Intestinal Inflammasomes: Defining Their Role in IBD

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is thought to develop in people when their gut bacteria leak out of their intestines, and cause chronic gut inflammation. We recently found that the cells that line the guts of healthy people possess a specialized defense system called an inflammasome.
In preliminary studies, the inflammasome seems to prevent the gut from becoming leaky, and helps it fight bacteria. Interestingly, some people with IBD are known to be missing inflammasomes.

Identifying the molecular mechanisms of neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and screening NETosis-suppressing drugs to treat cystic fibrosis lung disease

Recent discoveries show that neutrophils mainly die by formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in Cystic Fibrosis airways. Therefore determining mechanism and identifying FDA-approved drugs that inhibit NETosis could provide novel options to treat CF lung disease. We aimed to do the comparative gene expression analysis during NETosis induced by different NET inducing agents (PMA,LPS,A23187) in CF neutrophils. Furthermore to translate the findings for therapeutic targets, screening of large scale drugs, kinases and specific pathways inhibitors associated with NETosis are required.

Quantifying Visual Impairments using Robotics following Sport-Related Concussion

Concussions are a common traumatic brain injury and currently one of the most prominent medical concerns in contact/collision sports, at all ages and levels of competition. They are also one of the most complex injuries to manage in high-risk sports to ensure a safe return to training and competition. Our goal is to develop an objective and valid tool using novel robotic technology (KINARM) that can reliably quantify and monitor visual search and attention impairments seen with concussion.

Evaluation of the CACE Homecare Curriculum

In January 2016, the Centre for Ambulatory Care Education (CACE) at Women’s College Hospital completed the Homecare Curriculum. This online, simulation-based program is designed to help personal support workers, nurses, and rehabilitation professionals provide better care for older adults who wish to stay in their homes. The program presents learners with 3 virtual home environments and 3 patient profiles. Alone, or with a team, users navigate these virtual homes, learn about home-based care and complete quizzes that test their comprehension of the material.

Pressure Ulcer Biobank from Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Pressure ulcers (PUs) are a major health problem in people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). PUs increase hospital admissions, with 25% of SCI treatment cost linked to PU management. Currently, treatment is limited and new therapeutic options are required. Wound fluid from PUs is invaluable for researchers as it allows a detailed study of the disease. However, no system is in place to systematically collect and store SCI PU wound fluid in British Columbia. In response, the aim of this proposal is to collaborate with the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) to establish a PU biobank.

In-vivo translation of neuronal cell regeneration/reprogramming protein in mouse with chronic spinal cord injury

Chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating disease with enormous economic and personal impact. To date there is no approved treatment that can repair the severed nerves found in SCI. The research project entails translational development of an early stage experimental protein drug candidate that has shown remarkable ability to trigger dormant human stem cells to rapidly differentiate into functional neuronal populations. Both the drug candidate’s safe dosage range and efficacy in regenerating neurons at the site of injury will be studied.

Genomics profiling of peritoneal mesothelioma and patient-derived xenograft models for in vivo biomarker validation

Peritoneal Mesothelioma (PM) is a rare type of cancer affecting the protective membrane surrounding the abdominal cavity and the second most common type of mesothelioma, consisting about 10-20% of the diagnosed cases. The underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of peritoneal mesothelioma pathology are greatly understudied. In this proposal, we aim to enhance the current knowledge of PM pathogenesis and explore therapeutic treatments for it.

The I-Score Study: The development and validation of a patient-reported measure of antiretroviral therapy’s interference with life.

Many HIV-positive persons on HIV medication have trouble taking this medication as prescribed by their doctor (treatment adherence). This threatens the long-term ability of the drugs to preserve a patient’s health. For 1 in 5 in Canada, their medication does not work, in part because of adherence problems. Furthermore, doctors and their HIV-positive patients do not always discuss treatment difficulties and how to resolve them in sufficient depth. The I-Score Study is a 24-month research project that will develop a questionnaire to be filled out by patients as a part of routine HIV care.

Low-dose ionizing radiation and health

This project involves three streams, all focusing on the effects of low-dose ionizing radiation. The first stream examines the effects of single ion irradiation using the Microbeam at McMaster University. Preliminary biological research will be conducted on human cell lines using standard radiobiological endpoints including DNA double strand break foci and micronuclei formation. The second stream is a clinical trial assessing whether low-dose half-body irradiation can stimulate immunity and reduce recurrent prostate cancer.

Discovering the mechanism of action of a novel immunotherapy, Cat-SPIRE, using a network analysis

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory condition of the nasal passages induced after allergen exposure in sensitized individuals. Approximately 20-25% of Canadians suffer from allergic rhinitis, with cat allergy affecting up to 15% of people with allergic rhinitis and/or asthma. Although existing immunotherapies have some effectiveness, these have safety problems and require long-term treatment.

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