Subject: IIDR eNews - November 22nd, 2019

IIDR Newsletter - Issue 32
November 22nd, 2019
Bacteriophages 2.0 — An Old Solution to a Modern Problem

An old solution, discovered a decade before penicillin, is experiencing a resurgence in interest. In this Infectious Diseases Hub piece, authors Dr. Lori Burrows and undergraduate student Michelle Armstrong take a closer look at the pitfalls and potential of using phages to treat challenging infections.

In The News

Hoffman & Kaushic: We’re Losing the Fight Against Superbugs

For decades, we lived a relatively carefree existence with regard to bacterial infections, knowing that we had readily available antibiotics as a dependable line of defence. Unfortunately, through over-use, our antibiotics are no longer working as they should. 

Antibiotic-resistant Infections Could Destroy Our Way of Life

5,400 Canadians died last year from infections that until recently had been treatable. Dr. Gerry Wright discusses this and other findings of a comprehensive, peer-reviewed report presented by the Council of Canadian Academies last week.

Waging War Against AMR

Last week, the IIDR hosted the 2019 Gairdner Symposium regarding AMR. Although one in four infections is already resistant to antibiotics and other known forms of treatment, Canada is in an ideal position to lead the world away from catastrophe.

Researchers Discover New Toxin that Impedes Bacterial Growth

A collaboration between Dr. John Whitney's lab at McMaster University and researchers at MIT unravels a new bacteria-killing toxin that shows promise of impacting superbug infectious diseases.

Drug Resistance Likely to Kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

Dr. Lori Burrows comments on a new, landmark report that predicts superbugs to kill nearly 400,000 Canadians and cost the economy about $400 billion in gross domestic product over the next 30 years.

McMaster Researchers Find New Way to Treat Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria

Researchers within Dr. Eric Brown's and Dr. Brian Coombes' lab have discovered a novel target for new antibiotics, a recent paper in Nature Microbiology describes.

Are you Treating the Symptom, or the Disease?

Dr. Dawn Bowdish speaks to the Toronto Star about over-the-counter products that promise to ward off colds or stop them dead in their tracks. 

Dr. Lori Burrows: A Powerhouse Researcher

It takes innovative, creative thinkers to power truly impactful research. Dr. Lori Burrows' awesome AMR work involving biofilms and bacteriophages is "changing our world and the way we see it."

Why Isn’t There a Lyme Disease Vaccine for Humans? 

A false start caused a two-decade lull in vaccine development to protect humans from Lyme disease. Dr. Lori Burrows explains in this CBC Radio "Quirks & Quarks" clip.

Member Highlight
An IIDR Trainee Writing Initiative
The Whitney Lab: Investigating Microbe-Microbe Interactions

by Mateusz Faltyn, Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science, Mathematics and Statistics Candidate, McArthur Lab

Dr. John Whitney's research team works to understand the molecular mechanisms of microbe-microbe interactions. A greater comprehension of these mechanisms will allow scientists to discover how pathways involved in interbacterial interactions impact human health and the environment. 

Point-of-Care Testing at McMaster – Creating Printable Diagnostics to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

by Haley Zubyk, PhD Candidate, Wright Lab

Rapidly & accurately identifying pathogens is imperative in treating infections & protecting the viability of our current antibiotics. PhD student Haley Zubyk looks at how McMaster researchers like Dr. Fred Capretta use point-of-care testing to combat AMR. 

Reports & Publications
Toxin Discovery Reveals Fresh Ammunition for Bacterial Warfare

A previously unknown bacterial toxin has now been characterized thanks to researchers from both McMaster University and MIT. Learn more about this exciting new finding in this Nature "News & Views" article.

Phospholipid Middle Management 

The Mla transporter is widely understood to move phospholipids from the outer membrane to the inner membrane. However, recent studies reveal that Mla might also move phospholipids in the opposite direction. The IIDR's Dr. Russell Bishop explains this mechanism in his editorial piece for Nature Microbiology's "News & Views".

Repeated Seasonal Influenza Vaccination: How Much Is Too Much of a Good Thing?

Seasonal vaccination remains the most effective way to protect against influenza virus infections. However, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that repeat seasonal vaccination may, in specific instances, result in reduced antibody responses and diminished vaccine effectiveness. PhD Candidate Hannah Stacey of Dr. Matthew Miller's lab delves deeper in this Journal of Infectious Diseases editorial.

You're Invited! The 2019 IIDR Holiday Party
8 p.m. on December 13th at Mills Hardware

You are invited to join us at our annual IIDR Holiday Party! Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from Christina in the IIDR main office (MDCL 2235). We are pleased to once again feature the live band, The Null Hypothesis, so please forward your song requests to Dr. Gerry Wright ( if you'd like to participate. Please note that you must purchase a ticket to receive entry into Mills Hardware, and that this event is 19+.

! Wednesday, December 4th: ID / IIDR Combined Rounds

Presenters: Dr. Amy Gillgrass & Dr. Marek Smieja
Title: "Double Jeopardy: HIV and Tuberculosis"
Time: 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Location: MDCL 1309

*ID/ IIDR Combined Joint Rounds are presented on the first Wednesday of every month and are open to all IIDR members and trainees.
Tuesday, November 26th: BBS Seminar Series

Dr. Mary Barker (Professor, Psychology & Behavioural Science, University of Southampton) 
Title: "Improving human health: why we do research”
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: HSC 4E20

*Hosted by Dr. Deb Sloboda. Coffee and cookies will be served at 11:15 a.m.
Wednesday, November 27th: IIP Seminar Series

Dr. Waliul Khan (Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University) 
Title: "Interactions of enteroendocrine cells, microbiota and immune system in inflammation"
Time: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Location: MDCL 2232

*Hosted by the McMaster Immunology Research Centre (MIRC).
Tuesday, December 3rd: IIDR Seminar 

Dr. Clay Fuqua (Professor, Biology, Indiana University) 
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 3020

*Hosted by Dr. John Whitney. Coffee and cookies will be served at 2:15 p.m.

Jobs & Opportunities
Assistant / Associate Professor
Application Deadline: December 31st, 2019 

The Department of Microbiology at Cornell University is currently seeking to fill a tenure-track Assistant/Associate Professor position in molecular microbiology. The individual will establish an innovative, high-profile research program that addresses key concepts and questions in contemporary bacterial physiology and/or cell biology. Areas of interest include (but are not limited to) molecular studies of cell growth and division, metabolism, genome stability, mechanisms of horizontal transfer/gene exchange, gene regulation, bacterial stress responses and microbial interactions with their biotic and abiotic environments. The ideal program will embrace a combination of molecular, genetic, physiological and/or data-intensive approaches to develop a mechanistic understanding of microbial biology.The full job listing can be found here.

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.

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
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ulrika Islander's Lab within the Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden is looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow in immunology / inflammation. Dr. Islanders research group studies the influence of sex hormones on the immune system during inflammatory conditions caused by autoimmunity, allergy or infections. The post-doc will work with breeding and characterization of genetically modified mice in order to answer the research questions posed in the projects. Besides animal models, cell isolation and cell culture techniques are also used in the projects. The work includes writing of grant applications and scientific publications, as well as assistance in supervision of PhD students and other students. Learn more about the position and apply 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

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