Genomic studies for fertility, health, and efficiency traits in dairy cattle - Year two

The advent of genomic selection in the dairy industry has increased genetic progress; however, new challenges are emerging. Rapid population growth and associated demographic and economic changes are increasing global demand for dairy products. Moreover, the industry must address several societal and consumer issues such as human health, animal health and welfare, and the environmental footprint (e.g., greenhouse gases, antibiotic and hormone use).

Wildlife Risk Assessment and Response Capacity in the Pacific Northwest

Response to an oil spill involving wildlife can be challenging in the Pacific Northwest. The terrain, weather and remoteness of many locations are all elements to be considered when determining an effective response strategy. A goal of a wildlife response team is to be as prepared as possible when responding to an incident. The animals present at any particular time depend on factors such as migration, breeding, and food abundance. Using existing studies, environmental sensitivity maps and novel research, we will enable the best wildlife response at a given time of year at a given location.

Wastewater innovation using algae-based photo reactors

Requirements for nutrient removal from municipal wastewater (MWW) are stringent in order to reduce environmental impact of anthropogenic activities on natural ecosystems. Common practices in MWW treatment involve chemical and bacterial processes. Micro—algae have been proposed as an alternative or complementary approach to MWW treatment but technologies for such implementations remain limited. We propose to test, as a proof of principle, a photo-selection process, designed to reduce the complexity and costs of MWW treatment.

Evaluation of viral sensitizer-mediated enhancement of AAV transduction in vivo

Gene therapy has the potential to cure a wide range of debilitating genetic diseases. One of the best ways to correct a genetic defect is to use a viral vector to deliver a functional copy of the gene to cells in the body so that they can express a functional protein and reverse the disease phenotype. Currently, adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are the leading gene delivery platforms as they can infect almost any cell type in the body and can elicit sustained expression of a function protein.

Impact of new emerging Fusarium strains on mycotoxins in Ontario

Fusarium graminearum is a fungus that causes disease in corn, wheat, barley and oat. Not only do these diseases affect yield, but the fungus produces toxins that helps it gain access to the plant. These mycotoxins are harmful to humans and livestock and are regulated in the grain trade. Left unchecked, contaminated grain and yield losses can cost producers and the grain trade $ millions in epidemic years. Originally in Ontario we had one strain of F. graminearum that produced the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) using 15-A-deoxynivalenol as a precursor molecule. We called these 15 ADON strains.

Development and Optimization of NanopectTM–Based Nano-Fertilizers for Crop Production and Improving Food Quality

Modern agriculture relies heavily on chemical fertilizers to provide nutrients for crop production. These management practices are expensive, inefficient, unsustainable in the long-term, and require large amounts of resources. Using nanotechnology to create innovative nano-fertilizers (NF) is a potential solution that negates the negative aspects of using solely chemical fertilizers. Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of miniscule particles to engineer products for specific purposes. In agriculture, the production of NFs is a novel area of research and the focus of this project.

An AI-powered scientific document recommender system for academic and technical resources

The attribution of textual sources remains a challenge in recommendation systems. The problem receives attention in academic circles. As part of this project, we will be developing an AI-powered recommender system to help users find out what to read next when it comes to technical documents like theses, manuscripts, and technical reports based on resources they have already read. Finding a good resource recommendation system can mitigate the time-consuming task of finding a valid reference for written paragraphs in a technical document.

Development of an equine metabolism model to describe post-absorptive nutrient dynamics in the mature horse

Mechanistic models of nutrient digestion, absorption, metabolism, and growth are implemented in industry as ‘decision support systems’ for modern feed formulation and diet optimization, and in academia as research and teaching tools. However, in the equine sector, there has been little focus in modelling which limits the ability of the equine sector to address complex challenges such as interactions between equine nutrition, management, health and welfare. The aim of this proposal is to develop a mechanistic model of post-absorptive nutrient metabolism in mature horses.

Quantum Deep Neural Nets for Spatial-Temporal Problems

Atmospheric behaviour will change substantially with Climate Change and is one of our generation’s most pressing challenges. The world requires accurate estimates of future the impacts from droughts, floods, heat waves, increase hazards, from freezing rain to hurricane to plan, prepare and mitigate. Combatting climate change requires reducing our emissions in a strategic way. Current computers can only approximate these coming changes.

Evaluating the protective effects of electrical muscle stimulation with and without blood flow restriction during periods of short-term inactivity

Physical inactivity is associated with impaired removal of sugar from the blood after a meal, or insulin-resistance and a reduced muscle mass and fitness. While exercise is well-established to prevent these impairments, it may not be feasible in some clinical conditions. Therefore, passive interventions that mimick the stressors and elicit the benefits of exercise may be required. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and tourniquet induced blood flow restriction (BFR) can prevent muscle loss during inactivity.