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«th 10 Annual UBC Medicine Undergraduate Research Forum and UBC Medical Journal Release ABSTRACT BOOKLET Thursday, February 20, 2014 UBC Life Sciences ...»

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Medicine Undergraduate Research Forum 2014


10 Annual UBC Medicine Undergraduate Research Forum

and UBC Medical Journal Release



Thursday, February 20, 2014

UBC Life Sciences Centre

This event was sponsored in part by a grant from Doctors of BC

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Evelyn Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry,

University of British Columbia and is the founding director of the Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Program at B.C. Children and Women’s Health Centre. She is a clinical, genetic and neuroscience researcher, as well as a child and adult psychiatrist. Her research focuses on genomic, phenotypic, and treatment aspects of childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Stewart has authored over 50 original papers, reviews and chapters on genetic, clinical, and treatment aspects of OCD, Tourette's Disorder, and related illnesses. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation, on the Dr. Evelyn Stewart Medical Advisory Board of the Tourette Syndrome Association and is Co-director Associate Professor of the International OCD Foundation Genetics Collaborative.

Department of Psychiatry Dr. Michael Fernando attained his Medical Degree (MBBS) and Bachelors Degree (BSc) in Neurosciences from Queen Mary, University of London, England. He also holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Imperial College London.

Dr. Fernando did his Foundation Medical Training at Barts and the London NHS trust and two years of Specialty Training at Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in Emergency Medicine. He has worked as an Emergency Physician at hospitals throughout southern England. He is currently completing his Canadian Residency in Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Fort St John.

During his training and practice, Michael has undertaken research projects in a variety of domains including cell biology, clinical medicine and public health. He is currently undertaking a qualitative research project as part of his residency.

Dr. Michael Fernando Research also forms an integral part

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Chronic Blockade of Extrasynaptic N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptors Ameliorates Synaptic Dysfunction and Pro-death Signalling in Huntington Disease Transgenic Mice 9

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A Novel Way of Detecting Intrathecal Baclofen Withdrawal in Post-Operative Patients: a Pilot Study 14

Evaluation of Interventions Aimed at Reducing Stigma and Social Distance in High School Students:

Comparing Efficacy of Mental Health and Illness Workshops Between 2 Age Groups 15

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Breast Cancer Stage Influences Cellular Response to Planar Cell Polarity Pathway Activation 26 Correlation Study of Multiphoton Microscopy with Histology and Morphology of Human Skin 27

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Medicine Undergraduate Research Forum - Abstracts


Presenting Author(s): Victoria Baronas Baronas, Victoria A. (1), MacGuinness, Brandon R. (1), Vilin, Yury Y. (1), Lynn, Francis C. (2), Yang, Runying (1), Kurata, Harley T. (1) (1) Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics; University of British Columbia (2) Departments of Surgery and Cellular and Physiological Sciences; University of British Columbia Keywords: Potassium channel, epilepsy, voltage-dependent gating, use-dependent gating In excitable cells, ion channels are challenged by repetitive stimuli. Their responses to patterned stimuli shape cellular behavior by regulating the duration and termination of bursts of action potentials. We have investigated the behavior of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels subjected to repetitive stimuli, with a particular focus on the delayed rectifier Kv1.2. In this study, we demonstrate that this property enables Kv1.2 channels to exhibit use-dependent activation, with trains of brief depolarizations causing dramatic increases in elicited current. This property arises from stabilization of the open state, reflecting both a shift in channel activation to more hyperpolarized potentials and an acceleration of opening kinetics. Importantly, Kv subunits can assemble into heteromeric channels, generating diversity of function and sensitivity to signaling mechanisms. We demonstrate that other Kv1 channel types do not exhibit use-dependent activation, but this property is conferred when they co-assemble with Kv1.2. Our observations suggest a unique role for Kv1.2 subunits as suppressive components of heteromeric Kv1 channels, highlighting a mechanism that may influence channel function during bursts of electrical activity in some cells. These findings illustrate that the functional output of heteromeric Kv channel complexes can integrate the signaling sensitivities of diverse subunits.

Corresponding author: v.baronas@alumni.ubc.ca

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Presenting Author(s): Garrett Barry Barry, Garrett S. (1), Maggie C. Cheang (2), Samuel Leung (1), Chen Zhou (3) and Hagen F.

Kennecke (4) (1) Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, (2) Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA (3) Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BC Cancer Agency, BC, Canada (4) Department of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer Agency, BC, Canada

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, gene expression, cancer resistance

