Scholar Award

Integrating clinical, functional and chemical genomics to understand lung cancer biology

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Contributing factors include the late stage of disease at the time of diagnosis and a scarcity of effective therapeutic strategies to treat advanced tumors. However, as our knowledge of lung cancer biology is increasing, targeted therapies have been developed to combat this devastating disease. These therapies target mutated components of key cellular pathways on which tumors have become dependent on for survival, yielding drastic initial response rates without the major side effects of traditional chemotherapies.

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

Molecular determinants of small airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of mortality and attributes to increased health care costs in Canada due to its prevalence and a lack of disease-modifying therapies. COPD is characterized by irreversible lung function decline that is caused by destruction of lung elastic tissue and obstruction of the small airways, which allow airflow in and out of the lungs. In COPD, these lesions are produced in response to repetitive inhalational injury inflicted by smoke exposure but the mechanisms are unknown. Dr.

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

Understanding how diet and exercise influence cardiovascular disease in obesity and diabetes

In 2013, 8.3% of all Canadians suffered from diabetes, the majority of whom have type 2 diabetes (T2D). As a quarter of all Canadians are currently obese and the numbers continue to climb, expanding BMI is the major driver for this rise in T2D. In both diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. A lack of exercise and a faulty diet are key factors behind the rise of CVD.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2014

Practice experiences of rural GP surgeons in British Columbia

The recruitment and retention of health care professionals is one of the most pressing challenges currently facing the Canadian health care system. In rural communities, the number of obstetricians and general surgeons is diminishing for a number of reasons, including difficulties in recruitment, an aging workforce, resistance to a demanding call schedule, and an increase in sub-specialization resulting in fewer ‘general’ surgeons. In some rural communities, maternity care is provided by general surgeons with enhanced obstetrical skills.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2007

Translation of next-generation sequencing to HIV treatment and prevention in British Columbia

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is the automation of high-throughput DNA sequencing on a massive scale that is rapidly transforming biology and medicine. It can enable laboratories to detect small, but clinically significant, numbers of drug-resistant viruses in blood samples from infected individuals.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Partners: 

Responding to the health crisis among street-involved youth in Vancouver: Evidence to inform interventions and policy responses

Street-involved youth are extremely vulnerable to health-related harms resulting from high rates of illegal drug use and sexually-risky behaviour, poverty, and neglect, as well as precarious living conditions, either on the street or in risky relationships. There is an estimated 150,000 street youth in Canada, with approximately 40 % reporting injection drug use. This puts street youth at a very high risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and hepatitis C (HCV) infection.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Partners: 

Health, Creative Arts, and Northern Communities

With the highest rates of premature mortality at 3.71/1,000 people, the Northern Health Authority has the lowest health status in BC. Dr. Sarah de Leeuw’s research seeks to address this issue by examining how creative arts and the humanities can help resolve health inequities experienced by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in northern BC.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012

SHIP's roles in intestinal immune homeostasis and inflammation

Dr. Laura Sly’s research program aims to improve our understanding of inflammatory bowel disease pathology and to identify and validate novel therapeutic approaches that will improve patient care. Her team has been investigating the role of SH2-containing Inositol Phosphatase (SHIP) in intestinal inflammation. SHIP is a protein that regulates enzymes involved in immune cell signaling. Sly’s research has shown that SHIP-deficient macrophages are hyper-responsive to IL-4, which drives them to an alternatively activated or M2 phenotype.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012

A wearable assistive device for improving quality of life

Mobility of the upper extremities has a significant impact on independence and quality of life. For individuals with neuromuscular disorders due to aging, stroke, injury, or other diseases, the activities of daily living (such as eating and dressing) can be very challenging. However, biomedical robotic technologies offer a promising tool with which to improve the mobility of individuals with impaired upper extremities.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 

New chemical tools to diagnose and treat disease

Medical advances have played a fundamental role in dramatically increasing life expectancy in Canada and around the world. This has created challenges for the health-care system as a number of diseases exhibit increased incidence with age. Two examples include Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer; cancer is now the leading cause of death in Canada. Continued research into the causes and progression of the disease is sure to provide advances in our ability to treat and eventually prevent the disease, with great benefit to our society and economy. The overall goal of Dr.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012

Operations research applied to assess different strategies to reduce the public health and economic burdens of HIV/AIDS in British Columbia

Although traditional HIV prevention strategies — behaviour modification, condoms, needle exchange – have been very successful, their effect has reached a plateau since they are not always available, practical, or fully adhered to. In the past five years, research has shown that using antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat those infected with HIV not only decreases mortality and morbidity but also decreases HIV transmission. Unfortunately, many individuals are still unaware that they are HIV-positive or that they should be on ART, since they have not been linked to our health-care system.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 

Effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) program design on the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa

Access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection has dramatically increased in recent years. More than eight million people worldwide are now being treated, the majority of whom reside in sub-Saharan Africa. The success of ART roll-out has been possible through large increases in funding, but has been facilitated by the promotion of the “public health approach” to implementing ART in resource-limited settings.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 

An international comparative case study of the health equity impacts of medical tourism in destination countries

Canadians take part in medical tourism when they travel to other countries with the intent of accessing private medical care. It has been speculated that medical tourism by patients from countries such as Canada is exacerbating health inequities in destination countries, and particularly in developing countries. However, there is a lack of evidence demonstrating that this is the case.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012

Adaptive stress response signaling driving treatment resistance and metastasis in cancer

Cancer deaths are driven by two key biological processes: metastasis and treatment resistance. Although these processes are extensively studied as unrelated occurrences, evidence of shared signaling networks suggests common genetic or adaptive events. These pathways will change a therapy-responsive tumour to a resistant and lethal tumour. This occurs in prostate cancer where strategies used to kill tumours induce adaptive responses promoting the emergence of treatment-resistant tumours prone to metastasize.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 

Manipulating the trajectory of the human fetal, newborn & infant immune system

Millions of newborns and infants die each year from infectious diseases. Many of these deaths are preventable, and analysis of the immune development of children can help define paths for medical intervention that may save lives.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012

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