Dr. Ashkar is currently working to discover the host innate immune response to viral diseases and cancers. He began his career as a veterinarian, but his desire to understand the basic reason for disease caused him to pursue a degree in innate immunology. He attended Guelph University as a graduate and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Tehran, Iran. His favourite part about his job is the freedom to formulate a hypothesis that has never been tested before. He still plays competitive soccer at southern Ontario level as a member of the city of Guelph’s senior team.  He also enjoys walking with his sons through golf courses.


Congratulations to Dr. Charu Kaushic, the new Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

Dr. Charu Kaushic, a long-standing member of MIRC, was recently appointed as the Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity (CIHR-III). Dr. Kaushic is the first women to hold the title, and this is the first time a CIHR Institute will be located at McMaster University. Within this leadership role, Dr. Kaushic will focus on identifying research priorities in the areas of infection and immunity, generating funding opportunities, developing partnerships and working towards translating research evidence into policy to help improve the health of both Canadians and individuals worldwide. Additionally, Dr. Kaushic will be heavily involved in setting and implementing CIHR’s strategic direction, further establishing both McMaster University and Canada as global leaders in health research. On behalf of the faculty, students and staff at MIRC, we would like to congratulate Dr. Kaushic on this outstanding achievement and we are confident there is no one better suited for this position.

Read more here:

  1. https://www.canada.ca/en/institutes-health-research/news/2018/05/expert-in-womens-reproductive-health-dr-charu-kaushic-named-scientific-director-of-the-cihr-institute-of-infection-and-immunity.html
  2. https://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/mac-researcher-named-scientific-director-of-cihr-institute-of-infection-and-immunity/
  3. https://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/8586920-burlington-doctor-takes-over-as-cihr-s-scientific-director/
  4. https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8587414-mac-researcher-to-direct-institute-tasked-with-fighting-infectious-diseases/

Jonathan Bramson is giving white blood cells a new mission: to seek out and destroy tumours.


At the recent gala dinner for the American Society of Reproductive Immunology Annual Meeting, Dr. Charu Kaushic was presented with the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology Award, which is one of the highest awards from the Society. "This award is presented annually to a senior investigator who has made outstanding contributions to the area of reproductive immunology".  CONGRATS to Charu!


Charu Kaushic


Maryam Vaseghi-Shanjani



Dr. Karen Mossman


MIRC stands out again with YWCA's Women of Distinction 2018 Nominees! Congratulations to Maryam and Dr. Mossman for demonstrating personal and professional excellence. To read more please follow the link https://ywcahamilton.akaraisin.com/gala/Event/PhotoGallery.aspx?seid=15075&mid=41

Congratulations to Dr. Karen Mossman! For more info, read here

Director’s note Mar 7, 2018:

Recent success over the last two grant competitions within the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) clearly reflect superb research capability in the labs of principal investigators (PIs) of MIRC. McMaster success as a whole at CIHR in the latest Project grant competition was generated in good part by successful MIRC PIs (4 of the 22 McMaster awards). The last two CIHR competition successes by MIRC PIs include - Ali Ashkar, Dawn Bowdish, Karen Mossman, Carl Richards, Zhou Xing (a Foundation grant!), as well as Jeremy Hirota as an associate member of MIRC. Collectively, this totaled over $6.6 million of new funds for fundamental and translational research.

Participation by MIRC PIs in undergraduate, graduate and PDF training attracts excellent personnel to an inspirational and diversified environment in immunology. Over 50% of currently active graduate students under MIRC PIs have obtained external scholarships. They are enrolled in the Medical Science Graduate Program (80% of MIRC students) and the Biochemistry Graduate Program.

In context of the current harsh competition for research and scholarship funds, MIRC stands out again as an outstanding model centre for research and training.

Congratulations to all recently successful applicants!


Congratulations Sophie Poznanski from the Ashkar Lab for the only Master's Student in receiving the Ontario Women's Health Scholar. Her research involves the understanding of Natural Killer immune cells as a new treatment for ovarian cancer. Read more about it here: http://cou.on.ca/about/awards/ontario-womens-health-scholars/2017-owhs-bios/




Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Bramson, who will be taking on the role of the associate dean of research for the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). This is an incredibly prestigious position, and we know that Dr. Bramson will do an excellent job. Read the full release here:



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