Celebrating Health Research

Discover how and why health researchers are changing lives, and hear firsthand from the patients whose lives have been affected by health research. 

Advanced Risk Management: Addressing transnational health threats

Pursuing a scientific approach to regulating global health challenges

Dr. Steven Hoffman
CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health
Global Strategy Lab, York University

How do you regulate a global health threat like a pandemic? No single government has the resources or capabilities to protect their citizens from health risks that transcend national borders, but by researching global governance mechanisms, we can craft better approaches to minimize potential health threats.

My research is focused on solving global health challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, pandemics, substance use, and health misinformation. As our world becomes increasingly globalized, we are going to face ever greater threats that spread across borders.

In my role as Scientific Director at CIHR, I can bring forward a research agenda that collectively manages these global risks. I know that my efforts will protect people from transnational health threats, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


New gene therapy trial helps restore the sight of people with genetic eye disease

A brilliant 30-year career in vision science was sparked by a family reaching out for help

Dr. Ian M. MacDonald
University of Alberta

I work with a dedicated team of professionals engaged in translational research on heritable eye diseases.

My research interest started early with undergraduate studies in genetics, followed by a postgraduate degree, also in genetics. I really became focused when I was contacted by a family with a heritable retinal disorder called choroideremia who wanted to know if anyone was doing research on it. That initial point of contact started a 30-year career in vision science (funded by Medical Research Council of Canada and then the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) that charted a path from gene mapping to gene cloning and then gene therapy.

In the summer of 2017, the Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team successfully completed the first clinical (human) experiment of ocular gene therapy for choroideremia. Edmonton, University of Alberta and the Royal Alexandra Hospital gained international recognition and showed Canadians that we have a platform that will make human gene therapy clinical trials possible.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


One researcher’s quest to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use

Developing and applying health care innovations to enhance the quality of care and increase the safety of patients

Dr. John Conly
University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services

I am a physician-researcher who was trained in infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.  I have always been intrigued by investigations and research.

My areas of interest include the broad area of antibiotic resistance, how to improve antibiotic prescribing, and what policies can be set to help reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics in both humans and animals.

In addition, the risk of developing infection in the health care setting, especially those due to antibiotic resistant microbes (germs), and how to use innovative approaches such as new technologies to prevent them is another area of active research.

A related research focus area is the development and application of new innovations in health care to enhance the overall quality and safety for patients.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


The medications that we take: The good, the bad and the ugly

Using the power of statistics to evaluate the risks and benefits of drugs commonly prescribed in the population

Dr. Samy Suissa
Lady Davis Research Institute, Jewish General Hospital

Millions of Canadians benefit from the medications they take every day, but thousands are harmed by these same drugs.

I lead the CNODES (Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies) initiative, a national network of over 100 scientists and research staff, funded by the CIHR, to conduct pan-Canadian studies on drug safety and effectiveness.

My research is in the area of pharmacoepidemiology, a science that uses cutting edge statistical methods to evaluate the risks and benefits of drugs commonly prescribed in the population. It exploits existing health care mega-databases on millions of patients generated by health insurance programs such as those from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) and from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in the United Kingdom, to quickly answer questions of drug safety of public health interest.

This research has helped identify serious risks of drugs prescribed for asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), as well as for drugs used to treat diabetes, including the newer insulins, and many treatments for cardiovascular diseases.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


The role of gap junction proteins (connexins) in human health and disease

A solid foundation of knowledge allows researchers to explore a second family of channel forming proteins – pannexins

Dr. Dale W. Laird
University of Western Ontario

Our research program is engaged in examining the more than two dozen distinct human diseases linked to genes that encode the proteins (connexins) used in gap junctional intercellular communication. Mutations in 50% of the 21 connexin gene family members result in conditions ranging from developmental abnormalities that include hearing loss to life shortening organ failure.

We use a multidimensional approach involving organotypic cultures, genetically-modified mice, connexin-linked disease patient cells, and human stem cells to interrogate the scope of mechanisms that lead to disease in some tissues while other organs are spared. Once it is better understood how connexin gene mutations cause diseases and deformities that often intensify in aging, it is anticipated that these findings could be translated to pre-clinical studies and possible treatments of gap junction-linked diseases. 

In recent years our studies have extended to the interrogation of a second family of channel forming proteins called pannexins.   

Further reading

November 24, 2017


Urban gardening: An Indigenous approach to wellness

Do community gardens contribute to the individual and community health of Indigenous youth?

Dr. Kathy Moscou
Brandon University

I chose health research in order to work with communities to better understand factors contributing to health outcomes. In this community-based research we are working collaboratively with Indigenous organizations in Winnipeg and Brandon. We investigate what makes a neighbourhood healthy and how might community gardens contribute to the individual and community health of Indigenous youth? We use a Medicine Wheel framework to study the holistic health benefits of urban gardening. Indigenous youth design, install and maintain demonstration gardens; visually documenting culturally relevant indicators of health benefits.

Our research method uses photographs and storytelling (Photovoice). The research will expand knowledge of Indigenous approaches to wellness and build community research capacity.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


You can’t under-estimate the value of a healthy, strong skeleton!

Preventing osteoporosis through early-diet intervention

Dr. Wendy Ward
Brock University

Most Canadians don’t think about having a healthy and strong skeleton until they suffer a fracture because of osteoporosis, or in my case, if loved ones are affected.

A ‘silent disease’ that diminishes one’s quality of life and leads to premature death, Osteoporosis is typically managed through drugs. My research team investigates whether foods or food components may be used to prevent, or at least to diminish the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures in later life.

We use well-characterized models that allow us to alter a mother’s diet during pregnancy, as well as her offspring’s diet early after birth, to set the stage for developing stronger, healthier bones that are less prone to fracture during aging. We study a variety of foods and their key components that may benefit bone health: examples include fish oil, flaxseed, soy, fruits and their corresponding fatty acids or bioactives. We use sophisticated, 3D imaging that provides insight into how strong a specific bone is.

