Congrats to high school student Anika Gupta as she heads off to the international science fair!

The Bowdish lab was very proud to host Anika Gupta, a high school student, for her Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) project.

Her project was entitled “Quantifying Lung Macrophages to Understand Increased Susceptibility to Bacterial Pneumonia with Age.”

Anita won the Dr. Doyle Biology Award for the best Biology project, a Gold merit award as well as the Pinnacle Award for the Third Best in Fair and a sponsored Trip Award to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May!

Way to go Anika!

Anika Gupta receiving the third place “ArcelorMittal Dofasco Pinnacle Best-in-Fair” award.

See her featured in the Hamilton news here.

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

 Listen to the interview here.

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:

Mac in Five: “Lessons from the oldest of the old”.

See article with full links here.

Mac in Five

Lessons from the oldest of the old.

5 Weeks • 5 Professors • 5 Lessons • 5 Minutes a day
Course: Healthy Aging • Lesson #1 of 5

Would you rather live a long life in poor health or a short life in good health? For most of us this seems to be the trade-off but for the select few who become “supercentenarians” (those living to > 110), they seem to have the best of both worlds. Intriguingly, these oldest of the old are usually of sound mind and physically active until their death, and avoid many of conditions or diseases that almost seem to be an inevitable part of old age such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders or dementia. Most of us aspire to an old age like the supercentenarians, which is active and healthy but when ill-health makes its inevitable appearance, the decline is rapid but brief. So how do they do it? Genetics seems to play a role, but there is no magic gene that makes us live longer, nor is there a particular diet, exercise or pill that ensures that you’ll live into the next century. Interestingly, we’ve recently learned that having a healthy immune system may be necessary for long and healthy life.

One of the most provocative studies of the role of the immune system in longevity comes from the study of Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper who was, briefly, the oldest woman in the world. She died of cancer at 115 and donated her body to science. She was remarkable in many regards but from an immunological perspective, she was exceptional because at the time of her death her circulating white blood cells came from only two hematopoietic stem cell clones, as opposed to the thousands or tens of thousands one would expect in a younger adult. Since a diverse repertoire of white blood cells is required to repair damaged tissues and seek out potentially cancerous cells, this loss of stem cells may, ultimately, have caused her death. The oldest old have another interesting immunological feature – low levels of inflammation, which seem to help them resist chronic inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease and dementia for longer.

So what can those of us who have not won the genetic lottery do to live long, healthy lives? Although there are some pre-clinical trials in mice and epidemiological data in humans that suggest it will be one day be possible to extend the years of healthy living by taking a pill, we are not there yet. Instead, we can lower our inflammation and extend the years we live in good health by exercising, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight, and having a robust social network. We may not have what it takes to be a supercentenarian, but we can make the years that we have be the very best that they can be.
Suggested article for further learning: New Scientist

The Bowdish lab thanks a 5 year old philanthropist for donating $5 of her allowance to our research!

Running a research lab is expensive (very expensive!) and the vast majority of funding to the Bowdish lab comes from taxpayers by way of agencies like the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the National Science and Engineering Council or from generous donations to non-profit agencies like the Ontario Lung Association. We do get donations from individuals on occasion and these are even more special to us because they mean that our work has inspired someone to donate their hard-earned dollars. Below is a particularly heart-warming story of a 5 year old who donated $5 of her allowance to help us keep all the grandmas and grandpas healthy. The video below shows what we bought with that money and allows us to express our thanks.

Your donations, no matter how big or small, are special to us. They strengthen our resolve to work harder and smarter to make research breakthroughs, the inspire us to communicate our research with you, the public, and they remind us of that we are working for you, the public.
If you are inspired to donate money for research to improve lung health we’d encourage you to consider donating to the Ontario Lung Association’s Breathing as One campaign.

The McMaster Immunology Research Centre is fundraising with the Lung Association to create a new PhD scholarship in lung health. If you would like to donate to that, please contact Dr Bowdish at or Dr. Carl Richards (director) .

And lastly, if you’ve been inspired by the work of the Bowdish lab and would like to make a donation, thank you! Please contact Dr. Bowdish (, 905-525-9140 x22313)

Thank you to all our donors. Thank you for your generosity and your belief in our work!

Dr Bowdish gives a deputation at Queen’s Park in support of Bill 41, The Lung Health Act.

The Bowdish lab has been working with the Ontario Lung Association to encourage politicians to support Bill #41 – The Lung Health Act. You may not be aware that of all the common chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, diabetes), lung disease is the only one that doesn’t have a dedicated action plan. Because of this rates of lung disease are higher then they need to be and many “best practices” for treating or preventing lung disease are not in place, compromising the health of many Ontarians and increasing health care costs. For this reason MPP Kathryn McGarry put forth a private members bill to create a Lung Health Act for Ontario. Bill 41 would entail establishing a Lung Health Advisory Council to make recommendations to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on lung health issues; and requiring the Minister to develop and implement an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan respecting research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease. In Novemver our lab attended a provincial lobby day where we discussed the importance of this bill with politicians.  On June 6th Dawn gave a deputation to the Committee on Social Policy on why this Bill would be of particular importance to older adults.

To see the entire 4 hours of deputations (ouch!) click here.

To read more of the FAQ around the Lung Health Act click here.

To read more about the Ontario Lung Association’s draft Lung Health Action Plan, click here. (Bonus – you can donate to the Lung Association to support this work via that link too!).

Tammy Villeneuve (OLA), Andrea Kellner, Justin Boyle, MPP Dave Levac, Kyle Novakowski, Dessi Loukov and Dr. Dawn Bowdish meet to discuss the Lung Health Act.

Tammy Villeneuve (OLA), Andrea Kellner, Justin Boyle, MPP Dave Levac, Kyle Novakowski, Dessi Loukov and Dr. Dawn Bowdish meet to discuss the Lung Health Act.

The Bowdish lab attends lobby day in November 2015 to discuss the importance of the Lung Health Act with MPPs.

Walter Gretzky supports the Lung Health Act – you should too! (with Justin Boyle & Dessi Loukov)

Dawn at Queen's Park after her deputation on Bill 41- The Lung Health Act. The Bowdish lab participates in democracy!

Dawn at Queen’s Park after her deputation on Bill 41- The Lung Health Act. The Bowdish lab participates in democracy!