Subject: IIDR eNews - March 26th, 2018

Issue 14 - March 26th, 2018
Hepatitis B - The Past, Present, & Future

Hepatitis B is a deadly viral infection that attacks the liver and causes acute and chronic disease. Currently, the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects approximately 3.5% of the global population, and up to 6% in critical areas of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. At this month’s ID / IIDR Combined Rounds, infectious disease physician Dr. Zain Chagla and evolutionary geneticist Dr. Hendrik Poinar present their clinical and research-based work to discuss the origin, current status, and future outlook of HBV.

Scientists Reconstruct the Complex Evolutionary History of Elephants

An international team of scientists, including the IIDR’s Dr. Hendrik Poinar, reconstruct the complex evolutionary history of elephants in what is thought to be one of the most comprehensive genomic studies about elephants to date. Involving three living species of elephants and their mammoth and mastodon ancestors, the team generated 14 genomes to reveal how several hybridization events played fundamental roles in the evolution towards the modern elephant. The results, which appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, also show that modern elephants of different species no longer mate with each other as their ancestors have - findings that raise questions about the future of these few living species and shed light on the need for greater conservation efforts.
Could ‘Bee Glue” Help Halt White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in Bats? IIDR’s Dr. Jianping Xu Investigates

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a rapidly emerging fatal disease amongst North American bats, caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). First identified in 2007, the disease is estimated to have caused over 7 million deaths amongst 15 bat species, and has been found in over 33 US states and 5 Canadian provinces. In a recent study, fungal disease expert Dr. Jianping Xu and his team at McMaster University, in collaboration with Thompson Rivers University in BC, evaluated the effect of propolis – or, “bee glue” - against Pd in vitro. Their results showed evidence for anti-Pd activity, suggesting that propolis or parts of its composition might be suitable in preventing or treating WNS.

IIDR Members #PressForProgress For International Women’s Day 2018

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2018 was #PressforProgress, which encourages men and women from around the world to commit to positive behaviours towards gender parity. This year, members, staff, and trainees from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research proudly #PressforProgress in an effort to motivate others to think, act, and be gender inclusive in the areas of scientific research and elsewhere.

Dr. Lori Burrows Welcomes Innovation Canada

Dr. Lori Burrows welcomed representatives from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) last Tuesday with a tour of the IIDR’s Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology. Ms. Alison Surette and Ms. Sherry Lealess are Senior Policy Analysts of the Science Programs and Partnerships division of ISED – a department of the Canadian government that works to enhance Canada’s innovation performance, improve conditions for investment, increase Canada’s share of global trade, and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.

Dr. Wright comments in Natures "Four stories of antibacterial breakthroughs"

“The new chemistry is really exciting,” states Dr. Gerry Wright, in Natures article on how researchers are applying innovative ways to target antibiotic resistance.

Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database - March 2018 Update

This incremental update comprises of a suite of improvements to the CARD website and online Resistance Gene Identifier (RGI) visualizations, as well as the official release of RGI 4.0.2. In addition, the Antibiotic Resistance Ontology (ARO) is now officially available at the OBO Foundry, allowing formal integration with other ontological resources - most notably the Genomic Epidemiology Application Ontology (GenEpiO).
Term Start for Farncombe's Microbiome Working Group & Human Microbiome Journal Club 

Working Group is held Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 in HSC 1J9Aand encourages all researchers working on microbiome projects to get or give help with subjects such as software tools, R, and experiment planning. The Human Microbiome Journal Club (HMJC) is held on the fourth Friday of each month from 3:00 - 4:00 in HSC 3N10A, where one person chooses a paper to present and discuss. HMJC is typically followed up with Bioinformatics and Beer at the Phoenix. Join the hmjc-l mailing list here.
Banff Conference on Infectious Diseases
May 23rd - 27th, 2018, Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta Canada

Since 1982, the biennial Banff Conference on Infectious Diseases has been a unique forum for internationally-recognized experts to present their research on pathogenesis and other aspects of infectious diseases and host defences. The Conference is symposium-based with four invited speakers in each of six different areas. An informal poster session allows registrants an opportunity to present their work. Find out more about the 19th BCID here.
Upcoming Events
! There will be no ID / IIDR Combined Joint Rounds in April. Rounds will resume in May. 
Tuesday, March 27th: The Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series
Dr. Ethan Garner, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard University (hosted by Dr. Eric Brown)
"A tale of contrasing dynamics: How two different polymers define the rod shape of bacteria and divide them in half."
11:30 AM to 12:30 AM
HSC 4E20
*Coffee and cookies will be served at 11:15am.
Tuesday, March 27th: The Institute for Infectious Disease Research & The Chemical Biology Graduate Program
Dr. Ghotas Evindar, Chemistry Group Leader at GlaxoSmithKline, Cambridge, MA (hosted by Dr. Jakob Magolan)
"Encoded Library Technology (ELT): An Emerging Platform for Target Validation and Hit Identification"
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Room B136 - Burke Science Building (BSB)

Wednesday, March 28th: Work in Progress (WIP) Seminar Series - Undergrad Session
Hannah Stacey “IgA Immune Complexes Stimulate NETosis During Viral Infection and Autoimmunity”
Nirob Saha “Investigating the immunometabolic profile of macrophages and its implication in fibrosis”
Bruce Ly “Investigating the effects of cigarette smoke on antibody responses in the murine upper respiratory tract”
Chris Zhang “Stability engineering of single chain antibodies: a work in progress"
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
MDCL 3022
Monday, April 23rd: McMaster Health Sciences Venture Fair
Hosted by the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO)
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Brian Lichty, Vice President of Research, Turnstone Biologics
Learn how to succeed as an academic start-up and enjoy a networking lunch and roundtable session to have your questions answered by the investors themselves. Afternoon reception to follow.
9:00 AM to 03:00 PM
McMaster Innovation Park - Atrium Building
*Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Visit the MILO website for more information. 
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