Research - 2012 Research Grants
Through our annual Grants and Awards Program, the Health Sciences Centre Foundation seeks to advance and recognize the work of the extraordinary medical professionals and researchers at the Health Sciences Centre.
 
The following are the Health Sciences Centre Foundation’s Grant and Award recipients for 2012 / 2013.
 
General Operating Grants
 
Dr. Eftekhar Eftekharpour $34,979.65 per year for two years Spinal cord injury is a devastating neurological condition for patients and a major financial burden for the healthcare system, with no standard effective treatment.
 
Extensive irreversible cell death during the early days after the injury imposes a major limitation for therapeutic strategies. Here, we have developed a novel form of a natural antioxidant and neuroprotective protein that plays critical roles in cell’s life and death. Using this novel "drug”, we will investigate its effect on cell death and promotion of regeneration by stimulation of stem cells. This could lead to improving the quality of life for spinal cord injury patients.
 
Dr. Soheila Karimi $35,000.00 per year for two years
Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in lifelong disabilities in its victims who are mostly healthy and productive young adults in the prime time of their lives.
 
To date, treatment for SCI has remained an elusive goal and there is a significant medical need for therapies to enhance tissue repair after SCI. The existence of adult neural stem cells inside the spinal cord with the inherited capacity to replace damaged cells offers exciting possibility to repair the spinal cord from inside and a potential alternative to stem cell transplantation.
 
Our team strives to develop clinically relevant therapies to optimize the recruitment of resident stem cells after SCI. We have recently identified factors that seem to hinder the efficient activation of spinal stem cells after injury.
 
This proposal aims to utilize advanced tools in regenerative medicine to elucidate the impact of these factors. These studies will provide novel insights into the mechanisms involved in tissue regeneration after SCI and examine therapies for improving neurological recovery in this condition.
 
Dr. Alok Pathak $35,000.00 per year for two years
The current follow-up protocols do not seem to diagnose treatment failures early enough in Head & Neck cancer patients. Identification of a biomarker to predict disease progression will allow more effective timely intervention.
 
Our earlier work shows that a decreased expression level of CD3? chain in the T cells of these patients, which correlates with their disease burden, could serve as such a marker. The chance of tumor recurrence could be further reduced by a novel gene therapy with HIV-1 viral protein that will induce tumor cell death and boosts immune response to allow the immune system to control tumor growth better.
 
Dr. Ryan Skrabek $33,776.50 per year for two years
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a chronic pain condition that affects up to 10% of Canadians. Acceptance-Based Behavioural Therapy (ABBT) is a relatively new approach that is effective in treating chronic pain. The results of a novel ABBT for FMS that was developed and pilot tested with a small group of patients, supported these findings.
 
Online treatments may offer improved access to care without reducing the effectiveness of treatment. The ABBT for FMS is being adapted to an online format and will be evaluated with a larger group of patients. It is aniticipated that online delivery of ABBT would offer improved access to care at a significantly reduced cost to the health care system.
 
Dr. Bertram Unger $35,000.00 per year for two years Current temporal bone surgical training requires residents to practice in the operative theatre, exposing patients to undue risk. Virtual reality (VR) simulators are available but are not adequately realistic.
 
Both virtual vibration and bone rigidity have proven difficult to simulate. We intend to develop a mixed-reality simulator which will combine 3D-printed CT scan-based physical models with a robotic VR simulator.
 
This will allow trainees to drill a realistic temporal bone, while experiencing virtual soft tissues. Interactions between real and computer-generated objects require new robotic control techniques which will be applicable across medical disciplines. The proposed simulator can also be used for operative rehearsal in complex cases.
 
Our ultimate objective is improved patient safety.
 
 
Dr. James Zacharias and Dr. Allison Dart $33,963.25 for one year.
Patients needing hemodialysis in Manitoba are treated in Winnipeg or in rural units (local centres) throughout the province. Patients treated rurally are cared for by kidney specialists based at the Health Sciences Centres (HSC) using a unique remote health care model which includes structured specialist and nurse coordinator involvement in close collaboration with local family physicians.
 
Elsewhere in Canada, survival for rural dialysis patients has been shown to be inferior to urban treated patients; however patients in Manitoba treated with the remote care model have been shown have to better survival than those treated in Winnipeg.
 
To evaluate reasons for this survival advantage, a variety of health care indicators will be examined utilizing administrative data housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP). This study will enable us to identify treatment strategies which can be used to further improve care delivered throughout Manitoba.
 
Health Sciences Centre Foundation Designated Awards
 
To Be Announced $1,500 from the DeWiele Topshee Award
 
Allied Health Grant
Under revision for the 2012/13 grant year – will resume for the 2013/14 competition
 
Nursing/Gembey Grant
Under revision for the 2012/13 grant year – will resume for the 2013/14 competition
 
HSC Department of Research Awards
 
 
Ms. Danielle Turnbull $17,850.00
($8,925 from HSC Department of Research; $8,925 from MHRC)
 
The target of this project is to address the adolescent use of psycho-stimulant medication such as Ritalin that is prescribed to youth for Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder or ADHD. ADHD is a continuous behavioral pattern of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.
 
It is estimated that 3-7 percent of school aged children have a diagnosis of ADHD. This may however be an overestimate as many gifted children are often misdiagnosed as having ADHD.
 
The proposed research will utilize data from a new nationally representative survey that provides information on over 10,000 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 fro the US population. This information contains both parental and self-report measures.
 
I plan to investigate treatment seeking, prescription practices, and social factors of individuals taking psycho-stimulant medication. This type of medication is becoming common among adolescents and it is in our interest to examine the frequency of young individuals who take this form of medication in the absence of a diagnosis of ADHD.
 
The analysis will examine a series of questions asked of participants related to the use of prescription medication, reasons for taking the medication, any diagnosis received, who encouraged the individual to seek treatment, and who the medication is prescribed by.
 
It is expected that a significant proportion of youth will have been prescribed and have used medication without meeting diagnostic standards for ADHD. It is also expected that these adolescents will have received pressure from others, such as teachers, to start medication use.
 
The questions that this research seeks to address are expected to have substantial clinical and health care implications for diagnosis and medication of ADHD. It is possible that youth are being medicated for ADHD when in actuality they are exhibiting normal behaviour or other problem behaviour unrelated to ADHD.
 
Ms. Lydia Worobec $17,850.00
($17,850.00 from HSC Department of Research)
 
The primary objective of this study is to examine factors associated with substance abuse in pregnancy with a focus on alcohol consumption throughout women’s most recent pregnancy among the general Canadian population.
 
The secondary objective is to investigate the common factors of two groups of women who abused alcohol during their most recent pregnancy: those who achieved a higher level of education (e.g. college, university, graduate school) and personal income and those who achieved a lower level of education (high school, less than high school) and personal income.
 
Criteria to be assessed will include: degree of perceived social support, availability and utilization of social support, stress sources and stress coping, social demographics (e.g. age, ethnicity, marital status), childhood and adult stressors, past trauma (e.g. physically abused by someone close to them, had family problems/parents abusing alcohol/drugs), history of past and current substance use, and mental health correlates (e.g. depression, personality disorders).