Grant Bonanza!

The Bowdish lab has received funding from the CIHR (Pilot Projects in Aging) with Dr. Jennie Johnstone to study how macrophage immunosenescence contributes to susceptibility to pneumonia in the elderly. We have also received funding from the Ontario Thoracic Society/Ontario Lung Association for our work on the role of scavenger receptors in mycobacterial infection and funding from the CIHR (Emerging Team: Human Microbiome, with Drs Mike Surette, Jennie Johnstone, Mike Schryvers, & James Kellner) to study the role of commensal bacteria (including close cousins of S. pneumoniae) contribute to upper respiratory tract infections. This is truly an exciting time for the Bowdish lab – stay tuned for some fantastic science!

Summer student Zhongyuan Tu wins IIDR studentship!

The Bowdish lab’s first member, Zhongyuan Tu, has won a summer studentship award from the IIDR for his proposal called “How does the macrophage scavenger receptor MARCO signal?”. Zhongyuan will be starting in the lab in May and will continue on as a thesis student. During this time he will study the role of the macrophage scavenger receptor MARCO in adhesion, motility and phagocytosis. Congratulations Zhongyuan!

Dawn receives funding from the IIDR to study the role of macrophages in pneumococcal disease

The IIDR has awarded the Bowdish lab seed money to study the role of macrophages in host response to colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae. S. pneumoniae infections can range from treatable (respiratory tract infections, otitis) to life-threatening (meningitis, sepsis). The introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) has shifted the epidemiology of S. pneumoniae infections but not eliminated them.  In humans, colonization of the upper respiratory tract is the initial step in pathogenesis. This is accompanied by a robust antibody response, which is generally believed to be required for clearance (and thus prevention of infection); however, data for this is not supported by clinical observations in which high levels of antibodies are not associated with clearance or in which immunodeficient patients susceptible to pneumococcal infections can produce robust anti-pneumococcal antibody responses while still being prone to recurrent systemic infections.  The aim of this project is to assess the importance of macrophages in the recognition and clearance of S. pneumoniae in the upper respiratory tract.   This work will be done in collaboration with Prof. Jeffrey Weiser at the University of Pennsylvania who is a world leader in the field of S. pneumoniae pathogenesis. Dawn will be travelling to his lab in July to learn from his lab members.  The Bowdish lab is currently recruiting graduate students and post-docs who are interested in the host response to S. pneumoniae infection and colonization.