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Snappy synopsis

Pharmacy graduate researchers present in five minutes or less

Research

By Heidi Wicks

Snap up a nugget of some of the exciting research being conducted by pharmacy graduate students as they practise their academic, presentation and research communication skills at the Snappy Synopsis: Pharmacy Graduate Research in a Nutshell event on March 23.

Using props, (amateur) actors and slides, seven graduate students will get creative in their quest to present their work in street language.

Snappy Synopsis: Pharmacy Graduate Research in a Nutshell, gives each contestant five minutes, one slide and however many props or actors as they like to illustrate how their work will make a difference—as long as they can communicate the impact of their research to any Tom, Dick or Harriet in five minutes or less.

Meet the contenders

Michelle Debnath
Blueberries: They Ain’t Just for Smoothies or Muffins Anymore

Blueberry fruits and leaves are gaining attention, not only in health and wellness magazines, but also in pharmaceutical research. Locals crouch in the fields every summer to gather, unknowingly, snacks that could someday save their lives. Antioxidants in blueberries are considered a “brain food,” but what are these antioxidants and how are they actually helping the brain at all? Ms. Debnath’s research will help determine the extent to which antioxidants in blueberries can enter the brain and whether they can inhibit the development of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Jennifer Donnan
Today’s Special: Choosing the Best Menu Item for Type 2 Diabetes

Deciding among treatments for individuals with type 2 diabetes can be as confusing as choosing what to order at a new restaurant. The vast amount of drug information available and the sheer number of diabetes medications available in Canada is like deciding whether to go with the bisque or roasted red pepper soup. Decision-making is getting more complex all the time. Information on diabetes medications is often presented without context, making it very difficult to weigh all of the potential harms and benefits. When making a recommendation for drug therapy it is important to carefully consider what the patient prefers and what the trade-offs are as they manage their medications. Ms. Donnan’s research will lead to a greater understanding of decisions patients with type 2 diabetes make regarding medications with hopes it will ultimately lead to improved short- and long-term health benefits.

Matthew Lamont
How Much Control Does D’Angelo the Drunk Rat Lose?

This isn’t an opener to a joke. The goal of Mr. Lamont’s research is to gain a better understanding of how mutations and alcohol can affect an area of the brain called the cerebellum, which is important for controlling and fine-tuning movement. To achieve this, he uses a combination of behavioral experiments and measurements in cells in a genetically altered mouse model and in rodents treated with alcohol in the adolescent period. By better understanding how the cerebellum and its cells function, Mr. Lamont hopes to move towards new treatment options for people with cerebellar-based movement disorders, either caused by specific mutations or by alcohol abuse.

Killol Chokshi
The Mystery of the Dysfunctional Artery

Arteries in the brain lose their functioning capacity during development of haemorrhagic stroke. This mysterious loss in function might be due to the changes occurring at a much deeper cellular level. These changes might hold an important clue to the mystery of development of stroke.

Meshari Alwashmi
Mobile Devices: Not Just for Scanning Social Media

You might assume that every time you see a focused face glowing from the light of a small LCD that the person is just liking videos of cats and babies. However, mobile devices have the potential to be an innovative solution for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease management (COPD). This research will further investigate the suggestion that technological improvements can provide potential for smartphone integration in the management of COPD.

Waseem Abu-Ashou
Are Diabetics More Prone to Infection?

Is there an association between diabetes and infection? In particular, what are the specific types of infections that are different between people with diabetes and people without? If there is a difference, what might be the reasons for that? Detailed research into this field has helped uncover some answers to these questions.

Zixian Li
Fighting Cancer: From Weapon to Bull’s Eye

Vinblastine is a well known anti-cancer drug. This drug targets microtubules, which are proteins that are significant for cell division. By disrupting the normal function of these proteins it leads to death of cancerous cells. Carbon nanotubes, with nanometer scale size and large surface area, are very small structures that have been used as carriers for transporting drugs to target sites. Unprecedented studies on drug-target and drug-carrier interactions at an atomistic level give insight into developing novel therapeutic strategies and effective drug delivery systems in the fight against cancer.

On March 23, ready, set, go!

Snappy Synopsis is part of the second annual Pharmacy Research Innovation Day, which also includes an undergraduate and graduate research poster competition, as well as a plenary speaker session with Dr. Mohsen Sadatsafavi. The event is also part of an awareness effort to promote the types of research happening in the School of Pharmacy’s graduate program. In February the school held a Pharmacy Research Matchmaking Game, also intended to showcase the graduate program.

Judges will award the two snappiest synopsis’ with $100 Sobey’s gift cards.

Snappy Synopsis: Pharmacy Research in a Nutshell, takes place on Wednesday, March 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in Lecture Theatre A, Health Sciences Centre. This event is part of Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) 2016. #PAM2016


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