Dental Materials for Ultra-Long-Term Caries Prevention

Tooth decay (dental cavities or caries) affects over 90% of the population worldwide, however their treatment with "white" resin composite fillings yields significantly worse results than classic metallic fillings. Caries-causing bacteria penetrate the space between tooth and filling, causing further tooth decay. This damage must be treated by removing the previous filling and diseased tooth tissue, and subsequently re-filled. We have developed novel antimicrobial microspheres that are loaded into the dental filling material, preventing bacterial infiltration for the patient’s lifetime.

Analyzing cognitive-motor function through the development of portable tools

Cognitive and motor dysfunction are hallmark impairments of neurologically impaired populations such as those suffering from a traumatic brain injury, or persons with Parkinson’s disease. Common symptoms experienced by these populations are deficits in planning and decision making, as well as deficits in balance. These symptoms are not, however, limited to impaired populations but can also be a by-product of healthy aging in older adults (65 and older).

Investigating polysomnography parameters and screening for obstructive sleep apnea using breathing sound analysis during wakefulness

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is still an underdiagnosed common disorder. Undiagnosed OSA, in particular, increases the perioperative morbidity and mortality risks for OSA patients undergoing surgery requiring full anesthesia. OSA screening using the gold standard Polysomnography (PSG) is expensive and time-consuming. This proposal presents three research projects/points to apply advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques on breathing sounds’ signals for screening OSA disorder during wakefulness.

Optimized Non-invasive Cuff-less Continuous Blood Pressure Measurement Technique Using Machine Learning

Continuous blood pressure (BP) monitor is highly beneficial for detection and prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The most common BP monitor technique still relies on using a cuff that obstructs the blood flow, which is both uncomfortable and makes continuous monitoring impossible. Furthermore, research has shown that due to the numerous artifacts, the existing cuff-less BP monitoring technologies such as pulse transit time (PTT) and tonometry are not sufficiently accurate.

Progranulin as a potential therapeutic agent for neurodegeneration

Degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease remain incurable despite intense research over decades. Progranulin, a protein that was identified and characterized in our laboratories and it has been shown to inhibit the development of Parkinson’s-like and Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in experimental models in mice by the partner organization Neurodyn. We believe that it has similar potential to forestall brain diseases in humans. A roadblock towards this goal is the complexity of the progranulin molecule.

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.