Further reading

November 24, 2017


The right research for a bright future: Reducing the risk of preterm birth

Understanding the effect of an expectant mother’s exposure to anxiety and depression during pregnancy

Ms. Kamala Adhikari Dahal
University of Calgary

Despite the efforts of clinical research and interventions to reduce the incidence of preterm birth globally, the rate has not been reduced. This brought my attention the need to investigate modifiable risk-factors for preterm birth, particularly the effect of women’s exposure to multi-level social stressors, as well as to anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

Analyzing the data from the All Our Families and the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition cohort studies, my research will inform policy-makers as to where, to whom, and for what to allocate resources particularly to prevent preterm birth.

This can guide policy-makers in designing the population-based interventions that target anxiety and depression reduction of vulnerable pregnant women. I was awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship by CIHR to accomplish this research project. The Vanier Award coupled with the ideal PhD training-environment at the University of Calgary will enable me to accomplish this project and establish myself as a research-scientist.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Using aspirin to prevent HIV infections

Investigating a simple and affordable way to prevent the spread of HIV

Dr. Keith Fowke
University of Manitoba

With over 1.5 million new HIV infections globally each year, novel prevention approaches are needed.  HIV transmission requires a viable virus and a susceptible host cell. Most biomedical prevention approaches focus on containing HIV (condoms) or neutralizing it (HIV drugs, vaccines, microbicides).  However, a prevention approach that has not been tried is to limit the number of susceptible HIV-target cells at the genital tract.

Inflammation brings activated immune cells (which are highly susceptible to HIV infection) to the genital tract, where they can meet HIV. Our studies of Kenyan sex workers, who are highly exposed to HIV yet remain uninfected, show that they have reduced inflammation, including fewer HIV target cells, at the genital tract.  To reproduce this phenomenon, we gave Kenyan women a low daily dose of the anti-inflammatory drug aspirin for six weeks and observed a 35% reduction in genital tract HIV target cells. 

Can we prevent HIV using safe, affordable anti-inflammatory drugs? Further studies will allow us to answer this question.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Helping children with disabilities to achieve their full potential

Virtual reality interventions to promote artistic expression and physical movement

Dr. Alexander MacIntosh
University of Toronto

Every child has the right to experience life in its fullness and to perform to their fullest potential. By creating virtual reality technologies for young people with disabilities, our goal is to help kids enjoy art, music and physical activities that are meaningful to them.

We conduct our research and co-create these virtual reality technologies by working closely with children, youth, and families. Together, we build mixed reality games, played with physical objects (such as musical instruments and toy building blocks) that help kids to work on their physical and occupational therapy goals in their own homes. We are also building interactive computer games controlled by customized gesture recognition programs, which allow children to practice reaching and grabbing movements. Through our research on interpreting movements, we can tailor supports to enhance the creative and functional potential of children and youth with disabilities.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Saving lives through cleaner hospitals

Using UV rays to disinfect hospital rooms

Dr. William Anderson
University of Waterloo

People go to hospital to get better, not to get sick. Unfortunately, one in 10 Canadian patients pick up a new infection during their hospital stay.

That is something we are trying to change in my chemical engineering lab at Waterloo, as part of the Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction.

Recently, we tested a new ultraviolet disinfection system. The wall-mounted technology automatically turns on whenever the room is empty, generating UV rays that kill the microorganisms that make people sick.

When we installed these in a selection of bathrooms, utility rooms and equipment storage rooms at St. Mary’s Hospital, in Kitchener, they significantly reduced the number of disease-causing bacteria on surfaces and in the air.

It is really satisfying to know that we are creating solutions that will save lives — and also put a dent in the $4 billion Canada spends each year to deal with health care acquired infections.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Eating well to keep cancer at bay

Investigating ways to encourage healthy eating in Canada

Dr. Rachel Murphy
University of British Columbia

Less than one in three Canadians eat the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Poor nutrition can have long-standing negative effects on health, contributing to as much as 30% of all cancer cases, in addition to other chronic diseases. My research aims to understand how nutrition and other healthy lifestyle behaviours can prevent cancer, and to develop solutions to encourage healthy eating.

My population health research has identified biological markers that may help to understand the mechanisms through which healthier dietary patterns affect cancer.

I am also studying programs that address healthy eating. This includes a school-based program to encourage healthy eating patterns early on, and a program that teaches food skills in communities to make healthy eating the easy choice.

Understanding the importance of nutrition is key to ensuring good health. Our research will provide relevant information and that could prevent many cancers from occurring.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


A physician’s journey into epidemiology – Two countries, two cohorts

Using long-term data to improve asthma treatments

Dr. Malcolm Sears
McMaster University

I have had the opportunity to train and work in New Zealand, where the problem of increasing and worsening asthma is a significant challenge. Utilizing the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development birth cohort, we identified risk factors and tracked impaired lung function in individuals with persistent asthma, from childhood to adulthood.

Here in Canada, a partnership with AllerGen NCE and CIHR supported the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. Over 40 investigators are using this cohort to investigate genetic, epigenetic, microbiome, environmental, infectious, psychosocial, hormonal and nutritional factors underlying asthma and allergy. The CHILD cohort, now 5-8 years old, provides a solid foundation for wide-ranging DOHaD studies. The New Zealand study is currently assessing their “children” as 45-year-olds, generating unique highly valuable data. We anticipate CHILD will similarly continue through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood, employing new and emerging technologies resulting in exciting novel health discoveries.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


A dark cloud on the horizon

Just one puff of a cigarette can lead to lifelong addiction

Dr. Jennifer O’Loughlin
Centre de recherche CHUM

Although six million people are killed each year by cigarettes, a recent article in The Lancet suggests that the greatest harm is yet to come. One hundred million people died in the 20th century, but one billion people will die in this century if nothing is done to curb smoking.

