Subject: IIDR eNews - January 31st, 2020

IIDR Newsletter - Issue 34
January 31st, 2020
In The News
Research establishes how first exposure to a flu virus sets immunity for life

McMaster University - According to a new study from Dr. Matthew Miller's lab at McMaster University and collaborators from Université de Montréal, the first type of influenza virus we are exposed to in early childhood dictates our ability to fight the flu for the rest of our lives.
The old with the new: combining microbial culture with DNA sequencing to improve microbiome research

Nature Microbiology - A new study published in Nature Microbiology demonstrates how combining the standard method of metagenomic sequencing with the microbiological culture of bacteria allows for an even deeper analysis of microbial diversity than sequencing alone. Check out this Behind The Paper article by lead author Dr. Fiona Whelan and senior author Dr. Michael Surette.

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Cannabis compound could be weapon in fight against superbugs

The Guardian
The global spread of antimicrobial resistance necessitates the exploration of alternative therapies. A new study by Dr. Eric Brown's team at McMaster explores the potential of cannabinoids as antibiotics, identifying one compound to be particularly potent at killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - one of the most common hospital superbugs.

(p)ppApp is a chemical weapon used during bacterial warfare

Nature - Research published in Nature by Dr. John Whitney's team at McMaster University and researchers at MIT characterizes a novel T6SS effector exported by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Find out more in this Behind The Paper article by lead author Shehryar Ahmad, PhD student in the Whitney Lab. 

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A guide to dynamic analysis of gene expression using the 3D-Printed PFIbox

Nature Protocols - Bacterial responses to chemical and physical stressors can offer rapid and comprehensive insights into their complicated biology. This Nature Protocols paper led by Brown Lab research associate Dr. Shawn French describes a detailed, step-by-step methodology for any lab across the globe to produce and program their own PFIbox - a tool that helps scientists understand how cells respond to antibiotics over time.

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Air pollution, evolution, and the fate of billions of humans

New York Times - "Airborne toxins are so pernicious that they may have shaped our DNA over millions of years." A 2017 Molecular Biology and Evolution study by Dr. Dawn Bowdish’s team on the evolution of the important macrophage scavenger receptor MARCO is cited in this New York Times article.

The quest for a solution to the current onslaught of superbugs

The Scientist - In this webinar hosted by The ScientistDr. Lori Burrows joins a 
panel of experts in the field of antibiotic development to present her research as a "novel solution for overcoming superbugs". 
IIDR Insights on the Novel Coronavirus
What is the Coronavirus?

McMaster University speaks with biochemistry and biomedical sciences professor Dr. Matthew Miller about the nature of the virus and whether or not Canadians should be worried.

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What we need to know

The next few weeks “will tell the tale of whether this becomes a real global problem or stays mostly geographically isolated,” says infectious disease expert, Dr. Matthew Miller.

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"How much do we need to panic?"

"Most coronaviruses in humans cause milder infections that we would call the common cold, but occasionally they can be more serious” explains Dr. David Earn, a professor of mathematics specializing in the modelling of infectious disease epidemics.

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Why the risk is higher for older people with pre-existing conditions

Zoomer Magazine talks to Dr. Dawn Bowdish, about why the elderly are more likely to die from it, and what we’ve learned since the SARS epidemic of 2003.

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Do masks block Coronavirus?

Although using a mask likely reduces the risk of infection, experts agree that washing your hands is the most important method for curbing the spread. Dr. Mark Loeb adds to the discussion by presenting his past research exploring the efficacy of surgical masks in preventing influenza in healthcare workers. 

Call for Student Fellowships - Summer 2020
Deadline: February 17th

The David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery & Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research are each providing five $4,000 awards to undergraduate students working in IIDR labs during their summer practicum. Find out more here.

BASEF Call for Judges

The Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) is looking for Science Fair Judge volunteers for their 60th annual fair, being held at Mohawk College in Hamilton on Friday, March 27th. The IIDR is a proud sponsor of BASEF, which is one of the oldest continuously running regional science fairs in Canada. BASEF give grades 7 to 12 students the chance to showcase their hard work on science, engineering and math related projects. Visit the BASEF website here for more information on how to volunteer as a judge.

