Identification of a molecular profile predictive of metformin sensitivity in human breast cancer.

Breast cancer (BC) accounts for 15% of all cancer cases in Ontario, affecting 8,700 women in 2009.  Thus, there is a great need for the development of new anti-cancer agents and the identification of patients who are best suited for tailored treatment.  The drug metformin has emerged as a potential therapy for BC.  Metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, but clinical studies have demonstrated that it can inhibit BC.  However, it is unclear how metformin inhibits BC and which patients would be most suitable for metformin therapy.  Therefore, the goal of the project is to determi

Design of a novel magnetoencephalograph-compatible tracking system for monitoring speech-related orofacial events

Individuals with speech problems face difficulties such as anxiety, poor socialization and poor literacy. Key to effective intervention and therapy is a better understanding of the brain activity associated with speech. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a new brain-imaging technology that, for the first time, allows researchers to monitor the fast-changing brain activity involved with speech. The challenge in using MEG for speech analysis is that existing speech-tracking systems introduce too much magnetic interference.

Developing a prototype electrowetting on dielectric device to perform immunoassays

The goal of this project is to develop a prototype microfluidic device to rapidly determine whether a target protein is present in a sample. Applications of this device include genomic and proteomic research, pharmaceutical testing, and quality control for various industries, including food preparation. The prototype will make use of electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD) actuation, which uses the application of electric fields to manipulate confined droplets. Unlike conventional microfluidic devices, EWOD devices do not require complex features for flow control or external pumping.

Interplay between monocytes/macrophages and cardiomyocytes in diet-induced diabetes

Insulin controls blood sugar and is required for the entry of sugar (glucose) into blood cells from blood. Excess body fat in obesity or high fat diet makes body resistant to insulin. Due to this insulin resistance, sugar accumulates in the blood and over time this leads to an increase in blood sugar and development of type 2 diabetes (T2D).  Normally insulin resistance precedes the development of T2D by 10-20 years.  Because insulin resistance is associated with cardiovascular problems, people with T2D are at a high risk for heart disease.

Application of Data Mining Methods to Radiation Therapy Planning Automation

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced technique for cancer treatment through high-precision radiation delivery. It generally requires a complex planning procedure, where the crucial step is manual delineation of the organs at risk in three-dimensional (3-D) computed tomography (CT) images, performed using simple drawing tools. It is a labour-intensive and error-prone process which, depending on the clinical case, may often require several hours of intensive work.

Conductivity measurements of cardiac tissue using magnetic resonance imaging

The first objective of this project is to obtain the first high resolution impedance measurements of cardiac tissue. These measurements will be synchronized with electrocardiogram to determine quantitatively for the first time the changes of conductivity at different stages of the cardiac cycle. Since the heart is one of the most electrically-active areas inside human body, knowledge of its electrical properties will benefit many cardiac modeling and clinical applications. The second objective of this project is to test the influence of anisotropy on cardiac impedance imaging.

Optimizing adjacent technologies for physical and/or functional integration with UV-based technologies

This research project is directed towards the assessment and development of technologies that will complement the UV technologies provided by Trojan Technologies for water/wastewater treatment.  A novel liquid-solid circulating fluidized bed bioreactor (CFBBR) developed at the University of Western Ontario in collaboration with Trojan Technologies has generated a wide interest for commercial application for biological nutrient removal (BNR) from wastewater.  A generic high solids retention time in the CFBBR primarily due to the attached biomass would enhance degradation/removal of the emerg

Improving vaccine production with novel drugs

Vaccination is the most effective method for the prevention of a wide range of human illnesses.  Vaccines are currently prepared by growing live virus strains in chicken eggs.  New strategies are very much needed to improve the speed and efficiency of virus production, especially during disease outbreaks.  Recently, Chem Virion has identified new drugs which can significantly boost the growth of viruses.  We propose to use these drugs to improve vaccine production.  We will focus on using these drugs to increase the production of the swine flu (or H1N1) vaccine in cells grown in the laborat

Multivariate Feature Extraction Methods for Biomedical Signals and Health Data Classification

In large health data sets, researchers may want to classify individuals into important groups, such as risk groups, based on multiple important variables from various different data resources.  Different groups may warrant different, targeted interventions.  Combining different data sources to classify individuals with the highest risks and needs can provide health officials an objective way of targeting scarce health care resources.  Since each individual would have variables from multiple data sources, determining the key features that can be used to classify individuals into groups requi

Intraoperative Surgical Guidance for Neurosurgical Applications

Current intraoperative surgical navigation techniques are time consuming, may involve radiation and most importantly, are only able to account for patient motion during surgery a few times. The research project will focus on the development of an optical imaging device capable of capturing topographical images of exposed anatomical structures within the surgical field. These images in combination with CT and MRI data will guide the surgeon in the placement of devices such as screws within the spine.