Dr. Weihong Song has recently published two studies in the journal Molecular Psychiatry that provide insight into the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. The most recent paper, published today, built on a discovery he and colleagues made almost a decade ago, involving a family living in southern China. All three siblings, as well as adult child of one of those siblings, developed early-onset…
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Enzyme Structures of the Bacterial Peptidoglycan and Wall Teichoic Acid Biogenesis Pathways

The bacterial cell wall is a complex polymeric structure with essential roles in defence, survival and pathogenesis. Common to both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria is the mesh-like peptidoglycan sacculus that surrounds the outer leaflet of the cytoplasmic membrane. Recent crystallographic studies of enzymes that comprise the peptidoglycan biosynthetic pathway have led to significant new understanding of all stages. These include initial multi-step cytosolic formation…
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ICORD Investigator Dr. Shannon Kolind and research scientist Dr. Babak Shadgan are among seventeen BC-based health researchers to have received 2018 Scholar Awardsfrom the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. These important awards support researchers in the early stages of their careers as they develop their research programs and grow their labs. Dr. Kolind is an assistant professor in the division of Neurology in the UBC…
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Machine Learning Takes Disease Detection to the Next Level

Inside the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), a clinician peers through a microscope. She is looking at a thin slice from a block of paraffin wax embedded with tissue samples, searching for clues to cure disease. VGH neuropathologist and VCHRI researcher Dr. Stephen Yip calls this the analogue version of histology—the study of the…
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Pascal Biosciences Inc., is pleased to announce significant progress in its cannabinoid based research and development program with the University of British Columbia (UBC). Pascal has been licensed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to conduct research and development on cannabinoids. Pascal is also pleased to renew the UBC collaboration and continue financial support of Dr. Wilfred Jefferies’ laboratory…
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Our laboratory is interested in providing molecular insights into the cause(s) and pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and identifying and validating novel therapeutic strategies and targets to treat people with IBD. A MALT1 deficiency was identified as a cause of a primary immune deficiency accompanied by severe gastrointestinal inflammation in a child treated at BC Children’s Hospital. In this study, we determined the role of Malt1 in macrophage-mediated inflammation in vitro and in vivo in a mouse model of induced intestinal inflammation...
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Study Finds Important Gaps, New Research Priorities in Pediatric Concussion

“We were hoping to assemble neuroimaging data around concussion in kids to inform our research – instead we were surprised to find big gaps,” said Dr. Julia Schmidt, a post-doctoral fellow with Drs. Lara Boyd and Jill Zwicker. “Despite the prevalence and urgency of concussion, there were very few studies that looked at brain differences post-injury in children specifically.” A systematic review, published…
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Sporulation is used by some types of bacteria to survive harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures, chemical disinfection, or periods of nutrient deprivation1. Strains of the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus often cause food-borne illnesses due to cross-contamination; their ability to sporulate allows them to withstand standard sanitation protocols within the food industry2. The process of sporulation begins with unequal cell division of…
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Investments are a critical component in innovation. Without funding, it would be impossible to carry out the research that leads to the next breakthrough to grow our economy, and it’s government-funded basic research that gets the ball rolling. “What you don’t see is venture capitalists funding broad-based research,” says John Ruffolo, Chief Executive Officer at OMERS Ventures. “And this is just like…
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The development of cell-based therapies to replace missing or damaged tissues within the body or generate cells with a unique biological activity requires a reliable and accessible source of cells. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) have emerged as a strong candidate cell source capable of extended propagation in vitro and differentiation to clinically relevant cell types. However, the application of…
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