Panitumumab (Pmab) therapy targeting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor results in improved progression-free survival in previously treated KRAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients, but not all patients benefit. We sought to identify gene expression patterns associated with resistance to Pmab in these patients. Gene expression profiles of over 100 literature-reported genes associated with BRAF mutation and cetuximab response in mCRC were acquired for primary tumour samples and matched metastatic tumour samples, when available, using the Nanostring nCounter® system. Data was normalized with a large public CRC expression database. Two-class Significance Analysis of Microarrays compared expression profiles of tumours with a best response of progressive disease (PD) to those with stable disease (SD) or partial response (PR) to Pmab. Genes identified with a false discovery rate of 0% were considered highly associated with Pmab resistance and are being used in an ongoing project to develop a predictive gene signature for resistance in mCRC patients. Finally, immunohistochemistry of the top ranked gene associated with resistance was performed and scored by a pathologist. Best response to Pmab therapy among 37 enrolled patients was PD in 12, SD in 17, and PR in 8. Preliminary analysis of the expression data indicated that matched primary and metastatic tumour samples were closely related, so subsequent analyses used metastatic tumour samples in place of primary, when available. Gene expression analysis identified nine highly ranked genes, with a false discovery rate of 0%, associated with Pmab resistance. We developed an eight gene weighted signature with a statistically significant association with Pmab resistance (p-value=0.041). Additionally, immunohistochemical analysis of the top candidate gene, with scores grouped binomially as zero/underexpression or overexpression, showed a significant association between protein expression and Pmab response (P-value=0.014). In conclusion, we identified a gene expression signature that is highly associated with Pmab resistance in previously treated mCRC patients. Future validation studies will be performed with hopes that this signature could be performed in a clinical oncology setting.

Corresponding author: garrettsbarry@alumni.ubc.ca

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Presenting Author(s): Erin Charman Charman, Erin (1), Cheng, Vicky (1), Hedges, Trevor (1), Pastorek, Caitlin (1), Kapoor, Videsh (2) (1) Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, B.C., Canada.

(2) Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, B.C., Canada.

Keywords: Nutrition, Health Literacy, Global Health, Community-based Education Purpose of Study: According to the 2011 Uganda Nutrition Action Plan, 40% of children under 5 are malnourished. Local healthcare leaders identified childhood malnutrition as an ongoing problem in the rural village of Nakaseke, Uganda. This study was aimed at assessing early childhood nutritional practices in Nakaseke, and identifying barriers to healthy nutritional practices in order to create sustainable interventions.

Methods: Data was collected using 7 focus groups with a total of 46 participants including community health workers, village health teams, and community members. The interviews were conducted in Luganda using a translator, audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes.

Summary of results: General poverty and lack of knowledge were identified as two major barriers to healthy nutritional practices in the community. Poverty lead to an inability to afford certain nutritionrich foods and was compounded by lack of family planning resulting in large families. Additionally, early cessation of breastfeeding was common among working mothers, who were often away from their children. A general lack of knowledge contributed to the inappropriate cessation of breastfeeding and the improper introduction of complementary foods, and was due in part to a lack of education on nutrition. Focus group discussion generated ideas to improve nutritional practices included increasing accessibility to nutrition seminars, as well as the use of drummer groups to generate interest and educate the community.

Conclusion: This study identified a continued need for education on nutrition among the community.

With a better understanding of current practices and beliefs, we can now collaborate with the community to create sustainable interventions to address their specific needs while taking into account their financial restraints. This represents a first step to improve nutritional practices in the community leading to better childhood developmental and health outcomes.

Corresponding author: erin.charman@gmail.com

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Presenting Author(s): Adrienne Cheung Cheung, Adrienne (1), Julian M. Somers (2), Akm Moniruzzaman (2), Michelle Patterson (2), Jim Frankish (3), Krausz, Michael (4), Palepu, Anita (5) (1) MD Undergraduate Program, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada (2) Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada (3) Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada (4) Department of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada (5) Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada Keywords: substance dependence, homelessness, health service use, mental illness, Housing First Objective: To examine the relationship between substance dependence and health service use among adults who were homeless with mental disorders two years after randomization to Housing First (HF) and different psychosocial interventions or “Treatment as Usual” (no additional housing or support).

Design: The Vancouver At Home study consists of two randomized controlled trials (RCT) addressing high and moderate need mental illness among homeless. Substance dependence was determined at baseline using the MINI 6.0. To assess health service use, we reviewed the number of emergency department (ED) visits and the number of hospital admissions based on administrative data for 6 urban hospitals.

Statistics: Negative binomial regression modeling was used to test the independent association between substance dependence and health service use, adjusting for HF intervention, age, gender, ethnicity, education, length of lifetime homelessness, mental disorders, chronic health conditions, and other variables that were selected a priori to be potentially associated with use of health services.

Sample: 497 homeless adults with mental disorders were recruited, of whom 58% (N=288) met criteria for substance dependence. We included 381 participants in our analyses who had at least one year of follow-up and had a personal health number that could be linked to comprehensive administrative data from all regional hospitals. Of this group, 59% (N=223) met criteria for substance dependence.

Results: We found no independent association between substance dependence and health service use in the form of ED visits and hospital admissions (RR=0.85; 95% CI: 0.62-1.17 and RR=1.21; 95% CI: 0.83respectively). The most responsible diagnosis for hospital admission was one of schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia-related disorder, or bipolar affective disorder in 48% (N=263) of hospital admissions. Fifteen percent (N=84) of hospital admissions listed substance dependence as the most responsible diagnosis.

Conclusions: Substance dependence was not independently associated with health service use in homeless adults with mental disorders participating in a HF trial. Hospital admissions among this cohort were primarily associated with severe mental disorder diagnoses.

Corresponding author: adrienne.cheung@alumni.ubc.ca

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