Scholar Award

Responding to the dual epidemics of hepatitis C and addiction in British Columbia

In British Columbia (BC), it is estimated that 78,000 people are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), most of whom do not even know they have the disease. If left untreated, HCV can cause serious harm, including liver cancer and death. People who inject drugs (PWID) are at elevated risk of HCV infection given their exposure to various individual and environmental circumstances, such as their ongoing addiction and barriers to accessing health care.

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

Gene clusters and natural products from the human microbiota

Worldwide, prematurity is the leading cause of death for all infants, with almost one million deaths per year. Babies born before 32 weeks face the worst odds. These babies are only 2% of births, but they account for over 1/3 of all infant deaths. For these infants, a disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) can be one of the most deadly complications of prematurity after the first week of life. NEC is an acquired condition in which intestinal tissue suddenly becomes inflamed and then begins to die off.

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

Identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying sex differences in fat storage using Drosophila as a model

In Canada, metabolic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity) are leading causes of death, disability, and hospitalization. Currently, more than 10 million Canadians suffer from metabolic disease, with direct and indirect costs to the economy estimated to be $20 billion each year. Approximately 40% more men than women suffer from metabolic disease. In addition, commonly prescribed drugs used to prevent and treat metabolic disease are more effective in one sex than the other (e.g. fenofibrates).

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

Studying genetic mechanisms of treatment resistance in non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Dr. Morin's research program will develop and apply laboratory and computational genomic methodologies that use DNA sequencing and other sensitive platforms to study the drivers of tumour onset, progression and treatment resistance in solid cancers in order to understand the somatic drivers of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs). Using massively parallel (next-generation) DNA and RNA sequencing, Dr. Morin will be able to identify somatic alterations and gene expression signatures in tumour tissue and liquid biopsies (circulating tumour DNA).

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

Genetic dissection of neuronal pattern formation

Neurological diseases and disorders have been estimated to affect 3.6 million Canadians living in the community and over 170,000 Canadians living in long-term care facilities, including in British Columbia. However, we have limited information about the molecular mechanisms that cause many of those neurological conditions, largely because of the complexity of our nervous system. Therefore, understanding the mechanical processes that impart precise neural circuit formation using a simple model organism is critical to try to find ways to prevent neurological diseases and cure patients.

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

Optimizing lifestyle approaches for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes

The rising incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) puts financial stress on health care systems in British Columbia and across the world. Lifestyle interventions can improve cardiometabolic health to prevent or treat T2D, but optimal lifestyle strategies (e.g. exercise intensity, type, timing; diet composition) are not well-defined and adherence is notoriously poor.

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

Improving maternal and perinatal health outcomes in high risk mothers

Among women who give birth in industrialized countries maternal age, obesity, twin or triplet pregnancy, and presence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension continue to increase. For example, 34% of mothers in Canada today are overweight or obese, and approximately 20% of births are to women over 34 years. These demographic trends highlight the need for increasingly complex obstetric care with careful prenatal monitoring and timely obstetric intervention if necessary. 

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

Addressing HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and substance use among gay and other men who have sex with men

New HIV diagnoses are 71 times higher among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM) than other men in Canada. Since 2010, BC has adopted Treatment as Prevention (TasP) as a policy to increase HIV testing and engage more HIV-positive individuals in effective treatment to reduce transmission at a population level. However, the number of new diagnoses among GBM in BC has remained largely unchanged. Further, surveillance shows an increase of HIV diagnoses among the youngest birth cohorts of GBM.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Improving substance use treatment trajectories for men who have sex with men

British Columbia is currently in the process of developing and implementing new evidence-based policies and clinical reforms to address problematic substance use, including new: (i) pharmacotherapy approaches (e.g., replacement therapies); (ii) clinical practice guidelines; and (iii) integrated service delivery models of care.

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

Innovative addiction research program: Addressing polysubstance use

British Columbia (BC) faces a mental health and addiction crisis with an estimated cost of $100 million annually. In April 2016, a public health emergency was declared due to an alarming increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in recent years.

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

Incentivizing the delivery of sustainable care of chronic diseases in Canada: Case studies in musculoskeletal disease

Concerns about the sustainability of publicly funded health systems and the rising cost of care abound, yet there is little research that explores health care efficiency. Simple cost-saving exercises (i.e. cutting services) may risk harming patients, while more sophisticated, efficiency-saving approaches aim to provide health care at a greater benefit per unit of cost. Encouraging quality and value of health care delivery, whilst reducing waste, is also an indirect way to control health care costs.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Improving the implementation and impact of evidence-based health promotion interventions in real world settings

Findings from health promotion research that could help Canadians live healthy lifestyles are often not applied in practice. This gap between health promotion research and health promotion practice is particularly concerning for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Despite people with SCI's urgent need for interventions that respect their unique challenges and barriers to health behaviour change, there are very few health promotion interventions designed for people with SCI.

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

Breaking the link between obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease using a translational experimental approach

Previous research by Dr. Foster has illustrated that angiotensin receptor blockade can abolish the blood pressure response to intermittent hypoxia (IH), reduce oxidative stress and increase nitric oxide bioavailability. In addition, recent work suggests heightened peripheral neurovascular transduction in response to baroreflex activation.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Examining the addiction treatment and recovery trajectories of youth in British Columbia's Lower Mainland

Addiction treatment is critical to addressing the tremendous health and social harms experienced by street-involved youth (SY) with substance use disorders (SUD), including the current fentanyl overdose crisis.

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

Opioid addiction research program to improve prescribing practices and reduce overdose

Canada is amid an opioid crisis, with six or seven deaths a day due to opioid overdose. Prescription opioid misuse can also transition to illicit opiate and intravenous drug use, substantially increasing the risk for overdose and blood-borne infections. Rates of overdose death due to counterfeit fentanyl have also risen and represent a growing crisis in most regions in Canada, with British Columbia (BC) being particularly hard hit. Half of the 800 anticipated overdose deaths for 2016 in BC are expected to involve fentanyl.

Dr. Fairbairn's research will:

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

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