Interview with Dr. Dylan Cooke

Dr. Cooke’s innovative research program explores links between variation in brain organization and behaviour, response to injury, and the brain’s capacity to rewire itself. In laboratory experiments, variation between individuals has almost always been regarded as a complication to be minimized and thus, very little is known about individual variation in brain organization. Dr. Cooke aims to characterize and study…
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People in Profile: Gillian Vandekerkhove

I study disease progression and treatment resistance in prostate, bladder and testicular cancer. I am interested in how tumors evolve in response to therapy; I find their adaptability fascinating. Conventionally, patient tissue biopsies are necessary for this type of research.  However, my research utilizes minimally-invasive blood draws, often referred to as liquid biopsies. From these standard blood draws, I profile…
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Mechanical Anisotropy in GNNQQNY Amyloid Crystals

Mapping the nanomechanical properties of amyloids can provide valuable insights into structure and assembly mechanisms of protein aggregates that underlie the development of various human diseases. Although it is well-known that amyloids exhibit an intrinsic stiffness comparable to that of silk (1-10 GPa), a detailed understanding of the directional dependence (anisotropy) of the stiffness of amyloids and how it relates…
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Dr. Fabio Rossi and Stem Cell Research

Human cells do two contradictory things equally well. One of those things, regeneration, sustains life; the other, degeneration, is detrimental and leads to death. As time passes, the body’s mechanism of regeneration starts to fall apart, and damage that would have been easily repaired leads instead to what scientists call fibrosis. The real-life term is aging. Dr. Fabio Rossi, director at…
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While speediness is a priority for any animal trying to escape a predator or avoid a fall, a new study by Simon Fraser University researchers suggests that even the fastest reflexes among all animals are remarkably slow. “Animals as small as shrews and as large as elephants are built out of the same building blocks of nerve and muscle,” says…
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In this study, we characterized the role of a specific class of repetitive elements in the genome, known as long-terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, in directing the establishment of DNA methylation in oocytes, and how they may influence the expression of nearby genes in the offspring. Notably, a subset of LTR elements are particularly active, ie transcribed at high levels, in both rodent and human oocytes. To study the implications of expression of such parasitic elements and their relics, we utilized genome-wide approaches to study the relationship between such LTR-initiated transcription units (LITs)...
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What exactly is neuropathic pain, and why do we feel it? ICORD PI Dr. John Kramerrecently acquired the first laser for pain research in BC, and he and his team are using it to answer some fundamental questions about neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is estimated to affect at least half of people with SCI, and it can originate all over the body,…
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August 2018 Award Winners

Dr. Bruce McManus at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation and Dr. Andrew Krahn at St. Paul's Hospital have both been awarded the Margolese National Heart Disorders prize for their work on detecting and managing heart rhythm disorders and developing a diagnostic for heart, lung and kidney failure, respectively. Find out which other Vancouver researchers won grants, awards, fellowships, or scholarships this August...
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“It’s been absolute hell,” Sara* says of the depression that has ripped through at least five generations of her family. Her great grandmother killed herself at the age of 35. Her grandmother ended her own life in 1988, after suffering for decades. Her great aunt spent 40 years in a German asylum, shunned from society for her depression. Her uncles,…
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Remyelination occurs after spinal cord injury (SCI) but its functional relevance is unclear. We assessed the necessity of myelin regulatory factor (Myrf) in remyelination after contusive SCI by deleting the gene from platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha positive (PDGFRα-positive) oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) in mice prior to SCI. While OPC proliferation and density are not altered by Myrf inducible knockout…
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