People we've funded

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Developing effective antimicrobials using novel quorum quenching enzymes

Antibiotics revolutionized our medicine against pathogen infection. However, pathogenic bacteria have recently evolved resistance to multiple antibiotics, becoming a global health care risk. We urgently need to develop novel strategies to combat antibiotic resistance and develop evolution-proof antibiotics.

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Year: 
2018

Rapid selection and sequencing of single circulating tumour cells in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Comprehensive analysis of genomes has the potential to inform precise prostate cancer treatments. However, a major challenge of prostate cancer genomic analysis is the inaccessibility of metastatic tissue. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) offer great potential as an alternative source of genetic material, which would enable the identification of the relevant mutations and aberrations that define prostate cancer subtypes.

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2018

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP): A new model for mechanistic and therapeutic investigation

Epilepsy is one of the most common brain disorders. The condition is characterized by uncoordinated brain electrical activity and recurrent seizures. Epilepsy patients may die unexpectedly with unknown cause, a phenomenon termed “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” (SUDEP). SUDEP accounts for about 50% of deaths in individuals suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy in which severe seizures are followed by alterations in respiratory and cardiac functions.

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2018

A microfluidic cell migration assay enabling anticancer drug testing of patient-derived tumour cells

The dispersal of tumour cells within malignant tissue relies on a process called chemotaxis, where tumour cells migrate in response to chemical signals in the local microenvironment. There has been longstanding interest in using chemotaxis assays to deduce how invasive a tumour is, and how it might respond to drug therapy. However, current chemotaxis assays are prone to extreme inter-assay variability, due to the inherent instability of the chemical gradient.

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2018

Tying the gut in knots: Characterizing how pathogenic E. coli transform the gut cell landscape

Diarrheal disease affects 1.7 billion people every year, killing around 760,000 children. A leading cause of this disease are bacteria like enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). EPEC’s ability to cause disease relies entirely on creating an environment in which it can thrive. EPEC achieves this by secreting “effector” proteins directly into human host cells, which rewire the human cell, allowing EPEC to take control of cell immune signalling.

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2018

Identification of proteolytic signatures elicited by allergen-derived proteases and their role in allergic sensitization

Allergic diseases are reaching epidemic proportions, now affecting 1 in 3 Canadians. Allergies are inappropriately high immune responses against innocuous allergens. Understanding why the immune system reacts in this way is crucial to identify new drug targets.

Proteases are enzymes that cut other proteins from allergenic sources, for example dust mites and mould. Proteases are potent triggers of allergic responses. However, an understanding of the proteins they cut and how they fit into the global picture of allergic responses is lacking.

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2018

Regulation of the ion channel TRPM3 by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the implications on brain functions and diseases.

Oxidative stress (OS) describes the occurrence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), chemicals that cannot be balanced by the body’s antioxidant defenses. OS can occur in every cell of the body and is linked to an increasing number of diseases.

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Year: 
2018

Using host defense peptides and their synthetic analogs as alternative therapy for chronic infection caused by multi-drug resistant organisms

The discovery of antibiotics was one of the greatest advances in modern medicine, enabling control of infections. However, bacteria can develop antibiotic resistance over time, and become less sensitive to antibiotics. Without effective treatments, infections by these organisms can lead to prolonged illness, and routine surgeries can become life threatening. The lack of new antibiotics to combat the rapidly growing number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms has become one of the most serious global health concerns.

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2018

Identifying oncogenic signaling pathways that mediate immune exclusion in ovarian cancer

Despite major advances in our understanding of the mechanisms behind the body’s immune response against cancer, several obstacles limit the success of immunotherapy as a cancer treatment. In particular, the physical exclusion of immune cells from tumour beds is associated with poor prognosis and a limited response to immunotherapy.

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2018

High-throughput automated mouse model to pilot translational brain stimulation during recovery from stroke

There are 62,000 strokes in Canada each year–one every nine minutes–and 405,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke. Stroke rehabilitation is a large field with a need for further research and treatment development.

Dr. Balbi will investigate brain stimulation and movement-based stroke rehabilitation by studying brain activity and forelimb movement in mice stroke models.

