Project grant recipients addressing critical gaps in health care

main-photo_researchabstract-880x300.jpgOne of the School's newly funded CIHR projects is using deep learning algorithms to better understand and treat inflammatory bowel disease.

By Communications

A new research project at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to better understand and treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – one of several projects that received more than $2.5 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through its latest project grants competition.

inset-photo_Hu-300x300.jpgPingzhao Hu, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry

Led by Pingzhao Hu, PhD, associate professor, the interdisciplinary study will apply deep learning algorithms to identify patterns of disease and develop new, targeted drug therapies for IBD patients.

Characterized by chronic inflammation, the precise cause of IBD remains unclear, but researchers have linked it to an overreaction of the immune system in people who are genetically predisposed.

Hu and his team are focused on the inflammatory and bacterial aspects of the disease, with specific interest in the relationship between IBD and Escherichia coli, or E. coli, a bacterium which can trigger gut inflammation. Their goal is to develop new drugs that can treat IBD by reducing the overgrowth of harmful strains of E. coli.

“This comprehensive approach holds the potential to revolutionize IBD management and improve patient outcomes,” said Hu.

He says the CIHR funding will accelerate discovery and empower significant strides in IBD treatment. “The funding will allow our research team to combine strengths and innovations beyond a single discipline,” he said.

Other newly funded projects at the School are exploring nicotine exposure in youth, prostate cancer and sepsis.

“We are pleased that researchers have secured this funding to address critical gaps in health care,” said Robert Bartha, vice dean of Research and Innovation. “We continue to increase our impact in major research themes like mental illness, cancer and chronic disease using innovative technology.” 

Congratulations to the CIHR Project Grant recipients:

Pingzhao Hu (Samuel Asfaha)
A deep learning approach to identify inhibitors of adherent invasive Escherichia coli in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease

Steven Laviolette
Understanding the Effects of Adolescent Nicotine Exposure on Increased Risk for Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Bridging the Gap from Pre-Clinical to Clinical Investigations

Aaron Ward (Stephen Pautler)
Histopathology image analysis for prostate cancer prognosis after radical prostatectomy

Congratulations to the CIHR Priority Announcement recipients:  

Kun Ping Lu (Xiao Zhen Zhou and Douglas Fraser)
Identification of Novel Disease Drivers, Therapeutic Targets, and Biomarkers of Sepsis