Dr. Bowdish gives a lecture for kids “Who’s got more cooties – boys or girls?”

Dr. Bowdish explains what cooties are, how the microbes that live on and in us can be friends and foes and describes how differences in infections and health between boys and girls, men and women are sometimes due to biology and sometimes due to behaviour.

Read the article summarizing the event here.

To see Dr. Bowdish put on a macrophage cape and teach the school kids the difference between a commensal, a pathobiont and a pathogen by dressing up their teachers, watch here…..

Children wrote down questions they had during the lecture and got answers back to them the next day. Had to break out the dictionary to find the etiology of the word “cooties”.

Dawn participates in the Steeltown Stairclimb to raise money for the Ontario Lung Association

On February 3rd 2018, Dawn will be doing the Steeltown Stairclimb to raise money for the Lung Association.
To donate, see her page


Not only does the Lung Association support research into lung infections and lung health but it advocates for the 1 in 5 Ontarians living with lung disease. One of our major successes this year was passing Bill 71 in provincial parliament which means we now have a Lung Advisory board consisting of patients, caregivers, clinicians and importantly, researchers, to create a Lung Health Action plan and tangible goals to improve lung health in our province. Please consider a donation!

Here’s the CHCH news clip on the event:

SteelTown Stair Climb

Dr. Bowdish talks to Zoomer Radio about how older adults can protect themselves from pneumonia.

 Listen to the interview here.

Kyle Novakowski is the Bowdish lab’s newest PhD!

Kyle Novakowski successfully defended his thesis “IDENTIFICATION AND  FUNCTIONAL CHARACTERIZATION OF CONSERVED RESIDUES AND DOMAINS IN THE MACROPHAGE SCAVENGER RECEPTOR MARCO”  to become the Bowdish lab’s 4th PhD student. He’ll be joining Turnstone Biologics as a PhD scientist. We wish him very well in his future endeavours. Congratulations Dr. Novakowski!

Publication: Monocyte activation is elevated in women with knee-osteoarthritis and associated with inflammation, BMI and pain.

Dr. Dawn Bowdish and her PhD student Dessi Loukov  collaborated with Dr. Monica Maly and Sara Karampatos (Rehabilitation Science) and found that monocytes were more activated and pro-inflammatory in women with osteoarthritis, and that elevated inflammation and body mass index were associated with increased monocyte activation. Further, the team found that women with osteoarthritis and more activated monocytes experienced worse pain than individuals with less activated monocytes. These findings highlight the importance of modulating inflammation and body mass to manage osteoarthritis and open up new avenues for therapeutic research.

Read the full publication in the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) Journal

As featured in Eureka Alert: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/mu-rul112717.php

Publication: Human-specific mutations and positively-selected sites in MARCO confer functional changes.

First author on the publication, PhD student Kyle Novakowski of Dr. Dawn Bowdish’s lab.
A common element that links ancient fish that dwell in the darkest depths of the oceans to land mammals, Neanderthals, and humans is the necessity to defend against pathogens. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have shaped how our innate immune cells, such as macrophages, detect and destroy microorganisms.

In a new study led by Dr. Dawn Bowdish (in collaboration with Dr. Brian Golding) and her PhD student Kyle Novakowski, the team identified novel sites within a macrophage receptor, MARCO, that are under positive selection and are human-specific. The team demonstrated the importance of these sites by site-directed mutation and showed a reduction in cellular binding and uptake of pathogens. These findings demonstrate how small genetic changes in humans can influence how we defend ourselves against pathogens.

Read the full publication in Oxford University Press.

Human-specific mutations and positively-selected sites in MARCO confer functional changes. Novakowski KE, Yap NVL, Yin C, Sakamoto K, Heit B, Golding GB, Bowdish DME. Mol Biol Evol. 2017 Nov 20. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msx298.
PMID: 2916561

Bowdish lab joins the circus.

The lab that plays together stays (late nights scienc-ing) together, which is why the Bowdish lab had our annual retreat at Zacada circus school.  Here we got some very sore muscles and discussed our successes and challenges of the past year and what our goals and ambitious are for the following year. Go Team!

Our annual lab retreat for 2017 was at Zacada Circus school where we learned the trapeze, silks and ran up and down this ninja wall!
Top: Kyle, Dhanyi, Melodie, Joseph, Dessi, Grace, Pat, Mohammad
Bottom: Sara, Janine, Helen, Jessica, Dawn, Allison, Christian.