Hot Student Papers

Clinical trial risk in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the effects of drug class and inclusion criteria

9 Dec 2016 - 7:54am
chest x-ray

Congratulations to MBiotech student Demetri Anastasopulos and MBiotech alum Jeffrey Tam who, under the supervision of Prof. Jayson Parker, recently published their article “Clinical trial risk in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the effects of drug class and inclusion criteria” in Respiration. Their study examined the risk of clinical trial failure in testing new drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They found that approximately 87% of all drugs entering clinical testing failed, while combined drug regimens had a better success rate. Certain drug classes, such as muscarinic antagonists, had much better success rates. Their study provides insight into how pulmonary disease can be treated more effectively in future.

Fast detection of leaf pigments and isoprenoids for ecophysiological studies, plant phenotyping and validating remote-sensing of vegetation

22 Nov 2016 - 10:15am
Laura Junker

Ph.D. student Laura Junker (Ensminger Lab) remains at the top of the Hot Student Paper board with the publication of  “Fast detection of leaf pigments and isoprenoids for ecophysiological studies, plant phenotyping and validating remote-sensing of vegetation” in Physiologia Plantarum. In this paper she describes a simple and cost-effective method for the rapid analysis of chlorophylls, carotenoids and tocopherols using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). She  improved the separation of photosynthetic pigments compared to previously used methods by shortening the run time and inclusion of additional carotenoids such as α-carotene (see image below) and lutein epoxide.

Relationship between leaf optical properties, chlorophyll fluorescence and pigment changes in senescing Acer saccharum leaves

31 Oct 2016 - 10:04am
Laura Junker

As we are enjoying the reds, oranges, yellows and browns of fall, Ph.D. student Laura Junker (Ensminger Lab) is studying the science behind fall colours. Her first-first authored paper “Relationship between leaf optical properties, chlorophyll fluorescence and pigment changes in senescing Acer saccharum leaves” was recently published in Tree Physiology. This manuscript investigates the relationship between photosynthetic pigments and optical properties of senescing sugar maple leaves. Although bright colors of senescing leaves are a well-known phenomenon, little is known about their ecophysiological function and their influence on remotely sensed vegetation indices.

Latitudinal gradients in induced and constitutive resistance against herbivores

4 Oct 2016 - 8:17am
caterpillar drawing

Plants have more “personality” in Canada than the United States. When plants are attacked by herbivores, they can defend themselves using either their constitutive baseline levels of defence or they can upregulate their defence (induced defence) in response to cues that will help them prevent further damage. These induced defences are a form of phenotypic plasticity, or a plants behavior or “personality” in response to enemies. But how does this vary along environmental gradients, such as the latitudinal differences like those found from Canada to the USA?

A landscape ecologist’s agenda for landscape genetics

26 Sep 2016 - 9:38am
node based approach for measuring genetic response per focal patch/population

Our students tackle some of the most challenging landscapes in their pursuit of knowledge, including landscapes of the genetic kind. Recent Ph.D. graduate, Dr. Michelle Dileo (Wagner Lab), published “A landscape ecologist’s agenda for landscape genetics” in Current Landscape Ecology Reports. This paper presents a critical review of the landscape genetic literature of the last five years from a landscape ecological perspective. Landscape genetics, using molecular markers, is a useful tool for studying the effects of habitat fragmentation for species that are hard to track or have cryptic dispersal.

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