McMaster University

McMaster University

Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR)

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HIV research: McMaster prof finds inspiration in paradoxical finding

MERS

In the centre of Cape Town – just a short drive from the city’s iconic Table Mountain National Park – is one of Africa’s most advanced research facilities dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS.

It’s here, at The Cape Town HIV Vaccine Trials Network Immunology Lab (CHIL), where McMaster University’s Dr. Ken Rosenthal recently spent six months as the first visiting scientist, collaborating with a consortium of local researchers and educators to conduct cutting-edge HIV research.

“South Africa has the highest burden of HIV disease, and therefore is a focus of many current and upcoming HIV vaccine trials,” says Rosenthal, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. “Because HIV is primarily affecting people in sub-Saharan Africa, we really are at the frontline.”

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Watch evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar on TVO

McMaster evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, will appear this week on TVO’s The Agenda in the Summer for a two-part interview series on his ground breaking research into the woolly mammoth and the evolution of the Black Death.

In the first interview, which airs Thursday evening, Poinar, who is director of the Ancient DNA Centre and a researcher at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, will discuss the controversial issue of de-extinction, the process of mapping the woolly mammoth genome and the ethics of bringing back extinct species.

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Promising Hamilton cancer treatment being tested in patients

MERS

A made-in-Hamilton cancer treatment that doubles as a vaccine to prevent the disease from reoccurring is being tested in patients.

"It's a vaccine that is powerful enough to destroy an existing tumour and prevent it from relapsing," said Dr. Brian Lichty, an associate professor at McMaster University who jointly discovered the treatment along with Dr. David Stojdl and Dr. John Bell of the University of Ottawa.

"It's a really novel way of treating cancer," said Dr. Sebastien Hotte, medical oncologist at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre who is overseeing the testing in Hamilton. "It's exciting to study a treatment that had its origin locally."

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McMaster prof leads international team in novel HIV research

MERS

A group of Canadian and international researchers, led by McMaster University’s Dr. Charu Kaushic, was recently awarded a CIHR Team Grant totaling $1.2 million to study the mucosal immune response to HIV.

With support from the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), and in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Kaushic and her colleagues propose to further explore whether changes in a woman’s hormones, genital microflora and immune system increase the risk of HIV infection.

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Jurassic World: An evolutionary scientist's take on the blockbuster hit

MERS

When Dr. Hendrik Poinar went to see mega-blockbuster Jurassic World, he admits he had to turn off his brain a little.

Poinar is the scientist whose research might some day lead to bringing ancient, extinct animals like the woolly mammoth back to life. His father George's research helped inspire Michael Crichton as he wrote Jurassic Park — the book that led to the original movie in 1993.

He could have sat in a crowded movie theatre and focused on the differences between fact and fiction in what it takes to make a pre-historic beast come alive again. But that would have been a waste of $13.

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Researchers develop world’s most sensitive test to detect and diagnose superbugs

MERS

Infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and some of the world’s deadliest superbugs—C. difficile and MRSA among them—could soon be detected much earlier by a unique diagnostic test, designed to easily and quickly identify dangerous pathogens.

Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new way to detect the smallest traces of metabolites, proteins or fragments of DNA. In essence, the new method can pick up any compound that might signal the presence of infectious disease, be it respiratory or gastrointestinal.

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IIDR member receives prestigious NSERC DAS grant

MERS

Dr. Marie Elliot, a biologist and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) was one of six researchers from McMaster University to receive the prestigious NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS) grant.

DAS grants are awarded to researchers who are engaged in original and innovative research programs, and who demonstrate a strong potential to become international leaders within their respective fields.

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Quarantine Tent explores challenges of pre-vaccine era

MERS

The Quarantine Tent returned to Open Streets Hamilton over the weekend, and several McMaster students played the part of the sick patients from the pre-vaccine era.

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IIDR supports preclinical drug discovery through new funding initiative

MERS

The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research’s Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology (CMCB) is a unique facility with state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced staff to support preclinical drug discovery and molecular biology.

In an effort to capitalize on this infrastructure, the IIDR recently launched a new funding initiative to support novel, collaborative research between the Institute’s investigators and CMCB staff.

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Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome

MERS MERS: What you need to know

In response to the recent outbreak of MERS in South Korea and parts of the Middle East, countries around the world are increasing their levels of awareness among their people, particularly those working in their health care systems. Though detailed information on the virus is limited – largely because of its novelty – experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are confident it has a limited ability to spread throughout affected regions. Despite this, experts warn that it is still premature to declare the outbreak over.

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Video: Dawn Bowdish discusses the immune system, pathogenic bacteria and her exciting research

Post by research2Reality


IIDR primed to usher in the next generation of antibiotics

Left to right: Team leader Nathan Magarvey, Chad Johnston, Chris DeJong and Phil Rees.

PHOTO BY JD HOWELL “Resistance to antibiotics is a challenge of global proportion that is undermining advances of modern medicine,” says Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR). “We are losing our ability to control infection because microbes are evolving resistance at a faster pace than we are delivering new antibiotics.”


It was a chance observation that led Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin, earning him the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1945. His finding – considered one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century – ushered in a new era of modern medicine.

But he was quick to caution the medical world of the potential risks associated with the misuse of penicillin. “There is the danger,” he explained, “that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”

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Wright & Brown: The greatest threat of our time — antibiotic resistance

Left to right: Team leader Nathan Magarvey, Chad Johnston, Chris DeJong and Phil Rees.

The world — including Canada — is finally waking up to the worst public health threat of our times.

Last week, the World Health Organization and Canada’s Auditor-General independently issued similar warnings: that everyone must do much more to fight antimicrobial resistance.

Their voices join a chorus that had already included the Government of Canada and the White House, which have announced plans of their own in the past month, and the British government, which launched a plan in 2013.

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A young scientist with big ideas

Left to right: Team leader Nathan Magarvey, Chad Johnston, Chris DeJong and Phil Rees.

The Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair has been running for over 50 years, offering students in grades 7 through 12 from the City of Hamilton and surrounding Municipalities a chance to showcase their ideas. One of the top prizes awarded annually is a summer internship in the lab of an IIDR member. The winner of this year’s prize is Adree Khondker for his work on corticosteroid interactions with synthetic lipid membranes.

Adree’s project began when the grade 12 student at Westdale Secondary School contacted Dr. Maikel Rheinstadter in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster.

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New report urges Canada to do more on antimicrobial resistance

The Auditor General of Canada says we need to do more to combat the threats posed by the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Approximately 18,000 Canadians contract drug-resistant infections in hospitals every year. McMaster’s Gerry Wright, a world leader in battling superbugs, says the future is grim without urgent action:

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Dr. Gerry Wright has been renewed as Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic Biochemistry.

Left to right: Team leader Nathan Magarvey, Chad Johnston, Chris DeJong and Phil Rees.

Two of the world’s leading researchers in the fight against infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance are among those recognized as Canada Research Chairs in an announcement today by the Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women.

Leitch announced four new Canada Research Chairs for McMaster and celebrated the renewal of five of the university’s current chairholders. The group of nine includes Heather Sheardown, who has been named Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems, and Gerry Wright, who has been renewed as Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic Biochemistry.

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Big data approach to finding new natural antibiotics attracts federal funding

Left to right: Team leader Nathan Magarvey, Chad Johnston, Chris DeJong and Phil Rees.

An international research team led by McMaster scientists has received major funding from the Canadian government to discover and develop natural antibiotics for treating drug resistant bacteria.