Our team has followed 1,294 Grade Seven students in Montreal for the past 17 years to better understand the early origins of cigarette smoking. The most important finding to date is that nicotine dependence symptoms manifest very quickly after the first puff in some children, and this vulnerability places them at high risk of sustained adult smoking with all the concomitant health risks. We cannot pinpoint which children are most vulnerable, so the public health message is that even a puff can trigger the processes leading to lifelong addiction. In another project, we are identifying social disparities in school-based tobacco control programs. These data will inform the design of relevant and effective interventions to reduce smoking, especially in disadvantaged settings.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Prostate cancer: With research, there is hope

Protein mTOR associated with aggressiveness of cancer

Drs. Vincent Giguère and Étienne Audet-Walsh
Goodman Cancer Research Centre, McGill University

The protein mTOR was previously understood to be in the cytoplasm in most human cells. It was discovered that not only is mTOR found in the nucleus of prostate cancer cells, but that a strong correlation exists between mTOR nuclear content and the aggressiveness of the cancer. Healthy prostate cells show little evidence of mTOR in their nucleus, but its localization to the nucleus dramatically increases as the cancer progresses toward a poorer outcome. The more aggressive the cancer, the higher concentration and activity of nuclear mTOR. Accordingly, an mTOR-dependent gene signature has been successfully identified, which could help predict recurrence in prostate cancer patients.

Additionally, the research conducted by Drs. Giguère and Audet-Walsh demonstrates that the androgen receptor, the major driver of prostate cancer, works together with mTOR in the nucleus to exert its oncogenic effect on prostate cancer cells. The presence of mTOR allows for prostate cancer cells to reprogram their metabolism to sustain their rapid growth and proliferation.

These two researchers work at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, in collaboration with Dr. Simone Chevalier at the McGill University Health Centre.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Helping those who help others

Strengthening caregiving for cancer patients

Dr. Sylvie Lambert
McGill University

High-quality cancer care in Canada relies on caregiving provided by partners or family members. In Canada, cancer is the second most common condition requiring caregiving. Despite this, caregivers remain a largely hidden workforce operating with minimal formal support, resulting in high anxiety and low quality of life. This is why Dr. Sylvie Lambert’s research program focuses on developing and evaluating clinical interventions that provide the best available information and support to meet the needs of patients with cancer and their families. The interventions developed by Dr. Lambert’s team try to minimize costs to ensure their sustainability. Such interventions include the use of online platforms, or approaches that are tailored to caregivers’ specific needs.

Dr. Sylvie Lambert is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Ingram School of Nursing, and Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Sustainable Self-Management Support for Patients with Cancer and Their Family Caregivers.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Advancing our understanding of type 2 diabetes

Groundbreaking research on insulin and cellular growth

Dr. Barry I. Posner
McGill University Health Centre

My research has focused on insulin and growth factor (GF) action emphasizing their relationship to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We have identified hormone receptors in tissues not previously regarded as target tissues. We have also defined insulin and other peptide hormone receptors in the circumventricular organs of the CNS, providing the structural basis by which they influence CNS function. We were the first to show that insulin and GF cell surface receptor complexes are rapidly internalized into endosomes, from which cell signaling transpires (Signal Endosome Hypothesis). We identified the peroxovanadium (pV) compounds as potent insulin mimickers acting through the inhibition of phosphotyrosine phosphatases deactivating the IR. This led to studies defining various endosomal processes regulating IR and GF receptor functions, including regulation of pH and proteolysis. Our group was also the first to use a Genome Wide Association Study to identify genes associated with T2DM.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Healthy moms, healthy babies

Interventions to improve maternal mental health, breastfeeding, and postpartum conditions

Dr. Cindy-Lee Denis
University of Toronto

My maxim is simple: “Healthy babies start with healthy moms.” This belief has led me to focus my overall program of research on the rigorous evaluation of interventions to directly improve maternal health, which indirectly enhances infant outcomes.

My specific areas of research focus include: (1) improving breastfeeding outcomes; (2) detecting, preventing and treating perinatal depression and anxiety; (3) examining the health of immigrant mothers and infants; and (4) developing postpartum interventions that include fathers.

The Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale I developed has become the most widely used breastfeeding measure in the world, providing me with numerous opportunities to collaborate with researchers internationally, from United Arab Emirates, to Brazil, to Turkey, and China. 

I am currently the principal investigator of six large, multi-site studies and am a co-investigator on 20 other funded investigations. In addition, I recently received CIHR funding to lead a 10-year $17 million trial designed to determine whether a four-phase “preconception to early childhood” lifecourse intervention can (1) reduce child overweight and obese states, (2) improve cardiometabolic risk factors, (3) enhance child development and school readiness by the age of five , and (4) positively impact parental outcomes.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Helping people with developmental disabilities overcome barriers to achieve their best health

The big picture: Acquiring a new perspective on how best to treat the complex health needs of adults with developmental disabilities

Dr. Yona Lunsky
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)

People with developmental disabilities often have complicated health needs, and they have trouble getting the right care. Often that’s because providers lack the right knowledge to support them, because there isn’t enough research being done about the needs of this group.

We’re working to fill that gap by learning more about the health care needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families, to ensure that our health care system doesn’t let them fall through the cracks. So part of our work has been to study all adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario to get the big picture on which parts of the health system are working, and which have the most problems.

Learning from the numbers and from people’s stories, we’re working together with patients, families, and health care staff to create tools that will help people with developmental disabilities achieve their best health.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Choosing wisely: A high-value diagnostic approach to low-back pain

Clinical decision making tool helps emergency physicians select which patients require an x-ray for lower back pain

Dr. Jill Hayden
Dalhousie University

CIHR has funded Dr. Jill Hayden, a Dalhousie epidemiologist, and her team to develop a clinical decision tool to help emergency physicians determine which patients with low-back pain should be given x-rays.

“Nearly a third of patients who present to emergency with low-back pain are receiving diagnostic imaging,” says Dr. Hayden. “Yet, fewer than 5% of patients have a serious low-back pathology.”

“The evidence is clear that x-rays are not harmless,” says Dr. Kirk Magee, research director in Dalhousie’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “Apart from radiation, x-rays can lead to more invasive tests. Beyond patient safety, we have to consider responsible use of resources.”

