Postdoctoral fellow position in Aging & Immunity available

This CIHR funded PDF position will study how aging, and specifically age-associated inflammation alters myeloid cell development and macrophage function. This will include performing flow cytometry assays to quantitate development and maturation of myeloid cells in human blood and depending on the applicant’s interest and aptitude may include animal models. The successful applicant will be expected to develop a research project including all required experimental optimization, liaise with collaborators and research participants from multiple sights and write manuscripts to communicate research findings. The applicant must have a background in immunology and be a team player who is willing to mentor junior trainees and be an active participant in departmental seminars and events.

Essential skills
Flow cytometry
• This project requires significant skills in flow cytometry. Although most of the work will be done in human blood, expertise in mouse models would also be an asset. Please include details of your flow cytometry experience in your cover letter and be prepared to discuss the details of protocol development, trouble shooting and optimization if you are chosen for an interview.
Communication
• The applicant will be required to work closely with our research participants, including obtaining consent and filling out detailed health questionnaires. This will require the ability to describe the research in lay terms and to work with older adults who may have issues with hearing and site. The applicant will also be required to liaise with research co-ordinators from multiple sites to facilitate shipments and answer technical questions. Excellent English skills are essential.
• The applicant will be expected to present research findings to the lay public, research coordinators, nurses and PIs and will need experience speaking to broad audiences. The applicant will be responsible for publishing manuscripts. Please describe your oral and written communication skills as well as your publication history (published and in preparation) in your cover letter.

Must be willing to learn:
Phlebotomy
• This successful applicant must be willing to take a phlebotomy course and take blood from our research participants.
BSL2 level blood processing
• The applicant will be handling human blood, including blood that may be infected with viruses and consequently will need to be committed to following sterile and safe practices.
GLP procedures
• All our human immunology work is performed in a GLP compliant laboratory and the successful applicant must be willing to work with all the required GLP procedures.
Immunology assays
• The applicant will perform ELISAs including multiplex ELISAs (e.g. Luminex).
Statistics/R programming language/Data visualization
• Analysis of complex datasets (e.g. multilinear regression) and the R programming language is essential.

Additional skills which may be an asset:
Animal models (e.g. chimeric bone marrow transplants)
• There will be opportunities to test hypotheses and models using the Preclinical Studies in Aging Laboratory (PSAL: www.psal.ca), Canada’s only aging mouse colony. Specifically, there are opportunities to study how the aging microenvironment alters myeloid development by performing heterochronic bone marrow chimeras.
Immunosenescence/Senescence
• Experience in immunosenescence (mice and humans) would be a strong asset.
Microbiome analysis
• Opportunities exist to collaborate on projects on how the aging immune system alters the upper respiratory tract and gut microbiota. Experience with analysis of 16s rRNA sequencing, statistics and large dataset visualization would be an asset.
Please describe your experience with any of these techniques in your cover letter.

Why the Bowdish lab?
Our lab’s core values are Diversity, Ambition, Innovation and Collaboration. These core values dictate our approach to doing science. We support our trainees career development for careers both inside and outside of academia and this project will provide skills that will be broadly desirable no matter what the career trajectory. The Bowdish lab supports scientists with families and diverse backgrounds (see our lab’s diversity statement at http://www.bowdish.ca/lab/lab-philosophy).

If you are interested in applying contact Dr. Bowdish at bowdish@mcmaster.ca. Please include a coverletter detailing your research interests ambitions and relevant skills and a c.v. that includes your publications and references.

November is Lung Month – what do older adults need to know about pneumonia?

Dr Bowdish is the Canadian Lung Association’s spokesperson for World Pneumonia Day (November 12, 2018). Here she discusses the importance of being vaccinated for pneumonia….

She also speaks to Zoomer Magazine about pneumonia, vaccinations and the aging immune system here…

To get a sense of the other lung research going on in the Bowdish lab, see our Instagram page: house.macrophage

>

Publication: Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Aged Humans

Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Aged Humans

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are immature myeloid cells whose
immunosuppressive activities contribute to cancer and other diseases. MDSCs
appear to increase with age, and this presumably contributes to immunosuppression
and the increased incidence of certain diseases. Why MDSCs increase with
age is not entirely clear. Herein we present evidence that MDSC expansion is due
in part to age-related changes in hematopoiesis, including the acquisition of
mutations that favor myelopoiesis, which are compounded by changes in the
aging microenvironment that favor the production of MDSCs.

Congratulations to Dessi Loukov on successfully defending her PhD!

Congratulations to the newly minted Dr. Loukov on successfully defending her thesis entitled “Age-Associated Inflammation impairs Myeloid Development and Monocyte & Macrophage Function”!

The newly minted Dr. Loukov drinks from the chalice.

Dessi celebrates her thesis defence with one of her mentors Dr. Mark McDermott.

Two doctors.

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.

Publication: Tumor necrosis factor drives increased splenic monopoiesis in old mice

bowdish

PhD student Dessi Loukov in the lab of Dr. Dawn Bowdish, recently published a study showing that splenomegaly in old mice is a result of extramedullary hematopoiesis, and that this increased monopoiesis is driven by age-associated increase in TNF. The study compared changes in the microarchitecture and composition of the spleen in old and young mice and found that in old mice, there was an increase in the size and cellularity of the red pulp (the site of hematopoiesis of myeloid precursors). To study the role of TNF in the development of extramedullary hematopoiesis, they used TNF KO mice and found that these mice did not have increased extramedullary monopoiesis. Furthermore, they demonstrated that increased splenic myelopoiesis was a result of the aging microenvironment. This work suggests that strategies which aim to decrease the inflammatory microenvironment that comes with aging, would be effective in reducing inflammatory diseases propagated by cells of the myeloid lineage. Read More

 

Publication: Streptococcus pneumoniae Colonization Disrupts the Microbial Community within the Upper Respiratory Tract of Aging Mice

Colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae within the upper respiratory tract (URT) of elderly individuals is a major concern, as it often results in the development of pneumonia, which can be deadly in this population. A study published by MIRC Masters’ student Netusha Thevaranjan, under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Bowdish, examined howNetusha-sm aging can change the composition of the respiratory microbial community and consequently, impact bacterial colonization. Using a mouse model of pneumococcal colonization, the study characterized the composition of the URT microbiota in young, middle-aged, and old mice in both the naïve state, and throughout the course of nasopharyngeal colonization with S. pneumoniae. It was shown that the composition of the URT microbiota differs with age, and that colonization with S. pneumoniae in older mice disrupted pre-existing microbial communities.

Furthermore, the study demonstrated that there were several interspecies interactions between S. pneumoniae and resident microbes. In particular,Streptococcus interacted competitively with Staphylococcus and synergistically with Haemophilus. This work provides insight into how aging influences bacterial colonization, and understanding the relationship between these two factors can help create strategies to protect the elderly from age-associated infections and disease. Read More