The $1.5 million in funding is the largest of six grants for Canadian research teams announced by the Ministry of Health today as part of the government’s response to the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Nathan Magarvey of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster is the leader of the team that includes colleagues from British Columbia, the United Kingdom, France and Israel. Several European research agencies are matching the Canadian funding.

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Canadian leaders in antibiotic resistance welcome US plan

A new five-year plan to fight the critical problem of antibiotic resistance brings welcome momentum and attention to a fight that demands a global effort, say leading Canadian researchers in the field.

A new White House report lays out a five-year US plan to dedicate significant resources to overcoming the worldwide threat posed by the waning effectiveness of existing antibiotics – a growing problem that already kills thousands and poses a threat to millions more lives.

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Researchers find new link between neurodegenerative diseases and abnormal immune responses

Researchers from McMaster University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York have discovered that a protein associated with neurodegenerative diseases like ALS also plays an important role in the body's natural antiviral response.

The study, published today in Nature Immunology, offers new insight into the link between neurodegenerative disorders and inflammation, and provides a framework to explore more fully the possibility that viral infection may lead to onset of these diseases.

Matthew Miller, an investigator at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research, is the study's lead author.

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Canadian Leaders in Antibiotic Resistance Welcome US Plan, Say It Drives Momentum in Critical Global Fight

A new five-year plan to fight the critical problem of antibiotic resistance brings welcome momentum and attention to a fight that demands a global effort, say leading Canadian researchers in the field, who are available to comment this afternoon.

A new White House report lays out a five-year US plan to dedicate significant resources to overcoming the worldwide threat posed by the waning effectiveness of existing antibiotics – a growing problem that already kills thousands and poses a threat to millions more lives.

read more...


New bird flu threat, future solution

Authorities are concerned about a new strain of avian flu which is spreading across China.

This new strain is exhibiting different characteristics from other strains, and researchers have suggested that it may mutate further and risks becoming a pandemic.

Matthew Miller (PhD) is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences based at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute of Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario.

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The Importance of the Microbiome to Health and Environmental Research

March 31st 2015 2:30 p.m. MDCL Room 1110

Across all of Earth's ecosystems, ranging from the deep subsurface through aquifers contaminated by mining activities to the human body, microbial communities play absolutely fundamental roles. In such environments, commonalities relate to ecosystem processes, and much may be learned through study of multiple systems. Interesting and general ecosystem phenomena are the processes of initial colonization and the following patterns of succession. In this talk she will discuss new and rapidly evolving methods to study microbial communities and present results from contaminated aquifer, acid mine drainage and necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies studies that underline the importance of the high resolution view provided by these methods compared to those currently used.


Download the PDF


Antibiotic discovery could relieve growing bacterial resistance

The discovery of a new antibiotic capable of killing some disease-causing bacteria is raising hopes for scientists struggling to overcome growing antibiotic resistance.

Teixobactin works against some bacteria, including Clostridium difficile, which causes an infectious disease of the same name, and Mycobacterium tuberculous, which causes tuberculosis.

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In fight against superbugs, newly discovered antibiotic looks promising

The war against drug-resistant superbugs has been a losing battle, with scientists failing to develop any successful new antibiotics in the past three decades.

But now a team of U.S. researchers believe they are on the verge of developing a novel weapon against swiftly mutating pathogens after they discovered a new antibiotic in the soil that appears, at least in early experiments, to be an effective and enduring killer of resistant strains.

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November is Lung Month! The Bowdish lab gets involved with the Breathing As One campaign.

Research in Lung health is not nearly as well funded as it should be considering the toll it takes on patients and our healthcare system. That’s why the Bowdish lab is involved in the Lung Association’s Breathing as One campaign to raise money for lung research.

Click here to read the newspaper insert.

Go to the Lung Association website for more...



IIDR Trainee Research Day 2014: Winners of the awards and scholarships

Oct. 10, 2014 - The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research celebrated the diverse talents of its trainees and postdoctoral fellows at the fourth annual Trainee Research Day held on Friday, October 10th.

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Ebola may be quietly immunizing many

A Canadian researcher is one of four scientists raising the issue that Ebola may be silently immunizing large numbers of people, who never fall ill or infect others yet become protected from future infection. Their letter was published today in the medical journal The Lancet.

If true, this finding could have significant ramifications for both projections of how widespread the disease will be, and strategies policy makers and health workers should use to contain the disease, say the authors.

McMaster University's Jonathan Dushoff, an associate professor of biology and an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, is one of the authors with principal author Steve Bellan of the University of Texas at Austin and others from UT Austin and the University of Florida.

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THIS FULL-DAY EVENT will give IIDR undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to present their research and network with researchers and peers. Lunch will be provided.

FRIDAY, Oct. 10, 2014,

9:00AM – 6:00 PM

CIBC Hall, McMaster University Student Centre

and

The University Club McMaster University

Visit TraineeDay Website for More Information

 


McMaster postdoc is breaking down the wall of chemo side-effects

Postdoctoral fellow Erin Westman, biochemistry and biomedical sciences, will be competing against 99 young scholars, entrepreneurs and professionals from around the world at the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin.

Westman was chosen from a group of 17 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who competed at McMaster’s inaugural Falling Walls Lab.

She will take her winning presentation – Breaking the Wall of Chemotherapy Consequences – to the international competition and conference in November.


Glow of poop may shed light on diagnosing cancer

Two McMaster University researchers are looking to diagnose colorectal cancer with glowing fecal matter.

For what could become an inexpensive, simple, accurate and non-invasive test, biochemist Yingfu Li and gastroenterologist Bruno Salena are developing fluorescent DNAzymes that will detect cancer markers in stool samples. If cancer is present, the molecules will glow, leading to early treatment and better outcomes for patients.

The two hatched the idea on the golf course. Li and Salena work in different scientific fields, but discovered they share an interest in early detection of disease. Li has been studying fluorescent DNAzymes for many years, while Salena has been treating patients with colorectal cancer and other bowel diseases.


McMaster moves up in world university rankings

An influential international ranking of the world’s universities has placed McMaster at number 90 among the world’s universities.

The Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities has moved McMaster up to No. 90 from 92 in 2013, making it one of just four Canadian schools in the Top 100, with the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill.

In total, the ranking placed 21 Canadian universities among the world’s top 500 institutions — a drop from 2013, when 23 Canadian institutions made the top 500.

There are an estimated 16,000 universities in the world.


Fungicides linked to resistance in life-threatening fungus

Amid growing concern that fungicides are fuelling the rise of resistant and life-threatening fungus in Europe, China and India, a microbial sleuth says it is time to start filling in the gaps in Canada.

As a first step, biologist Jianping Xu says his group at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., hopes to start testing fungi circulating in southern Ontario’s farm belt this fall.

“We plan to take samples in the environment and compare them with what we see in patients in the hospital,” says Xu, who has collaborated on several international studies that point to resistant fungi as a growing and serious health threat. Read more...


Dr. Brian Coombes receives research grant

Dr. Brian Coombes of McMaster University has been awarded $220,000 to fund research on the link between E. coli infection and inflammatory bowel disease.

Crohn's and Colitis Canada announced four research grants this week, totalling $1,229,750, to researchers across the province. This is part of the organization's investment of $3.4 million this year to support research on chronic bowel diseases that affect more than 233,000 Canadians.Read more...


 

Antibiotic-Resistant Germs, Lying in Wait Everywhere

The Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico is a network of chambers stretching 1,600 feet underground. The bacteria that grow on the walls of its most remote recesses have been living in complete isolation for more than four million years.

In 2010, Gerry Wright, a microbiologist at McMaster University in Ontario, ran an experiment on those long-lost bacteria. He and his colleagues doused them with antibiotics, the drugs that doctors have used for the past 70 years to wipe out bacterial infections. Read more...


