Trainee Award

Cardiac Myocyte Apoptotic and Anti-Apoptotic Signalling Pathways Following Coxsackievirus B3 Infection

Mitra Esfandiarei has a specific goal: making a significant contribution to treatment of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) induced by a type of enterovirus (virus that comes into the body through the gastrointestinal tract). One such virus, coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), causes severe cardiac and pancreatic diseases by directly injuring and killing heart muscle cells. In many cases, CVB3-infected myocarditis leads to cardiomyopathy (destruction of the heart muscle), for which the only available treatment is heart transplantation.

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2001

Alternative Signaling of the Glucose-dependent Insulinotropic Polypeptide (GIP) Receptor

Jan Ehses is conducting research that may contribute to improved treatment of type 2 diabetes, a form of the disease that occurs most frequently in adults and obese individuals. Ehses has a particular focus on glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), a potent hormone that accounts for at least 50 per cent of the insulin secreted from the pancreas following a meal. Studies have consistently shown that GIP's ability to cause insulin secretion is compromised in type 2 diabetes.

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2001

Regulation of the transcriptional activator, beta-catenin, by the B cell receptor

Sherri Christian is studying a process that's integral to the immune system: the development of B cells that produce antibodies - immune cells that attach to and destroy infectious microbes and other harmful agents. Signals from within and outside B cells direct the multi-stage process by which these cells develop. Christian is investigating the nature of these signals and specifically examining the regulation of a protein called beta-catenin. The protein's importance in the development of other cell types suggests it may play a similar developmental role in B cells.

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2001

Role of complement in the antitumor effect of photodynamic therapy and its exploitation for therapeutic gain

Ivana Cecic is investigating a novel strategy in the fight against cancer. Her research concerns the complement system, a series of proteins that help the body protect itself from harm due to infection and injury. During the course of certain diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, complement activates against tissues and can result in life-threatening consequences.

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2001

In vivo trafficking of mutant and wild-type glucocerebrosidase-GFP chimerae

Tessa Campbell's research has a clear purpose: improving treatment options for Gaucher disease. People with this genetic disorder lack sufficient amounts of glucocerebrosidase, an enzyme the body needs to help recycle old membrane fat. The fat accumulates in certain body tissues such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow, resulting in problems ranging from anemia to neurological impairment. Enzyme replacement therapy helps to alleviate symptoms for one type of Gaucher disease, but the therapy's exorbitant cost prevents many from receiving the treatment.

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2001

Investigations into Risk Factors and Determinants of HIV and Hepatitis C Incidence and Prevalence among High Risk Youth

Researchers have conducted extensive studies of injection drug use in Vancouver, but few have focused specifically on high-risk youth. Enter Cari Miller. Her Masters research — a sub-study of the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS) — examined prevalence and incidence of HIV and hepatitis C among more than 200 injection drug users aged 13 to 24. Cari has first-hand experience to draw from. She put in 24-hour shifts as a part-time youth worker with the Vancouver Native Health Underage Safe House.

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2001

Heroin and Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Accessibility, Barriers and Quality of Life issues for Women in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia

Magdalena Recsky developed her passion for epidemiology while working summers as a research assistant at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. She put that passion into practice through her Masters research, which explored issues surrounding methadone dosing, satisfaction with methadone doses and associated HIV-risk behaviours. Using existing data, she investigated the barriers women face in accessing methadone maintenance programs, which led to a broader study into methadone dosing.

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2001

Social Support Among Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Daily Progress Study

Because there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), treatment focuses on alleviating pain symptoms and maintaining function. With that in mind, Susan Holtzman studied the links between pain levels, stress, ways of coping and social supports in patients with RA. The few existing studies in this area indicated that patients with strong social supports experience less pain and disability, but Susan wanted to examine this more closely. In her study she used daily monitoring techniques and collected detailed data from patients and their spouses.

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2001

Improving Therapeutic Decision-Making During Active Clinical Practice

The ultimate goal of Laura Esmail’s research is to improve the management of medication use and patient outcomes. Studies estimate that 4.3% of hospital admissions in industrialized countries are due to preventable adverse outcomes of drug therapy. To begin to address this problem, Laura developed and tested a decision-making network aimed to improve physicians’ drug therapy decision-making. The conceptual framework of this network was based on the theory of cognitive apprenticeships: the process of understanding concepts through engaging in authentic activities and actual practice.

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2001

Bone Health in Adult Women: The Relevance of Dietary Restraint, Cortisol Excretion and Nutrition-Related Stress

Candice Rideout is fascinated with bones. Despite a perception that bones are static once we're fully grown, they're actually ever-changing, which intrigues Candice. She is also interested in how nutritional behaviours affect bone health. The two interests come together in her research. Candice, who transferred from a Masters to PhD program, is examining bone health in adult women, looking specifically at possible links between dietary restraint, stress and bone density. The first phase of the research involved a broad survey of more than 1000 healthy postmenopausal women.

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2001

Pain communication during infancy and early childhood: When cry becomes a speech act

Elizabeth Stanford (Job) has focused her research on understanding and improving assessment of children's pain, by learning more about how children express pain, and how pain expression changes from infancy to early childhood. In her Master's research she pursued three major projects that provided insights into the nature of children's pain experience and how to improve measurement strategies. Two of her studies examined the language children use when experiencing painful events.

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2001

The involvement of phosphatidylcholine in the development of hepatic steatosis in children with cystic fibrosis

Alice Chen hopes to achieve a better understanding of what causes liver disease in people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Liver disease - the second most common cause of death for people with CF - may result from depletion of choline (a water soluble B vitamin) in CF patients. An inability to properly absorb phosphatidylcholine (PC), which is found in food such as organ meats and egg yolks, may cause choline depletion and may ultimately lead to accumulation of fat in the liver. To test this hypothesis, Chen is studying a group of 50 children with CF, along with 10 healthy children.

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2001

The influence of alcohol on mood and cognition

Treatment of alcoholism is complicated by the fact that many alcoholics also suffer from depression. Ekin Blackwell wants to contribute to more effective prevention and treatment of alcoholism by studying alcohol's mood-enhancing properties, and identifying individuals who are especially sensitive to these properties. In her Master’s research, Ekin focused on clinically defining the characteristics of these sensitive individuals to gain insights into factors that influence the development of problematic drinking.

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2001

The role of BDNF in progesterone and estradiol effects on cell proliferation, survival and cell fate in the dentate gyrus of adult female rats following contusion

Research has revealed that adult humans and all other mammals are unique in their ability to generate new brain cells as part of a process called neurogenesis. After a traumatic injury, estrogen and progesterone (female steroid hormones) and the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) protein help the brain recover. Jennifer Wide’s Masters research focused on the interaction between estrogen and neurogenesis, and in particular, the effects of chronic estradiol treatment on neurogenesis.

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2001

Regulation of Bcl-2 family members involved in macrophage cell survival

Shih Wei Wang is examining the role of a family of proteins implicated in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition that puts people at risk of heart attacks and stroke. In the early stage of atherosclerosis, plaque forms along the inner lining of arteries. This occurs at sites where altered LDL blood proteins enable blood cells known as macrophages to survive. While macrophages act as scavengers to remove foreign substances from the body, macrophages also turn into foam cells that contribute to plaque build-up.

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2001

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