Aug. 8, 2012 — Six researchers with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) have been given an infrastructure boost from the provincial government for cutting-edge laboratory space at McMaster.
The IIDR projects, totaling $1.5 million, are among 14 from across McMaster to be awarded funding under the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation’s Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure Program. The new provincial investment matches federal awards from the Canada Foundation for Innovation over the last year. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, made the announcement during a visit to McMaster’s campus on Wednesday.
IIDR investigators Charu Kaushic, associate professor, pathology and molecular medicine and professors Ken Rosenthal and Zhou Xing, department of pathology and molecular medicine, also members of the McMaster Immunology Research Center (MIRC), have been awarded $400,000 for their project Understanding Pathogenesis of and Immune Responses to HIV and Tuberculosis Co-infection to expand, renovate and update the Biosafety Level 3 lab in the IIDR.
They will continue their collaborative work on mucosal immunity, immuno-pathogenesis and vaccine development against these deadly infections. HIV – human immunodeficiency virus – and tuberculosis (TB) are the leading causes of death from infectious diseases and globally, cost billions of dollars to health systems. The epidemic is further complicated by the fact that these infections fuel each other. The technical infrastructure essential to HIV-TB research involves equipping labs at a Biosafety Level 3.
McMaster's considerable expertise in infectious disease research will be further advanced with the infusion of $400,000 to establish a laboratory to support high- throughput research in population-based infectious diseases. Led by IIDR member Mark Loeb, the Infrastructure for Population-Based Infectious Diseases Research project will provide capacity for tissue storage and for data storage to better deal with influenza and dengue virus specimens procured from across North America, Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. Loeb, a professor in the department of pathology and molecular medicine and Medical Director of Infection Control for Hamilton Health Sciences, will be working with IIDR member Jonathan Bramson, Director, Centre for Gene Therapeutics and professor, pathology and molecular medicine and member of MIRC, to conduct large-scale epidemiologic studies to discover the immunologic and genetic determinants that influence the severity of viral disease, and determine the role such factors play with respect to vaccine response.
Michael Surette’s Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research in Health and Disease will be a high capacity Biosafety Level 2 facility dedicated to culturing, characterization and rapid molecular profiling of microbial communities of the human microbiome. The lab received $727,419 for the novel research it will pursue, including opportunities for improved disease management, identification of new pathogens, development of new diagnostics and discerning how the normal microbiota contribute to health. Surette, IIDR member and Canada Research Chair Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research will collaborate with researchers from the IIDR and the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.
For a list of all projects funded under the program click here.
Photo caption: Pictured from left are Ken Rosenthal, Mike Surette, Charu Kaushic and Zhou Xing, who were all awarded funding under the provincial government's Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure Program.