 

Kryptonite for superbugs: Scientists unearth what may be a secret weapon in the urgent battle against antibiotic-resistance

HAMILTON, ON, June 25, 2014—A fungus living in the soils of Nova Scotia could offer new hope in the pressing battle against drug-resistant germs that kill tens of thousands of people every year, including one considered a serious global threat.

A team of researchers led by McMaster University has discovered a fungus-derived molecule, known as AMA, which is able to disarm one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistance genes: NDM-1 or New Delhi Metallo-beta-Lactamase-1, identified by the World Health Organization as a global public health threat.

“This is public enemy number one,” explains Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University.

“It came out of nowhere, it has spread everywhere and has basically killed our last resource of antibiotics, the last pill on the shelf, used to treat serious infections,” he says.


Mark Loeb receives March of Dimes life time achievement award

Dr. Mark Loeb, professor, in the departments of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Medicine, and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics has received The Jonas Salk Award, a lifetime achievement award from the March of Dimes of Canada. The award recognizes Loeb’s significant contribution in infectious disease research, its prevention in frail elderly persons and people with disabilities, and his most recent work related to polio and immune therapy. He will be presented with the award and a personal financial tribute of $10,000 at a reception on June 12 in Toronto. The Jonas Salk Award is presented annually to a Canadian scientist, physician or researcher who has made a new and outstanding contribution in science or medicine to prevent, alleviate or eliminate a physical disability.


 

Antibiotic-Resistant Germs, Lying in Wait Everywhere

The Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico is a network of chambers stretching 1,600 feet underground. The bacteria that grow on the walls of its most remote recesses have been living in complete isolation for more than four million years.

In 2010, Gerry Wright, a microbiologist at McMaster University in Ontario, ran an experiment on those long-lost bacteria. He and his colleagues doused them with antibiotics, the drugs that doctors have used for the past 70 years to wipe out bacterial infections. Read more...


 

UBC antimicrobial pioneer elected to American National Academy of Sciences

UBC microbiologist Julian Davies has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

He is among 21 foreign associates from 15 countries elected to the prestigious Academy today in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in research.

The Davies lab searches for antibiotics from a variety of natural sources, these include bacteria isolated from soils, sediments, clays, mushrooms and lichens. Read more...

 


Drug-resistant 'superbugs' now a global threat, says WHO

Drug-resistant “superbugs” have now spread to every corner of the world, threatening to make diseases like gonorrhea and tuberculosis more difficult — or even impossible — to treat, according to the World Health Organization’s first global survey of antibiotic resistance.

Read more at thestar.com

 


A fantastic voyage for chemotherapy drugs

McMaster biochemistry professor Joaquin Ortega and student Bilal Ahsa, members of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, are involved in a medical research project reminiscent of the 1960s movie Fantastic Voyage. Read more in the Hamilton Spectator.


Bowdish lab and Miami Mice collaborate on early screening of lung cancer

Dawn Bowdish and Corinne LobeResearchers in the Bowdish lab are hoping to bridge bench to bedside cancer research through a new collaboration with Miami Mice, a cutting-edge biotechnology company that develops genetically modified mice, – called "mouse models" – to identify and develop early markers for lung cancer and leukemia.

Dawn Bowdish, assistant professor, Pathology & Molecular Medicine and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR), is collaborating with Corrinne Lobe, founder and CEO of Miami Mice, to develop a new diagnostic for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among men and women.



Province recognizes budding IIDR research stars

Two members of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research are among 11 McMaster researchers awarded Early Researcher Awards (ERA) from the Province of Ontario.

Dawn Bowdish, assistant professor, pathology & molecular medicine, whose research investigates the causes of bacterial pneumonia in the elderly, and Nathan Magarvey, assistant professor, biochemistry & biomedical sciences, who is leading the delivery of safer, more effective and targeted natural drug discoveries, were among the esteemed group of researchers announced today.


 

Eric Brown, Jonathan Bramson named Canada Research Chairs

Eric Brown and Jonathan Bramson, members of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, have been named Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs (CRC), and will receive $1.4 million over seven years to help further their research efforts. Also awarded a CRC was Megumi Harada. A Tier 2 recipient, Harada will receive $500,000 over five years.



Beyond Antibiotics: Quirks & Quarks

A documentary report by Quirks & Quarks producer Jim Lebans about how researchers will cope with a world where antibiotics no longer work features Gerry Wright, Scientific Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University.

Click above to listen to the podcast or visit CBC Radio online.


 

McMaster team wins first Synapse Life Science Competition

A McMaster University spin-off company has won a new competition for life science businesses. Advanced Theranostics Inc. took first place in the inaugural Synapse Life Science Competition this week.

The winning presentation was about a solution to the need for faster, more sensitive lab diagnostics for infectious diseases through a DNA swab, a hand-held device and a mobile app.


Post-doc wants to put a lid on messy composting

Morgan WyattIt’s supposed to be a simple household task, meant to divert organic material from the landfill.

But composting is often anything but pleasant. From the hordes of fruit flies that swarm above the green bin to the compostable bin liners that inevitably dissolve, spilling slime on hands, kitchen counters and floors, composting is often a dirty, smelly job.

And that, says Morgan Wyatt, is why the world needs the Greenlid.

The simple product – a container made of compressed pulp with a reusable lid – is the brainchild of Wyatt, a McMaster post-doctoral fellow (in the lab of Nathan Magarvey, member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research), and his brother Jackson. And its usefulness is summed up in its slogan: “Never clean your compost bin again.”



Microbial Communities of the Body in Health and Disease

Mike SuretteThe Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art is sponsoring a free public talk on "Microbial Communities of the Body in Health and Disease" by Michael Surette, a microbiologist with the Farncombe Family Institute for Digestive Health Research and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. His talk will take place Saturday, March 8 at 8 pm in Rm. 1A1, Ewart Angus Centre, MUMC. Q & A with coffee and cookies. No reservations required. See www.haalsa.org for more details.



Federal budget provides substantial support for university research and innovation

Finance minister Jim Flaherty unveiled the new Canada First Research Excellence Fund in Tuesday’s federal budget.  It will invest $1.5 billion over the next decade for Canadian post-secondary institutions to excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

Read more...


IIDR trainee publishes “how to” guide for bioinformatics

Fiona WhelanFiona Whelan, a graduate student in IIDR member Mike Surette’s lab, has published a review article called “A guide to bioinformatics for immunologists” in Frontiers Immunology.

“The idea of this article spawned from research that I conducted in the Bowdish lab on the elucidation of the evolutionary history and relationships between the members of the class A scavenger receptors, proteins required for host defense and homeostasis,” says Whelan.

Read more...

 


 

CIHR boosts fundamental research in the IIDR

Research in the labs of Charu Kaushic, professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and Lori Burrows, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, is set to accelerate as the result of five years of funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

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IIDR welcomes new member

Dominik MertzThe IIDR welcomes Dominik Mertz to its membership. Mertz is a an assistant professor at McMaster, in the Division of Infectious Diseases and in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and acts as the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Hamilton Health Sciences.

His particular research interest is the epidemiology of hospital-acquired infections and of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and antimicrobial stewardship. He also teaches at the undergraduate (MD program), graduate (Health Research Methodology) and postgraduate level at McMaster.

Read more...


 

Scientists reveal cause of one of the most devastating pandemics in human history

An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world’s most devastating plagues – the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe—were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s.

These findings suggest a new strain of plague could emerge again in humans in the future.

