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Celebrating Our Students! Highlighting Trainee Success 2019

IIDR trainees have been highly successful this year in securing a number of reputable awards. Below we highlight four exceptional students whose recent honours will allow them to continue to make meaningful impacts in their unique fields of research.


Irene Guo, Undergraduate Summer Student

Irene Guo of Dr. Lori Burrows’ lab was not only awarded a Cystic Fibrosis Canada Summer Studentship Grant for her work on the project “Old drug, new trick: a thiostrepton-iron chelator combination for CF pathogens”, but was honoured with the 2019 Cystic Fibrosis Canada Karen Lackey Summer Studentship Award as the top-ranked applicant. Karen Lackey was an inspirational leader in the Cystic Fibrosis community and a strong supporter of early stage researchers. This funding and recognition will help support Irene’s research within the IIDR on Pseudomonas aeruginosa growth inhibition mechanisms.


Derek Chan, Masters Student

Burrows Lab Masters student Derek Chan was awarded three honourable scholarships related to personal achievement and research excellence. The Chemical Biology student was awarded a McMaster Graduate Scholarship salary award, a highly competitive Canada Graduate Scholarship from NSERC, and a Chemical Biology Travel Award in recognition of his “highly meritorious contributions to scientific literature”. The latter will allow Derek to present his work on drug combinations for ESKAPE pathogens – the leading cause of nosocomial infections throughout the world – at the upcoming Canadian Society for Microbiology symposium.


Tim Klein, PhD Candidate

Within Dr. John Whitney’s lab, PhD candidate Tim Klein studies how the type VII secretion system (T7SS) of Gram-positive bacteria allow them to export toxic effectors that mediate inter-bacterial killing. For this work, Tim was awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, as well as a BBS Graduate Student Travel Award that will give him the incredible opportunity to present his research at ASM Microbe 2019 in San Fransisco – a highly anticipated meeting in the field of the microbial sciences. Further, the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography granted Tim the Larry Calvert Travel Award, allowing him to travel to Saskatoon this summer to learn about X-ray crystallography at the Canadian Light Source.


Wael Elhenawy, Postdoctoral Fellow

Coombes Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Wael Elhenawy has accomplished a great deal so far this year. In the last five months alone, Dr. Elhenawy has contributed to four published research articles, including lead authorship on a Cell Host & Microbe publication that investigated how pathogenic strains of E. coli contribute to Crohn’s disease. Using metagenomics and biochemical approaches, Dr. Elhenawy unravelled new traits that differentiate Crohn’s disease-associated bacteria from gut commensals. In recognition of his research excellence, the 2018 Gerard Wright Postdoctoral Award in Infection Research recipient also received a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Christy Groves