Queen's University

Federal funding boosts health research projects

 
2012-09-25

Three Queen’s University researchers are receiving funding for initiatives leading to health benefits for Canadians, more effective health services and economic development.

Stephen Waldman, Nicholas Graham and Yongjun Lai have received grants from the Collaborative Health Research Projects program. The joint funding is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Stephen Waldman (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) has developed a new approach to creating engineered cartilage. The new cartilage, using the patient’s own cells, is used to repair damaged cartilage, in joints and as a result of trauma. Previously, only small areas could be repaired due to the number of cells that can safely be harvested from a patient. Dr. Waldman cultivates these small amounts of harvested cells in a bioreactor to create larger areas of engineered cartilage.

“The results of this project offer the prospect of treating large defects associated with osteoarthritis or trauma that cannot be addressed with currently available techniques,” says Dr. Waldman.

Nicholas Graham (School of Computing), in collaboration with Darcy Fehlings (Developmental Paediatrics/Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital/University of Toronto), has developed a multiplayer exergame called Liberi specifically for children with cerebral palsy (CP). As young people with cerebral palsy become teenagers, they experience a decrease in physical function. Decreased mobility often leads to social isolation and can negatively impact their quality of life.

“Exercise video games are a novel approach to engage youth in physical exercise and social interaction with their peers,” says Dr. Graham. “The funding will help show exergames can provide health benefits in youth with CP.”

Yongjun Lai (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) and his group have applied micro fabrication technologies to develop new sutures that will improve the control doctors have while completing glaucoma surgery. The surgery is designed to reduce pressure on the eye. This surgery often preserves a person’s eyesight.

“This new technology will benefit a significant amount of glaucoma patients,” says Dr. Lai.

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