Trainee Award

Flicking the switch: cross-species translation of rapid context-based switching between tasks

Successful interaction with a constantly changing world requires behavioral adaptation. Unraveling the mechanisms underlying flexible control is essential to stimulate advances in the treatments of disorders where deficits in these functions are a core symptom, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.

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2016

High-resolution structures of the cardiac Ryanodine Receptor: a target for arrhythmia-causing mutations

Our heart beat is a complex biochemical event. It relies on electrical signals, which can sometimes be disturbed, resulting in potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias. One of the key parts involved in the contraction of heart muscle is a small ion known as calcium. Just prior to the contraction, calcium rushes into heart cells and triggers the contraction.

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2016

Determining the virulence determinants of Fusobacterium nucleatum to define diagnostic and therapeutic targets for colorectal cancer

A substantial portion of the cancer burden worldwide is attributable to infectious agents (viruses or bacteria). Some of these can directly cause cancers, others can facilitate cancer development, and the rest may have no causative role but their existence can indicate the presence of a cancer or risk of developing one.

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Year: 
2016
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Exploring the autocrine transcriptional role of the macrophage-specific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP12) in phenotypically distinct macrophages in the context of acute inflammation

Inflammation is recognized as multi-cell network dysregulation with an immunological component. Among the many cell types involved in acute inflammation are macrophages, specialized phagocytes involved in many immune responses. These cells exist in different activation states dependent on their biological stimulus and are unknown to play either a target or anti-target role in the context of inflammation.

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2016

Toward personalized immunotherapy: defining mechanisms of immune suppression across the molecular subtypes of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer affects approximately 1,700 women per year in Canada. Current treatment involves surgery and chemotherapy, which is initially effective in most cases. However, most patients relapse with chemotherapy-resistant tumors within a few years of treatment; this highlights the urgency for new, effective treatment strategies. Encouragingly, the immune system has a strong influence on survival in ovarian cancer.

Award Type: 
Year: 
2016
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Structural characterization of the transporter protein TarG/H in wall teichoic acid biosynthesis of Gram positive bacterial pathogens

Staphylococcus aureus infections are a leading cause of healthcare and community associated infections worldwide. Some strains of the pathogen have developed the ability to resist most of the classic antibiotics including penicillins and cephalosporins. There is an urgent need to develop new drugs that work against these resistant strains including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

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2016

Characterizing and optimizing mechanisms of antibiotic synthesis in Streptomyces coelicolor

Streptomyces bacteria are the source of nearly half of our clinically used natural antibiotics. Production of bioactive compounds is usually linked to complex networks of signal-sensing proteins that regulate genes. How do these complex systems come together? Recent advances in molecular biology provide the tools to uncover the detailed mechanisms that underlie the evolution of vast regulatory networks that create complex biological systems.

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2016

Co-targeting Hsp27 and EGFR as a strategy to improve EGFR targeted therapies in EGFR dependent solid tumors

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is a key regulator of cell proliferation and a driver oncogene in several tumors. Many cancers have constitutively activated EGFR which leads to excessive signalling. Inhibition of EGFR using erlotinib or gefitinib significantly improves survival in patients with Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) while panitumumab and cetuximab are currently used in colorectal and head and neck cancer.

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2015

A comprehensive screen for oncogenic microRNA mutations in an acute myeloid leukemia cohort and across the Cancer Genome Atlas

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer in which blood cells grow out of control. Blood cells have to suffer at least two mutations to become cancerous: one to make them grow faster, and another to stop them developing normally. However, even with whole genome sequencing, in some patients we have been unable to find both mutations using existing methods, and we need to look deeper.   

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2015

Assessment of melanotransferrin as an Alzheimer's disease biomarker

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award

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2015

A computer-assisted method for dental implant procedures using drilling sounds

A dental implant is a screw-like device that is surgically placed in the jawbone to provide a foundation for artificial teeth. This involves precise removal of bone using drills, which is often risky because of proximity to delicate structures such as the maxillary sinus, orofacial nerves, and blood vessels. Mistakes in the drilling path may result in permanent nerve damage, life threatening hemorrhage, or injuries to adjacent teeth.

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Year: 
2015

Mutant cell-free DNA as a non-invasive blood test to monitor pancreatic cancer

Close to 5,000 Canadians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year and it is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada. Unfortunately, a majority of these patients die within a year of their diagnosis, due in part to late diagnosis and tumour resistance to chemotherapy. In addition, most patients who are successfully treated eventually recur and succumb to the disease.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2015

Central mechanisms of cerebral blood flow regulation

In healthy humans, blood flow to the brain is regulated such that appropriate amounts of oxygen and glucose are delivered to brain tissue. Even when blood pressure changes or when a region of the brain becomes more active, brain blood vessels react in order to provide sufficient blood to their respective area of tissue. When these processes fail, disease states develop.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2015

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