New research on ovarian cancer could mean improved patient outcomes

New research on ovarian cancer could mean improved patient outcomes – YFile

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Highlights in American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy

The Vector | ASGCT – American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy | ASGCT – American Society of Gene & Ce

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York research presents novel evidence on development of preeclampsia – YFile

York research presents novel evidence on development of preeclampsia – YFile

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York professors awarded $2.7M in health research funding

Peng, in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, will receive $715,275 over five years to study “MicroRNA-218s and their regulated signaling networks in placental development and preeclampsia“.

Preeclampsia (PE) is a major disorder of human pregnancy, characterized by high blood pressure and presence of proteins in the urine. It is the leading cause of maternal death and still birth, and also affects the health of mothers and children later in their lives.

The cause of PE is not well understood; however, Peng’s research has discovered that microRNA-218 (niR-218) levels are lower in placentas of PE patients than those of healthy women, and that miR-218 regulates various activities in placental cells.

These novel findings suggest that miR-218 plays important roles in maintaining the proper development of the placenta and that insufficient production of miR-218 in the placenta contributes to the development of PE.

The major objectives of this grant are to further investigate the role of miR-218 in placenta development; to identify which key molecules are regulated by miR-218; and to determine how abnormal production of miR-218 may lead to PE.

Peng will use placental cells, placental organ culture and placenta/uterus co-culture systems, as well as endothelial cells, to study the functions of miR-218 and the key molecules regulated by miR-218. Findings from the proposed studies will improve the understanding of PE and may reveal novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for this disorder

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Award: Tier 1 York Research Chair in Women’s Reproductive Health (2016-2021)

Six emerging and established researchers newly appointed York Research Chairs

Six emerging and established researchers from across the University are newly appointed York Research Chairs. The appointments are part of a program established to build, support and intensify the world-renowned research underway at the University.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of six new York Research Chairs and congratulate them on this significant accomplishment,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “Recognized for their leadership in scholarship, research and creative activities, these Research Chairs reflect the spectrum of excellence in research & scholarship undertaken across the University.”

Tier 1 Chairs

Natel Bergeron

Natel Bergeron

Nantel Bergeron, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Applied Algebra.  Bergeron is one of the pioneers in the development of the theory of combinatorial Hopf algebras that serve as a conceptual laboratory in which researchers can understand and solve complex problems from other areas of science and mathematics. His research program will help to better understand the complexity of algorithms in computer science and mathematics and bring further insights into super-symmetry of nature.

Ellen Bialystok

Ellen Bialystok

Ellen Bialystok, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, has received a Tier 1 Walter Gordon York Research Chair in Lifespan Cognitive Development. Her research examines the effects of experience on cognitive function and brain organization across the lifespan, with a particular focus on bilingualism as an example of an intense and prevalent experience. The award will support studies of patients with early Alzheimer’s disease to provide a more complete description of these dynamic changes and develop a training protocol based on compensation that will improve cognitive function for all patients.

Chun Peng

Chun Peng

Chun Peng, professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Women’s Reproductive Health. Peng’s long-term goal for her research program is to understand the regulation of female reproduction and the mechanisms underlying the development of ovarian cancer and preeclampsia. Her proposed research will enhance the overall understanding of female reproductive health and reveal novel biomarkers for preeclampsia and therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer.

Stepan Wood

Stepan Wood

 

Stepan Wood, professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, has been awarded a Tier 1 Chair in Environmental Justice and Sustainability. His research program explores transnational sustainability governance schemes across many issue areas from a transdisciplinary perspective. His research program seeks to harness these interactions to empower marginalized interests and advance sustainability.

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Recent Awards and Grants – Chun Peng CIHR

Chun Peng (Biology) was successful in obtaining two CIHR operating grants for the following projects: 1) “cyclin G2 in ovarian cancer development” and 2) “Modulation of Nodal signaling pathway by microRNAs and their involvement in preeclampsia”.

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Dr. Chun Peng receives the 2011 Chinese Canadian Legend Award

Chinese Canadian Legend recognizes and honours Chinese Canadians who have made significant contributions to the community and Canada through outstanding achievements in their field.

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Professor Chun Peng leads research team uncovering how ovarian cancer resists chemotherapy

York University researchers have zeroed in on a genetic process that may allow ovarian cancer to resist chemotherapy. Researchers in the University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering studied a tiny strand of our genetic makeup known as a microRNA, involved in the regulation of gene expression. Cancer occurs when gene regulation goes haywire.

“Ovarian cancer is a very deadly disease because it’s hard to detect,” says biology Professor Chun Peng, who co-authored the study. By the time it’s diagnosed, usually it is in its late stages. And by that point there’s really no way to treat the disease. Even when the disease is discovered in its early stages, chemotherapy doesn’t always work,” she says.

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Honouring Research Excellence – The FSE Internal Research Awards

From left: Dean Janusz Kozinski, Dr. Anatharaman Kumarakrishnan, Dr. Chun Peng, Dr. Dasantila Golemi-Kotra

This year the Faculty of Science and Engineering presented researchers with Internal Research Awards to acknowledge the research achievements and dedication of various faculty members.

A world expert in the area of ovarian cancer and the molecular basis of complications in pregnancy, Professor Chun Peng from the Department of Biology is the recipient of the 2010 Established Researcher Award. Dr. Peng’s track record of awards and publications demonstrates the strong and superior research program and team that she has created at York University.

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UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AT YORK THROUGH THE NSERC USRA PROGRAM 2009

From L: Dr. Peng, Eilyad, Michele, Tanita

Professor Chun Peng’s laboratory in the Biology Department has also been bursting with energy this summer as three NSERC USRA recipients have joined the group to pursue research projects in the area of cancer biology and fish reproduction.

Eilyad Honarparvar has been investigating an important protein called p27 that plays a protective role against cancer. Michele Taffs, joined the laboratory to investigate the role of certain chemicals in disrupting the reproductive system. Tanita Manchanda, will be exploring the role of miRNAs in placenta formation and eventually in cancer development and treatment.

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Women’s health researchers at York University win awards

The Ontario Women’s Health Council (OWHC) presented 27 awards on Jan. 20 during a ceremony at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Two professors and three graduate students from York University were among the award-winners.

Professor Chun Peng (left) of the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, received a Mid-Career Award for her research into the role of Nodal signaling pathways in ovarian cancer – among the deadliest cancers for women. PhD student, Guoxiong Xu, of the Department of Biology, a researcher in Peng’s lab, is also involved in work that may advance the scientific understanding of ovarian cancer. Xu received a Scholars Award for his research on the function and biological effects of a growth factor that may prevent the development of cancer cells.

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Five unique research projects receive funding

Five groundbreaking York University research projects will receive more than $1.6 million in grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) over the next three to five years. Among the projects chosen for CIHR grants was Dr. Chun Peng’s Lab. Biology Professor Chun Peng, Faculty of Science & Engineering, will receive $227,304 over three years for cancer research. Peng’s research will examine the nodal signaling pathways in ovarian cancer cells.

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Fertile Research

VP Research & Innovation Stan Shapson recently presented Chun Peng with a framed Premier’s Research Excellence Award certificate. The certificate was in recognition of her cutting-edge research in the areas of molecular endocrinology and female reproduction, especially regulation of ovarian and placental functions.

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