OPERA – Optimization of Predictive Electrocardiographic Risk Analysis

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a leading cause of mortality in Canada and globally, accounting for nearly half of all cardiac deaths. Alterations in beat structure (morphology), caused by the heart’s electrical system and autonomic nervous system, and the left ventricle ejection fraction are significant risk markers proposed to identify those at risk of SCD. Historically neither alone have provided sufficient accuracy in predicting SCD.

New Generation Membrane Electrode Assembly using Novel Nanoporous Carbon Scaffold

Hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs) are clean and efficient energy conversion devices that produce electricity from green hydrogen with zero carbon emissions. Currently, the catalyst layers in HFCs are composed of Pt-decorated carbon powders mixed with an ion conducting polymer (ionomer), leading to uncontrolled distribution of each phase and significant tortuosity due to the complex pores and pathways between particles. The membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is the core component of a HFC that plays the most critical role in the HFC performance and lifetime.

Harnessing seismic ambient noise with fibre optic technology to monitor tailings dams

Tailings dams, built to retain waste from mining ore, form some of the largest engineered structures in the world. Compared to conventional water storage dams, the rate of tailings dam failures is significantly higher. This research aims to advance best practices for monitoring tailings dams using a novel methodology combining fibre optics with geophysical methods. This method will be applied to understand changes in shear wave velocities at the site over a four-month period, which will be related to changes in the rigidity of the tailings dam.

Protein profiling of blood samples of patients with mild traumatic brain injury

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and sports-related concussion have complex and variable neuronal pathophysiology. Despite extensive attempts for discovery and identification of protein biomarkers in the blood of concussion patients, the success of proteins markers is limited due to the heterogeneity and complexity of concussion. There are still no reliable protein biomarkers that can accurately diagnose sport-related concussion and to distinguish complicated and uncomplicated concussion.

Improving performance of recycled asphalt applications with bitumen and asphaltenes mix

New innovative technology is proposed for Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS) to produce cold mix asphalt (CMA) for dust control in unpaved roads. This novel method will design a mix of bitumen/RAS/water emulsions that break in a controlled manner upon field application. The effect of asphaltenes, petroleum solvents, emulsifier type, concentration and properties, and the preparation conditions, such as agitation speed, temperature, and the order in which components are added on the performance of the emulsions will be evaluated.

Developing a broad-spectrum swine vaccine against bacterial pathogens

Bacterial pathogens Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Actinobacillus suis, and Glaesserella parasuis reside in the respiratory tract of pigs and can cause severe lung and systemic disease. Despite available vaccines against these pathogens outbreaks still occur resulting in major economic losses. The overarching goal of this research is to develop an effective vaccine against these bacterial pathogens. To accomplish this goal, the iron acquisition system of these bacteria is used as vaccine targets. Our work has shown that this strategy is superior to commercial vaccines.

Employing heterologous thioesterases and acyl transferases expression for the development of coconut-like canola seed-oil

Establishing canola seed oil with high medium chain saturated fatty acids for North American consumers remains demanding. Currently the entire oil that is rich with saturated fatty acids is imported from Asian and South American countries. Canola mostly harbors mono-unsaturated fatty acids with minimal polyunsaturated fatty acids. We are working towards making canola with maximum medium chain saturated fatty acids. We will introduce enzymes (thioesterases) from plants that are capable to produce high amount of medium chain fatty acids into the model plant (Arabidopsis) and canola.

Homelessness Prevention in Youth and Families Across Six Canadian Cities

Each year in Canada, approximately 40,000 people under the age of 24 will experience homelessness. Youth experiencing homelessness are highly vulnerable to crime, violence and sexual assault. Once homeless, youth are at high risk for multiple episodes of homelessness or chronic homelessness into adulthood. Interventions must be youth-centered, low-barrier, strengths-based, and prioritize diversion and/or family and natural supports to prevent long-term homelessness and its deleterious effects. One approach to prevention is through shelter diversion.

Assessing user experience of a Virtual Reality (VR) based visual field exam when compared to the Gold Standard Humphrey visual field exam

2.2 billion people live with vision impairment: Over 1 billion of these cases are, or were, preventable/treatable. Most of these individuals live in low income Countries, where access to care can be limited. Why do people still go blind from preventable conditions? In order to treat, first, you need to be able to diagnose. The first step to prevent these conditions is to make diagnostic technology available, accessible, and affordable. This project is to assess the usability and feasibility of portable vision health screening in a clinical environment.

Mapping and utilizing deep seabed hydrocarbon seeps offshore Nova Scotia using microbial genomics

Seabed hydrocarbon seeps are environments where petroleum fluids from deep warm sources migrate upwards through marine sediments and up into the water column. These are important biological environments that also have industrial applications. Seeps can be indicative of deep petroleum reserves and are used in oil exploration. They also host microbial communities that are capable of living amidst petroleum and are capable of its biodegradation, potentially offering benefits in terms of oil spill or methane emissions remediation.