Subject: IIDR eNews - May 22nd, 2018

Issue 17 - May 22nd, 2018
Dr. Charu Kaushic named Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

Congratulations to IIDR's Dr. Charu Kaushic on her recent appointment as Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity (CIHR-III). 

One of 13 CIHR Institutes, the CIHR-III supports Canadian research initiatives in the areas of infectious disease and immunology.

As Scientific Director, Dr. Kaushic will work closely with infection and immunity research communities to help identify research priorities, create funding opportunities, build partnerships, and support the translation of research evidence into policy. Addressing some of the world's most pressing health issues - including antimicrobial resistance, HIV, and emerging infectious diseases - Dr. Kaushic will help position both McMaster University and Canada at the forefront of health research creation.

Improving Ontario's Health & Economy through Investments in Science - An Interview with Dr. Dawn Bowdish

This year, Dr. Dawn Bowdish's research team at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research was mentioned in the 2018 Ontario budget as an example of how investments in scientific research contribute to improved economic growth and provincial prosperity. We sat down with Dawn to talk more about scientific research as a fundamental driver of technological innovation and economic advancement in Ontario, and how such investments have helped her research team make greater strides towards reducing the global burden of pneumonia.

IIDR Experts Recognized with Renewed Canada Research Chairs

The federal government has recently recognized the expertise of nine McMaster researchers with an investment of nearly $10 million from the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. Two of these renewed CRCs were granted through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to IIDR members Dr. Michael Surette and Dr. Nathan Magarvey. Read more about Nathan and Michael’s research projects, both which aim to discover and develop new therapies for the treatment of disease.

Systematic Review Investigates the Potential Link Between Consecutive Seasonal Influenza Vaccinations and Reduced Vaccine Effectiveness

Annual influenza vaccinations are widely recommended, yet recent observational studies suggest that vaccination across consecutive years may contribute to reduced vaccine effectiveness. To address this hypothesis, IIDR trainee Jessica Bartoszko of Dr. Mark Loeb’s lab synthesized evidence from 5 randomized controlled trials and 28 observational studies reporting influenza infection over 2 or more consecutive influenza seasons. Her study found that the available evidence did not support a reduction in the effectiveness of influenza vaccines when persons were vaccinated in two consecutive seasons - however, additional work must be done to rule out the possibility of reduced effectiveness.

Screening Platform Targets Bacterial Processes Necessary for E. coli Growth under Nutrient Stress 

Seeking to expand the currently limited target base of antibacterial drug discovery, trainees Sara El Zahed, Garima Kumar, and Madeline Tong of Dr. Eric Brown's lab applied a nutrient stress screening platform to Escherichia coli in an effort to identify growth inhibitors under nutrient limitation. Under nutrient stress, the team was able to target processes that are necessary for certain pathogens to thrive at particular sites of infection, in turn shedding light on potentially new targets for novel antibiotics.

Substrate Recognition by a Colistin Resistance Enzyme from Moraxella catarrhalis

Lipid A phosphoethanolamine (PEtN) transferases belong to a family of enzymes that enable bacteria to have resistance against colistin as a last resort antibiotic in the clinic. In an effort to highlight important information regarding specific residues involved in catalysis and PEtN binding, Dr. Gerry Wright's team examined the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of a chromosomally encoded intrinsic colistin resistance (ICR) enzyme in the pathogenic bacteria, Moraxella catarrhalis. Ultimately, the results obtained from this analysis aids our current understanding of PEtN transferases and their origins, which can in turn help halt the growing dissemination of these resistance elements.
2018 IIDR Summer Student Fellowship Recipients Announced

Congratulations to our 2018 IIDR Summer Student Fellowship recipients! We were astonished with the number of highly impressive applications, making this year’s selection process a particularly difficult one. We would like to thank all of those who took the time to apply, and are excited to see your academic careers unfold within the IIDR and beyond. Your passion and dedication to scientific discovery shows great promise for a successful future - well done! 
Upcoming Events & Seminars
Walk for ALS Bake Sale!
Thursday, May 24th at 11:00am, 4th Floor of MDCL

