The University of British Columbia has received $11.6 million for 16 new and renewed federally funded Canada Research Chairs.
With 13 new appointments, and three renewals, UBC now has 186 Canada Research Chairs, the second-highest number in the country. Newly appointed researchers are helping improve stress-tolerant crops, solar electricity and tuberculosis treatments, and making big discoveries about the origins of planets and of life on Earth.
“The CRC program provides a major boost to UBC research, and helps our school attract and retain the best and brightest minds from across the globe,” said John Hepburn, vice president Research and International. “Our professors are making important discoveries that are invaluable to academia and to the world at large, so we’re very grateful for the program’s support.”
Nationally there are 137 new and renewed chairholders in 37 postsecondary institutions, receiving $118,000,000 of new funding.
“Our government is committed to science, technology and innovation to improve our quality of life and create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians,” said Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), who made the announcement in Toronto on October 16. “Our government’s Canada Research Chairs Program develops, attracts and retains top researcher talent in Canada whose research, in turn, creates long-term social and economic benefits while training the next generation of students and researchers in Canada.”
Thanks to the University of British Columbia for contributing this story.
McGill University Professor Michael Meaney has been selected as the 2014 Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize Laureate in recognition of his groundbreaking achievements in the biology of child development. A jury of experts selected Prof. Meaney, who is also Scientific Director at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, for this honor for his pioneering, cutting edge research on the biological mechanisms by which parental behaviour affects brain development and lifelong function.
Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of new PrimePCR™ Rat Genome Assays for quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) (available in U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and E.U. only). This expands Bio-Rad’s line of wet-lab validated assays that includes human and mouse genome assays.
Assay validation is one of the most important steps in qPCR but is sometimes ignored because researchers may be unaware of its critical importance in generating accurate results. Validating assays can be laborious and time-consuming, especially when they do not work and need to be redesigned and reordered. While some companies claim to sell prevalidated assays, this assertion often refers to software predictions as opposed to wet-lab validation.
Bio-Rad’s PrimePCR Assays, however, are fully wet-lab validated for specificity, efficiency, and sensitivity, and help researchers adhere to industry best practices known as MIQE (minimum information for publication of quantitative real-time PCR experiments). As part of this validation process, Bio-Rad scientists validate all PCR products using next-generation sequencing, verifying the percentage of on-target amplification. In addition, all of the validation raw data are available to the customer.
Meredith Tennis, PhD, a researcher at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, has been using PrimePCR Assays for cancer chemotherapy prevention studies.
“We choose PrimePCR Assays because they are expertly validated, helping us meet MIQE guidelines,” said Tennis. “Through PrimePCR, we can confidently assess every gene we are interested in on the first try, saving us both time and money.”
Researchers will be able to order PrimePCR Rat Genome Assays as individual assays (desalted or HPLC-purified), or build a custom plate (96- or 384-well). Assays are available for more than 20,000 rat genes as SYBR®- and probe-based assays with a choice of five different fluorophores.
In addition, SYBR® and probe PrimePCR PreAmp Assays will be available for the rat genome. These preamplification assays allow researchers who are working with limited samples to look at more targets during their qPCR experiments. Bio-Rad’s PreAmp Supermix, along with PrimePCR PreAmp Assays, produces consistent gene expression results while delivering the industry’s lowest bias.
For more information on Bio-Rad’s PrimePCR products, please visit http://www.bio-rad.com/PrimePCRpr.
For the last several years the Canadian BioTechnologist has been bringing you news about advances in microbiome biology. Back in August 2009, we reported that Canada had invested millions of dollars in microbiome research by establishing the Canadian Microbiome Initiative (CMI). At the time, CMI invested $13.275 million towards research focused on microbes that colonize the human body in order to: understand of the composition and distribution of the microbial flora in different body sites; gain new insights on the function of the normal flora in healthy individuals; and probe the links between the human microflora and disease. The story was followed by another round of funding to the tune of $14 Million in 2010 and a more focused round of funding by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in support of the University of Toronto’s Host-Microbiome Network.
The microbiome is a fascinating example of the symbiotic relationship that exists between humans and their bacterial colonizers. Absence or low levels of bacteria that are normally present in the gut of healthy subjects can result in painfully debilitating conditions such as violent diarrhea and unbearable stomach cramps. Much of the research has focused on ways of reintroducing the missing bacteria into the gut of their bacterial-deficient hosts through a process known as fecal transplantation.
In a new study published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists have now come up with an alternative to the somewhat invasive Fecal Transplant; a fecal pill that an be taken orally. The pill, which is comprised of frozen fecal matter, was shown to relieve morbid symptoms of disease in patients infected with Clostridium difficile, providing relief to 90% of suffers lasting up to eight weeks after the fecal pill administration.
It will be interesting to see which method of treatment is preferred by the majority of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) patients. While a fecal transplant is certainly more invasive than a pill, there is something about ingesting a fecal matter pill that may just be too difficult for some patients to swallow.
What is your opinion?