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Year: 
2018

Defining mechanisms of lineage transformation in lung cancer to combat resistance to targeted therapies

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in Canada. A major reason for the poor prognosis is the lack of effective drugs for treating advanced tumours.

New understanding of the mutations driving lung cancer has led to the development of targeted therapies that selectively inhibit mutated genes, leading to rapid cancer regression in specific subsets of patients. However, while these therapies improve patient survival and quality of life, they are not curative as all patients develop drug resistance.

Primary Investigator: 
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Year: 
2018

Re-establishing cognitive function in models of mental illness by boosting neural activity in the prefrontal cortex

The frontal cortex (FC) of the brain plays a critical role in higher cognitive functions including attention, working memory, and planning future goal-directed actions. Cognitive deficits arising from deceased neural activity within the FC (hypofrontality) are features of many forms of mental illness, including schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and addiction. Neurochemical, physiological and pharmacological research implicates reductions in the function of key neurotransmitter systems: catecholamines, glutamate and GABA.

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2018

JAK-STAT pathway mutations in B-cell lymphomas: Implications for the tumour microenvironment and treatment failure

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system where tumours develop from abnormal growths of white blood cells. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NHL) are the fifth most common cancers diagnosed in Canada. Of those, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common.

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2018

Overcoming antibiotic resistance with anti-biofilm peptides

Antibiotics are arguably the most important and successful medicines. However, the frequent growth of bacteria as biofilms, bacterial communities that grow on surfaces in a protective matrix, is of great concern. Biofilms account for two thirds of all clinical infections and are especially difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics. They are a serious problem in trauma patients with major injuries, as well as individuals with implanted medical devices.

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2018

Defining the dynamics behind ryanodine receptor function using malignant hyperthermia mutant channel

In order for skeletal muscle to contract, signals alert the muscle cells to release calcium from their internal stores. The skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RyR1) acts as the essential gatekeeper for these calcium pools. A single mutation within a person’s RyR1 can result in an unpredictable and life-threatening complication called malignant hyperthermia (MH).

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2018

Brain channelopathies – Target validation and novel therapeutic strategies

MSFHR supported Dr. Terry Snutch’s award as one of five interprovincial teams from across Canada funded through Brain Canada’s Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI). The MIRI supports the research of multidisciplinary teams and aims to accelerate novel and transformative research that will fundamentally change the understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction and its impact on health. MSFHR committed funding over three years to support the work of Snutch’s BC-based research activities and research led by fellow MIRI recipient Dr. Neil Cashman on the role of protein misfolding in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

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2013

Deliberative public engagement to inform cancer control decision-making in Canada

MSFHR is providing matching funds for Dr. Stuart Peacock’s research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Cancer Control (CIHR-ICR) Partnerships for Health Systems Improvement (PHSI) program. PHSI projects focus on health system improvements through applied and policy-relevant health systems services research that is useful to health system managers or policy-makers and strengthen the Canadian health system.

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2017

Delivery of self-management through a peer-support telehealth intervention in patients with cardiovascular disease: The Healing Circles Project

MSFHR is contributing matched funding for Dr. Scott Lear’s research, one of 22 projects as part of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) eHealth Innovation Partnership Program (eHIPP). eHIPP was designed to address gaps in health care—including supporting seniors with complex care needs in their home—by stimulating collaborations between health researchers and Canadian innovative technology companies. MSFHR is also contributing funds towards the eHIPP research projects of Drs. Ellen Balka and Kendall Ho.

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2015

CCNA Team 13: Frontotemporal dementia

Dr. Robin Hsiung’s research is part of the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) initiative funded by a national partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and 14 organizations from the public and private sectors across Canada, including MSFHR. The CCNA was created in 2014, bringing together more than 350 clinicians and researchers from across Canada.

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2015

Silent genomes: Reducing health care disparities and improving diagnostic success for children with genetic diseases from Indigenous populations

MSFHR is providing matching funds for the research of Dr. Laura Arbour under the Genome Canada/ Canadian Institutes for Health Research Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP): Genomics and Precision Health. Additional support is provided by Genome BC, the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, BC Provincial Services Health Authority and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Primary Investigator: 
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2018

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