Dr. T. Alexander Quinn, Physiology & Biophysics
$20,000 for stretching device for dynamic stretch of single live cells
The heart is an electrically driven pump vital for life. In health, electrical signals travel through the heart in a regular pattern. The heart can adjust its electrical activity to a large variety of inputs, including tissue stretch. In disease, increased mechanical loa increases tissue stretch, while at the same time affecting the heart's ability to respond to this stretch, causing it to malfunction. Once consequence is deadly disturbances in electrical activity known as arrhythmias. The understanding of the contribution of stretch to arrhythmias is severely lacking. The overall goal of this research is to understand how the hearet responds to stretch in health, to discover how changes lead to arrhythmias in disease, and to develop new and improved preventive and treatment options.
Dr. Christopher J. Sinal, Pharmacology
$26,000 for equipment to support a study into obesity
In Canada, a growing number of the population have excess fat and are termed obese. This condition is a major cause of disability and early death. Obese individuals are also at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. However, the understanding of how obesity increases the risk for developing these other disorders remains incomplete. A chemical called chemerin that is released in increasing amounts from fat with obesity has been identified - this study will examine how the changes in chemerin secretion relate to obesity-related disorders and to identify new methods to modify the release of chemerin from fat or modify the actions of chemerin in the body.
Dr. Alon Friedman, Medical Neuroscience
$30,000 for equipment to support epilepsy research
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases, and frequently follows insults to the brain, such as traumatic or ischemic injuries. Despite the prevalence of epilepsy and the morbidity associated with seizures, at present, there are no means to identify patients at risk to develop epilepsy nor to prevent the development of the disease. A key role for vascular brain pathology in the development of epilepsy was discovered in the last decade. A specific signalling pathway - transforming growth factor beta - which is involved in the development of epilepsy after vascular injury was further discovered. This research aims to test the efficacy of new strategies to facilitate vascular repair - as a potential preventive measure for the development of epilepsy and associated brain damage of traumatic and ischemic brain injuries. The equipment will allow the continuous recording of brain activity in injured animals, characterization of abnormal activity and epileptic seizures, and their response to novel treatments.