Researcher Profiles

Name: Trisha Scribbans, CAT(C)
Program and Year: 2019 – Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF)
Project Title: Project title:  An integrative approach to understanding shoulder movement across the lifespan.
Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Management, University of Manitoba

Synopsis:
Dr. Scribbans’ innovative research program will explore how muscles and connective tissue (e.g. fascial) influence movement of the shoulder complex, if they are altered in different populations (e.g. females versus males, with aging, etc.) and how they respond to different treatment interventions (e.g. myofascial release).

What will the impacts/benefits of this research be to Manitoba/Canada?

Shoulder pathologies significantly impact an individual’s ability to function daily resulting in reduced independence, health status, quality of life, and psychological stress due to pain, disability, and reduced earning capacity. Over 50% of the Canadian population will develop a rotator cuff pathology (RCP) in their lifetime, and more than a third of patients do not experience positive outcomes to surgical and conservative treatments. A more complete understanding of the shoulder complex in normal and pathological shoulders across the sexes and ages will provide insight into the pathogenesis of rotator cuff pathology and other shoulder pathologies.

This enhanced understanding will identify modifiable biological targets that will inform the development of more effective preventative and rehabilitative strategies and improve the identification of at-risk individuals to reduce the incidence and duration of shoulder disorders like RCP. Collectively, outcomes from the proposed research program will improve the diagnosis, rehabilitation and prevention of RCP, resulting in improved shoulder function and a reduced risk of future shoulder injury for Manitobans and all Canadians.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your Research Manitoba funded project?

The equipment jointly funded by Research Manitoba and CFI is essential to the long-term success of my research program by allowing for a wide range of research streams investigating how the skeletal and fascial systems influence movement. Over the next 5 years, I will use the equipment along with my existing equipment to support an integrative research program aimed at expanding our knowledge of shoulder movement by delineating the role of fascial anatomy and physiology, neuromuscular function and upper limb kinematics in different populations and in response to different treatment interventions.

Knowledge regarding the function of and interaction between the muscular and fascia systems will elucidate modifiable risk factors and targets for preventative and rehabilitative strategies to reduce the incidence and duration of musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder complex.

How did the funds you received from Research Manitoba advance this research and/or your career?

This question is a little challenging to answer as we have not yet purchased all of the equipment and it is not yet being used. This usually takes several years, and is being complicated/extended because of the pandemic.

I can comment on how I expect that these funds will advance my research program and career.

Only a few musculoskeletal researchers have access to Shear Wave Elastography ultrasound, one of the pieces of equipment purchased with the awarded funds, and those who do, use the technology for research programs investigating other body regions, with distinct anatomy and function compared to the shoulder. Internationally, there are currently no research programs that have access to 3D motion analysis, SWE ultrasound and high-density electromyography concurrently. Thus, my research program would be the first to possess this unique combination of infrastructure. As the muscular and fascial systems work in concert to dynamically stabilize the shoulder during movement, it is imperative that future research uncovers the function of and interaction between these systems. The requested infrastructure will allow innovative integrative musculoskeletal research that will generate new information that will inform novel therapies and interventions strategies for musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder complex.

Did you receive additional funding for this project as a result of your Research Manitoba?

Not yet! We are still in the process of purchasing the equipment that this award funded (with CFI).

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Name: Nathan Nickel
Program and Year: 2020 – Manitoba COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grant Award
Project Title: A Distinction-Based Study on Equity in COVID-19 Testing, Vaccination and Associated Outcomes for Manitoba First Nations, Métis and Inuit
– First Nations Lead: Dr. Wanda Phillips-Beck
– Métis Lead: Dr. Julianne Sanguins
– Inuit Lead: Dr. Wayne Clark
Max Rady College of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Synopsis:
First Nation, Metis and Inuit Canadians have high rates of chronic illnesses, and are at high risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes. Researchers at the University of Manitoba, the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, the Manitoba Metis Federation, and the Manitoba Inuit Association have partnered on this project. We will compare rates of testing and vaccination for COVID-19 among First Nation, Inuit and Metis people to rates of testing in Manitoba. We will use administrative data to identify barriers and facilitators to accessing testing and vaccination in our province to provide evidence to inform future strategies as the pandemic unfolds.

What will the impacts/benefits of this research be to Manitoba/Canada?

We will co-create evidence with First Nation, Metis, and Inuit health leadership and the Manitoba Government’s Department of Health to direct the public health response to COVID-19 to where it is most needed.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your Research Manitoba funded project?

We hope to generate evidence on the barriers and facilitators First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples experience when accessing COVID tests and vaccinations to inform future strategies to support optimal health and well-being among First Nations, Metis, and Inuit that takes into consideration their unique culture and historical experiences.

How did the funds you received from Research Manitoba advance this research and/or your career?

The funds from Research Manitoba were critical for advancing the Knowledge Translation (KT) work that we’re engaged with. This includes the creation of knowledge products and data dashboards as well as the ability to pay a KT Broker to help us think through a KT strategy.

Did you receive additional funding for this project as a result of your Research Manitoba?

We received funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) concurrently with this grant, which we have combined to advance the work that we’re completing with this grant.

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Name: Lidia Trzuskot
Program and Year: Research Manitoba – 2020 Master’s Studentship Award
Project Title: Contribution of immune cells to successful spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish
Supervisor:  Dr. Benjamin Lindsey
Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Synopsis:
My research looks into how immune cells communicate with neural stem cells in the spinal cord to promote recovery after an injury.

