A competition designed by MIT, international genetically engineered machinery (iGEM) is where teams across the globe develop a biosensor to solve modern issues from scratch over the summer. At iGEM’s Giant Jamboree in Boston that ran from October 31 to November 4, UBC’s team won two golds for their Paralyte-STX project. “It felt surreal to actually get the news,” said…
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The researchers conducted extensive analyses of the genomes, epigenomes and transcriptomes of Rhabdoid tumours (RTs) from multiple anatomical locations. Their work revealed that not only were tumours from the same anatomical location diverse, but in some cases, brain RTs were actually more similar to non-brain RTs than to other RTs within the brain. They identified five distinct subgroups, some that interacted extensively with the immune system.
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By studying the changes in the brain in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers hope to paint a clearer picture of the biological processes leading to neurodegeneration. An important part of understanding that landscape is making sense of the abundant genomic data that exists in the scientific literature. To find commonalities in the data on expression patterns early…
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Biodiversity of Protists and Nematodes in the Wild Nonhuman Primate Gut

Documenting the natural diversity of eukaryotic organisms in the nonhuman primate (NHP) gut is important for understanding the evolution of the mammalian gut microbiome, its role in digestion, health and disease, and the consequences of anthropogenic change on primate biology and conservation. Despite the ecological significance of gut-associated eukaryotes, little is known about the factors that influence their assembly and…
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The forest industry is a key economic sector in British Columbia (BC), providing 32% ($14.1 billion) of B.C.’s total exports and close to $1 billion in revenue to the provincial government in 2017. The sector is also the primary employer in many parts of the Province and forestry related activities directly support over 7,000 businesses employing over 57,000 people. One…
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Researchers around the world have recently had tremendous success in identifying genes that increase risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with more than 100 genes associated with ASD to date, many of which are already being used to aid diagnosis. However, despite considerable progress, researchers still don’t know what roles many of these genes play in nervous system development and…
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Meet the Researcher: Dr. Christian Kastrup

I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Christian Kastrup at a convening of the NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN), a national association drawn from academia, industry and other enterprises to leverage Canada as a global leader in developing next-generation therapeutics. I soon learned that, aside from his involvement in NMIN, Dr. Kastrup is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry…
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In Huntington disease (HD), the mutated HTT gene expresses with pathogenic gain-of-function activities. The authors present a comprehensive analysis of the HTT gene in nearly 2000 HD patients from 13 distinct populations across five continents, revealing which alleles of HTT offer targets for therapeutic suppression of mutant HTT in the most patients. The study provides a critically important road map to the development of selective HTT silencing therapies for HD patients from a range of ethnically distinct populations around the world.
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Crystal Chau, BSc’15 works for STEMCELL Technologies Inc. as a Research Associate. She shares her experience leading students and guiding them through their new roles and working together to reach a common goal. Crystal also shares her leadership experience with the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Unit managing and leading youth, as well as the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone.…
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The cellular multipass transmembrane protein serine incorporator 5 (SERINC5) was recently identified to be a novel antiviral protein that restricts HIV infectivity. SERINC5 activity can be counteracted by the viral Nef protein, which internalizes SERINC5 from the plasma membrane of infected cells and prevents it from being loaded onto the surface of newly formed virions. The authors compared the ability of HIV Nef clones isolated from 45 elite and 46 untreated progressors to antagonize SERINC5.
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