Informing a grieving family that their child has suddenly died of unexplainable causes is a painful task for all coroners. Yet that’s the sad reality in an estimated 700 pediatric deaths each year in Canada. But recent SFU alumna Laura Dewar, a former B.C. coroner who graduated from SFU last December with a PhD in biomedical physiology and kinesiology, says her…
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Characterization and quantification of tumour clonal populations over time via longitudinal sampling are essential components in understanding and predicting the response to therapeutic interventions. Computational methods for inferring tumour clonal composition from deep-targeted sequencing data are ubiquitous, however due to the lack of a ground truth biological data, evaluating their performance is difficult. In this work, we generate a benchmark…
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InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the research and development of novel, cannabinoid-based drug therapies, announced today results from a study co-sponsored by InMed (Dr. Sazzad Hossain, Chief Scientific Officer) and the University of British Columbia (laboratories of Profs. Ujendra Kumar and Vikramaditya Yadav). The InMed-UBC study is the first ever to report hydrogel-mediated cannabinoid nanoparticle delivery to the eye, resulting in enhanced drug uptake…
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Researchers at SFU and Brazil’s Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) are collaborating to determine why certain insects transmit diseases. The work has brought Brazilian scientist Pedro Oliveira to SFU for a two-week stint to work with his collaborator, biological sciences professor Carl Lowenberger. The two researchers began their collaboration nearly a decade ago, after discovering they were both involved in similar…
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The B.C. Lung Screen Trial at Vancouver General Hospital is currently recruiting 2,000 individuals from the Lower Mainland who are between 55 and 80 years of age, with at least a 30-pack-years smoking history to take part in a new lung cancer research project. The study is jointly funded by the VGH-UBC Hospital Foundation, the BC Cancer Foundation, and the…
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October 2017 Award Winners

Dr. Carlo Menon of Simon Fraser University has been awarded a New Infrastructure Grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to create a centre for wearable biomedical technologies. Find out who else in Vancouver won grants, awards, fellowships, and scholarships in the month of October…
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Scientists are altering a powerful gene-editing technology in hopes of one day fighting diseases without making permanent changes to people’s DNA. The trick: Edit RNA instead, the messenger that carries a gene’s instructions. “If you edit RNA, you can have a reversible therapy,” important in case of side effects, said Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard,…
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RECQ-Like Helicases Sgs1 and BLM Regulate R-Loop-Associated Genome Instability

Sgs1, the orthologue of human Bloom’s syndrome helicase BLM, is a yeast DNA helicase functioning in DNA replication and repair. We show that SGS1 loss increases R-loop accumulation and sensitizes cells to transcription-replication collisions. Yeast lacking SGS1 accumulate R-loops and γ-H2A at sites of Sgs1 binding, replication pausing regions, and long genes. The mutation signature of sgs1Δ reveals copy number changes flanked by repetitive regions…
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Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced the initiation of a Phase 1 “first-in-human” clinical trial of its proprietary epilepsy product candidate, XEN1101, which is an orally administered Kv7 potassium channel opener that has the potential to treat both adult as well as rare pediatric genetic forms of epilepsy. The Clinical Trial Application (CTA) for XEN1101 was accepted by the Medicines & Healthcare…
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