What will the impacts/benefits of this research be to Manitoba/Canada?

There is no cure for spinal cord injury in humans, however, using a regenerative model such as the zebrafish will allow us to gain a better understanding on how they repair post-injury so that we can translate our findings to mammals and come up with more effective treatments.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your Research Manitoba funded project?

I hope that at the end of my project I gain better insight into how immune cells play a role in the regeneration of the zebrafish spinal cord.

How did the funds you received from Research Manitoba advance this research and/or your career?

The funding that I received allowed me to focus entirely on my research without worrying about finances and freed up lab resources to help move my project along in order to successfully defend my thesis in the future.

Did you receive additional funding for this project as a result of your Research Manitoba?

I received funding from Research Manitoba twice, one was my Master’s Studentship and the other was an entrance scholarship.

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Name: Ngai Man (Carl) Ho
Program and Year: 2018 New Investigator Operating Grant
Project Title: Advanced Galvanic Isolated Solar Micro-Inverter
Department of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Price Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba

Synopsis: Solar Energy represents a clean and renewable energy source for providing electric power to support our daily life, including lighting and transportation. However, the manufacturing cost of a Photovoltaic (PV) inverter, which is an energy converting interface between solar panels and power grids, is high due to complex circuit design. It takes a long time for reduced energy bills to recoup the initial costs of traditional PV system installations. In this work, a comprehensive investigation into the methodology of PV energy conversion associated with modern semiconductors have been carried out and the completed system were experimentally verified.

What will the impacts/benefits of this research be to Manitoba/Canada?

The new concept will benefit power apparatus manufacturers, will be able to provide optimised PV products, and provide the Manitoba local Research Centre and energy provider with the potential to develop new business, which will greatly strengthen the power electronics industry in Manitoba. The newly trained HQP will be skilled in the development and application of advanced techniques for design and implementation of power electronic systems. All technologies and concepts arising from this work will enable my research team to further develop advanced technologies for Power Electronics, Control Systems and Renewable Energy, and will help to solidify Canada’s leadership position in the fields of Power Electronics and Power Systems. The outcomes of my research will help to drive ongoing innovation and provide intellectual insight to Canadian industries as they continue to develop and enhance the performance of their products. This will provide these companies with a technological competitive edge that will help to invigorate the Canadian Power industry.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your Research Manitoba funded project?

At the end of the project, an efficient and cost-effective PV inverter for North America and residential use will be produced. The resultant system of this research project will assist engineers in PV inverter manufacturers to evaluate the efficiency and power density of their PV micro-inverter products. Research students, PhD, MSc and BSc, will be trained in the project. These HQP will learn cutting-edge technologies and will be able to contribute to the Canadian Power and Energy industry in the future.

How did the funds you received from Research Manitoba advance this research and/or your career? Did you receive additional funding for this project as a result of your Research Manitoba grant?

The Research Manitoba New Investigator Operating Grant assisted me rapidly establishing my research program of Solar Inverter Technologies. It provided me enough funding to conduct that high cost and practical research. And we could find the advanced solution and generated new knowledge from the funded project. Consequently, we could publish the results in top-tier international academic journals, e.g. the IEEE Trans. on Power Electronics, to obtain international reputations. Furthermore, we could attract Manitoba industry to collaborate with us and received a NSERC CRD Grant for developing micro-grid systems using solar energy which was based on the outcomes of the RM project. And the results of the project also strengthened my Canada Research Chair renewal application in 2019 which was successfully awarded with a new 5-year term to continuously research on green power systems.


 

Name: Riley Feser
Program and Year: 2020 Master’s Studentship
Project Title: MicroRNA-High Tumor Proteome Analysis to Identify Novel Breast Cancer Biomarker
Supervisor: Dr. Mousumi Majumder
Department of Biology, Brandon University

Synopsis: Previous findings strongly suggest that microRNA 526b/655 promote aggressive breast cancer and that they’re detectable in the blood. In tumor cells, approximately 30-40% of the proteins are known to be secretory proteins. Thus, a microRNA-high tumor cell secretory protein analysis will identify novel proteins controlling these aggressive cancer traits, further confirming the use of microRNA-protein combination as early detection markers for breast cancer.

What will the impacts/benefits be to you as a researcher or to Manitobans/Canadians or both?

One in eight women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. But early detection of the disease can save the life of 99% of breast cancer patients. Identification and validation of a biomarker will facilitate early detection of breast cancer. Primary breast cancer screening starts at age 50 in Canada, but incidences continue to rise in younger populations. In the future, this project aims to develop a blood test kit which will identify early incidences of breast cancer in the overall population.

What do you hope to achieve at the end of your project?

I hope to identify protein biomarker that will further strengthen the use of microRNA-protein combination as early detection markers for breast cancer, ultimately reducing the number of breast cancer fatalities in Manitoba, Canada and the world.

How will the funds you received through your Research Manitoba award help you accomplish your research?

I am extremely grateful for being chosen for the Research Manitoba Master’s Studentship Award. The funds I received through this award allow me to focus on my project full-time, without having to worry about obtaining income through any other means. This is an excellent opportunity for any researcher that is avid about their work to have that as their sole outlook throughout the duration of the award. This project wouldn’t be possible without the help of Dr. Mousumi Majumder, Sujit Maiti, Brady Nault and the rest of Majumder Lab.