Scholar Award

Integrative genomics to identify novel therapeutics and biomarkers for COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects 300 million people worldwide and is the third leading cause of death, responsible for over 3 million deaths per year. It is the number one reason why adults end up in hospitals. However, we do not have good drugs to treat patients with COPD. This is because we do not fully understand how and why COPD develops and progresses.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Studying the role of modifiable risk factors: Nutrition and body weight for the prevention of cancer

Nearly half of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer during their life. Healthy eating, a healthy body weight, and regular physical activity can prevent one-third of cancers. Yet, many Canadians do not engage in these lifestyle behaviours. New approaches to improve diet-cancer research are needed to move the field forward and reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Predicting depressive symptoms during the transition to high school

The transition to high school is a challenging developmental period, during which prevalence rates of depression more than double. In fact, by the end of the first year of high school, 11.5% of adolescents will have experienced a depressive episode in the last year, and many more adolescents will have experienced elevated depressive symptoms that interfere with school performance, social friendships, or physical health.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

A program of research on criminalization of sexuality, HIV and incarceration among marginalized women

Marginalized women (trans inclusive) living with and affected by HIV are disproportionately criminalized. This research will establish an empirical evidence base that documents the lived-experiences of criminalization and incarceration among sex workers and women living with HIV. The ultimate goal is to inform evidence-based law reform and interventions to redress over criminalization and negative effects of incarceration.

The objectives of this research program are to:

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Imaging repair: Developing and applying unconventional neuroimaging methods for quantitative assessment of tissue health

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for measuring changes in the brain and spinal cord that occur over the course of neurological disease. Unfortunately, conventional MRI is qualitative, so the biological cause of the changes seen on MRI is difficult to determine.

Damage to myelin, the substance that surrounds the nerve fibres (axons) of the brain and spinal cord to speed up signal transmission and protect the axons themselves, is a common feature for many neurological diseases. While myelin can be repaired, axonal damage is irreversible.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Platelet signaling in chronic inflammation

Proper function of the immune system is essential for protection against infectious disease and maintaining human health. During the onset of infection, white blood cells and platelets release signaling molecules known as cytokines, which orchestrate a protective inflammatory response. When cytokine release is de-regulated, excessive inflammation causes cell and tissue death and loss of function. This is seen in gum disease (periodontitis), which is characterized by gum inflammation and destruction of tooth-supporting connective tissues and bone.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

A causal inference framework for analyzing large administrative healthcare databases with a focus on multiple sclerosis

Provincial health authorities routinely collect patient information on a massive scale, but health researchers face the challenge of exploring cause-and-effect relationships using these non-randomized population-based data sources. Machine learning methods are increasingly used to analyze these large datasets, although they do not inherently take causal structures (i.e., how the variables affect each other) into consideration and may lead to less-than-optimal or even erroneous conclusions.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Population-based 'big data' research to improve women's health

Dr. Hanley's research in women's reproductive health uses the large population-based datasets that already exist in British Columbia, and is driven by diverse training in population and public health, health services research, and economics.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Mental health trajectories of immigrant and refugee children: An ecological population-based approach

Canada's immigrant and refugee population is growing rapidly, representing over 20% of the population. Despite the significance for Canadian society, little is known about mental health and risk factors among immigrant and refugee children and youth. Such knowledge is, however, critical to understand how we can support them in adapting to Canada, and enhance their well-being.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Neuromodulation research program for youth addiction and mental health

Each year, approximately 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem. Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and substance use than other age groups.

Depression is one of the most common mental illness, but current treatments are either ineffective or lead to side effects in up to 50% of youth. In youth, medications are often borrowed from adult population not accounting for age-related brain differences. New solutions are needed to address major gaps in treatment of youth mental health.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Phosphoinositide kinases: Molecular determinants for their regulation and role in human disease

Lipids are the primary constituent of all cellular membranes, however, they also can play key roles as signaling molecules that controls how a cell responds to its environment.  Almost every aspect of a cell's decision to live and die is impacted by the role of lipid signals called phosphoinositides. These signals are generated in the correct location and at the appropriate time by proteins in our body called phosphoinositide kinases (PI kinases). Misregulation of PI kinases is a key driver of disease, including cancer and immunodeficiencies.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Improving youth mental health and substance use outcomes through primary-care based health services

Mental health and substance use (MHSU) disorders affect 1 in 4 Canadian youth. Of all age groups, young Canadians (ages 15 to 24) have the poorest access to health services. In response, British Columbia (BC) established a primary health initiative called 'Foundry' to promote and support early treatment for young people with MHSU disorders. Foundry is comprised of seven centres that provide integrated, coordinated health services for young people.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Precise prescription of rTMS for treatment resistant depression

Dr. Vila-Rodriguez's research will work towards improving diagnostic accuracy and treatment outcomes in persons suffering treatment-resistant depression (TRD). By incorporating neurophysiological-based biomarkers (NPBs) into clinical practice, treatment response can be more easily predicted, preventing relapse in patients with major depressive disorder.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017
Health Category: 

Genetic etiology of progressive multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, other than trauma, with over two million people affected worldwide. Approximately 100,000 Canadians have MS, a rate that is nine times higher than the global average. MS symptoms vary widely and may affect vision, hearing, cognition, balance, and movement; negatively affecting many aspects of quality of life. To date, there is no cure or prevention for MS.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The role of the norepinephrine system in emotionally-biased attention and learning

Individuals vary widely in the aspects of the world they perceive and remember: some filter their environments through rose coloured glasses to perceive sources of pleasure, while others are attuned to signs of threat. Such affective biases in attention influence memory and characterize mood disorders and pathological responses to trauma as well as addictive behaviours. Yet much remains to be learned about neural mechanisms underlying such biases, and the factors that influence their development and potential for change.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017
Health Category: 

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