“The research is both fascinating and perplexing, it generates new questions which need to be explored, for example why did this pandemic, which killed somewhere between 50 and 100 million people die out?” questions Hendrik Poinar, associate professor and director of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre and an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Read more...

 


 

Fever-reducing medications may aid spread of influenza

Ben Bolker, David Earn and Paul AndrewsContrary to popular belief, fever-reducing medication may inadvertently cause more harm than good.
 
New research from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research has discovered that the widespread use of medications that contain fever-reducing drugs may lead to tens of thousands more influenza cases, and more than a thousand deaths attributable to influenza, each year across North America. These drugs include ibuprofen, acetaminophen and acetylsalicylic acid.  

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Scientists unlock evolution of cholera

Hendrik PoinarWorking with a more than 160-year-old sample of preserved intestine, researchers at McMaster University and the University of Sydney have traced the bacterium behind a global cholera pandemic that killed millions – a version of the same bug that continues to strike vulnerable populations in the world’s poorest regions.

Using sophisticated techniques, the team has mapped the entire genome of the elusive 19th century bacterium. The findings are significant because, until now, researchers had not identified the early strains of cholera, a water-borne pathogen. The discovery significantly improves understanding of the pathogen’s origin and creates hope for better treatment and possible prevention.

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Ortega lab demonstrates power of electron microscopy

Joaquin OrtegaJoaquin Ortega and his team recently published two papers that show the power of electron microscopy to understand the workings of cellular enzymes.

“This is essential information needed to develop for example new antibiotics or to understand why cancer cells continuously divide and cause tumors”, says Ortega, a structural biologist with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Read more...


 

The thousand-year graveyard: Science News

In the journal Science News, award-winning news correspondent Ann Gibbons tells the tale of researchers who have opened a remarkable window into centuries of health and disease in Europe, from the Black Death of the 14th Century to a cholera epidemic in the 19th, at the Abbey of St. Peter in Lucca, Italy.

The researchers, led by Giuseppe Vercellotti and Clark Larson from Ohio State University and Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University's MG DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, are analyzing skeletons, teeth and ancient DNA from graveyards around the Abbey in order to learn how epidemics such as the bubonic plague spread through Europe. The Abbey lay along an early pilgrimage route, where knights, clerics, monks and peasants -- as well as pathogens -- all congregated.

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Secrets in the Bones: The Hunt for the Black Death Killer

It was called the Black Death, a disease that started with the spitting of blood and ended in just days with blackened extremities, delirium and death. In the 14th century it swept across Europe wiping out half the population, one of the most lethal killers in human history.

But for more than 660 years the cause of the Black Death has eluded scientists. Now, Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary biologist based at Hamilton’s McMaster University and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, leads an international team on an epic quest from a Black Death gravesite in Italy, to a top secret government laboratory in the United States, to a repository holding more than 20,000 sets of human remains in London. His goal: Capture the Black Death killer and unlock the secrets of this deadly disease, secrets that could help us fight infectious diseases today and, potentially, save lives.

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Coombes’ lab collaborates with Qu Biologics to study new Crohn’s disease research model

Brian CoombesBrian Coombes, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, will lead a new study with Qu Biologics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in Vancouver, British Columbia, to investigate new treatments for Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that inflicts more than 100,000 Canadians.

Read more...

 


The secret behind foods in supermarkets: CBC

Gerry WrightGerry Wright, scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, is featured on the latest episode of CBC's Marketplace entitled "Food Secrets." In the episode, Wright talks about his unfortunate contact with antibiotic-resistant salmonella and his work in the lab to fight these and other superbugs.

To watch the online episode see: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2013-2014/food-secrets


 

Combining chemotherapy with herpes can help fight cancer, McMaster study finds

Karen Mossmand and Sam WorkenheCombining chemotherapy with a herpes virus is showing promise in killing cancer cells and tumours in mice, two complimentary McMaster University studies found.

Led by Sam Workenhe, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Karen Mossman, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the McMaster Immunology Research Center, the research is published in Molecular Therapy and Cancer Immunology Research.

Read more...



New Biosafety Level 3 facility catapults infectious disease research

A new $3.5-million Biosafety Level 3 laboratory is catapulting McMaster University onto the global map with specialized lab space that supports research on infectious disease and the world’s most deadly pathogens.

With dedicated animal facilities, a state-of-the-art flow cytometry facility and ample space for current and future projects, the recently opened lab will allow researchers to conduct research at a new level.

Read more...


How safe is your drinking water? Speaker series tackles perplexing problems

Saving lives by making water safe, the art of planet hunting and the magic of nano-magnets are among the research topics being explored by Ontario’s top researchers as McMaster kicks off this year’s speaker series, Research Matters.

John Brennan, Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry and Biointerfaces at McMaster, will reflect on the most basic human necessity - safe drinking water - at the event being held Monday, Nov. 4 between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. at McMaster Innovation Park on Longwood Rd. S.

See more at: http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/how-safe-is-your-drinking-water-speaker-series-tackles-perplexing-problems/#sthash.wxE4iBuy.dpuf


A Picture of Health: The Hamilton Spectator

The Hamilton Spectator's Oct. 24 edition includes a special insert on the innovators in Hamilton's health care sector and features profiles of IIDR members Gerry Wright, Eric Brown and Mark Loeb.

Click here to read the online edition.



Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria: Frontline

A documentary on Frontline called "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria" investigates the rise of deadly drug-resistant bacteria and drying pipeline of novel antimicrobial discovery.

Click here to watch the October 22 episode online.

 


 

IIDR celebrates its trainees

2013 trainee day winnersThe Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research celebrated the diverse talents of its trainees and postdoctoral fellows at the third annual Trainee Research Day held on Friday, Oct. 18.

Read more...



Researchers "fish new pond" for antibiotics

Eric BrownResearchers at McMaster University are addressing the crisis in drug resistance with a novel approach to find new antibiotics.

“We have developed technology to find new antibiotics using laboratory conditions that mimic those of infection in the human body,” said Eric Brown, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences.

He is the lead author of the paper published in the online edition of Nature Chemical Biology. Brown is also a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR).

Read more...



Wright lab digs for antibiotics in the dirt

Wright labIn the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria, McMaster University researchers have found resistance itself is a successful pathway for discovering new antibiotic drugs.

“In essence, we’ve made resistance useful instead of a scary problem,” said Gerry Wright, professor and scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Read more...



Fecal transplant study featured on CTV

Michael Surette, a researcher with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, is featured on CTV News in a segment that explores the use of fecal transplants to treat inflammatory bowel diseases. While studies show that fecal bacteria may help with obesity and depression, he warns about the risks of infection. Click here to watch the video.

An earlier segment on CTV featured a McMaster study that involved 120 participants suffering from ulcerative colitis who receive fecal material from specially screened donors. "In this trial, unfortunately it’s not 100 per cent successful," said Surette, who is studying the dozens of bugs found in the stool samples from donors. "We are starting to analyze some of the microbiology, and I think we will have some information on what’s effective and what’s not."

Click here to read more.


 

McMaster lab develops new tuberculosis vaccine

Zhou Xing and Fiona SmaillA tuberculosis vaccine developed at McMaster University offers new hopes for the global fight against tuberculosis.

“We are the first to have developed such a vaccine for tuberculosis,” said Dr. Fiona Smaill, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster. She led the phase one clinical study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Read more...



Michael Kamin Hart Scholarship propels thirst for research

Brian TuinemaBrian Tuinema, a first-year PhD student in the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, has a thirst for science not unlike that demonstrated in Michael Hart, a promising second-year Master’s student in former IIDR member Justin Nodwell’s lab, who passed away after a courageous battle with lymphoma in 2011.

Read more...