A team of skilled researchers and clinicians are collaborating in Nova Scotia and Ottawa, involving 4,000 patients over the five-year study. “The challenge is to identify which patients are at highest risk of a serious condition, while avoiding unnecessary x-rays for those at low risk.”

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Heel2Toe: Gait training for seniors

A simple strategy to allow seniors to improve their gait and take good health in stride

Dr. Nancy Mayo
McGill University

Many seniors are unable to sustain walking at an intensity that promotes health and meets the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines because of illness induced deconditioning, inattention, or ageing. Gait abnormalities can cascade into a slow, unstable, shuffling pattern that increases the amount of work demanded by walking, increasing fatigue, and the risk of falls, hip fracture, and even death.

Evidence shows that gait training is effective in improving gait pattern, but the effects abate once the training stops.  Physiotherapists have been using verbal and visual cues to place the heel first when stepping. This simple strategy changes posture from stooped to upright and lengthens the stride.

But once verbal cueing ceases, patients revert to an inefficient foot-flat gait. Our team has developed a biofeedback device that provides real-time auditory feedback for each “good” step, in which the heel strikes first; Heel2Toe. This product applies to all health conditions that can produce gait vulnerability.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Memories: Are they really pressed between the pages of our mind?

While a definitive answer to how the brain stores memories remains elusive, researchers persist

Dr. Wayne Sossin
McGill University

I became interested in memory through computers. Understanding how memories are stored in computers is easy (we designed it), but understanding how brains store memories is a fascinating and unanswered question.

In molecular biology, a few pioneers answered the hardest problems of how life works by asking simple questions. This led me to study memory in a simple model system, where the connections between neurons (synapses) that stored memory had already been identified and I could ask a simple question: What caused the changes in these connections and how are those changes maintained?

Our answers have implications in many health areas including how to erase pathological memories after trauma and how to strengthen memory formation during aging and disease; but the fact remains that there is a fundamental biological mechanism for something as basic as memory that is still not understood. This is what motivates me every day.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


From the laboratory to bedside: the fascinating saga of the five decades of health research

The pioneering work of leading Canadian researchers reveals the existence of proteins involved in the body’s key biological processes

Drs. Nabil G. Seidah and Michel Chrétien
Montreal Clinical Research Institution (IRCM)

Constituting a broad group of biochemically active molecules that are essential for cellular function, secretory proteins, such as hormones, enzymes, and receptors, proprotein convertases belong to a family of proteins that activate other proteins and are involved in many important biological processes. 

In 1967, the pioneering work of Michel Chrétien and Donald Steiner independently revealed that such products derive from inactive precursors (pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and pro-Insulin) following cleavage at pairs of basic residues by specific proteases (proprotein convertases; PCSKs).

This precursor/product model was later found to be applicable to most processed secretory proteins in the brain and periphery.

It took 40 years for the Medical Research Council/Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded teams, successively led by Drs Chrétien and Seidah, before the 9-membered family of PCSKs was completely discovered and their functions validated in health and disease states.

The last member PCSK9 is a huge success story of our team, as its inhibition is used worldwide to treat hypercholesterolemia. The implications of other PCSKs in illnesses such as cancer/metastasis, neurodegeneration and other pathologies are actively been pursued.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Helping schools to better meet the mental health needs of students

Researchers are hard at work evaluating the real-world effectiveness of school-based mental health interventions

Dr. Karen Patte
Brock University

My main research focus is the promotion of youth mental health, and the prevention and early identification of mental illness. Schools represent an opportune setting for these efforts, given that almost all young Canadians attend for an average of 25 hours a week.

In conducting our research, school officials have consistently told us that mental health is their top prevention priority, and yet, the majority of schools report unmet student mental health needs. Schools require support in addressing youth mental health, but the evidence on how to effectively and safely intervene remains limited.

With the pressure to act, there has been an expansion of mental health-related programs running in schools; however, the majority of these have not been evaluated and/or are not evidence-based. In response, our team developed and tested tools to evaluate the real-word effectiveness of school-based mental health interventions.

We will be implementing these tools in more than 80 secondary schools, as part of the ongoing COMPASS study. The project is designed to continually improve school programs, policies, and resources for the advancement of youth mental health.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


From left to right: Gaofeng Dong (postdoc fellow); Hasan Salim (dentistry student); Yung-Hua Li (PI); Xiao-Lin Tian (technician and lab manager) and Kayla Cyr (dentistry student)

Bacteria-busters!

Oral microbiologists are hard at work developing new strategies to prevent tooth decay

Dr. Yung-Hua Li
Dalhousie University

Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in humans, affecting nearly all populations during their lifespans. Although tooth decay is not life threatening, diagnosing, treating and re-treating tooth decay is a major financial burden to the public health system worldwide.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria living in the mouth. One bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, is considered to be the primary cariogenic pathogen because it is highly effective in forming dental plaque, metabolizing sugar, and producing acids that attack tooth surfaces. This bacterium is also capable of adapting to the host’s defense mechanisms, allowing it to survive better in the oral cavity.

In this project, we are investigating how this bacterium adapts to the host defense mechanisms. The knowledge obtained from the research will allow us to develop new strategies for the prevention of tooth decay.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Drug addictions in Canada: Rising to the myriad of challenges

Overcoming drug addiction with advances in treatment and new therapeutic strategies

Dr. Bernard Le Foll
Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)

Drug addiction is a major challenge in Canada. Alcohol and tobacco are producing the largest impact, but we are also facing an opioid crisis and the rise of cannabis use. As an addiction physician, I am coordinating the care in Addiction Medicine at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto in order to allow patients access to the latest developments in Addiction Care.

We are also studying the processes underlying addiction with the goal of developing novel treatment strategies in the laboratory. This has been a fruitful approach that has led to the discovery of several possible new therapeutic strategies. Notably we have identified that modulating the function of some receptors and/or brain areas could allow decreasing motivation to take drugs and prevent relapse.

