Baseline parameters for application of human 3-D organoids as an in vitro model for studying neurotropic viral infection

Viruses that infect the brain, such as Zika virus, are a significant threat to public health in Canada since many are poorly understood, and no vaccines or antivirals exist to combat them. We are investigating the use of “mini-brain” organoids derived from human stem cells as a model to study Zika virus infection that mimics the physiology of the human brain. Here, we seek to optimize our methodology for infecting brain organoids with Zika virus.

A humane pigeon management plan for TransLink: the case of Ovocontrol P

Pigeons can act as pests for the ability to spread disease as well as ruin infrastructure with their excrement. At Skytrain stations, they cause delays by triggering intrusion alarms as well as erode infrastructure. By attempting to reduce population numbers using a type of avian reproductive control that does not effect the environment or other species called Ovocontrol P, we can attempt to reduce population numbers in a humane way that does not involve culling the pigeons.

Biomechanical and Clinical Evaluation of the Levitation Knee Brace

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating musculoskeletal disease affecting approximately 1/3 of Canadians over the age of 25. Knee braces are often prescribed for OA patients to restore joint function and reduce pain in an attempt to avoid or delay knee replacement surgery. Most braces are designed to offload one side of the knee, however, more than 95% of knee OA patients have OA that affects more than one compartment of their joint. Spring Loaded Technology has designed the Levitation™ “Tri-Compartment Unloader” knee brace to reduce forces in all three compartments of the knee.

Transformation of THC and CBD synthesis genes into Yeast

Cannabinoids are diverse chemical compounds that are created by the Cannabis crop. To produce and extract the necessary amounts of cannabinoids for the market is taxing on the environment due to its high energy input costs. However, through the use of synthetic biology and genetic engineering, cannabis related chemicals can be created using simple yeast which are ubiquitous and more environmentally sustainable. BioFect Innovation is proposing to create cannabinoids created through the genetic engineering of yeast.

Identification and characterization of new antimicrobial chemical series

Antibiotic resistance represents a major health problem for society. With the expanded use of antibiotics, microorganisms have developed various mechanisms of resistance to overcome the effects of once highly effective agents. There is therefore an urgent need to identify new therapies to counteract resistant strains. The intern will design and identify new drugs that are capable of treating patients infected with bacterial strains showing resistance to current drugs used in the clinic.

Garment-based Neuroprosthesis, a non-invasive closed-loop neural extension for facilitating the human nervous system function

MYANT is a pioneer in the field of smart textiles, with the first connected e-textile ecosystem that can serve as a DSL cable connecting humans to their surroundings, others and themselves. This connected eco-system or platform is named SKIIN, representing a second skin, an intelligent interface, an augmentation of the human sensory and nervous system, through a textile medium.

Cell Preservation Techniques for Novel Probiotics

The purpose of this project is to develop encapsulation technologies that enable probiotic cells to maintain their dormancy and shelf stability within new food products. The project covers a discovery, validation, and scale-up phase. It addresses the use of various materials to produce capsules of probiotics and formulation of different products using them. The outcome of this project will allow DoseBiome to formulate probiotics in different kinds of food with extended stability, shelf life, and potency for everyday consumers.

Evaluating deposition of tear film components on contact lenses in a sophisticated in vitro eye-blink model

Contact lenses are one of the most successful biomedical devices on the market, with approximately 140 million wearers worldwide. Despite their success, these devices still struggle with discomfort, which ultimately leads people to stop using the product. One of the reasons is the buildup of tear film components on contact lenses while wearing them. The objective of this project is to understand how tear film components deposit on contact lenses using a sophisticated eye model. This eye model, OcuBlink, was developed by the partner organization, and simulates some key properties of the eye.

Identifying novel biomarkers and immune response profile correlating to clinical outcome in ovarian cancer patients treated with a T cell activating immune therapy

Cancer afflicts 1 in 8 people worldwide. Recent advancements in bench-to-bedside translational research has resulted in numerous effective treatments. However, a harsh reality still exists in that only ~20% of patients respond positively to treatment. Not all cancers are created equal, which has led to these clinical complexities undermining treatment options. It is our goal to understand the cellular and immune cell factors, which determine patient outcomes.

Discovery of Novel E3 Ligands for PROTAC Development

Protein degradation induced by PROTACs (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) constitutes a novel modality of drug discovery, with advantages over the traditional approach. This approach is still at infancy and there is a lot to learn in this field. The trainees will work under academic supervisors at University of Toronto, who are experts in chemical tool development in collaboration with Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Toronto to expand the number of chemical tools and technologies, which will enhance the scope and understanding of PROTAC drug development.

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