The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and is critical for metabolic and immune functions, however huge gaps still exist in our basic knowledge of the human liver. Due to challenges in obtaining human liver tissue and the fragility of liver specimens, little is known about the cells that make up the human liver and its immune microenvironment: much of our current understanding is derived from studies in animal models.
Infectious diseases from a variety of pathogens can lead to serious health conditions such as sepsis. To improve the prognosis and decrease the mortality rate of infectious diseases, point-of-care testing (POCT) of blood biomarkers is a critical approach. Testing of biomarkers such as C-reactive protein, IL-6 and procalcitonin could help identify the type of pathogen and classify the progression stage of infection.
Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a fatal hereditary neurodegenerative disease caused by expansion of the CAG repeat tract at the 5’ of the huntingtin (htt) gene resulting in polyglutamine expansion of the HTT protein (polyQ-HTT) of aberrant function. HD symptoms include loss of motor coordination, cognitive and speech impairment, and psychiatric disorders. HD affects approximately 1 in 7000 people in Canada, and there are no cures or disease-modifying therapies to date.
Using genomics in clinical care has the potential to treat patients more efficiently. There have been a number of recent discoveries of genomic assays that can guide treatment. However, most genomic data is generated in a research setting and useful health data only in a clinical setting. Translating potential genomic research into a clinical setting as well as bringing clinical data into a research setting faces significant challenges. One challenge is technical: genomic tests often take days to run and are thus not efficient enough for a clinical use.
Drug resistance of medically relevant microorganisms poses a grave threat to human health and has severe economic consequences. Fungal pathogens pose an additional complication as they are closely related to their human host. Current therapies to treat fungal infections are limited and drug resistance has already emerged in the clinic. We have conducted extensive research on fungal drug resistance mechanisms and propose to target these mechanisms in combination with existing antifungals.
Microarray testing allows high-volume analysis. This work will develop tools for accelerated analysis and modifications to surfaces used within the partner facilities. The goal is to enhance the performance of current assay designs and to inform and guide the next-generation of assay designs (ie 384 well plates) which will support the partner’s technology leadership position. After implementing a print run and analysis using the current quality control protocols, data will be compared with existing results.
The global oligonucleotide synthesis market size is expected to grow USD 3.9 billion by 2025. Therefore the demand for an efficient and sensitive oligonucleotide label for their detection, purification and delivery is on continuous rise. The current labels used in oligonucleotide detection have several serious drawbacks that limit their sensitivity. In the proposed project we plan to employ lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) as a label due to their unique upconversion property, which will offer remarkable sensitivity when compared to current fluorophores.
Substance use significantly impacts the health and health care of many people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), especially those dealing with additional medical, psychosocial, and economic complications. The need for comprehensive care for this population is particularly important given the current opioid overdose crisis in Canada. In response, harm reduction (HR) services (e.g., supervised injection, naloxone training, etc.) have been implemented to reduce drug-related deaths and harms. However, such services are typically not provided within hospitals/outpatient programs.
Over the last decade, artificial intelligence has flourished. From a research niche, it has been developed into a versatile tool, seemingly on route to bring automation into every aspect of human life. At the same time, robotics technology has also advanced significantly, and inexpensive multi-robot systems promise to accomplish all those tasks that require both physical parallelism and inherent fault tolerance—such as surveillance and extreme-environment exploration.
High resolution 3D microscopy in combination with tissue clearing techniques such as CLARITY, iDISCO, CUBIC is a rapidly growing area of biomedical research. It also has high potential to replace traditional 2D histology to become a method of choice for the analysis of tissue biopsy samples used in diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. However, currently there is a limited availability of contrast agents that can label organs, biological tissues, and cells in a live animal and are compatible with these techniques.