Trainee Award

Exploring Altered Cortical Activity Dynamics in Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a single gene mutation. Most patients present with disordered cognition and movement in middle age due to striatal and cortical neuron degeneration. However underlying HD processes begin earlier and are incompletely understood. Although striatal projection neurons are most vulnerable, cortical pathology likely primarily drives cognitive dysfunction in HD and may impact striatum health via extensive cortical-striatal projections.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Effect of Diesel Exhaust on the Respiratory Microbiome in COPD Airways.

Some of the lung bacteria protect the lung against bad germs. Tests have shown that people with sick lungs often do not have these ‘good’ bacteria in their lungs. Our team has shown that breathing air pollution causes the lungs to be irritated, leading to inflammation. Inflammation of the lungs can make it hard to breathe, especially for people who have lung problems. We think that polluted air could change the lungs’ bacteria. To understand this, we asked healthy volunteers and people with lung sickness called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to participate in a study.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Harm Reduction into Action: Supporting Nurses to Provide Culturally Safe Care with a Harm Reduction Lens to People who use Drugs

Nurses often have stigmatizing attitudes towards people who use illicit substances that make it difficult for them to provide harm reduction services. This study will look at the state of harm reduction in an acute care hospital. Specifically it will examine the attitudes of acute care nurses towards addiction and harm reduction and whether they are willing to provide harm reduction services. The study hospital has recently changed its substance use policy which now directs nurses to provide clean needles. However, there is no evidence to indicate whether nurses have taken up this policy.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Role of myelin pathology in vascular cognitive impairment

Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is caused by cerebral small vessel disease and is associated with cognitive and physical impairments in aging. Cerebral small vessel disease can lead to different types of brain damage, including myelin loss. Myelin is critical for proper brain function because it allows different brain regions to communicate with each other and intact myelin is vital for optimal human function. It is crucial for us to measure myelin loss and understand how myelin loss may be associated with cognitive and physical outcomes in older adults with VCI. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Genome-wide screen to identify genetic modulators of glucocerebrosidase activity

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Despite PD affecting millions of people worldwide, no disease-modifying treatment is available yet. As the progress of the disease is closely related to aging, improving our knowledge of the mechanisms and factors leading to PD is of great interest. Mutations in the gene GBA, which encodes the enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GCase), are the greatest genetic risk factor for PD. The link between GCase and PD however, remains poorly understood.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Connecting clinical research and economic evaluation by mapping lung function to EQ-5D-5L in patients with interstitial lung disease

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of diseases that cause inflammation and scarring of the lungs. It is important to identify ways to improve quality of life (QoL) for patients living with this chronic condition. This research will explore how QoL changes over time in ILD and identify factors that can potentially be modified to improve QoL.
 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020
Partners: 

The interplay between inflammatory bowel disease and Clostridioides difficile co-occurrence and the pediatric gastrointestinal microbiome

Gastrointestinal (GI) infection caused by the bacterium Clostridioides difficile is a common complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition caused by an aberrant host immune response to the GI microbiota. C. difficile infection (CDI) typically occurs after disruption of the GI microbiota, making the immune response to microbiota during IBD a major risk factor. This is particularly important in pediatric populations where 47% may suffer from an IBD-CDI co-occurrence. Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a successful experimental treatment for IBD and CDI.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Refining the approach to Cystic Fibrosis Pulmonary Exacerbations - modelling data to improve assessment and predict etiology.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare hereditary condition where patients experience frequent chest illnesses (exacerbations), resulting in a decline in lung health and premature death. Typically, exacerbation symptoms include an increase in cough and phlegm, with an accompanying decline in lung function. Up to half of all persons with CF (PWCF) require at least one course of intravenous antibiotics to manage their exacerbations each year, but at least 25% will not recover to their original lung function after treatment.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Targeted isolation and identification of N-N bond-containing bioactive molecules from bacteria

In the modern pharmaceutical industrial, a large number of new drug candidates come from molecules isolated from microbes. These “natural products” include some of our most powerful antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, and other medicines. Unfortunately, investment into natural-product drug discovery has declined since the turn of the century, owing to the high chance of re-discovery of known molecules. However, advances in bioinformatics suggest that the number of potential new drugs available from microbes is enormous.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

From genes to ecology: The current and future distribution of arbovirus vectors in BC

Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals due to the pathogens they spread and are often highly invasive. Arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) are spread by arthropods such as mosquitoes, and frequently infect both human and animal hosts. Multiple mosquito-vectored arboviruses have spread to new regions recently, including West Nile virus and Zika virus. While the mode of introduction is often unknown, the movement of infected mosquitoes or infected animal hosts are believed to be two of the methods responsible.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

A novel strategy to mitigate secondary hypoxic injury following traumatic spinal cord injury through the augmentation of local microvascular oxygen supply

There are approximately 2000 new cases of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) per year in Canada, with an associated health care cost of more than $1,500,000 per patient over a lifetime. The severity of SCI is compounded by injury processes that arise following initial trauma, which are related to a reduced oxygen supply to the injured spinal cord tissue. This process, where oxygen supply is reduced, is modifiable and therefore an ideal target for treatments aiming to improve outcome in SCI patients.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Don't let ILC3s take your breath away

Lungs are constantly exposed to environmental challenges, making them susceptible to infection and injury. For this reason, they are protected by specialized cells that can respond rapidly to danger signals. Amongst these cells are innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) that include three main subsets: group 1, group 2 and group 3 ILCs. To date, the majority of the studies have focused on ILC2s and their importance in allergy and tissue repair. However, it is now becoming evident that ILC3s play a key role in lung health.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

Using population-level administrative data to study the health of youth with developmental disabilities transitioning to adult services

There is evidence in North America that people who have a developmental disability (DD) are living longer due to improved health care for high risk babies and children and to increases in longevity in general.  However, in BC there is nothing known about the lifespan, health and health care usage of these individuals.  The health of people who have a DD as they transition from child health care services (often pediatricians) to adult health care services (often family physicians) may be of particular concern.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2020

New strategies for unclogging microcirculatory obstructions in the healthy and diabetic brain

Recent work from our laboratory has shown that the brain capillaries routinely get 'stuck,' clogged by cells and debris even under healthy conditions. Most of these clogged capillaries clear within seconds to minutes, however, some can remain stuck for much longer. We also reported that about one third of these clogged capillaries were eliminated from the blood vessel network and never get replaced. Importantly, there are certain conditions which can increase the risk of clogged blood vessels in the brain such as diabetes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Making Healthy Connections: A Critical Anti-Racist and Decolonizing Geography of Immigrant and Indigenous Relations in Northern British Columbia

While resources support immigrant well-being in urban settings in southern Canada, little research exists on recent immigrants in northern communities. Moreover, while new research is emerging about the health disparities of Indigenous communities in remote and rural settings, there is very little research that brings the question of immigrant and Indigenous relations together.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

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