Trainee Award

Genetic analysis of natural killer cell functions

Linnea Veinotte believes immunology (studying the immune system’s functions and disorders) and molecular genetics (studying the molecular structure and function of genes) will be an important research combination in the future. Linnea worked in both areas during her Master's Research, studying natural killer (NK) cells, unique types of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Distributed in various tissues, the cells are thought to be the body's first line of natural defense against cancers and viruses. NK cells can kill a wide range of cancer and virus-infected cells but not normal cells.

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2001

Effects of amphetamine challenge on working memory in schizophrenia: A fMRI study

Christine Tipper is committed to studying schizophrenia in a multi-disciplinary manner. That's why Christine combined cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology in her Master’s research on the disorder. She specifically examined the increases in brain activity that schizophrenia patients experience in areas of the brain associated with working memory — a phenomenon that is especially pronounced during acute phases of their illness.

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2001

Material properties of the spinal cord

Carolyn Sparrey wants to help develop new technologies and devices that prevent and improve treatment of spinal cord injuries. She's working toward that goal by researching the biomechanical properties of the spinal cord to determine how tissues deform under various forces. This may provide new insights about the reasons the spinal cord deforms so rapidly during trauma. Sparrey ultimately wants to develop sophisticated mathematical models that simulate the injury process and accurate spine models.

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2001

The role of cystine transport by the xCT protein in maintaining the brain antioxidant glutathione

Andy Shih's Masters research focuses on preventing damage to cells in the central nervous system after a traumatic injury. Following such an injury to the brain or spinal cord, free radicals (oxidants) accumulate and damage almost all molecules in a cell by stealing electrons. Toxic damage to neural tissues worsens progressively over hours or days due to an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants that normally protect the cells. Shih is examining the effectiveness of increasing antioxidants to prevent cellular damage, with a particular focus on glutathione, a potent antioxidant.

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2001

Calcium Homeostasis and Basal Entry in Vascular Smooth Muscle

Much research has been devoted to understanding how calcium enters stimulated vascular smooth muscle and causes muscle contraction. Defects in this process have been linked to diseases such as hypertension and peripheral vascular disease. But little research has been done on calcium entry in unstimulated muscle. Damon's research suggests that a significant amount of calcium enters muscle even in the absence of a contraction-inducing stimulus. By investigating the pathways through which calcium enters vascular smooth muscle and skeletal muscle, Mr.

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2001

Identification of Notch4-Modulated Genes in Vascular endothelia Cells

Graeme McLean's research focuses on angiogenesis, the process by which a person's existing blood vessels sprout extensions from themselves to enhance blood flow or nutrient delivery. The process is critical in embryo development, wound healing and inflammation. Defects in angiogenesis can interfere with wound healing and contribute to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Abnormal patterns of angiogenesis also contribute to the growth of cancerous tumours that are capable of co-opting the process to increase their blood supply.

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2001

Identification of caspase modifiers via genetic selection in yeast

Elaine Law's Masters research literally related to matters of life and death. Elaine investigated apoptosis - the process of programmed cell death. Apoptosis plays a critical role in normal body function by eliminating unwanted and potentially dangerous cells as part of tissue renewal. However, too much cell death can lead to strokes and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease and Huntington's disease, while too little cell death has been associated with many forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

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2001

Single Channel analysis of the mechanism basis of Zn 2+ and H+ medical block of Kv1.5

A goal that scientists have long hoped for — the ability to design drugs based specifically on the known properties of their targets — motivated Daniel Kwan's Masters research. In order to develop such target-specific drugs, the molecular structure of potential targets needs to be well-defined. Daniel contributed to this goal by combining techniques in electrophysiology, cell biology and molecular biology to study Kv1.5, a protein controlling the movement of potassium ions from heart muscle cells. The protein acts as a pathway for ions to pass through cell membranes.

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2001

Cytoskeletal modulation and developmental regulation of Kv15 surface expression

Potassium channels comprise a group of transmembrane proteins in cells that typically allow preferential passage of K+ from the inside of the cell to its external environment. In excitable tissues such as neurons and myocytes, these channels functionally hyperpolarize the cell, serving to retard electrical conduction and excitability. In the heart, K+ channels such as Kv1.5 are of paramount importance in cardiomyocyte repolarization and governing the duration of the action potential.

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2001

The role of the hematopoietic progenitor antigen, CD34 on mature mast cells

A study that Erin Drew took part in revealed some surprising insights about the mysterious CD34 protein. Contrary to the predominate belief that this protein is absent on mature blood cells, this study demonstrated that CD34 is present on mature mast cells. These cells play a major role in the development of asthma and allergies by releasing strong chemicals such as histamine into tissues and blood. In her Master's research, Erin further investigated the role of CD34, and a similar protein CD43, on mast cells.

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2001

Genes regulated by the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells

Dawn Bradley's research focuses on the key role of the male hormone androgen in prostate cancer, the second leading cause of death for men with cancer in North America. Prostate tumours initially need androgen to grow and proliferate, but tumours can progress to the point where they survive without androgen. Conventional treatments are ineffective when prostate tumours become androgen-independent. Bradley is investigating the process by which the androgen receptor regulates various genes.

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2001

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