. In this aspect, lactate is a crucial bio-marker that is excreted from the leak site prior to the development of a full breach and hence its monitoring will lead to early detection of such leaks.

Mitigation of product degradation in anesthetic gas capture

This project will assist a company with the commercialization of a system that captures anesthetic gases from hospital air emissions, to reduce their environmental impact and global warming effects. A working system is already developed, but under some conditions the anesthetic gases break down to form a hazardous hydrofluoric acid material. This acid is undesirable and can cause damage to the system equipment over time. This research will identify the root causes and mechanisms for this acid formation.

Systematic development of novel peptide-derived therapeutics for the inhibition of lysine-modifying enzymes for the treatment of cancer

Cancer will affect 2 in every 5 Canadians in their lifetime, with just over 25% representing new breast cancer diagnoses in women. Despite significant progress in the treatment of the most common cancer in women, resistance to chemotherapeutic agents remains a consistent obstacle in terms of the successful treatment of many types of breast cancers. The Mitacs-funded collaboration between NuvoBio and the Biggar lab at Carleton University is seeking to address this issue by systematically designing and developing peptide-based inhibitors that hold the promise as new therapeutics.

Childhood Healthy Weights Early Intervention Program: Scale-up

The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a family-based intervention targeting families of children who are off the healthy weight trajectory. The EIP is a 10-week program offered at community centers across BC where children and their families meet once a week for 90 minutes as well as online. Parents will be provided with healthy lifestyle content and will engage in discussions on how to engage in health behaviours, and children will participate in physical activities aiming to enhance their motor skills.

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