Last updated: Nov 1, 2006
Our main achievement in this area is to initiate a partnership with
Merck scientists, and to investigate a new model for amyloid beta metabolism and transport. Details of this project are currently not for public exposure, but a publication is under preparation summarizing this work.
Autoimmune (Type 1) Diabetes
Our highlight for the year has been appearance of a number of publications completed in previous years and submission of new work on the periodic cycles of circulating T cells observed in pre-diabetic mice. This work led to interesting mathematics, including a homoclinic bifurcation in a nonlinear set of ordinary differential equations that we studied.
Technologies based on both adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells hold a great
promise for future medical research and treatments. The orchestration of stem cell self-
renewal, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis in vitro will require not only the
identification of key molecular interactions but also the spatial and temporal aspects of
these interactions. This represents one challenge faced by the emerging field of stem cell
bioengineering. The team has
developed a novel gene expression assay based on the expression change of seven key genes.
Development of this assay was done through statistical analysis of large gene expression
data sets. This required development of novel statistical methods for the joint analysis in
multiple data sets.
Another equally important challenge is to be able to expand stem cells to
large numbers in culture while maintaining their developmental potential.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) have a doubling time of about 35 h and extensive cell
expansion (presumably in large-scale cultures or bioreactors) would be needed to produce
clinically relevant numbers of cells. Experiments have been performed to understand the effect of culture conditions. These experiments have determined that pH and osmolality
both have significant influences on the yield of stem cells in culture.
Team Members' Awards and other highlights
- Adriana Dawes (former PhD student with Keshet): MITACS award for Outstanding
Service to the Student Network (2006).
- Adriana Dawes: First prize for poster at the MITACS AGM at York (2006).
- Colleen Ball (MSc. Student with Coombs) won the best poster prize at a conference on
the evolution of diseases that she attended using MITACS support, at U. Western
Ontario, (May 2005).
- Caroline Colijn (2006) MITACS Best Student Paper award, MITACS/CAIMS Annual
- Dushek has been awarded a large NSERC fellowship.
- Dawes has been awarded a prestigious PDF position at the Center for Cell Dynamics (U
- Diane Finegood (2005) Distinguished Nutrition leadership Award, Danone Institute, Canada.
- Ozge Karanfil (trainee with Mackey) 2006 Annual Dana Meadows Award for the best
paper by a student presented at the annual System Dynamics Conference. ($500 and
- Jamie Piret: Faculty Member of the Year Award, UBC Engineering Co-op Progr, 2006
- Michael Mackey, (2006) Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Research Prize.