Trainee Award

Development and testing of a client specific wheelchair mobility outcome measure

Wheelchairs that don't fit properly can cause discomfort, medical complications and limit people from getting around. Despite the fact that more than 150,000 Canadians rely on wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility, research in this area is often overlooked. While working as an occupational therapist in a long-term care facility, Dr. Bill Miller recognized the lack of tools for assessing and measuring people's ability to function in wheelchairs, and is now developing a specific tool for this purpose. He hopes the tool will ultimately improve quality of life for wheelchair users.

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2001

Neurocognition, movement disorder and corticostriatal function in first-episode schizophrenia

For people living with schizophrenia, anti-psychotic medications can help control delusions and hallucinations. However, it is far more difficult to treat schizophrenia's neurocognitive effects, such as disordered thinking and problems with memory and planning. Dr. Donna Lang is working toward uncovering the underlying causes of these devastating symptoms. Her previous research included a study comparing risperidone - a new-generation drug - to traditional anti-psychotics, in terms of how they affect deep-brain structures called the basal ganglia.

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2001

Structure-function relationship of the GTP-exchange factor smgGDS and its role in breast cancer

Ras proteins act as molecular switches that control functions including growth and movement of all cells. They also play a role in causing almost one-third of human cancers. Several families of proteins, including smgGDS, regulate Ras activity. Genetic changes leading to the production of an abnormal form of smgGDS are a characteristic of certain leukeumias. As well, too much smgGDS in cells leads to their transformation into cancer cells. Dr. Peter Schubert is determining the detailed structure of smgGDS and identifying parts of the protein that activate Ras proteins.

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2001

Gene Therapy for a genetic cardiovascular disease: AAV-mediated gene transfer of a powerful, naturally occurring, LPL-S447X variant for the treatment of LPL deficiency

Dr. Colin Ross believes that studying genetics and diseases at the molecular level can open many doors for the treatment of diseases at their root causes. He's doing exactly that in cutting edge research to develop treatments for a genetic cardiovascular disease that has the highest worldwide frequency in Canada's French-Canadian population. People with lipoprotein lipase (LPL) deficiency are missing a key enzyme that helps break down triglycerides (fats) in the blood stream. Elevated levels of these fats can cause serious, life-threatening damage to the pancreas, heart and other organs.

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2001

Characterization of the Ctf3/Mcm22/Mcm16 outer kinetochore complex; a link to the yeast spindle pole body

In order for cells to grow properly, chromosomes must accurately separate to opposite poles of the dividing cell. Mistakes in this process can lead to cancer due to instability of the chromosomes. Dr. Vivien Measday is using a yeast model to study chromosome segregation. She has a particular interest in the centromere, the region of the chromosome required for proper segregation, and the kinetochore, which consists of centromere DNA and its associated proteins. Using genetic screens, Measday is identifying and characterizing kinetochore proteins.

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2001

Early events of infection and genome adaptation to parasitism in Microsporidia

Microsporidia are a group of parasites composed of just a single cell, but are found to infect all known animals - including humans - and can be fatal to people with compromised immune systems, such as AIDS or transplant patients. Microsporidia grow and multiply inside their host cells, but they exist outside of their hosts as spores that can infect nearby cells. Dr. Naomi Fast is striving to understand the cellular signals that the parasite uses to infect cells.

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2001

Analysis of altered gene expression in YAC transgenic mouse models for Huntington disease

Research has confirmed that an inherited mutation in the huntingtin protein causes Huntington disease, a progressive and ultimately fatal neurological disorder that usually starts in mid-life. There is much more to be learned about the onset and course of the disease and there is no effective treatment. Dr. Edmond Chan is addressing those gaps by profiling gene expression in mice with Huntington disease. His research aims to identify altered patterns of gene expression that link with early, mid and late stages of the disease.

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2001

Utilization of large-scale genomic yeast modifier screens in the identification of unique genes required for chromosome segregation

Chromosome segregation is a fundamentally important process for human cells. When cells divide, they normally ensure both daughter cells receive one copy of each chromosome. But defects in this process can cause cells to lose chromosomes or receive extra ones. Inaccurate chromosome segregation can lead to diseases such as cancer. Despite the importance of this process, researchers are just beginning to identify and understand the genes and molecular mechanisms involved. Dr. Kristin Baetz is investigating the genes and mechanisms needed to ensure accurate chromosome segregation.

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2001

The Contribution of Auditory Temporal Processing to Speech Perception in Noise: Speech Comprehension Deficits in the Elderly

A common and frustrating difficulty for the elderly is understanding speech in everyday conversation, especially where the background is noisy. People commonly report that different sound sources are “Jumbled” (e.g. voices, background sounds). We propose that the brain relies on high fidelity transmission of sound codes and compares their timing in order to sort out different sound sources: When auditory neurons are activated in synchrony, their activity is perceived as representing a single sound source. Conversely, asynchronous activation conveys the presence of multiple sources.

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2001

Mapping the socio-cognitive determinants of bullying and victimization: Preventative steps toward reducing childhood aggression

Bullying and victimization plague one in five Canadian children and the incidence and severity of such behaviours is increasing. Even more alarming are the long-term consequences of this behaviour, including delinquency and abusive behaviour in adulthood for bullies, and depression and suicidal behaviour for victims. Most programs designed to prevent bullying and victimization emphasize controlling and monitoring children's lives, with limited success. Bryan Sokol's research takes a different approach.

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2001

Assessing the Mental Health of Canadians: What are we measuring and How Does it Relate to Health Care Utilization?

Many studies have identified socio-economic status as a major factor affecting health. Christopher Richardson is narrowing the focus to look specifically at the relationship between socio-economic status, mental health and health care usage. This study involves the use of sophisticated statistical technologies to analyze data from National Population Health Surveys on factors affecting health such as education, income and mental health.

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2001

The hierarchical structure and function of social support as a quality of life determinant among community dwelling older adults with chronic lung disease

The number of older adults with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis, is steadily growing in BC. Spouses are often the only source of support for people living with these diseases, yet little research has been done on their supportive role or on alternative forms of support. Gail Low hopes to address these gaps by researching support systems that promote well-being and help older adults cope with lung disease. Her research involves asking older adults to identify how and why their support systems work to help provide direction for new lung health services.

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2001

The Early Identification and Intervention for Children At-risk for Developing Dyslexia

Dyslexia affects a person's ability to process language in order to learn to read. If undetected and untreated, the neurological disorder can lead to antisocial behaviour, depression, suicide and other consequences. Nonie Lesaux's initial research on dyslexia revealed the persistent nature of literacy problems in adults, convincing her of the critical need to identify children at-risk of developing the disorder and intervene at an early stage.

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2001

Development and pilot testing of a novel intervention to ensure optimal support for arthritis patients

While family and friends of people living with arthritis have been identified as key sources of support, little research has been done on the specific role and impact of their support. Research suggests the well-being of patients with arthritis suffers when their spouses don't understand what support they need. Through interviews and focus groups, Allen Lehman is identifying the types of support that arthritis patients want and need from family and friends. He is also identifying ways to increase positive support and assessing how support improves health and reduces health care costs.

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2001

Role of Membrane Binding in Regulation of the Activators of Ras

Dr. Joanne Johnson's research examines events at the molecular level that ultimately lead to cell growth. Among the events is activation of cell surface receptors by ligand molecules, which leads to generation of specialized lipids in the cell membrane. These lipids act as signals to promote membrane binding and activation of proteins. Johnson is assessing the role of Diacylglycerol (DAG), and two newly identified proteins, RasGRP and CalDAG1.

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Year: 
2001

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