Trainee Award

Orthogonal multicolour high-affinity tags for RNA imaging and manipulation

RNA plays a very important role in the regulation of gene expression. Yet, the spatial and temporal dynamics of RNA are still poorly understood, mainly due to the scarcity of effective and simple RNA imaging and purification techniques.

The development of technologies that simultaneously allow imaging, purification and manipulation of multiple RNAs in live cells promises to enable the study of RNA in development, metabolism and disease, which is essential for understanding the control of gene expression in diseases such as autism, cancers and type II diabetes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The effects of balance training with or without cognitive training in older adults with MCI and impaired mobility

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between normal cognitive function and dementia. The rate of progression of MCI to dementia in older adults has been found to be between 10-12% per year, whereas those without cognitive impairment acquire dementia at a rate of only 1-2% per year. MCI has been linked to poor dual-tasking, impaired balance and functional mobility, and is a significant risk factor for falls. Individuals with MCI need preventive therapies that target both the cognitive and mobility-related outcomes. Dr.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Improving whole-genome sequencing as a clinical test for intellectual disability

Intellectual disability (ID) is a life-long affliction that impairs the cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior of affected individuals. About two to three percent of people worldwide suffer from ID. ID is mostly caused by irregularities in the DNA of an individual and is the most common reason for genetic testing. There are thousands of different mutations that we now know can cause ID. Diagnosis is necessary for accurate and effective genetic counselling, however deciphering the underlying genetic component remains a challenge.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Elucidating the effect of O-GlcNAc modification on protein stability

The glycosylation of proteins with O-GlcNAc is a ubiquitous post-translational modification found throughout the metazoans. Deregulation of O-GlcNAcylation is implicated in several human diseases including type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

However, the basic biochemical roles of O-GlcNAcylation remain largely unanswered. Several recent studies have demonstrated a clear link between O-GlcNAc and cellular thermotolerance.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Development of improved substrates for live cell imaging to aid in discovering new glucocerebrosidase therapeutic agents

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, with no standard treatment currently available. Therefore, there is a major need for new therapeutic agents to treat or prevent the progression of PD. One promising solution involves targeting the protein glucocerebrosidase (GCase) encoded by the gene GBA1. Studies have shown small molecules that increase GCase activity could help prevent the progression of PD.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The acute impact of spinal cord injury on cardiac function, and novel hemodynamic management in SCI patients

Following acute spinal cord injury (SCI), one of the only presently available neuroprotective strategies is to try and optimize management of spinal cord blood flow. This treatment specifically aims to immediately increase blood flow to the injured spinal cord tissue to prevent the spread of injury to surrounding spinal cord tissues.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The role of PCSK9 in clearance of bacterial lipids and the development of anti-PCSK9 treatment for sepsis

Sepsis, which is characterized as an uncontrolled inflammatory response to severe infection, is the leading cause of death in intensive care units. In Canada, sepsis led to a total of 13,500 deaths in 2011, which translates to approximately one in 18 deaths in Canada involving sepsis. Despite this pressing medical need, there are currently no effective treatments for sepsis. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Evolutionary determinants of treatment resistant high grade serous ovarian cancer investigated at single cell resolution

Women diagnosed with high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGS) continue to face poor prognosis, with ten-year survival at only 30-40%. Surgical cytoreduction followed by platinum and taxane-based chemotherapy result in clinical remission for a majority of patients. However, up to 80% of patients will suffer relapse because their disease is treatment resistant. Improved outcomes for HGS require both biomarkers of treatment resistance and development of additional treatments targeting tumour cells resistant to first line therapies.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The real-world effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment on decompensated cirrhosis and hospitalizations

Between 230,000 to 450,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Most of these people were infected decades ago and remained untreated due to the severe side effects and low effectiveness of interferon-based treatment regimens. Therefore, HCV associated liver related morbidity and mortality are now on the rise, with substantial impact on health care utilization. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The role of material security in improving health for people who use illicit drugs

It is well known that an adequate and secure income promotes health. However, material security (e.g., housing, food, and service access) may operate distinctly from income security, particularly for people who use illicit drugs, whose ongoing need to acquire drugs may affect the degree to which income security translates into material security and subsequent health improvements. Nevertheless, material security and its relationship with health are not well understood, an important oversight in research among people who use illicit drugs (PWUD). 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Targeting stress granules: A novel strategy to inhibit Ewing sarcoma metastasis

Metastatic disease remains the single most powerful predictor of adverse outcomes in Ewing sarcoma (ES) and other childhood sarcomas (malignant connective tissue tumours). High risk ES appears to be characterized by uninhibited outgrowth of neoplastic clones that have acquired additional genomic or epigenomic alterations, which facilitate the spread of the cancer cells. 

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

In vivo multi-resolution functional optical imaging for investigation of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) process

Vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other retinal degeneration diseases is due to the loss of the light sensitive photoreceptor cells in the eye. This is often secondary to dysfunction of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). 

The photoreceptor and RPE cells are arranged in a characteristic mosaic. The mosaic is an accurate clue to how healthy these layers are. However, attempts to visualize these mosaics have been so far unsuccessful, despite technological advancements in conventional ophthalmic imaging. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Exploring women’s experiences in a prediabetes community-based exercise intervention

Dr. Bean will explore women’s experiences throughout their participation in the Small Steps for Big Changes lifestyle counseling program, a community-based exercise intervention for individuals who are living with prediabetes. Interviews with participating women will provide an understanding of women’s attitudes, beliefs, experiences and behaviours related to engaging in a lifestyle community program, in order to best understand the facilitators and barriers to intervention engagement and completion, as well as exercise adherence over the course of one year. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Role of executive functions in parenting behaviours and children’s social functioning in families of children with ADHD

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have trouble sustaining attention and may also display excessive hyperactivity and impulsivity. A major day-to-day impairment for children with ADHD is in their social relationships with peers. In this area, children with ADHD frequently struggle, and have trouble making and keeping friends as a result. It is important to address these issues early, as social problems increase children’s risk for many negative outcomes including academic failure, aggression and delinquency, substance abuse, and depression and suicide.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Unraveling the genetics of severe reactions to chemotherapy: Moving towards maximum benefit with minimal harm

Drug treatments are essential for the survival of cancer patients. Unfortunately, medications needed for treatment can also cause permanent disabling side effects, severely impacting on the quality of life of patients already suffering the devastating consequences of cancer.

Although platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin are highly effective and are the most frequently used class of cancer medications, they are also accompanied by severe side effects. In fact, up to 80% of patients treated with cisplatin lose some ability to hear and/or experience kidney injury.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

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