Recent work by chemical engineers at McMaster University led by Dr. Carlos D. M. Filipe, in collaboration with MIRC faculty members Dr. Ali Ashkar and Dr. Matthew Miller, has garnered great attention. They have invented a stable and affordable method of storing vaccines long-term at temperatures up to 40°C. This has great implications regarding the ability to deliver life-saving vaccines to remote areas across the globe. The work was published in Scientific Reports and was featured on the front page of the Globe and Mail.
MIRC would like to welcome Dr. Amy Gillgrass, who is joining the centre as an Assistant Professor and initiating a research program focusing on studying HIV/TB co-infections. Dr. Gillgrass brings years of valuable expertise and knowledge in immunology, with a diverse background in infection and immunity as well as cancer research.
Congratulations to Josh McGrath from Dr. Martin Stämpfli’s group for winning the James C. Hogg Basic Research Award at the 9th Annual Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) Poster Competition. The competition was held on May 18th at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference in Dallas, Texas, and served to highlight the work of Canada’s up-and-coming respiratory scientists. Well done Josh!
MIRC’s own, Dr. Manel Jordana, was recently selected by the AllerGen Network as this year’s “Michelle Harkness Lifetime Mentoring Achievement Award” winner. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a “sustained, career-spanning commitment to excellence in mentoring”. Dr. Jordana’s impact on his trainees over the past few decades was highlighted by the numerous testimonies that past and present trainees wrote in support of his nomination, which was led by former MIRC trainee, Dr. Rodrigo Jiménez-Saiz. Congratulations, Dr. Jordana!
Congratulations to Sophie Poznanski for being awarded one of Canada's most prestigious awards; Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Each recipient recieves $50 000 a year for up to 3 years. Sophie will study cancer immunotherapies that use a patient’s own immune cells to fight the disease.
MIRC's Charu Kaushic was nominated for YWCA's 2019 Women of Distinction Award in the Community Leadership Category.
The Jordana-Waserman Lab, in collaboration with Drs. Shreffler and Patil (Harvard Medical School), developed a cutting-edge method to identify IgE+ memory B cells (a cell population associated with the perpetuation of allergic disease). Using this method, which entails genetic analysis at the single-cell level, they found that common techniques grossly overestimate the frequency of IgE+ memory B cells. Furthermore, they demonstrated the extreme rarity of these cells in the circulation of food allergic patients and cautioned against the clinical utility of their assessment. Importantly, these findings direct future research on the perpetuation of allergy to memory B cells other than IgE.
Alyssa Vito, a PhD candidate in Dr. Karen Mossman’s lab, is a recent Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship winner and is playing a key role in the fight against cancer!
The annual Medical Sciences Graduate Research Day took place on February 26th at CIBC Hall, and featured presentations from 15 MIRC trainees. MIRC graduate students did a fantastic job presenting their research to a broad audience, composed of members from across all five pillars of the Medical Sciences Program. This year’s event featured 15 oral talks, and over 40 poster presentations. All three poster prize winners this year were from MIRC, and we would like to congratulate these winners on an exceptional job: Olivia Mekhael (Ask lab), Maryam Vaseghi-Shanjani (Xing lab), and Jessica Breznik (Bowdish lab). Puja Bagri (Kaushic lab) was also awarded a prize for her oral presentation. Congratulations to all those who presented, as well as the prize winners!
The Danger of Excess in Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapy has garnered a lot of attention recently due to its success in treating certain cancer types but little is known about the mechanisms governing the safety and toxicity of this relatively novel therapeutic field. A study led by Dr. Scott Walsh and Dr. Yonghong Wan recently published ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
This finding has an implicated a role for Type 1 Interferon (T1IFN) in regulating collateral damage to normal tissue induced by cancer immunotherapeutics.They found that T1IFN induced upregulation of MHC I, leading to destruction of those normal cells that share expression of the therapy targeted protein. Using an antibody or oncolytic virus vector with the intrinsic ability to interfere with T1IFN they were able to ameliorate normal cell damage while simultaneously causing complete tumor regression. These findings have significant clinical implications and will be informative for the future development of cancer immunotherapies.
The study is available at the following link https://www.jci.org/articles/view/121004