We are now studying some of those novel approaches in clinical population with the goal to develop novel therapies.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Breast cancer survivor turned author

Health research patient experience translates into a new career path

Ms. Martina Wood
Breast Cancer Survivor and Patient Advocate, Mississauga

Diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2 breast cancer, I wanted to do whatever I could.

When asked to choose between treatments, I didn’t have the knowledge to make a good decision. That started my deep dive, researching medical journals and conferences, and consulting with my pathologist and an oncology nurse friend.

The research I gathered was “ahead of the curve” – such as new guidelines, not yet standard of care due to an implementation lag (still ongoing). Using St. Gallen 2015 conference notes, I developed a matrix to help identify one’s subtype, and decision charts, to see one’s options (lumpectomy or mastectomy? etcetera) and factors considered for a treatment recommendation.

I wrote a book to share this valuable, easy to read research with other women: Smart Decisions about Breast Cancer – choices, risks, living well, preventing recurrence, published in October 2015 and still extremely relevant.

I’m happy that my work helps more women make smart decisions.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Recognizing the power of effective communications in patient care and outcomes

Shaping a positive patient experience with carefully developed competent communication skills

Dr. Sally Thorne
University of British Columbia

Sally Thorne’s research program uncovers patient perspectives’ on the human impact of the manner in which we conceptualize and deliver care for chronic conditions including cancer.

In particular, she has focused her efforts on the relational aspects of care delivery, including  communication between health care professionals and recipients of their care as a critically important factor to shaping health outcomes. 

When we recognize how powerful communication can be in shaping patient experience, especially in the context of these complex health conditions, we inevitably seek insights into how to enhance the quality of the communicative environment within which all patients receive care.

The need for solidly grounded, clinically meaningful and practical, useable knowledge in this field is expanding exponentially and is what continues to drive this program of research.

Increasingly complex communications are called for given developments such as a palliative approach to care – across the full spectrum of chronic and life-limiting illnesses, legal instruments such as advance directives, and the advent of medical assistance in dying.

Further reading

November 20, 2017


Rearranging genes to fight bacteria

Studying how rearranging genes through genomics could lead to the development of more effective antibacterial drugs

Dr. Marc Ouellette
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity
Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval (CHUL)

As an undergraduate student in biology at University of Ottawa, I was flabbergasted by the mechanisms of antigenic variation in African trypanosomes. The extent of how DNA rearrangements in trypanosomes can control gene expression was simply mind-blowing and, as a result, DNA became the focus of my scientific career. As a PhD student at Laval University, I studied how they are associated with antibiotic resistance in bacteria. I then went to Amsterdam as a postdoctoral fellow to study antigenic variation in trypanosomes. While carrying out that work, I became intrigued with how  related parasites (Leishmania) rearranged even more DNA to resist drugs. All of my work regarding gene rearrangements in bacteria and parasites led to drug resistance studies! I came back to Canada in 1990 so that I could work at Laval University. I have focused on how antimicrobial resistance is currently a world public health issue and how genomic work could be helpful in providing tools and targets to deal with it.

Further reading

November 15, 2017


Helping people who are substance users to shape their health care

Understanding how marginalized population experiences barriers to primary health care

Dr. Karen Urbanoski
University of Victoria

Primary health care delivered with understanding and compassion for people who use drugs is the focus of a new patient-oriented research study co-led by Karen Urbanoski, a researcher with the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research BC (CARBC) and the School of Public Health and Social Policy.

Health researchers from CARBC are partnering with service providers, policy-makers and substance-users to determine how this marginalized population experiences barriers to primary health care. “Part of the project’s role is to help physicians understand what it’s like for this group of people to seek health care,” says Dr. Urbanoski, the Canada Research Chair in Substance Use, Addictions and Health Services Research. “It’s really challenging, whether they’re drug users or face other disadvantages such as poverty, homelessness, violence, racism, colonialism. We see this work as the kind of thing that can be turned into training, and to help develop a model for safe primary care.”

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Tackling health disparities faced by Indigenous communities with inclusive research

Acknowledges the strength and value of Indigenous knowledge and cultural traditions can be healing for participants

Dr. Charlotte Loppie
University of Victoria

Charlotte Loppie has dedicated her career to making Indigenous community engagement central to the research process. As a professor with the University of Victoria’s School of Public Health and Social Policy and director of the university’s Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement, Dr. Loppie conducts research that is “consistently proposed and directed by Indigenous communities or collectives that represent full, equal and active partners in all aspects of the research process.”

She’s currently partnering on Visioning Health II, a research study that builds on the earlier work of Doris Peltier (Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network) and Tracey Prentice with HIV-positive Indigenous women, which found that research conducted with particular attention paid to Indigenous knowledge, cultural traditions and strengths, can be healing for participants.

The current study is being conducted in partnership with HIV-positive Indigenous women in eight regions across Canada to explore the impact of this process on women’s health.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


The invisible injury: Raising awareness of concussions

Uncovering the mystery surrounding concussion remains a priority for health professionals

Dr. Brian Christie
University of Victoria

Research into the mystery of concussions remains a priority for health professionals trying to understand a complex condition, according to University of Victoria brain researcher, Dr. Brian Christie. A major focus for Dr. Christie and his team is understanding the biological mechanisms that contribute to learning potential and the ability to recover from neuropathology in both hereditary and acquired brain injury. 

His clinical lab focuses on how to better assess and treat brain injury and dementia in clinical populations. Together, these research efforts have benefited thousands of athletes on Vancouver Island, through education and by exposing them to cutting edge technologies for brain injury treatment and recovery. 

“There’s enormous interest in brain injury, and we’re fortunate to have attracted significant community engagement,” says Dr. Christie. “Data from new assessment tools will empower doctors, parents, players and coaches to make better decisions about treatment and safe strategies for a patient to return to play.”

