Scholar Award

Premature ventricular contractions among patients with congestive heart failure: prevalence and prognosis

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra heart beats arising from the ventricular, or pumping chambers of the heart. Recently, very frequent PVCs have been shown to cause impairment in heart function. Frequent PVCs are rare in the general population but more common in patients with heart failure and may in fact be worsening heart function in these patients or interfering with other therapies. However, the impact that frequent PVCs have on prognosis in the general heart failure population has not previously been established.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Cryoballoon vs. irrigated radiofrequency catheter ablation: The effect of double short vs. standard exposure cryoablation duration during pulmonary vein isolation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. This irregularity of the heart beat is associated with reductions in quality of life, functional status, cardiac performance, and survival. The most common mechanism of atrial fibrillation is due to the rapid firing of cells within the pulmonary veins. These rapid impulses can be conducted to the atrium of the heart and can start atrial fibrillation.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Ion channels: Molecular determinants of health and disease in the head and heart

Though vastly different, both the brain and the heart rely on large complicated proteins called ion channels in order to function properly. These proteins facilitate the controlled flow of ions in and out of cells by forming pores that stud cellular membranes. Specialized brain cells called neurons utilize ion channels and the electrical signals they generate to communicate with one another. A repertoire of different ion channels also shapes the birth, growth and development of neurons. During brain injury, ion channel activity can render populations of neurons vulnerable to damage.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Functions for new neurons in remembering stressful experiences and repairing the adult brain

One characteristic shared by many of the most debilitating brain disorders is shortages in neuroplasticity; neurons are lost in neurodegenerative diseases, they shrink in depression, and they are less flexible with age. Notably, the mammalian brain retains the ability to produce neurons throughout adult life.

The overarching goal of this research program is to identify the impact of newborn neurons in the hippocampus, a structure known for its role in memory formation.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

The spatiotemporal regulation of cytokine signalling in infection, immunity and repair

Our immune system is our chief defense against infection, but it is a double-edged sword. Inappropriate or over-exuberant immune responses can be harmful or even fatal. The optimal response is one that is strong enough to clear the pathogen but not so strong that it also kills the host.  Dr. Perona-Wright is working to understand how this balance is achieved by studying a family of signalling molecules known as cytokines, soluble messengers used by cells of the immune system to communicate with one another.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Genetic dissection of taste circuits and feeding behaviour in Drosophila

The neural circuits underlying taste perception and feeding are critical to survival. These circuits coordinate input from chemical cues in the environment and internal metabolic states to make two important decisions – what to eat, and how much. The taste system is finely tuned to quickly determine potential food’s suitability for consumption. For example, taste drives animals towards energy-rich carbohydrates (sweet taste) and away from toxins (bitter taste). However, humans now live in a society very different from the ones that shaped the evolution of our brains.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Nanoparticle-based technologies for point-of-care diagnostics and biological research

One of the many challenges that Canada faces is the quality and accessibility of health care in rural and remote areas, particularly those in northern British Columbia and many other parts of Canada. There is a shortage of physicians in remote communities, and personal and financial burdens are associated with patient travel that arises from the poor availability of many diagnostic tests and treatment options.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Tuberculosis prevention in British Columbia: Using big data to inform public health practice

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major health problem in developing countries, but it also remains an issue of concern in parts of Canada. British Columbia has one of the highest TB rates in Canada, with nearly 300 cases of active TB diagnosed each year. TB treatment requires long courses of potentially harmful antibiotics and, in some cases, hospital stays of several weeks to months, exacting significant economic and personal tolls. Recently the BC Ministry of Health developed the BC Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Prevention, Treatment and Control.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Reducing the burden and gaps in care from Systemic Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases (REGAIN SARDs)

Of all rheumatic diseases, systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) – which include systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis and the systemic vasculitides – are associated with the highest morbidity, mortality and cost. Given their rarity and that all SARDs share mechanisms of induction, pathogenesis, treatment and complications, studying SARDs as a group rather than as individual diseases is both logical and feasible.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Emergency department overcrowding: Determinants, measures and pediatric outcomes

Children needing emergency care are brought for help to either a general emergency department (ED) that treats patients of all ages or a pediatric unit (PED) dedicated to children. In both settings, timely access to quality care is often threatened by overcrowding. There is substantial evidence about the factors causing overcrowding in general EDs and about the association of overcrowding and poor patient outcomes in adults. In contrast, we know little about the relationships among root causes, measures of overcrowding in PEDs, and pediatric patient outcomes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Pharmacoepidemiologic and pharmaceutical outcomes research to improve medication use, adherence, and outcomes in patients with arthritis

Arthritis consists of more than 100 types of conditions and is the most common cause of severe chronic pain and disability in Canada, affecting 4.4 million Canadians. People living with arthritis rely on medications to relieve symptoms, prevent their disease from worsening, and allow them to participate in daily activities. However, there are still many unanswered questions regarding these medications.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Increasing awareness and improving outcomes of children with developmental coordination disorder in British Columbia

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is one of the most common conditions in children, affecting five to six percent of the school-age population. In British Columbia, this is about 40,000 children, or one-two children in every classroom. Children who were born prematurely are especially likely to have DCD; nearly half will develop it. Children with DCD find it hard to learn motor skills and perform everyday activities, such as getting dressed, tying shoelaces, using a fork and knife, printing, riding a bicycle, or playing sports.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Cardiac responses to spinal cord injury and exercise

The prognosis for the 2.5 million North Americans living with spinal cord injury (SCI) is poor. These wheelchair bound individuals are subjected to a number of physical, social, and environmental barriers that compound paralysis and limit daily physical activity. The five-fold increase in risk for heart disease reduces life-expectancy and costs the North American healthcare system $3 billion per annum.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Novel approaches to enhance mobility of older adults: Targeting injury prevention, movement energetics, and physical activity

Mobility is a key component of health and is necessary for older adults to maintain independent functioning and autonomy. Unfortunately, 30-40% of older adults report mobility limitations, which have profound impacts on independence and quality of life; they are a precursor to mobility disability and increased dependence in activities of daily living, entry into nursing homes, and mortality. Limitations to mobility result from acute events, such as fall-related injuries, and chronic processes, such as high energetic costs of movement and lack of physical activity.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014
Health Category: 

Mechanisms of dyspnea and exercise intolerance in patients with chronic respiratory diseases

Chronic respiratory diseases are a leading cause of death and disability in British Columbia and around the world. Patients with respiratory diseases commonly experience shortness of breath which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to perform simple activities of daily living such as walking up a flight of stairs. To avoid this uncomfortable sensation, patients adjust by minimizing physical activity which makes them weaker and ultimately leads to even more shortness of breath.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

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