Dr. Matthew Miller's lab will be holding a bake sale this week to raise funds for Walk for ALS 2018. Join us Thursday morning at 11:00am for delicious homemade baked goods, coffee, & tea, and find out more about Walk for ALS 2018 here.
Banff Conference on Infectious Diseases
May 23rd - 27th, Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Since 1982, the biennial Banff Conference on Infectious Diseases (BCID) 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 six different areas. Further, a poster session allows registrants an opportunity to present their work. Find out more about the 19th BCID here.
McMaster Software Carpentry Workshop
June 7th - 8thHamilton Hall 104

The Farncombe Metagenomics Facility is offering a 2-day Data and Software Carpentry Workshop, aimed at teaching biology and biomedical researchers the computational basics they need to make their data curation and analysis skills more efficient and reproducible. The workshop will cover the Unix (Linux) shell, spreadsheet best practices, version control with Git, and data analysis in R. Enrolment in advance is required and costs $20. Visit here for more information.
IIP Seminar Series - "Systems Biology Approaches in CAR-T Cell Immunotherapy"
Wednesday, May 30th at 9:00am - 10:00am, MDCL 3023

Dr. Jonathan Bramson will be hosting Dr. Daniel Abate-Daga, Assistant Member of the Immunology Program, Department of Cutaneous Oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Structural Biology Journal Club
Wednesday, June 13th at 1:00pm - 2:00pm, MDCL 2218

The Structural Biology Journal Club is hosted by IIDR principal investigator Dr. Sara Andres and is open to all IIDR faculty and trainees. The Journal Club meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month in MDCL 2218 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.
Science Journalism Summer School - Projected Futures 2
July 9th - 13th, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Want to experiment with science journalism? Join Concordia's 2nd intensive graduate summer school on evidence-based science journalism, Projected Futures 2. Projected Futures is an intensive and experiential summer school that will challenge participants to rethink how science is communicated with society. Graduate students will be exposed to the foundations of evidence-based science journalism and then asked to experiment to create new forms of scientific storytelling. Apply here.
The Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Annual Picnic
July 15th at 12:00pm, Dundas Driving Park (Pavilion 4)

Bring a lawn chair, blanket, and sun block and join in on a day of games, food, and relaxation! Or, get competitive at the BBSGSA "Biochemistry Olympics"! Just like last year, each team member will have to compete in one of five different lab-related tasks. The lab that successfully completes all 5 stations with the fastest time WINS! Sign-up a team of 5 by Friday, May 25th here. If you have any questions regarding the BBS Olympics please email
The International Biotechnology Symposium 2018
August 12th - 17th, Montreal, Canada

The International Biotechnology Symposium, presented by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), provides a unique, international forum for the exchange of ideas among peers, and facilitates networking whilst discovering Canada's cultural capital. The theme of the 2018 conference is "Supporting a Healthy World". Learn more here.
12th Annual Meet on Bacteriology & Applied Microbiology
August 20th - 21st, Singapore

Conference Series LLC invites participants from all over the world to attend it's Bacteriology & Applied Microbiology 2018 conference, which gathers renowned Scientists, Microbiologists, Bacteriologists, Young Researchers, Industrial Delegates and Talented Student Communities in the field of Bacteriology and Microbiology under a single roof. The aim of this conference is to provide an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise along with unparalleled networking opportunities between a large number of medical and industrial professionals in this sphere. Find out more here.
Call for Applications - Young Microbiologists Symposium at the John Innes Centre 
September 17th & 18th, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK

The Department of Molecular Microbiology at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK is inviting young post-docs or PhD students working on any exciting aspect of bacterial microbiology to give a 30 minute talk at their Young Microbiologists Mini-Symposium. The aim of this event is for the John Innes Centre to hear state-of-the-art presentations in bacterial microbiology, to enhance ones understanding of where exciting new developments in the field are heading and to help shape ideas about future research areas that could be developed within the Department. Learn more about how to participate here
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