Further reading

November 10, 2017


COMPASS: Guiding new directions in the advancement of youth health

A national research-to-practice asset helps to effectively guide and improve youth-focused policies and programs

Dr. Scott Leatherdale
University of Waterloo

With the support of CIHR, I created the COMPASS system as a national research-to-practice asset in order to help more effectively guide and continually improve the success and impact of youth-focused prevention policy and programming.

As a learning system, COMPASS has been purposefully designed to:

Further reading

November 10, 2017


It’s not about nature versus nurture: Both make us who we are

The delicate balance between genes and their environment nutures an organism’s ability to adapt and thrive in its surroundings

Dr. Marla Sokolowski
University of Toronto

An organism’s ability to adapt and thrive in its surroundings relies on a delicate balance between genes and their environment. Gene-by-environment interactions are emerging as key contributors to human health, with an increase in scientific studies reporting gene variants that enhance or dampen the effects of environmental exposures that lead to disease states.

Fruit flies are an ideal model system to study this relationship, given that their genotype and environments can be faithfully manipulated and their organ systems studied directly. My lab studies a well-characterized paradigm, wherein two naturally occurring alleles of the foraging (for) gene underscore differences in complex phenotypes including foraging behavior, metabolism, stress resistance and learning and memory in relation to food availability.

Importantly, the for gene is conserved from fly to humans, and has been shown to modulate behavior and metabolism across species. Using our expertise in behaviour, genetics, molecular biology, epigenetics, neurobiology, evolution and ecology, we hope to further elucidate the significance of gene-by-environment interactions and uncover pathways through which the environment an individual experiences become biologically embedded. 

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Occupational health risks of the sharing economy

Free falling: Established regulatory structures for employment and occupational health standards don’t apply

Dr. Ellen MacEachen
University of Waterloo

The health risks posed by the growth of the ‘sharing economy’ marketplace in Canada are unknown. A key challenge is that this work falls outside of established regulatory structures for employment and occupational health standards. Regulators are struggling to develop programs and policies, and efforts have been inconsistent and scattered. Taking the case of UberX ride sharing, we are conducting a developmental evaluation of occupational health risk and regulation opportunities in UberX work. This study uses qualitative research methods to examine how key Uber and related parties appraise and navigate workplace risks, passenger safety risk, and envisage appropriate regulation for a changing health risk landscape. The study will develop knowledge on ride-sharing risks, how they differ for men and women, and their mechanisms. In consultation with key stakeholders, we will identify promising regulatory options for occupational health policy.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Unraveling the mystery surrounding physical and mental illness co-occurring in children

Identifying at-risk children to inform interventions that will prevent or reduce the incidence of early multimorbidity

Dr. Mark Ferro
University of Waterloo

Multimorbidity (co-occurrence of physical and mental illness) affects approximately 10 per cent of children. Because physical and mental illnesses are chronic in nature, the consequences of multimorbidity extend throughout life. Despite evidence that physical illness increases risk for mental illness, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not well understood. Dr. Ferro investigates the role of biological and psychosocial factors in the development of childhood multimorbidity. His research is showing that the risk for mental illness is remarkably consistent across children with different physical illnesses suggesting an inherent risk among these children, regardless of the type of physical illness. By understanding the extent to which this risk is driven by biological mechanisms such as systemic inflammation, psychosocial experiences such as changes in the family environment, or a combination of these two processes, Dr. Ferro’s work helps identify at-risk children; ultimately informing interventions to prevent and reduce the incidence of multimorbidity early in life.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Mitigating the community health impacts of mining

Supporting developing countries efforts to integrate health impact assessment tools into mining licensure policies

Dr. Craig Janes
University of Waterloo

For many countries, the wealth promised by mining metal and oil and gas affords potential opportunities for economic and social development. But mining also has a significant impact on the health of communities living in or near mining sites.

These impacts go well beyond the pollution and degradation of air, soil and water, and include the often complex challenges associated with such things as population influx and stresses on housing and essential public health infrastructure.

Our international partnership team has focused on developing more robust means to manage these impacts, focusing initially on Mongolia, a country where Canadian mining interests are dominant. Over the past five years, with CIHR support, we have supported successful Mongolian efforts to integrate health impact assessment tools into their mining licensure policies. Recently we have begun to extend these efforts to two countries in Africa where Canadian interests also dominate: Zambia and Tanzania.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Gathering evidence for stronger tobacco control

As addictive and harmful as they were 50 years ago, cigarettes kill more than 6,000,000 smokers annually

Dr. David Hammond
University of Waterloo

Tobacco remains the leading cause of premature death in the world — killing more than 6 million people each year. Despite the known health risks, cigarettes are just as addictive and harmful as they were 50 years ago. Working with governments around the world, Dr. David Hammond is tackling the global tobacco epidemic through stronger control laws and new prevention measures.

His research on the effects of plain packaging, low-nicotine cigarettes and youth consumption of tobacco products provides decision makers with the best evidence needed in order to tighten legislation and to develop new policies to protect the health of populations. He is also studying policies to reduce sugar intake in the Canadian population.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


CRISPR/Cas9: New DNA technology offers ray of hope

Hereditary diseases, including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, could become a thing of the past thanks to gene-correction technology

Dr. Jacques P. Tremblay
CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Center

My research team is using a new technology, CRISPR/Cas9, to develop therapies for hereditary diseases. This technique permits the modification of the human genome by inducing a cut in the DNA at exactly the selected site by using a Cas9 nuclease and a single guide RNA (sgRNA), which hybridizes with a unique 20 nucleotide sequence in the human genome. 

We have found the CRISPR/Cas9 technique useful to remove an elongated GAA trinucleotide (DNA-triplets) repeat by cutting before and after this repeat. The removal of the repeat permits to increase the expression of the frataxin protein and would thus be therapeutic.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is due to point mutations or deletions that change the reading frame of the dystrophin gene. These mutations result in the absence of the dystrophin protein under the muscle fibre membrane resulting in frequent damage to the fibres and progressive muscle weakness.

