Subject: IIDR eNews - February 5th, 2018

Issue 12 - February 5th, 2018
This Month at the IIDR 
Influenza Pandemics and a ‘One-Punch’ Vaccine: An Interview with the IIDR’s Dr. Matthew Miller

In his most recent publication, infectious disease expert Dr. Matthew Miller and colleagues find that being born during influenza pandemics enhance the risk of death during later pandemics. We sit down with Dr. Miller to learn more about the global implications of these findings, what important steps his team at McMaster is taking next, and how the development of a novel universal flu vaccine could ultimately eradicate this risk.
The National Post: Dr. Gerry Wright Comments on “How a Forgotten 40-year-old Antibiotic Could Be Crucial in the Fight Against Superbugs”

Australian researchers suggest that octapeptin – an antibiotic that was discovered over 40 years ago, yet was never clinically introduced – may have the potential to lead the fight against superbugs. In a recent article in the National Post, Dr. Gerry Wright comments on this feat, the severity of drug-resistant infections to human global health, and the need for novel, innovative strategies against antimicrobial resistance.

Read the full article in the National Post

Could Baking Soda Help Boost Antibiotics Killing Power? Dr. Eric Brown Comments in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN)

In a recent publication, researchers from Dr. Eric Brown‘s lab concluded that bicarbonate has the ability to increase bacteria-killing for some drug classes, and decrease it for others. In an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), Dr. Brown comments on how sodium bicarbonate – otherwise known as baking soda – could be used to alter bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics.

Revisit the publication in ACS Infectious Diseases, and read the article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

Overcoming mcr-1 Mediated Colistin Resistance with Colistin in Combination with Other Antibiotics

The mcr-1 resistance gene threatens to eliminate colistin and other polymyxin antibiotics from our current therapeutic arsenal. In a new publication in Nature Communications, PhD candidate Craig MacNair & his team from Dr. Eric Brown’s lab find weaknesses in this resistance mechanism, and identify viable therapeutic alternatives against highly drug-resistant pathogens expressing mcr-1.

Read the full publication in Nature Communications, and Dr. Eric Brown's Behind the Paper article.

The Role of Dendritic Cell Populations In T-Cell Activation Following Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis Infection

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in humans, has evolved to delay T cell responses in the lung following infection. Although the mechanisms for this is not well known, it is well known that dendritic cells are critical to the activation of T cell responses. In a study published in The Journal of Immunology, PhD student Rocky Lai and his team within Dr. Zhou Xing’s lab focus on understanding how two distinct dendritic cell populations in the lung, CD11b+ DC and CD103+ DC, are involved in the activation of T cells needed to control TB.

Read the full publication in The Journal of Immunology.
New Updates to The Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (CARD)

The February 2018 release of the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (CARD) is the largest to date, and includes new AMR genes & mutations, in vitro mutations, a new classification system, 35000+ annotated genomes & sequence variants, a new RGI codebase that includes rRNA mutations & over-expression models, and new online visualizations. Check out to learn more.
Step Up & Breathe: Dr. Dawn Bowdish Raises $575 at the SteelTown Climb

Congrats to Dr. Dawn Bowdish for raising a total of $575 at this year's Steeltown Stairclimb in support of The Lung Association Ontario. Dr. Bowdish was joined by 2 world-ranked stairclimbers from Mexico, 93-year-old Walter Decker, firefighters from departments across the region, and about 100 more inspired healthy lung advocates. This year’s event raised nearly $15,000 dollars for lung research in Hamilton, and there's still time to donate. Visit the Lung Association’s website to find out more.
?Breath of Sprint Fundraiser *Tulips & Ferns!*?

Do you have a co-worker deserving recognition? An office that needs brightening? By purchasing tulips& ferns from the Lung Associations’ "Breath of Spring" fundraiser, you will be supporting research, patient advocacy and programming for the 1/5 Ontarians living with lung disease. Email your order to Judjina Thevarajah at, or drop by the Bowdish lab or Christy’s desk with a cheque (to The Lung Association) or cash by *noon this Friday* and we'll deliver your order the week of Feb 28 - March 1. 
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, February 7th: IIP Seminar Series
Dr. Carlos J. Orihuela
Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
“Cardiotoxicity during invasive pneumococcal disease”
9:00am- 10:00am
MDCL 3023
If you are interested in meeting with Carlos following his talk, please let Carrie Hasenack know your availability (
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