24 August 2015

Grant Recipients 2015

In 2015, the following early-career researchers received Banting Research Foundation Discovery Awards:

Jeffrey Chen, PhD, University of Saskatchewan
Towards a next generation of superior BCG tuberculosis vaccines

Jeremy Hirota, PhD, University of British Columbia
A 3D-printed human airway model for studying respiratory mucosal immune responses

Petra Kienesberger, PhD, Dalhousie University
Role of the adipokine autotaxin in obesity-associated insulin resistance

Morgan Langille, PhD, Dalhousie University
Design and implementation of a human microbiome interaction database

Joon Lee, PhD, University of Waterloo
Personalized predictive analytics based on electronic medical data and patient similarity metrics

Catherine Martel, PhD, Université de Montréal
Lymphatic vessel function in atherosclerosis

Michael Suits, PhD, Wilfrid Laurier University
Protein structure-function relationships in periodontal disease

21 August 2015

Jeffrey Chen, PhD

VIDO-InterVac, University of Saskatchewan

Towards a next generation of superior BCG tuberculosis vaccines

(Photo: Trenna Brusky, VIDO InterVac)

(Photo: Trenna Brusky, VIDO InterVac)

Tuberculosis is a serious global health problem, with one-third of the world’s population having been infected by the infectious agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The only available tuberculosis vaccine, live M. bovis BCG vaccine, has an excellent record in protecting infants, but works poorly in adolescents and adults. Therefore, better tuberculosis vaccines are urgently required. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Jeremy Hirota, PhD

Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia

A 3D-printed human airway model for studying respiratory mucosal immune responses

Jeremy Hirota

Jeremy Hirota

Exposure to allergens and air pollutants in the air we breathe can lead to “lung attacks” in individuals with lung diseases, but it is unclear how this happens and what we can do to stop it. Dr Hirota’s research group studies how exposure to inhaled allergens and air pollution causes irritation and swelling (inflammation) in the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing, and how this causes lung attacks. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Petra Kienesberger, PhD

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University

Role of the adipokine autotaxin in obesity-associated insulin resistance

Kienesberger_cropped 300w
Insulin resistance, a major complication of obesity, is a condition where tissues such as skeletal muscle become unresponsive to the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, which is associated with a shorter life expectancy. Fat tissue releases proteins that influence insulin resistance in obesity. One of these recently identified fat-derived proteins is autotaxin. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Morgan Langille, PhD

Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University

Design and implementation of a human microbiome interaction database

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the microbes living on and in our bodies, called the human microbiome, are important for human health. These microbes help with the digestion of food, defend against unwanted pathogens, stimulate and keep our immune systems in check, and synthesize essential vitamins. In addition, changes in the microbiome have been linked to various diseases and health concerns such as obesity, irritable bowel disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and various autoimmune diseases. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Joon Lee, PhD

School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo

Personalized predictive analytics based on electronic medical data and patient similarity metrics

A regular group meeting of the Health Data Science Lab at the University of Waterloo

A regular group meeting of the Health Data Science Lab at the University of Waterloo


As hospitals and doctors’ offices in Canada rapidly adopt electronic medical records (EMRs), the enormous clinical value of ever-increasing EMR data is receiving the spotlight. In particular, massive EMR data can facilitate personalized medical treatment through identification and analysis of past patients who are similar to a current patient. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Catherine Martel, PhD

Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal/ Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre

Lymphatic vessel function in atherosclerosis

Martel lab group, left to right, François Dallaire, Andreea Milasan, Catherine Martel (Photo: Jonathan B. Béland)

Martel lab group, left to right, François Dallaire, Andreea Milasan, Catherine Martel (Photo: Jonathan B. Béland)

High blood cholesterol is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is called “good cholesterol” because it transports cholesterol away from tissues, such as the blood vessel walls, carrying cholesterol through the blood circulation for eventual excretion through the intestines. Unfortunately, the clinical outcomes aiming at increasing levels of circulating HDL have not been as successful as expected READ THE WHOLE STORY »

21 August 2015

Michael Suits, PhD

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Wilfrid Laurier University

Protein structure-function relationships in periodontal disease

Suits_cropped 300wIn the mouth, a wide variety of microorganisms are embedded in biofilms that contribute to periodontal diseases such as gum disease and tooth decay. To understand the contribution of a consortium of periodontal pathogens, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, and Treponema denticola, to biofilm formation and dental diseases, Dr Suits’ research group will clone, produce and isolate ~40-50 proteins of interest for structure-function characterization. READ THE WHOLE STORY »

Banting Research Foundation
Founded in 1925 by supporters of Frederick Banting,
1923 Nobel laureate for the discovery of insulin


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