Scholar Award

Plant based anticancer drugs - from discovery to final products

Plants are endowed with biological catalysts (enzymes) that make natural drugs used to treat various human illnesses. Among these, the Chinese happy tree (Camptotheca acuminata) produces the anticancer drug camptothecin. Although camptothecin is readily convertible to the more potent drugs topotecan (Hycamtin) and irinotecan (Camptosar), this requires chemical synthesis steps which rely on toxic chemicals and petroleum-based resources.

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Year: 
2020

Dissecting the Flow-induced Symmetry-Breaking of Animal Cell Division

Morphogenesis is the process by which an organism develops its shape. Defects in this process are linked to several diseases and defects such as cancers, heart defects at birth, and cleft lip/palate. The study of morphogenesis is critical to understanding these conditions and identifying new treatments.  

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Understanding and disrupting fear memory in the brain

Fear memory, like that occurring in post-traumatic stress disorder, imposes pronounced health and financial burdens. Our laboratory seeks to understand and therapeutically disrupt the neurobiological elements of fear memory. 

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2020

Computational Methods for Monitoring The Evolution of Tumours

Cancer is a disease of the genome that disrupt the cells’ key functions and make them grow uncontrollably. DNA sequencing projects have led us to discover that cancer cells involve many genetic changes and that even in a single tumour, there are often multiple cancer cell populations that each carry their own mutations.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2020

The use of human stem cells to understand mechanisms and develop treatments for neurological disorders

Brain disorders are among the most significant health problems of modern day with enormous medical, social and economic burdens in British Columbia, Canada and globally. There is a substantial gap between the burden of brain disorders and the resources available to treat them. Neurodevelopmental disorders are particularly devastating, placing a heavy emotional and economic burden on children and their families. A major challenge in tackling these disorders is the inability to obtain and study brain cells directly.

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Year: 
2020

Molecular Tools for Monitoring and Controlling the Mechanobiology of Diseases

Cells in our body are constantly engaged in physical interactions. They stick together, squeeze through each other, and each possesses a primitive sense of touch. These physical interactions are crucial in processes that control how we grew from a single cell into a complex organism and how they function. In diseases from cancer to neurodegeneration to chronic inflammation, these mechanical regulatory mechanisms are interrupted or impaired, causing cells to lose control and wreak havoc in our body.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Preventing Osteoarthritis after a Sport-related Knee Injury

By 2040, 25% of Canadians will have osteoarthritis (OA), a disabling joint disease. This number will be as high as 50% for those who hurt their knee playing youth sport. Currently, the treatment of youth sport knee injuries focuses on return to sport. Few seek care beyond their injury, and little effort is made to prevent OA. Stop OsteoARthritis (SOAR) is a new physiotherapy program to reduce the risk of OA after a youth sport knee injury.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Early dysphagia detection in critically ill patients following prolonged mechanical ventilation

Acutely ill patients often require life-saving measures including breathing tubes and breathing machines (mechanical ventilation; MV).  As our population ages and more people have chronic, complex health conditions, MV is becoming a more common, necessary practice.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Critical Illness Survivorship: Evidence to Design Patient-Centred Interventions

Over 80% of patients who are treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a life-threatening illness face reduced physical health, emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Up to half of patients discharged from the ICU are readmitted to hospital within a year with complex medical conditions. This is a tremendous cost of cure for survivors and their family caregivers. Services for patients with complex medical conditions and/or frail patients is a BC Health System Priority.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Adding Quality Years to Later Life via Innovative Health Economics Research Methods

My career goal is to improve the health and quality of life of older Canadians through applying innovative health economic methods to lifestyle interventions among older adults at risk of falls as well as cognitive and functional decline. I propose a multi-disciplinary research program that advances health economic methods for clinical research studies.

Theme 1 of my research program will advance health economic evaluation methodology by answering the question: “Can artificial intelligence combat current methods limitations of economic evaluation?”

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Optimizing post-procedural pain trajectories through patient-oriented research and artificial intelligence

Our goal is to use smartphones and artificial intelligence to improve pain management for children having surgery. This is needed because many children still have a lot of pain even a year after surgery. The pain affects their daily life, and might cause them to return to hospital. A child’s pain is affected by many things, like their biological sex, anxiety, coping skills, pain level, and type of surgery. Importantly, some of these can be altered.

We will collect data to identify patterns that predict which children

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Advancing Health Equity Action

The trajectories of people's lives are often shaped by things that fall outside of their control, having more to do with unearned disadvantages than with their own behaviours or biology. Despite solid evidence and practical policy solutions, systematic differences in health and health outcomes persist both within and between countries. Evidence shows the distribution of power, resources, and wealth along social gradients are causes of these inequities.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

A program of research on optimizing trauma-informed practice in sexual, reproductive and HIV-related health services among marginalized women

Marginalized cisgender (cis) and transgender (trans) women experience high levels of gender-based violence, defined as violence perpetrated against someone based on their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender, as well as multiple forms of stigma. With the overarching aim to optimize trauma- and violence-informed approaches to enhance access to sexual and reproductive care and HIV prevention and treatment, this research program aims to work closely with marginalized cis and trans women to:

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Stress resilience across the adult lifespan: Linking dynamic day-to-day protective factors to aging and health

Canada is experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift with the aging of the population. Older adults face major stressors and life transitions (e.g., retirement, bereavement, caregiving), in addition to accumulated biological wear-and-tear due to a lifetime of exposure to stress.

Yet, the impacts of stress vary between people and across situations. It is therefore important to identify protective factors that may promote more adaptive stress responses, particularly in midlife and late adulthood when risks increase for aging-related diseases.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Mental health in later life: A stakeholder-informed approach to health and technology interventions for older adults

Feeling down or worried happens to everyone, but for some people these feelings are very strong, long-lasting, and can be damaging to them and their families. Mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, may include feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, or even suicide. Worldwide, mental illness affects one in five people aged 60+.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

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