Evaluation of corticosteroid-releasing formulations to suppress implant device- related foreign body reactions and fibrosis

Implanted medical devices have dramatically improved the lives of millions of patients worldwide. However, in many cases, the body’s immune system rejects these devices and encapsulates the implant in fibrous scar tissue. This reaction is most detrimental to sensors for continuous monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes and those of the central nervous system. Device functionality is usually severely limited and risky additional surgeries for implant removal and reinsertion are required.

Design and development of a grating-based flow-cytometer

Title: Design and development of a grating-based flow-cytometer
“Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles. A sample containing cells or particles is suspended in a fluid and injected into the flow cytometer instrument. The sample is focused to ideally flow one cell at a time through a laser beam and the light scattered is characteristic to the cells and their components. Cells are often labeled with fluorescent markers so that light is first absorbed and then emitted in a band of wavelengths.

Characterization of striatal innervation by drNPC-A9 cells in a rat model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurological disorder. Over the course of the disease the brain cells that produce dopamine are slowly dying. The loss of these dopamine-producing cells means that less dopamine is available in the brain, causing many symptoms such as tremors. Unfortunately, brain cells cannot regenerate, so a patient’s symptoms will worsen over time. In the current project we aim to investigate human dopamine cells (i.e. drNPC-A9) that were grown in a petri-dish by New World Laboratories.

The anti-Helicobacter pylori properties and mechanism of action of probiotic Lactobacilli secretomes

Helicobacter pylori (HP) is a bacterium that causes 65% of gastric ulcers and cancers worldwide. Current anti HP treatments often fail because the bacteria have become resistant and they have serious side effects. We are looking into using molecules produced by bacteria called Lactobacilli that are a natural component of the human gastro-intestinal flora to treat and/or prevent Helicobacter infections. The novelty of our approach is to focus on the molecules that Lactobacilli release (i.e. their secretions) and that could be administered to patients in a controlled and reliable manner.

Development of probiotic formulation to alleviate gut dysbiosis related to antimicrobial activity of several classes of psychotropic chemicals

Several classes of psychotropic compounds have been increasingly shown to possess antimicrobial properties with possible implication in microbiota-gut-brain axis. For instance, sertraline and paroxetine are efflux inhibitors in bacteria cell walls and are effective on gram-positive bacteria such as Enterococcus and Staphylococcus. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment of the antimicrobial effect of these chemicals on gut commensal bacteria and consumed probiotics will provide critical insight for the design of robust new nutraceuticals.

Functional MRI investigation of the neural processes underlying pain modulation in human participants

Cannabis has been known to treat ailments for thousands of years, including conditions such as pain, cancer, arthritis, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Despite an increase in research dedicated to molecular and behavioural effects of cannabinoids, there has been no direct evidence to elucidate the effect of cannabis on pain-related areas in the human central nervous system.

Pharmacological inhibition of USP19 deubiquitinating enzyme as a novel therapy for muscle wasting

Muscle wasting is a common complication of many diseases such as cancer, chronic heart and lung disease and results in weakness, impaired quality of life and shortened survival. There are no drugs for the treatment of muscle wasting. We have identified a gene, USP19, in the ubiquitin pathway which is the major pathway of protein breakdown in cells. USP19 is activated in rodents in skeletal muscle wasting from many catabolic conditions. Mice lacking USP19 lose less muscle mass and strength in several conditions of muscle wasting.

Refinement of a leadership development impact assessment toolkit

CHLNet identified the need for valid, reliable tools to determine the impact of these health leadership development programs. This project will develop a practical, easy to use toolkit to facilitate the measurement of program outcomes and impacts. The toolkit will be pilot tested and evaluated across the country according to defined selection criteria. The finalized toolkit will be electronic and other knowledge produced during the project will be broadly disseminated.

Development of instruments and methods engineered to mitigate the impact of non-tissue specific background sources for intraoperative spontaneous Raman spectroscopy applications

The interns will develop novel technologies using laser light to interrogate molecular vibrations in biological tissue setting up the stage for the next generation of intraoperative imaging techniques used to guide surgical interventions, including the resection of tumours in prostate and ovarian surgery as well as in neurosurgery. The partner organisation (Optech) is an organisation specialisation in the optical design and systems characterisation and this project will allow them to expand their base of knowledge and expertise in biological tissue.

Evaluating the health of primary human airway epithelial cell cultures grown at air-liquid interface

There are many ways for scientists to study lung diseases.  One way that scientists try to understand lung disease is by growing and examining lung cells in the lab.  While most cells are grown submerged in special liquid that provides the cells with nutrients, a more sophisticated model is to grow cells in an air liquid interface with the top surface of cells exposed to air and the bottom to the liquid with nutrition.  This more closely mimics the real life situation.  When cells are studied in air liquid interface it is very important to make sure they are not damaged by the experiment un