McMaster researchers discover new microbe near Chilean coastal faultline

MircrobeA team of researchers from McMaster and the University of Concepción are shining a light on rare sulfur-loving microbes off the coast of Chile.

The group's work near coastal fault lines has identified a previously unknown type of molecule, macplocimine A, whichproduces valuable natural chemicals that are known to function as effective cancer therapies and antibiotics.

Read more...



A new way to fight antibiotic resistance

McMaster University researchers are using a new approach to discover antibiotic-resistant drugs at a time when other scientists are quickly running out of options. Researchers in the Brown and Bowdish laboratories in the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research targeted the cell membranes of MRSA (methicillin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus), a bacteria responsible for increasing the number of life-threatening infections both in the hospital and the broader community.

The research, entitled Collapsing the proton motive force to identify novel synergistic combinations against Staphylococcus aureus, appears in today’s online edition of Chemistry & Biology.

Read more...


 

Antibiotic resistant bugs kill thousands yearly in U.S.

For the first time, the U.S. government is estimating how many people die from drug-resistant bacteria each year — more than 23,000, or about as many as those killed annually by flu.

The figure was released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to spotlight the growing threat of germs that are hard to treat because they've become resistant to drugs.

Finally estimating the problem sends "a very powerful message," said Dr. Helen Boucher, a Tufts University expert and spokeswoman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. "We're facing a catastrophe."

(The Associated Press)

Read more...


 

Researchers find weather patterns play significant role in seasonal influenza

Dushoff and EarnInfluenza is like a cloud, moving across Canada with the fall weather, McMaster University researchers have found.
 
They have established that the spread of seasonal flu in Canada is tied to low temperature and low humidity and travels west to east, findings that may have significant implications on prioritizing control measures such as the timing of introducing vaccination programs across the country.

Read more...


McMaster World Sepsis Day Symposium

IIDR members and trainees are encouraged to attend the McMaster World Sepsis Day Symposium on Friday, September 13th in the Great Hall in the McMaster University Faculty Club.

This full-day symposium coincides with World Sepsis Day and will include a variety of sessions and panel discussions that will be interactive and inter-professional. The objective of the day is to facilitate knowledge exchange among interdisciplinary and inter-professional health care providers and researchers. Common themes identified through symposium discussions will help catalyze development of collaborative pediatric sepsis research and/or quality improvement initiatives.

Read more...


 

McMaster researchers receive breast cancer funding

Ali AshkarCanadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is building on its commitment to fund high quality research across the breast cancer continuum, by investing $8.4 million in projects across Ontario, including grants to both Ali Ashkar, member of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Jessica Cockburn, a post-doctoral fellow in McMaster's Department of Oncology.

Read more...


Future looks bright for fledgling scientist

BASEFFor many researchers, a love for science sparked early: some found inspiration through their parents or a teacher, others were bitten after seeing something inventive on television, while others were born with it. For Eisha Ahmed, a 17-year-old high school student working in the labs of IIDR researchers Dawn Bowdish and Mike Surette this summer, the passion was evident from an early age when she pinned insects to Styrofoam to study their intricate inner workings.

Read more...


Bowdish lab starts preclinical trials on study of chronic inflammation associated with macrophage dysfunction

Dawn BowdishDawn Bowdish, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and member of the McMaster Institute for Infectious Disease Research and McMaster Immunology Research Centre, will collaborate with Qu Biologics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company located in Vancouver, British Columbia, to research the effect of SSI therapy on macrophage immune dysfunction. Qu Biologics will test whether its SSI therapy can reduce or eliminate chronic inflammation related to macrophage dysfunction.  

Read more...


 

Lamers awarded prestigious two-year fellowship

Ryan LamersRyan Lamers, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Lori Burrows, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Professor and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, was awarded a two-year CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship in the most recent competition.

The award recognizes his work on peptidoglycan metabolism and antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  He adds this to his Michael G. DeGroote Fellowship (2013) and a Cystic Fibrosis Canada Fellowship (2013-15).

Read more...


Trainee Research Day registration launched

Trainee DayRegistration has opened for the third annual Trainee Research Day hosted by the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, which will take place Oct. 18 from 9 am to 6 pm in the CIBC Hall, Rm. 319 of the McMaster University Student Centre.

To register, submit abstracts and be considered to present a poster or talk visit http://traineeday2013.mcmasteriidr.ca/

During this full-day event, IIDR graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will have the opportunity to present their innovative research and network with researchers and peers through oral and poster presentations. Two $1,000 Gulliver Prizes for best graduate and postdoctoral submissions will be awarded and the winner of the Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarship will give an oral presentation.

The IIDR Trainee Day is sponsored by Fisher Scientific, FEI/SFR, Invitrogen, Biorad, Edge Scientific, VWR, Dlamed and the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Visit our Facebook page for updated information.



Behaviour change may have greatest influence on waves of influenza outbreak

David EarnThree waves of the deadliest influenza pandemic in history, known as the Spanish flu, hit England and Wales in 1918, just as World War 1 was coming to an end.
 
Why flu arrives in multiple waves like this is the focus of a study by McMaster University researchers who discovered three contributing factors:  the closing and opening of schools, temperature changes and – most importantly – changes in human behavior.
 
“We found all three factors were important in 1918 but that behavioural responses had the largest effect,” said David Earn, an investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and a professor in McMaster’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Read more...



Peer review examines role of antibiotics in nature

Steve BernierSteve Bernier, a postdoctoral researcher working in the lab of Michael Surette, investigator with McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, joined leading researchers from around the globe to review literature associated with the role of antibiotics in nature. The review is published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology (Research topic – Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy).

Read more...



Top career award recognizes global impact of antibiotic resistance research

Gerry WrightIn a career devoted to combating antibiotic resistance and seeking ways to overcome infectious disease, Gerry Wright has made a mark. This week he is being recognized for his impact with a top career award presented annually by the Canadian Society of Microbiologists (CSM).

It is another accolade to add to the scientific director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research’s lengthy biography, which includes more than 180 papers and book chapters, countless awards and affiliations with some of the world’s most influential institutions.

Read more...



Researchers dig deep into Cystic Fibrosis drug resistance

Matt WorkentineResearchers are beginning to better understand antibiotic resistance in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients, by investigating multiple strains of isolates taken from those inflicted with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the primary pathogen that causes chronic lung infections.

The finding comes from the lab of Michael Surette, investigator with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research, and could have significant implications for antibiotic therapy.

Read more...



Summer fellowships foster trainees

This summer, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) is boosting research experience for 12 trainees working in the labs of its members and affiliated institutions.

The IIDR has presented nine fellowships to trainees working in IIDR labs as well as three joint fellowships to students working jointly with IIDR members and researchers in the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

Read more...



Cutting-edge database mines the genome revolution

CARDMcMaster University researchers are breaking ground in mining the fruits of the genome revolution by developing the world’s first one-stop shopping resource to collate the scores of data associated with antibiotic resistance accumulated since the first bacterial genome sequence more than 15 years ago.

Read more...



New animal model sheds light on Crohn’s Disease

Brian CoombesMcMaster University investigators have opened up a new area of research in the study of Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that afflicts over 100,000 Canadians, one of the highest rates worldwide.

Led by Brian Coombes, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR), his group has been studying a variant of E. coli called adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) that is associated with human Crohn’s Disease. In their new work, Coombes’ group developed a new mouse model that showed that Crohn’s-associated E. coli could cause chronic infection in the mouse gut. Interestingly, after infection the mice developed chronic gut inflammation that resembled that seen in human Crohn’s Disease. This new model will allow researchers to understand the effects of chronic colonization on the host immune system and how this might play a role in disease development.

