molecular genetics

Investigating components of a Campylobacter jejuni iron uptake system to inform antimicrobial strategies.

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious diarrheal disease and one of the largest contributors to hospitalizations and deaths from food poisoning in Canada and worldwide. It is usually caused by consumption of food or water contaminated by the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni, resulting in watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, and serious post-infectious illnesses. This illness is especially dangerous for very young or old people, made worse by lack of a vaccine and increasing frequency of infections that are resistant to treatment by current antibiotics. A recent WHO report identified C.

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2019

Investigating the Role of MicroRNAs on Granule Cell Development during Mouse Cerebellar Development

The cerebellum is a complex region of our brain involved in the coordination of our movements and cognition. Evidence shows that cerebellum is involved in several brain disorders such as ataxia (inability to move properly), autism, and medulloblastoma (the most prevalent brain tumor in children). The cerebellum is made of different cell types. Among them, the most numerous cell type, the granule cells, contribute to many crucial cerebellar functions. Indeed, an uncontrolled division of granule cells results in the most common form of pediatric brain tumor, the medulloblastoma.

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2019

Development and Application of Computational Methods for Profiling Cancers at Single Cell Resolution

Cancer is a complex disease with many factors which determine how rapidly cancer cells can grow and spread throughout the body. Significant differences exist within the cancer cell population of a patient. These differences shape the interaction of cancer cells with the surrounding healthy tissue, with dramatic variation between patients. This so called cancer heterogeneity has profound implication for patient prognosis, and is one of the primary challenges to developing effective cancer treatments.

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2019

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

Improving outcomes through precision medicine for adults with primary immunodeficiency

Primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) are a group of conditions in which part of the immune system is either missing or does not function normally. Those affected by PIDs may suffer from recurrent infections, autoimmune disease (where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues), and certain cancers. These conditions are not rare; affecting 1:2,000 to 1:10,000 people, with nearly half of cases diagnosed in adulthood. Too often, adults with PIDs undergo a painful journey that spans decades in search of a diagnosis.

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2018

Genetic etiology of progressive multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, other than trauma, with over two million people affected worldwide. Approximately 100,000 Canadians have MS, a rate that is nine times higher than the global average. MS symptoms vary widely and may affect vision, hearing, cognition, balance, and movement; negatively affecting many aspects of quality of life. To date, there is no cure or prevention for MS.

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2017

Studying genetic mechanisms of treatment resistance in non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Dr. Morin's research program will develop and apply laboratory and computational genomic methodologies that use DNA sequencing and other sensitive platforms to study the drivers of tumour onset, progression and treatment resistance in solid cancers in order to understand the somatic drivers of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs). Using massively parallel (next-generation) DNA and RNA sequencing, Dr. Morin will be able to identify somatic alterations and gene expression signatures in tumour tissue and liquid biopsies (circulating tumour DNA).

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2017
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Genetic dissection of neuronal pattern formation

Neurological diseases and disorders have been estimated to affect 3.6 million Canadians living in the community and over 170,000 Canadians living in long-term care facilities, including in British Columbia. However, we have limited information about the molecular mechanisms that cause many of those neurological conditions, largely because of the complexity of our nervous system. Therefore, understanding the mechanical processes that impart precise neural circuit formation using a simple model organism is critical to try to find ways to prevent neurological diseases and cure patients.

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2017
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Mutant cell-free DNA as a non-invasive blood test to monitor pancreatic cancer

Close to 5,000 Canadians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year and it is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada. Unfortunately, a majority of these patients die within a year of their diagnosis, due in part to late diagnosis and tumour resistance to chemotherapy. In addition, most patients who are successfully treated eventually recur and succumb to the disease.

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2015

Characterizing the interactions between attaching and effacing pathogens and the gastrointestinal microbiota

Diarrheal illnesses remain a major cause of sickness and death worldwide, killing approximately 760,000 children under the age of five each year. This project seeks to better understand one major cause: bacteria known as attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens.

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2015

Molecular detection of known and novel cancer predisposition genes

Diagnosis of inherited cancer susceptibility has implications for both the patient and their family, as certain drugs may be more effective in cancers caused by a patient’s inherited cancer risk. Carrier testing can also determine whether family members are at risk of cancer. Both the patient and at-risk family members may benefit from increased screening, surveillance and/or prophylactic cancer prevention measures. However, current gene-by-gene testing strategies are costly and time consuming.

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2014

Genetic dissection of taste circuits and feeding behaviour in Drosophila

The neural circuits underlying taste perception and feeding are critical to survival. These circuits coordinate input from chemical cues in the environment and internal metabolic states to make two important decisions – what to eat, and how much. The taste system is finely tuned to quickly determine potential food’s suitability for consumption. For example, taste drives animals towards energy-rich carbohydrates (sweet taste) and away from toxins (bitter taste). However, humans now live in a society very different from the ones that shaped the evolution of our brains.

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2014
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