Using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, we have been able to remove an additional part of the dystrophin gene in order to restore the normal reading frame of the dystrophin gene and the expression of the dystrophin protein. The restoration of this protein should prevent the development of the muscle weakness. The CRISPR/Cas9 technique may eventually be used to correct the genes responsible for thousands of hereditary diseases affecting millions of patients.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Front-line family physician transfers real-life experience into research

How well medical knowledge is applied in practice makes a difference in the lives of patients

Dr. James A. Dickinson
University of Calgary

I am a family physician and became a researcher because many recommendations about how we should treat our patients did not fit the reality of what we see at the front line. So, I started to work on different subjects, mostly asking how well we apply medical knowledge in practice.

Recently, I began working on prevention guidelines, which mostly aim to stop every case of disease, but ignores the harms that overdoing prevention may cause. My colleagues and I use epidemiological approaches to measure these harms. Then we seek to change policies and provide information that balances the potential for benefit against the likely harms. This assists physicians in their discussions with patients about whether purported preventive procedures are good for them, and enables better choices to be made about screening tests: when to start, when to stop, and how often they should be done. 

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Poverty devastates health and life outcomes: It’s a fact!

A bold partnership with physicians, educators, governments, and community agencies helps Manitobans access benefits and improve their lives

Dr. Noralou Roos
University of Manitoba

As a founding director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, I research links between social determinants and population-level health. Research clearly demonstrates: poverty devastates health and life outcomes. Growing up in poverty leads to less education, underemployment, illness and early death. We have compiled evidence-based research to persuade health care professionals to diagnose and treat patients’ poverty. The Get Your Benefits initiative provides information and patient pamphlets to physicians/health care professionals to convince them to ask every patient a specific set of questions about their income and access to their entitled benefits. For example, filing taxes is one of the most powerful ways of increasing income/defeating poverty: in 2016, $21 million was returned to 9,100 Manitobans earning less than $40,000/year after they filed taxes. This initiative is a bold partnership with physicians, educators, federal/provincial governments and community agencies to help Manitobans access their benefits and improve their lives.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Access to quality dental care is far from universal

Giving voice to those for whom quality dental care is out of reach and inspiring compassion in future dental professionals

Dr. Mario A. Brondani
University of British Columbia

We may take going to the dentist for granted. After volunteering at a nursing home near my office more than 20 years ago and being appalled by the conditions of some residents’ mouths, I decided to investigate access oral health care to those who cannot afford or do not feel welcomed in a dental office.

I like to engage my graduate students and focus my research efforts into unrevealing the broader aspects of dental public health, from policy and advocacy to geriatric dentistry in nursing homes, from issues of stigma faced by some members of our society to qualitative health research – giving a voice to my participants.

By also being involved in ways to better educate future dental professionals, I foster evidence-based knowledge and compassion so that my students can reach out to the underserved; their dental education has to go beyond the walls of the clinic so that we can move closer towards understanding and ensuring that the pathway to good oral health care is optimally delivered.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Looking back with pride

A retrospective look at one health researcher’s career

Dr. Margaret Lock
McGill University

Trained initially in biochemistry and bacteriology, I first became involved in health-related research while doing a PhD in medical anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. My early research was based primarily in Japan and dealt with life-cycle transitions, and brain death and organ transplants.

I have taught in both the medical and arts faculties at McGill University for over 40 years. From 2002 to 2006 I was a member of a team that received a CIHR Operating Grant. Our project was called: Transfer of Bioscience Knowledge: Gene-Based Vulnerability in Psychiatry. I used this funding to track public uptake of and responses to genetic testing for susceptibility genes.

I am now retired and currently working on genomics and epigenetics, with emphasis on new insights into human development, health and illness.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


A degenerative disease of the joints, osteoarthritis affects 50% of people over 65

A devoted granddaughter witnessed the decline of her grandmother due to osteoarthritis and dedicated her career to finding a solution

Dr. S. Amanda Ali
University Health Network

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints, affecting 50% of people over age 65, including my grandmother. Having personally witnessed this disease compromise her function and quality of life, I dedicated my research career to identifying new treatments and improving care.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are several treatment strategies that can be used to reduce symptoms and prevent progression of the disease. Osteoarthritis can result from a variety of risk factors, including age, sex, body mass index, injury, genetics, and others. The ability to classify patients based on their particular risk factors may improve our ability to tailor their treatment such that it is most effective for the individual.

This is the goal of the Kapoor lab, to identify markers in the blood that may be used to classify osteoarthritis patients based on their risk factors, and ultimately improve care.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Battling antibiotic resistance by finding targets for new antibiotics

Designing the next generation antibiotics to better enable us to combat antibiotic resistance

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden
University of Lethbridge

The rise of antibiotic-resistant infections is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a threat to modern medicine and to public health. The WHO Global Action Plan calls for research and the development of new antibiotics. More than 50% of current antibiotics target the bacterial ribosome, the cellular machine essential for translation of genetic information into functional proteins.

Therefore, a detailed understanding of the processes involved is critical for identifying new antimicrobial strategies and to overcome existing and arising microbial resistance. On this background, our research targets the functional cycle of the bacterial ribosome and how antibiotics can selectively interfere and inhibit key properties. By identifying novel inhibition points and molecular requirements essential to the function of the bacterial ribosome, it will be possible to identify compounds that selectively target these processes. Our research will provide the framework for the rational design of next generation antibiotics, enabling us to fight antibiotic resistance.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Every year, 250 million people worldwide contract a parasitic infection from a small, airborne insect

Developing countries situated in tropical regions have a big problem on their hands: Tiny sandflies that carry a deadly parasitic infection – leishmaniasis

Dr. Kishor Wasan
University of Saskatchewan

Open sores, mucosal ulcers, swollen livers, fever—even death: all from the bite of one tiny sandfly. It’s no small issue. In developing countries in tropical regions, more than two million people are infected every year (and over 250 million people worldwide) with leishmaniasis, a parasitic infection that’s transmitted by infected female sandflies. Even in developed countries, these kinds of parasitic infections are leading contributors of death among immunocompromised people (e.g. patients with cancer or AIDS).

