August 8, 2023 — 

Three new UM projects have received proof-of concept funding from Research Manitoba on July 26 totaling $346,500 over two years. Innovation Proof-of-Concept grants are issued in two categories, biosciences and natural sciences & engineering, to strengthen Manitoba-based innovation and research development.

“We are proud to promote research and development of innovative ideas essential for economic development through this diverse funding platform that demonstrates innovation, talent and collaboration in Manitoba,” said Karen Dunlop, CEO of Research Manitoba.

“UM researchers are leading the way with new advancements in information technology and healthcare services with potential to improve lives, here in Manitoba and worldwide,” said Dr. Mario Pinto, vice-president (research and international). “I congratulate these researchers on achieving this vital support to bring these game-changing concepts into reality.”

 

Dr. Ji Hyun Ko

Marcus Ng

Dr. Marcus Ng

Ji Hyun Ko and Marcus Ng, departments of human anatomy and cell science and internal medicine (section of neurology), Rady Faculty of Health Sciences: A real-time electroencephalography-guided non-invasive brain stimulation to suppress epileptic seizures.

The Ko and Ng research team has developed a new non-invasive brain stimulation treatment that can reduce the impacts of epileptic seizure “spikes.” This breakthrough has significantly improved the patient intensive care discharge rate from 37 per cent to 90 per cent. This new project seeks to further optimize this for use in patients’ homes and develop a prototype wearable system called the “Ictopauser.”

Using stimulation parameters tailored for each patient based on a comprehensive treatment database, Ictopauser will suppress spikes in real time as patients sleep. The Ictopauser has the potential to save lives and will bring peace of mind to the 65 million people worldwide who live with epilepsy.

Denice Bay

Dr. Denice Bay

Denice Bay, department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, with industry partner PerioDiagnostics Inc.: Rapid point of care strip test development to detect periodontal gum disease bacterial by-products in saliva.

Periodontal disease is a form of bacterial gum disease affecting seven in 10 Canadians over the age of 45 that causes damage to gum and bones, leading to tooth loss and serious infections. Despite being such a common condition, periodontal disease is difficult to diagnose using current tools.

Bay, in partnership with the company Periodiagnostics Inc., will undertake a two-year project to test dyes capable of detecting the bacteria responsible quickly and accurately at the point-of-care. To achieve this, saliva from volunteers with and without periodontal disease will be collected at Winnipeg dental clinics, with the outcome being a ready-to-distribute test kit for use by dental professionals and community clinics.

Puyan Mojabi

Dr. Puyan Mojabi

Puyan Mojabi, department of electrical and computer engineering, Price Faculty of Engineering: Reconfigurable Electromagnetic Metasurfaces for Smart Radio Environments

This new research project by Puyan Mojabi, Canada Research Chair in Electromagnetic Inversion for Characterization and Design, seeks to improve wireless communications. This is motivated by the fact that current wireless infrastructure is heavily taxed in attempts to fill demands for higher performance, data transfer rates and security requirements. To this end, Mojabi aims to create new software to facilitate the precise design of reconfigurable thin panels, known as electromagnetic metasurfaces.

These reconfigurable panels, resembling thin poster frames, can be strategically used to tailor the environment between transmitters and receivers. The resulting “smart radio environment” then provides an extra degree of design freedom to allow users to define improved wireless service specifications.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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