Dr. Bowdish receives a CIHR Operating Grant from the Institute of Aging.

Dr. Bowdish’s grant, titled Macrophage function changes and contributes to susceptibility to infectious disease, was awarded $730,124 from the CIHR Institute of Aging.  This new grant will examine age-related changes in monocytes and macrophages to better understand aspects of aging that increase suceptibility to Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. This grant will likely allow Dr. Bowdish to hire a new post-doctoral fellow and graduate student. Interested applicants should consult the FAQ page.

MIRC scientists were highly successful in this recent round of CIHR funding (especially considering the low rates of funding!). To see who else got funded, click here.



Dr. Chris Verschoor’s award winning work on pneumonia in the elderly profiled.

To read about the work which won him the prestigious M.G. DeGroote post-doctoral fellowship, see this article…http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/main/news/news_2012/mgdfa_recipients_2011.html

Dr. Verschoor is tackling an issue of grave importance to Canada’s aging population – the high toll of infectious disease. As an example, 90% of pneumonia deaths in Canada occur in the elderly at tremendous cost to our health care system. Pneumonia is often the result of a period of decreased mobility (e.g. hip fracture and hospital stay) and the beginning of a decline in health. Preventing infections would keep the elderly healthy for longer and provide increased independence, decrease the cost of care and result in longer, happier lives.

Congratulations to Dr. Chris Verschoor on received the M.G. DeGroote Post-doctoral fellowship

Dr. Chris Verschoor has won the Micheal G. DeGroote Postdoctoral fellowship for 2011-2012. The prestigious Michael G. DeGroote Fellowship Awards provide postdoctoral candidates in the Faculty of Health Sciences the opportunity to pursue leading-edge health sciences research.The awards are designed for candidates who have an exemplary academic record and are interested in pursuing postdoctoral work in one of the numerous areas of research excellence in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

Dr. Verschoor won the award for his innovative project proposal on discovering the fundamental basis of susceptibility to pneumonia in the elderly. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death and decline of function in the elderly and a significant cost to the Canadian Health Care System. Dr. Verschoor proposes to discover the underlying molecular mechanisms of their increased susceptibility with a long term goal of discovering innovative therapies.

(Position filled Sept 14 2010) Post-doctoral position in Immunosenescence Available

Would you like to build your career exploring the immunology of aging?

In the Western world the majority (>90%) of deaths due to pneumonia occur in the elderly. Why they are at such high risk is not entirely clear, but presumably immunosenescence (age related changes in the immune system) is a key factor.  The high mortality rate is compounded by co-infections, such as influenza infection. This research project involves developing a mouse model of Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization and infection in aged mouse and determining how co-infection with influenza increases the risk of developing pneumonia. This will include a both a basic science component (i.e. deteremining how age-associated changes in immunity contribute to susceptibility to infection) and a translational component (i.e. testing therapeutic interventions).

An immediate post-doctoral opportunity is available for a creative scientist with a strong commitment to excellence and innovation to pursue leading edge research in immunology. Although this is presently only a 1 year position, this may be extended if the applicant obtains fellowship funding. Candidates with experience in virology or mouse models of infection are especially encouraged to apply.

The position is in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine at McMaster University located in the heart of the Golden Horseshoe in southern Ontario.  McMaster University has been ranked as one of Canada’s most research intensive universities known for it’s highly collaborative and mentoring atmosphere.

Interested candidates should send a CV, cover letter and three references to Dr. Dawn Bowdish (bowdish@mcmaster.ca, www.bowdish.ca).

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.