Enter Dr. Kishor Wasan, professor and dean at the University of Saskatchewan and adjunct professor and distinguished university scholar at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He has worked long and hard to develop an orally administered form of Amphotericin B that would remain stable in tropical conditions.

Vancouver company, iCo Therapeutics Inc., has now partnered with UBC to advance Dr. Wasan's formulation of Amphotericin B for the treatment of leishmaniasis and other fungal infections. Current work sees the formulation being developed so that it can be taken orally without serious side effects. Oral dosing offers a significant improvement over the current treatment, which is expensive, highly toxic, and can only be administered by injection. An advancement like this makes the technology ideal for application in the developing world. UBC’s commercialization agreement with iCo ensures that development of this Amphotericin B formulation will support our global access objectives.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Dr. James T. Rutka, and his brain tumour team, in the lab at Sick Kids Hospital Research Institute.

From the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside: One researcher’s dream for a cure

Translating discovery science into tangible results to improve the quality of life of patients with lethal brain tumours

Dr. James Rutka
Sick Kids Hospital Research Institute and University of Toronto

I decided to go into health research because, as a neurosurgeon at the University of Toronto, I knew we had little effective therapy for brain tumour patients.  My laboratory is dedicated to increasing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying brain cancer growth and invasion.

Brain tumours are among the most deadly and devastating cancers and we need new treatment strategies to help patients diagnosed with this disease.  We are investigating ways to shut off or slow down the main “molecular motors” that drive brain tumour cells to spread throughout the brain. I have focused on a major signaling pathway which is primarily responsible for this phenomenon –the Rho-GTPase signaling pathway.

Using novel drugs and compounds against this pathway, including conjugated gold nanoparticles, I am increasing the delivery of promising chemotherapeutics to the zone of invasion of brain tumours using magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS).

MRgFUS has the unique ability to cross the blood brain barrier and to provide high concentrations of drugs to targeted areas within and surrounding a brain tumour. The main types of brain tumour my lab is focusing on with this treatment strategy are glioblastoma and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. These are brain cancers for which we have no reliable or effective therapy.

My long-term goal is to be able to translate the discovery science from my research lab into tangible, human clinical trials that will improve the overall survival and quality of life of patients harbouring these lethal tumours. I should like to truly thank the CIHR Institute of Cancer for its generous support for my research program at Sick Kids Hospital, over many years.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


More children and youth are in distress than ever before: Exploring the complex web of contributing factors

Early intervention: Partnering with patients and families to improve child and adolescent mental health outcomes

Dr. Leslie Anne Campbell
Dalhousie University

Dr. Leslie Anne Campbell’s program of research supports the improvement of child and adolescent mental health outcomes at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In recent years, Canadian children and youth have been presenting to emergency departments for mental health and behavioural concerns at steadily increasing rates, in contrast to stable rates for other conditions.

Our current projects aim to understand reasons for this trend.

Through linking existing information and working with communities to fill in gaps in information, Dr. Campbell and her team are able to explore complex protective and risk factors for increasing numbers of young patients presenting to the emergency department. We are partnering with youth and families, using patient engagement strategies, to better understand and incorporate their perspectives in her research directions to ensure we are asking the right questions in the right way.

Our work aims to guide policy and planning, while providing insight about making care more timely, effective, and patient-centered.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


A rural community in a worm-endemic area

Why worm infections matter!

A worm infection can affect one's health over an entire lifespan

Dr. Theresa W. Gyorkos
McGill University

Research on worm infections is probably not on your radar at all. As Canadians, we rarely come into contact with worms. But worm infections can, and do, cause disease. Preschool children, school-age children, and girls and women of reproductive age living in over 100 endemic countries around the globe, are at continual risk of being infected and of suffering health consequences from worm infections.

Depending on the worm load and the age at which worms are acquired, worm infections can have a small or a large effect on one's health over an entire lifespan! Worms have been the focus of my team's international research program since the 1990s, and many of our research projects have been funded by CIHR.

Much of this research has contributed to informing health policy aimed at reducing worm-attributable morbidity. Most recently, we have partnered with the World Health Organization to explore new strategies to reduce the worm burden in girls and women of reproductive age.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Using our body’s internal clock, circadian rhythm, to better treat cardiovascular disease

Translating circadian biology to benefit treatment of patients with heart disease

Dr. Tami A. Martino
University of Guelph

The research being conducted in my laboratory at the University of Guelph (UGuelph) is aimed at understanding how we can apply circadian biology to benefit treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease. Specifically, heart disease has reached epidemic proportions and affects an estimated 1 in 3 adults in Canada. Our studies investigate circadian biology and heart health in both males and females.

The goal of our CIHR funded research is to translate circadian biology (our day and night sleep, physiology, and molecular biology) to clinical medicine, and specifically to develop new treatments for heart attacks.

Based on the knowledge derived from our research, we may be able to develop new treatments for a heart attack that can be given alongside conventional therapies, which will reduce heart scarring (infarct expansion) and improve patient outcomes.

We also created the Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations at UGuelph, with the goal of advancing Canadian cardiovascular health care innovation and training the next generation of scientists and clinicians.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


Drafting a blueprint of how our body works

Computer-based analysis compiles a treasure trove of information on the complex cellular network

Dr. Gary Bader
University of Toronto

The human genome project has unveiled a large number of parts, but scientists don’t fully understand how these parts fit together. Revealing and understanding this information is important, as biomolecules interact inside us and arrange themselves into intricate networks and pathways that control all aspects of a cell’s function.

Diseases arise if this network is broken in specific ways. Understanding exactly how this complicated network functions has the potential to improve diagnosis, prognosis and therapy and reduce the cost of medical care in Canada and the world. My lab develops computer-based analysis methods to tie all of the information that we know about our cells into a blueprint of how our body works. Our methods have led to the discovery of biological systems underlying autism and the first potential targeted therapy for a childhood brain cancer.

Further reading

November 10, 2017


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