Filling in the gaps of the IMD immune pathway of the kissing bug Rhodnius prolixus

Rhodnius prolixus is a hemathophagous insect that has served for decades as a model to study insect physiology. Rhodnius prolixus is also a major vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease that kills 45,000 people annually and affects over 8 million people worldwide. The genome of R. prolixus contains ~15,500 predicted protein-coding genes. Many pathways such as the Toll and JAK-STAT pathways were present.

Monitoring cherry postharvest rot and predictive analysis

Postharvest rot of sweet cherry destined for export markets has caused significant economic losses to Okanagan growers. The major fungal pathogens causing rot have not been identified. This project will identify the two major pathogens responsible for postharvest rot in cherry during two growth seasons and characterize them with respect to temperature effects on growth and sensitivity to fungicides. Using DNA-based methods we will track the abundance of the pathogens in the orchard during the growth cycle of cherry, following major rain events and postharvest.

Salmon Early Marine Survival Research Program

Salmon are inarguably one of the most culturally, ecologically, and economically important fish in British Columbia, however, their stocks have been declining since the 1990’s. The Cohen Commission of Enquiry expert panel emphasized that juvenile mortality during the first months at sea was the most likely cause of fishery declines. The two leading agents of mortality are hypothesised to be food availability for growth and pathogen / parasite infection. The Hakai Institute Juvenile Salmon Program is explicitly addressing these two hypotheses.

Assessing bacterial kidney disease resistance in a commercial Atlantic salmon strain

The aim of this project is to determine which families are resistant to bacterial kidney disease, a bacterial infection that affects both wild and farmed Atlantic salmon. To do this many families of Atlantic salmon from a commercial aquaculture company are to be purposefully infected with the bacteria that causes the disease to establish which families have a high rate of survival and which have a low rate of survival.

Testing plant-derived products as biopesticides for plant pathogen management

Like humans and other animals, plants also get sick, exhibit disease symptoms, and even die. Over the past 100 years, farmers have heavily relied upon chemical fertilizers and pesticides in order to increase crop productivity and quality. However, the environmental pollution caused by excessive use and misuse of agrochemicals has led to considerable changes in people’s attitudes towards the use of pesticides in agriculture.

SSI efficacy in treating infectious colitis

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disease with unknown etiology that is characterized by uncontrolled intestinal inflammation and microbial dysbiosis. Qu Biologics’ Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSI) are a platform technology shown to improve the status of people living with IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), with most of those patients showing clinical improvement also going into clinical remission. SSI are a complex biologic designed to reconstitute normal innate immune function through multiple parallel mechanisms.

A One-Health approach to echinococcosis (Echinococcus multilocularis) in client owned dogs in Alberta: force of infection, risk factors, diagnostics, treatments and information

This project aims to determine prevalence rates of Echinococcus species tapeworms in domestic dogs and to compare these rates to those obtained from wild canids including wolves, coyotes, and foxes. This will shed light on infection rates and risk factors for both the human population and their pet dogs. This research will benefit Bayer as they produce many pharmaceuticals that combat Echinococcus infection and believe an increased public awareness of this parasite is important for public health.

Systematic development of novel peptide-derived therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer

Cancer will affect 2 in every 5 Canadians in their lifetime, with just over 25% representing new breast cancer diagnoses in women. Despite significant progress in the treatment of the most common cancer in women, resistance to chemotherapeutic agents remains a consistent obstacle in terms of the successful treatment of many types of breast cancers. The Mitacs-funded collaboration between NuvoBio and the Biggar lab at Carleton University is seeking to address this issue by systematically designing and developing peptide-based inhibitors that hold the promise as new therapeutics.

Tick vectored disease biobank

Lyme disease is one of the many diseases transmitted by ticks. The rate of these diseases is rapidly increasing in Canada. Diagnosing these diseases is difficult but examination of biopsy, necropsy and autopsy tissue can help to understand the full and varied effects of the disease and ultimately reduce misdiagnoses. Biobanks are required for this type of research.

Harnessing the power of horizontal gene transfer for yeast strain development

Yeast are used on a massive scale in many industrial settings, such as production of food and beverages, nutrient supplements, pharmaceuticals, and others, totaling over $5 billion dollars in annual market value. Most yeasts currently used for industrial purposes are taken directly from nature and not optimized for the specific process requirements of industry. Currently, many tools for strain improvements require genetic modification of organisms, which does not allow for a non-GMO “clean” labeling.

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