Intracellular nucleotide‐binding (NB) and leucine‐rich repeat (NLR) proteins function as immune receptors to recognize effectors from pathogens. They often guard host proteins that are the direct targets of those effectors. Recent findings revealed that a typical NLR sometimes cooperates with another atypical NLR for effector recognition. Here, by using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing method, knockout analysis and biochemical assays, we uncovered…
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HIV isolates are extremely genetically variable (the HIV-1 group M “pandemic" isolates can be classified into 9 subtypes and nearly 100 circulating recombinant forms), and our knowledge of immune-driven escape pathways and their functional costs is largely limited to HIV subtype B, and to a lesser extent C. Our study represents the first characterization of immune-driven adaptation pathways in HIV subtypes A1 and D, which dominate in East Africa, and the first statistically rigorous characterization...
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Salt has long been an enigma in the taste field, because it elicits different responses depending on concentration. We love a little bit of salt (French fries, etc.) but really don’t like it at high concentrations (think about swallowing sea water). It has been proposed that this dual effect arises from activation of two taste cell types – a ‘low salt’ cell that produces attraction, and a ‘high salt’ cell that produces aversion. What we show is that in flies, salt affects all five...
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In this manuscript we describe a novel approach in studying cancer biology – we explored genetic/epigenetic programming in fetal tissues to reveal extinct cellular processes that, when “re-awakened” in adult tissues, alters and ultimately disrupts the function of cancer stem cells. We happened upon this idea from work by Connie Eaves and others who had previously shown that the behavior of fetal hematopoietic stem cells...
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It has been well-established that aging in both humans and animals is associated with impairments in learning and memory. However, it is less clear how aging might affect integration of different memories to guide more complex forms of cognition (sometimes referred to as “executive functions”). In this study, we used aged rats to model these deficits, and found that aging was associated with impairments in different executive functions that require flexible use of different types of memories and are mediated by the frontal lobes of the brain.
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The Morin laboratory uses genome sequencing and gene expression analysis to identify and characterize the somatic drivers of aggressive lymphomas and to identify biomarkers of treatment resistance. This particular study has two main findings that are each significant for different reasons. The first one is our description of recurrent mutations in the 3'UTR of the NFKBIZ gene. These represent a novel mechanism of inducing expression of an oncogene in lymphoma. The second main finding is our identification of high expression and copy number alterations affecting the FCGR2B gene...
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Brain organoids are self‐assembled, three‐dimensionally structured tissues that are typically derived from pluripotent stem cells. They are multicellular aggregates that more accurately recapitulate the tissue microenvironment compared to the other cell culture systems and can also reproduce organ function. They are promising models for evaluating drug leads, particularly those that target neurodegeneration, since they are genetically and phenotypically stable over…
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The bacterial type III secretion system, or injectisome, is a syringe shaped nanomachine essential for the virulence of many disease causing Gram-negative bacteria. At the core of the injectisome structure is the needle complex, a continuous channel formed by the highly oligomerized inner and outer membrane hollow rings and a polymerized helical needle filament which spans through and projects into…
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My research program at the Vancouver Prostate Centre has focused on the advancement of precision therapy for bladder cancer, including especially translational research into novel biomarkers and targeted therapies. We are studying the genomic and transcriptomic landscape of muscle invasive bladder cancer before and after chemotherapy in an effort to identify markers of response and pathways of resistance...
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Recent Advances in Applying Nanotechnologies for Cancer Immunotherapy

Cancer immunotherapy aimed at boosting cancer-specific immunoresponses to eradicate tumor cells has evolved as a new treatment modality. Nanoparticles incorporating antigens and immunomodulatory agents can activate immune cells and modulate the tumor microenvironment to enhance anti-tumor immunity. The nanotechnology approach has been demonstrated to be superior to standard formulations in in-vivo settings. In this article, we focus on recent advances…
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