Lectures & Seminars
! Wednesday, February 5th: ID / IIDR Combined Rounds

Presenters: Dr. Eva Piessens (Associate Professor, Medicine) & Dr. Brian Coombes (Professor & Chair, BBS)
Title: “A bad penny always comes back: harnessing immunity to combat Salmonella superbugs”
Time: 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Location: MDCL 1309

In this seminar, Dr. Coombes and Dr. Piessens will discuss non-typhoidal Salmonella and the emergence of highly virulent, multi-drug resistant strains both here and abroad. They will present a clinical case study and discuss the latest research in trying to overcome drug resistance by harnessing the power of the innate immune system.
Tuesday, February 4th: BBS Seminar Series
Presenter: Dr. Kristin Koutmou
(Assistant Professor, Chemistry)
Hosted by: Dr. Yingfu Li (Professor, BBS & Chemistry)
Title: “mRNA modifi­cations alter translation elongation and ­fidelity”
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
Location: HSC 4E20
Tuesday, February 11th: Institute for Infectious Disease Research Seminar 
Dr. Clay Fuqua (Professor, Biology, Indiana University)
Host: Dr. John Whitney (Assistant Professor, BBS)
Title: Biosynthesis and regulation of a unipolar polysaccharide adhesin in a model bacterial pathogen"
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: MDCL 2232
Wednesday, February 12th: Immunology and Infection Program Seminar Series
Presenter: Dr. Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault
(Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Université de Montréal)
Title: “Oncolytic viruses for anti-cancer vaccination”
Time: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Location: MDCL 3023

Inaugural Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Research Symposium

The Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University is launching its Inaugural Research Symposium on March 12th, 2020 at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre. The symposium will feature posters and oral presentations to which all BBS graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are invited to submit abstracts. Learn more about the event and register here.
103rd Canadian Chemistry Conference - Therapeutic Interventions to Combat Bacterial Resistance
May 24th - 28th, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The University of Manitoba will be hosting the 103rd Canadian Chemistry Conference on the latest developments in antibacterial research, with a focus on small molecule-based and materials-based interventions. The deadline for abstract submission is February 10th, with registration opening on February 11th. Find out more about the conference here (the symposium is listed in the Program section under Technical Sessions in the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry section). 

INternational Conference on Diseases in Nature Communicable to HuMans (INCDNCM)
June 1st - 3rd, Toronto, Ontario

The conference will bring together zoonotic disease decision makers, researchers, laboratory personnel, industry partners and surveillance professionals from around the world. You are invited to submit abstracts (due March 1st) related to all aspects of zoonoses and infectious disease pertaining to human and animal health, which can include epidemiologic, diagnostic, environmental, veterinary, medical, public health and basic sciences. Find out more information here
70th Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists (CSM 2020)
June 22nd -25th, Guelph, Ontario

The conference theme this year is ‘Microbes for Life’ and will focus on microbes in health and agriculture. All three sections of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists traditional pillars will be equally represented, including Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Infection and Immunity, and Molecular Genetics and Cellular Microbiology. Find out more about the conference and how to register here

Take the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge 2020

Apply your knowledge to real-world situations in the U21/PwC Innovation Challenge. McMaster PhD and Masters students have an opportunity to showcase their critical thinking skills and share their ideas with leaders in graduate career development in this online competition. The Challenge, organized by Universitas 21 (U21) and partner PwC, allows students to respond to contemporary work-related issues (set by PwC) in a three-minute video. Find out more here
The World’s Challenge Challenge 2020

The WCC is a global competition open to all undergraduate and graduate McMaster students. Participants will make a 5 – 7 minute presentation in teams of 2 to 4 members on a solution to a specific global issue as identified in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. First, second and third placing teams at McMaster will receive $1500, $1000 and $500, respectively. The winning team will move on to compete against other schools at the International World’s Challenge Challenge held from June 8-11, 2020 at Western University in London, Ontario. Find out more here

Two Winter 2020 Sessional Lecturers 
Application Deadline: February 2nd, 2019 

The Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo is looking to hire a lecturer(s) to teach a 3rd year Microbial Ecology and Diversity course (BIOL 346) and a 4th year Public Health Microbiology course (BIOL 449) for the current Winter 2020 semester with a start date of February 10th for both courses. Enquiries should be directed to Dr. Vivian Dayeh, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, Department of Biology at
Postdoctoral Fellow

The McCormick laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Western Ontario is looking to recruit an enthusiastic and motivated postdoctoral associate to study the genetic regulation of super-antigen toxins in Staphylococcus aureus.The successful applicant will be expected to lead and contribute to original research related to toxic shock syndrome caused by S. aureus, to assist in supervision of graduate and undergraduate students, to write and published research and review articles, to assist in grant writing, and to attend at least one international meeting per year. For more information, please contact Dr. John McCormick at
Assistant / Associate Professor (3 Positions)
Review of applications will continue until the positions are filled.

The Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM) at Rutgers University, in conjunction with the departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Neuroscience & Cell Biology, and Pharmacology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School seek outstanding candidates for tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor to fill three new faculty positions. Successful candidates will be provided with competitive start-up packages, access to high performance computing clusters and other core resources, and modern laboratory space at CABM, and will be expected to develop and maintain strong, externally funded research programs, and participate in collaborative projects with other Departments and Institutes on the campus. Find out more here.

Have Something Exciting to Share?

Send your story to:
Christy Groves
Communications Coordinator
Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery

MDCL 2235 | McMaster University
(905) 525-9140 x 22448
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