Subject: IIDR eNews - June 4th, 2020

IIDR Newsletter - Issue 38
June 4th, 2020
IIDR Insights on COVID-19

In this special COVID-19 edition of our monthly ID/IIDR Rounds Seminar, McMaster University investigators Drs Donald Arnold, Jeffrey Pernica, Arinjay Banerjee and Dawn Bowdish give us a crash course on their important new COVID-19 research initiatives. Watch Video >
Hamilton researchers aim to help province test 8 times more COVID samples

May 26 
David Bulir and Marek Smieja have developed a COVID-19 testing method that could increase testing by eightfold. Learn More >
How far can we return to normal without triggering a second wave?

May 23 
- “Don’t assume that because you’ve reached the peak you have a lot of momentum to go back down,” said McMaster biologist, Jonathan DushoffLearn More >
Opinion: We are infectious disease experts. It's time to lift the COVID-19 lockdowns

May 21 
Four ID experts, including Dominik Mertz of the IIDR, suggest that the focus be on protecting the most vulnerable – not on widespread restrictions until a vaccine is available. Learn More >
Ontario supports McMaster COVID-19 research

May 21 
- Five McMaster University projects have been awarded funding for pandemic studies through Ontario's COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Learn More >
Animal source of the coronavirus continues to elude scientists

May 18 
- Finding the source is important for preventing further reinfection, but investigations are revealing how tricky pinpointing the source might be. Arinjay Banerjee comments. Learn More >
Scientists hope bats hold clues to fight COVID-19

May 17 
Arinjay Banerjee explains what scientists have learned so far about bats and their incredible immune systems, which can provide important clues in the fight against COVID-19. Learn More >

Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic could herald a rise in superbugs

May 14 -
 Lori Burrows and Gerry Wright
discuss their concerns over the increased use of disinfectants and antibiotics during the pandemic, which could drive some bacteria to become more resilient. Learn More >
The potential “Rise in Superbugs” explained

May 14 
- Could our current practices to stop the spread of COVID-19 be setting us back in our battle against superbugs? Lori Burrows explains. Learn More >

What you need to know about the possibilities for treating or preventing COVID-19

May 14 
- Dawn Bowdish and Karen Mossman 
explain what is currently known about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Learn More >

From Black Death to COVID-19 with Dr. Hendrik Poinar

May 12 
In this For The Curious Mind webinar hosted by McMaster Alumni, Hendrik Poinar discusses what past pandemics can teach us about the current one. Learn More >

McMaster faculty help lead national response to COVID-19

May 11 
Charu Kaushic and Deborah Cook are playing key roles in the country's fight against COVID-19, serving on the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and a number of federal panels and expert groups. Learn More >

How bats might have tamed the coronavirus

May 10 
Arinjay Banerjee spoke with The Atlantic about the remarkable resilience bats have to all sorts of diseases that afflict humansLearn More >

“As we learn one thing about COVID-19, we have two new questions”

May 8 
Karen Mossman and Gretchen Reynolds talk about everything from the urgent race to isolate the virus to how the virus is changing the way scientists work. Learn More >

Viral shedding & COVID-19

May 8 
Jonathan Dushoff talks about why it is important to test for viral shedding and other COVID-19 models on the John Oakley Show podcast. Learn More >

Knocking back COVID-19 with genomics

May 6 
Gerry Wright speaks with Genome Alberta about how his team is targeting genetic & chemical weak spots in the coronavirus. Learn More >

Expert perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic

May 5 
- A video from The New Yorker looks at COVID-19 from the perspectives of 6 experts from different fields, including McMaster evolutionary geneticist, Hendrik PoinarLearn More >

COVID-19 reignites a contentious debate over bats and disease

May 5 
- Undark spoke with Arinjay Banerjee on how bats’ special relationship with viruses has attracted both awe from scientists and hatred from thos
e who fear disease. Learn More >

Don’t use unproven COVID-19 treatments

May 1 
- New guidelines put forth by an international team of researchers, including McMaster's Mark Loeb and Gordon Guyatt, caution that more science is needed before patients and doctors try out potential cures. Learn More >
Brown recognized with Killam Research Fellowship

The IIDR extends a huge congratulations to Eric Brown, Distinguished University Professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, on receiving a Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council of Arts. This award will allow him to focus on antibacterial drug discovery for drug-resistant infections. Read more on McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences website here.

McMaster researchers find one-two punch may help fight against Salmonella

A team led by Brian Coombes and PhD student Caressa Tsai has found a promising new drug combination to battle infections caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Details are published in Cell Chemical Biology. Learn More >

Jobs & Opportunities
COVID-19 Resources Canada’s Expertise Database

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has required trans-disciplinary research and development. To facilitate these collaborative efforts, COVID-19 Resources Canada has compiled a pan-Canadian list of scientists and researchers working in this area. If you are involved in COVID-19 related research and development, consider adding your name and credentials to their database here

Postdoctoral Research Fellows / Research Lab Technician

Area of research: Biosensing
Closing date: Open until filled
Expected start date: July 2020

In close collaboration with multi-national companies, Dr. Tohid Didar's lab at McMaster University is accepting applications for two Postdoctoral Research Fellows and a research lab technician. Learn more through the following links:

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 

Area of research: Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2
Closing date: Open until filled 
Expected start date: July 2020

Working closely with Dr. Robyn Lee (Dalla Lana School of Public Health) and Dr. Andrew McArthur (McMaster University), the successful candidate will take a lead role in genomic epidemiology studies of SARS-CoV-2 in Canada. Specifically, the Fellow will use a combination of bioinformatics, phylogenetics, and epidemiologic methods to investigate transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in long-term care facilities, and potentially in other vulnerable populations in Ontario, helping to inform infection control interventions in these settings. While the primary focus of this position is SARS-CoV-2, there may also be opportunity to collaborate on genomic epidemiology studies of other pathogens as well. For more information, contact Dr. McArthur at

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Christy Groves
Communications Coordinator

Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery

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