Read more...



IIDR trainees shine at 2013 Research Plenary

Congratulations to the many trainees from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research who won awards at the 2013 Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Research Plenary, as well as to Ali Ashkar, Associate Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, who received the FHS Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision Award.

Read more...


 

New therapies show signs of turning immune system into cancer-fighting weapon

Jonathan Bramson

Jonathan Bramson, director of McMaster’s Immunology Research Centre and member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, is hopeful new immunotherapy medications designed to trigger the body’s immune system, allowing it to fight the cancer on its own, are just the beginning of what could be a powerful way to activate the immune system against cancer.

“We’re seeing seen remarkable outcomes and evidence of what we long believed: that the immune system can fight cancer,” he tells CTV News. “I’ve been a scientist in this area for 20 odd years, and much of the promise has come from animal studies. To be living in an era where we have evidence the immune system can treat cancer, it’s a very exciting time.” (Files from CTV News)

Click here to watch the interview.


Changing heart: from virology to mycology

Nicole RobbinsIn 2007, having just completed a thesis project in virology in the lab of Karen Mossman, member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) and Pathology and Molecular Medicine Professor, Nicole Robbins was en route to becoming a virologist at the University of Toronto. Along the way her passions changed and this year she returned to the Wright lab with a new focus.

Read more...



Study suggests alternate methods of TB vaccination

Zhou XingA new study by researchers from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research suggests the importance of studying both innate and adaptive arms of host defense in TB vaccine research.

Read more...



Understanding ribosome biogenesis just got easier

Researchers with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) have opened doors to better understand the assembly process of the ribosome, by making a new observation that may significantly impact the way scientists target bacteria.

“In this work we studied the last stages of maturation of the bacterial ribosome, the enzyme that synthesizes proteins in the cells,” explains Joaquin Ortega, associate professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, about a paper published this month in RNA. His team involved researcher Vivian Leong and graduate students Meredith Kent and Ahmad Jomaa.

Read more...



Antibiotic resistance: Apocalypse Now?

Antibiotic resistance is a worsening problem for us, but a natural and ancient phenomenon, argues Gerard Wright in a Question and Answer article published today inBMC Biology.   The inevitable emergence and spread of resistance in human pathogens can only be met by the development of new drugs, yet there are few new antibiotics coming to market or in clinical trials. It can take up to a decade to bring a new drug from the lab to the pharmacy, so the problem is likely to exist for some time to come.

Read more...


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The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) is seeking an Administrative professional to provide a full range of administrative support to the Institute and Director in an experienced and efficient manner. The incumbent will be responsible for managing numerous and diverse duties in a busy environment. Specific duties include scheduling appointments; coordinating complex travel arrangements of the Director; assisting with financial transactions, including reconciliation of procurement cards, and department related expenses; processing vouchers, invoices and travel expense reports; filing; reconciliation of Institute and research accounts, as well as supporting the Institute Director and Manager with administrative support as directed. For more information on the position and how to apply, please visit Working at McMaster.


IIDR Bulletin


  • IIDR members and trainees are invited to an upcoming SWOP meeting on Saturday, May 31st at the University of Guelph. For more information view the poster.
  • Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Impact Awards, that recognize papers of exceptional impact published in 2013 by graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. The three winners of the impact awards are:

  • As part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences seminar series, Dr. Gerry Wright hosted Dr. Caitlin Pepperell from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on MONDAY February 10th. Dr. Pepperell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Medical Microbiology & Immunology, School of Medicine and Public Health. Her seminar was titled“Evolution of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis”.Click here to download the seminar notice.

  • The IIDR has published its 2013 Annual Report. To view a pdf copy click here. To request a hard copy contact fanning@mcmaster.ca.

  • Hendrik Poinar's latest work that looks into the Bubonic plague, which was caused by the rodent-borne bacterium Yersinia pestis, is featured in the New York Times and more than 250 other notable publications, and counting. To view updated coverage follow us on Twitter.
  • As part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences seminar series and in conjunction with the Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR), Dr. Gerry Wright hosted Dr. Leah Cowen from the University of Toronto on Tuesday January 28th . The seminar was titked: “Genetic and Genomic Architecture of Fungal Drug Resistance and Morphogenesis”. 
  • The 54th Annual Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) is looking for
    volunteer Science Fair judges. The annual high school science fair will take place on Thursday, March 27 at Hillfield Strathallan College on Fennell Avenue in Hamilton (next to Mohawk College), from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m. Registration for judges is available online. The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research will
    provide an award at BASEF this year to the best senior project in infectious disease, drug discovery or human health. It is one of BASEF's most coveted
    prizes.
  • As part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences seminar series, IIDR's Lori Burrows will be hosting John Brennan, on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Dr. Brennan is an IIDR member, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Director of the Biointerfaces Institute. His seminar is entitled  “High Throughput Materials Screening in the Biointerfaces Institute: Application to New Materials for Protein and Cell Microarrays” and will take place from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in HSC 4E20.  Click here to download the poster.
  • IIDR Summer Fellowship opportunities: The IIDR will award ten $1,000 fellowships this summer to undergraduate students affiliated with members of the IIDR. The money is treated as a scholarship towards their summer earnings. The deadline to submit is March 4. Click here to view eligibility and submission guidelines.
  • Gerry Wright talks about the crisis in antibiotic resistance on Snap Talk. To read the article click here.
  • "Secrets in the Bones: The Hunt for the Black Death Killer" will air on CBC's The Nature of Things Thursday January 16 at
    8 pm. The show follows IIDR member Hendrik Poinar’s quest to do something no other scientist in history has ever done - crack the genetic code of an ancient killer and change the way we fight infectious diseases today. To see the preview, click here.
  • As part of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences seminar series, Dr. Eric Brown will be hosting Alita Miller from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday January 14th. Her seminar is entitled “The Turning Tides of Antibacterial Discovery” and will take place from 11:30 am to12:30 pm in HSC 4E20.  Click here to view the poster.
  • Dr. Roland Kolbeckwill, a visiting professor from Gaithersburg, Maryland, will provide a lecture on
    "Drug Discovery in the Modern
    Pharmaceutical Industry"

    on Thursday January 16, 2014
    9 to10 am in MDCL-3023. Click here to view the poster.
     
  • McMaster's Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research will host a free one-day workshop on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 to mark the fifth anniversary of McMaster's Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy. The event takes place from 10:30 am to 4 pm in Gilmour Hall, Rm. 111 and will feature several speakers including IIDR's Joaquin Ortega, who will discuss "Visualizing the Cellular Machinery at Work." For more information or to register visit http://ccem.mcmaster.ca/outreach-courses.
  • Live chat: Secrets of the Grave: Watch McMaster evolutionary geneticist and IIDR member Hendrik Poinar chat live on Science News this Thursday (Dec. 12) at 3 pm. Click here to link into the video.

