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 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”.

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!

‘Inflamm-aging’ by seniors may impact pneumonia susceptibility

Antibiotic treatment alone may not be sufficient to treat pneumonia in older adults. In fact, it appears as though the inflammation that comes naturally with age increases the risk of developing pneumonia. “It sounds counterintuitive to limit inflammatory responses during a bacterial infection, but clinical observations and our research indicates anti-bacterial strategies need to be tailored to the age of the patient,” said MIRC’s Associate Professor Dawn Bowdish.

Aging is accompanied by a chronic state of low-level inflammation — sometimes called ‘inflamm-aging’ — which is associated with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and infections, particularly pneumonia. Upon recognition of an infectious agent, an acute inflammatory response is required to fight infection and resolves shortly after. However, in older adults, where systemic inflammation is already elevated, increases in inflammation during infection do not resolve as quickly. Exposure to these high levels of inflammation appears to impair the ability of monocytes and macrophages to fight infection.

Published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens, MIRC graduate Dr. Alicja Puchta & PhD student Avee Naidoo demonstrated that the higher levels of inflammation in the blood of old mice caused the premature egress of inflammatory monocytes into the blood stream, and contributed to greater systemic inflammation. Although small amounts of inflammation are required to fight infection, enhanced production of inflammation in old mice lead to reduced monocyte and macrophage function. Reducing levels of inflammation in the young mice had no effect but reducing levels in the old mice resulted in improved bacterial clearance and survival against S.pneumoniae.

The research follows a 2015 McMaster study that showed that older adults with pneumonia do better when given drugs, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation in addition to antibiotics. “Our study in mice is consistent with clinical studies that recommend using anti-inflammatories as part of treatment to improve older adults’ defence against pneumonia, and that points to the development of better care,” said Bowdish.

To read the PLoS Pathogens article, please click here.

Novemer 12th is World Pneumonia Day – celebrate by getting vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia!

Novemer 12th is World Pneumonia Day – celebrate by getting vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia!


Hear the interview on Metro Morning with Matt Galloway here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/programs/metromorning/researchers-find-getting-the-flu-can-lead-to-other-diseases-1.3315848

Read about why older adults should be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza, as profiled by the CBC here:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vaccines-mcmaster-1.3315511?cmp=rss

and here

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/programs/metromorning/pathologist-deeply-saddened-vaccines-distrust-1.3315893

To hear Dawn discuss the benefits of vaccination for older adults on London AM 960 The Pulse with Devon Peacock (airdate: Nov 13, 2015) click here:
http://www.am980.ca/the-pulse/

To read about the link between dementia and pneumonia:
http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.201212-2154OC#.VkTWTHarRaR

To read about the link between cardiovascular disease and pneumonia
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2091304

Work in the Bowdish lab is funded by the Canadian taxpayer through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Science and Engineering Research Council, and through donations administered by the Ontario Lung Association.