One of MIRC’s newer faculty members, Dr. Anthony Rullo, has expanded the research scope of the centre with his exciting interdisciplinary research program which integrates the fields of chemical biology and immunology in an effort to advance cancer immunotherapy.
Several MIRC trainees were recently awarded prestigious and highly competitive external and internal awards for the 2019-2020 academic year. These awards highlight the high caliber of trainees at MIRC, and we would like to acknowledge and congratulate the following award winners:
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.
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.
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!
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!