  • IIDR Scientific Director Gerry Wright recently provided a public lecture on antibiotic resistance at the Royal Canadain Institute Public Lecture Series. Click here to watch the video (Silverlight plug-in required)
  • The IIDR is now on Pinterest. Click here to check out our latest "pins".
  • The IIDR Post-doc Coffee Club will be held Thursday, Dec. 5 from 10-11 am in the IIDR Boardroom - MDCL-2307. The event will offer post-docs an opportunity to network and present their work orally to other post-docs in the IIDR. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Photos and videos from the IIDR Holiday Party at Staircase Theatre are posted online. Click here to view the slideshow.
  • IIDR members and infectious disease specialists Fiona Smaill and Mark Loeb were instrumental in the Halton Catholic District School Board's decision to offer the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in their schools. Board trustees approved a reversal of a five-year-old ban on the vaccine program at a contentious meeting on Nov. 5. HPV, a common virus spread through sexual activity, is the leading cause of cervical cancer and can also cause genital warts and other cancers in both men and women. Click here to read coverage in the Hamilton Spectator.
  • The IIDR Post-doc Club will launch Thursday, Nov. 7 from 10-11 am in Rm. 2230. The event will offer post-docs an opportunity to network and present their work orally to other post-docs in the IIDR. Click here to view the poster.
  • The challenges governments face as they prepare to handle future infectious disease pandemics is the topic of a public discussion Monday, Nov. 4, featuring a top infectious disease expert from the United States. Dr. Rima Khabbaz, deputy director of the Office of Infectious Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, will share her views on the world’s ability to control and respond to the rapid spread of infectious diseases, during the event entitled The Pandemic Next Door: Complexities of a Global Outbreak Response. Click here to read more.

  • The Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences celebrated Halloween in good style. To view photos of dressed-up faculty and trainees and other Halloween festivities click here.
  • The IIDR will host a Seminar on Thursday, Nov. 7 featuring Stewart Fisher. Fisher's talk, titled: "Translating slow binding kinetics to cellular and in vivo Effects" will take place in MDCL 2232 from 9-10 am. All IIDR members and trainees are welcome. Click here to view the poster.
  • A photo slideshow featuring images from the 2013 IIDR Trainee Day is now posted. Click here to see the photos.
  • To fill out a short survey about the IIDR Trainee Day event, click here.
  • The 2013 Gairdner Lecture"HCV: From Hippocrates to Cure & The Discovery of a Shadowy Virus" will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 11 am to 12 pm in MDCL 1102. Click here for more details.
  • The 2013 IIDR Trainee Day is fast approaching. It takes place on Oct. 18 in CIBC Hall in the McMaster University Student Centre. The registration table will open at 8:30 am. This very important IIDR event will feature a guest talk by Dr. KEVIN KAIN, a specialist in global infectious disease. Click here to view the program of the day as well as oral presenters.

  • The U.S. Centre for Disease Control released a report called "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013". It is a snapshot of the complex problem of antibiotic resistance today and the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction. Click the above photo to link to the report.

  • The 2013 Summer edition of the BiochemRocks Newsmagazine has been released.  Click on the above photo to view the electronic version.
  • The Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series kicks off again on Sept. 9 with "Why Communicating Research Matters", featuring talks by Chantall Van Raay, IIDR Communications Manager and John Chenery, Communications Manager, Ontario Lung Association. Click here to view the poster.
  • Register today for the IIDR Trainee Day event that will take place on Oct. 18 in CIBC Hall in the McMaster University Student Centre. This very important IIDR event will feature a guest talk by Dr. KEVIN KAIN, a specialist in global infectious disease, who was once profiled by TIME magazine as one of “Canada’s Best in Medicine”. He will discuss the impact of his research and experiences conducting fieldwork in the tropics and subtropics. His talk will focus on agnostic therapies for life-threatening infections, using malaria as a model. Click here to view the poster. Click here to register.
  • The IIDR is now LinkedIn! Click here to join our group.
  • The IIDR presents: "The Story of Louis Pasteur" (1936) on Wednesday, Aug. 7
    1-3 pm in MDCL 3020
    . All members of the IIDR are invited to this film event. Popcorn and water provided. Seating will be limited.

  • Nominations are now being accepted for the Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarship. Nominations are due Sept. 2. For more information click here.
  • Soumaya Zlitni, a PhD student in the lab of Eric Brown, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, recently won an award for the Best Contribution by a Young Scientist at a recent Systems Biology of Infection Conference held in Locarno, Italy. Her oral presentation entitled “Metabolic suppression profiling identifies new antibacterial inhibitors under nutrient limitation” focused on an approach to discover novel inhibitors that target metabolic pathways in bacteria. Says Zlitni: "Such inhibitors could serve as chemical probes of bacterial physiology under nutrient limited conditions and some could be promising leads for antibacterial drug development."
  • Dr. Jane Aubin from CIHR will be visiting McMaster on Monday, June 24 to discuss the grant and peer review reforms that are underway.  Please plan to join and bring your questions, comments and suggestions.  The meeting will be held in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning Rm. 1105 from 11 am to 1 pm. For further information visit click here.
  • Sara Kilmury, a MSc Biochemistry candidate in Lori Burrows’ lab, was awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship to support her studies of a unique two-component regulatory system in which the membrane protein that is under control of the regulatory system interacts directly with the sensor kinase to modulate its own expression.  She is planning to transfer to the PhD program this summer.
  • Ylan Nguyen, a PhD student in Lori Burrows' lab, gave a talk in the Macromolecular Assemblies symposium at the American Society for Microbiology meeting on May 20 in Denver, CO. Nguyen described her molecular, biochemical and structural studies of the minor pilins involved in type IV pilus assembly in Pseudomonas. At the same meeting, Ryan Lamers, a postdoctoral researcher in the Burrows' lab, presented a poster on molecular mechanisms leading to antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas.
  • IIDR member Marie Elliot would like to encourage your participation in the Annual Charity Run event for the FAB Foundation. The run will take place June 22 at Confederation Park in Hamilton. All proceeds from the race will support FAB Foundation programs that are aimed at increasing the physical fitness, goal-setting skills and overall self-confidence of youth girls (aged 11-14) in lower income communities in Hamilton. For more information and to register click here.
  • Eric Brown’s seminar guest, Dr. Adam P. Rosebrock, Senior Research Associate with the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto, is set to give his seminar entitled “Cell Cycle Metabolism: Context dependent biochemistry affects eukaryotic growth and division” on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in HSC 4E20 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • The FHS Research Plenary Awards Presentation takes place Thursday, May 23 in the Jan and Mien Heersink Reading Pavilion (Health Sciences Library, 1st floor). Click here for details.
  • Dr. Polly Matzinger will present the 28th Daniel Perey Lecture on June 19 in MDCL-1309 at 10 a.m. hosted by the McMaster Immunology Research Centre. Matzinger is an immunologist who proposed a novel explanation of how the immune system works, called the danger model. Click here to view the poster.
  • A McMaster team competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition will host a Synthetic Biology Symposium on May 25 from 2-3:30 pm in MDCL 3020 featuring talks by Nathan Magarvey, IIDR, and Ratmir Derda, University of Alberta. Refreshments will be served. Click here to download the poster.
  • The FHS Research Plenary begins this week. This open forum event includes multiple poster and oral sessions from May 14 to 16. Click here for presentation details.
     
  • The IIDR hosted the advisory board of the CIHR Institute for Infection and Immunity last week. The event featured scientific presentations by David Earn, Hendrik Poinar and Dawn Bowdish and included a presentation to Eric Brown, whose term on the board ended. Click here to view photos of the event. (Pictured, Marc Ouellette, Chair of the III, right, thanks Eric Brown, Chair of Biochemistry at McMaster, for his years of service on the III Board.)
    Eric Brown and Marc Ouellete
  • Photos of the 2013 IIDR Annual General Meeting are now online. Click the photo below to view the slideshow. (Pictured from left, Fred Capretta, Joaquin Ortega, Jonathan Bramson and Yingfu Li, members of the IIDR at the annual AGM.)


