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.

Read more: The Jordana-Waserman Lab, developed a cutting-edge method to identify IgE+ memory B cells

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






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.

Read more: Introducing Dr. Amy Gillgrass, MIRC’s newest faculty member!

Connecting science and medicine to improve patient care: MIRC alum Tamara Krneta on her career as Medical Education Associate


Read more: January Alumni of the Month: Tamara Krneta, MSc

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! 

Read more: Congratulations to Dr. Manel Jordana – Recipient of the AllerGen Michelle Harkness Lifetime...

MIRC alum and Assistant Dean of McMaster’s Bachelor of Health Sciences Program: Dr. Stacey Ritz brings us on her journey through many realms of academia.

From MIRC to Bay Street: Dr. Alicja Puchta tells us about her time at MIRC and how it prepared her for her career in law.

Read more: November Alumni of the Month: Dr. Stacey Ritz & Dr. Alicja Puchta

MIRC's Charu Kaushic was nominated for YWCA's 2019 Women of Distinction Award in the Community Leadership Category.

Read more:




Jordana group featured by the Allergen Network

A recent publication in the Journal of Clinical Immunology (“The IgE memory reservoir in food allergy”) led by Dr. Rodrigo Jiménez-Saiz in the Jordana lab has garnered great attention and was featured by the Allergen Network. As mentioned in the article, although previous research has shown that “upon re-encountering a food allergen, memory IgE cells become activated and replenish the cells that produce IgE antibodies…no one has been able to decipher how the IgE memory works”. However, in their recent work, the Jordana lab has provided insight into this matter and their findings suggest that “IgG1 memory B cell subsets are the true reservoir of allergen-specific memory, which represents a considerable shift from previous thinking”.

Read the full feature here:

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!

Read more: Trainee Spotlight profile-Alyssa Vito from Mossman Lab

Dr. Scott Walsh, a post-doctoral fellow working with Dr. Yonghong Wan, recently earned commendations for his senior-level poster presentation at the Summit4 Cancer Immunotherapy conference held by in Banff at the end of October. The summit was held by BiocanRx, a Canadian government funded nationwide network of scientists, industry and patients focused on accelerating the transition of cancer therapeutics from bench to bedside. Scott presented data from a recently completed study highlighting the powerful anticancer potential of a novel therapy platform developed in the Wan lab at McMaster. 

Below is a link to the conferences instagram post of the award winners.

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