    AGM

  • The 2013 IIDR Spring Newsletter is hot off the press. To view a copy click here.
  • Members of the IIDR and MIRC are invited to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute for Infection and Immunity Advisory Board meeting and networking event at McMaster on Tuesday, May 7 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the Farncombe Institute, Health Sciences Centre Rm. 3N4. The event will feature talks by Hendrik Poinar, David Earn and Dawn Bowdish and will be followed by a cocktail and networking reception. Download poster.
  • The IIDR Annual General Meeting for IIDR members took place April 24 at the Ancaster Mill. The meeting featured talks by investigators Hendrik Poinar, David Earn, Eric Brown, Joaquin Ortega, Mark Loeb and James Mahony. Stay tuned for photos.
  • SAVE the DATE! The third annual Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research Trainee Day 2013 will take place Oct. 18 in CIBC Hall in the McMaster University Student Centre. Further details will follow.
  • Ylan Nguyen, a PhD student in the lab of IIDR member Lori Burrows, received a competitive Student Travel Award to attend the American Society of Microbiology's 2013 Annual General Meeting this May. Nguyen's research involves the characterization of proteins that control pilus assembly and disassembly, and therefore 'twitching' motility in the bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  She is currently funded by a CIHR PhD Studentship, and previously held a Cystic Fibrosis Canada Studentship.
  • The 4th annual Faculty of Health Sciences Research Plenary will be held on May 14-16, 2013, with an awards reception on May 27. The deadline for abstract submissions is March 20. Visit the FHS Research Plenary website for abstract submission forms and for additional information about the event.
  • IIDR members David Earn and Eric Brown will join other McMaster faculty, students and alumni at TEDx McMaster U's third annual conference on
    Sunday, March 3 at McMaster Innovation Park from 9 am to 6 pm. This year's theme is "Eidemic: Thinking Is Contagious." For more information visit the TEDx McMaster U Facebook page.
  • McMaster Health Research Services has distributed its current funding opportunities bulletin. To view the bulletin cilck here.
  • Photos of the IIDR Holiday Party are posted! Click here to view the photos. The event raised more than $800. Proceeds are supporting the Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarship and City Kids.
  • Prof. Brian Coombes comments in the CBC that the strain of E. coli found at high levels in Red Hill Creek is likely the strain that's in everyone's gastrointestinal tract. Click here to read more.
  • View the IIDR 2012 Newsletter online copy here.
  • Gerry Wright presented the Origins Institute Colloquium Monday, Nov. 5 at 2:30 pm in MDCL 1110. His talk was titled "Origins of Antibiotics and Resistance". Coffee will be served at 2:15pm. Click here for more information.
  • Halloween 2012: From Greek Gods and Goddesses to Sperms and Egg, IIDR labs had a spooktacular time Oct. 31. Congratulations to the Brown lab for winning the top prize for best constume. Click here for photos.
  • The second annual IIDR Trainee Research Day took place on Friday, November 2, 2012 in the Farncombe Institute Atrium. Click here for more information.
  • IIDR member Charu Kaushic and her team are spotlighted in a Hamilton Spectator story about the provincial government's cash infusion into a new contemporary Biosafety Level 3 lab opening this fall in the IIDR. Click here to read the story.
  • Jianping Xu, Associate Professor of Biology and member of the IIDR, is featured in a Hamilton Spectator feature on sJianping Xuummer projects that have taken academics everywherefrom Hamilton Harbour to across the globe. Click here to read about his project taking place this summer in southwestern China.
  • In researching his debut book on antibiotics, Dr. Gerry Wright showcased a screening of "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" in his lab. The film is about Paul Ehrlich'Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullets discovery of Salvarsan in 1909, otherwise known as compound 606 that was the 1st chemical used to treat an infectious disease, in this case syphilis, which at the time was a scourge in Europe. Dr. Wright blogs about it on the McMaster IIDR blog.
  • Combating malaria: In 2010, about 3.3 billion people - almost half of the world's population - were at risk of malaria. Every year, this leads to about 216 million malaria cases and an estimated 655,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, which has dedicated April 25 to World Malaria Day. IIDR member Tim Gilberger, a leader in malaria research, says: "Malaria is a major threat to public health, particularly in the world's poorest countries. Our lab is making great strides in finding new ways to combat emerging threats such as parasite resistance to a number of malaria medicines." Click here to read more about Gilberger's research.
  • Read how the overuse of antibiotics are causing resistance that could undermine medical advances in the Globe and Mail.
  • Gerry Wright presented his work at the AAAS conference in Vancouver. Click here to read and comment on his presentation on the Canada Foundation for Innovation's blog or click here to read about his presentation on the AAAS website.
  • The 2012011 annual report1 IIDR Annual Report highlights the Institute's successes over the past year. Click here to download the pdf.
  • The Human Microbiome Journal Club, a bi-weekly meeting where participants present a recent study related to the human microbiome, continues in 2013. Click here for more information on upcoming journal club presentations or contact Matt Workentine at workenm@mcmaster.ca.
  • Top 10 - 2011 was a year of scientific milestones at the IIDR, as evidenced by the Deccan Herald which listed two of the Institute's discoveries among its 10 top science news stories of the year. Click here to see what stories made the list.

    IIDR Party
    Click here for photos and videos of the 2011 IIDR Holiday Party.

  • Researchers who studied the fate of six species of 'megafauna' over the past 50,000 years found that climate change and habitat loss were involved in many of the extinctions. In an article in Nature, IIDR member Hendrik Poinar cautions that the plight of megafauna could be misleading when applied to modern extinctions of much smaller animals, and even plants. Read the article here.
  • Jack Gauldie, IIDR member and director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Health and a professor at McMaster University, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Genomics Institute. Click here to read more.

Nature

  • Hendrik Poinar's study on the Black Death appears on the cover of the prestigious science journal Nature. Click here to view the article.
  • Listen to Hendrik Poinar discuss his research into the Black Plague on CBC's Quirks and Quarks.
  • A National HIV/AIDS Summit on Sept. 22 in Washington brought together an estimated 150 scientists, clinicians, public health leaders and advocates who helped draw a roadmap for accelerating the field of "implementation science" in HIV. Read more.
  • Justin Nodwell asks "What cJustin Nodwellan we possilby hope to discover?" in the most recent IIDR blog post that examines why scientists care about the things they study. Read it here.
  • The IIDR received Black Deathworldwide coverage for Gerry Wright's and Hendrik Poinar's research into ancient antibiotic resistance including The Scientist, Winnipeg Free Press, Science and CBC News; and check out Hendrik Poinar's research into the Black Death in the New York Times, The National Post and ABC News online.
  • A recent study shows redesigning the antibiotic vancomycin can kill some bacteria that have become resistant to it. "Synthesis of the amidinated aglycon is a highly creative and rationally targeted approach to combatting bacterial drug resistance," comments IIDR Scientific Director Gerry Wright in the article in Chemical & Engineering News.
  • Christine LeeIIDR member Christine Lee discusses C. difficile in a Jeff Allen Show segment titled "How Do You Protect Yourself From Germs?" Click here for the podcast.
  • Lori Burrows, professor of Lori BurrowsBiochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and IIDR member, shares her thoughts on C. difficile in the IIDR Blog. Click here to read her entry.
  • View the July edition of IIDR's monthly e-newsletter. Email vanraay@mcmaster.ca to subscribe.
  • IIDR launches The Spark, an online forum for IIDR members on the future of the Institute.
  • Click here to view photos of the IIDR's Strategic Planning Day held on June 13 at the Paletta Mansion in Burlington.
  • Federal budget invests in students, research (McMaster Daily News)
  • To subscribe to IIDR's new monthly e-newsletter email vanraay@mcmaster.ca. To view the May 2011 edition, click here.
  • Research by IIDR investigators Brian Coombes and Ali Ashkar is published in Landes Bioscience.

Seminars and Rounds

Institute Team

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