The Bowdish lab enters a collaborative agreement with Qu Biologics.

The lab of Dr. Dawn Bowdish at the McMaster University Immunology Research Centre (MIRC) has recently begun collaboration with the Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company Qu Biologics on preclinical studies investigating the role of macrophage dysfunction in chronic inflammation.

Qu Biologics has developed Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs), which aim to “reboot” the body’s innate immune system in targeted organs or tissues to reverse chronic inflammation.

“Macrophages are important cells of the innate immune system. There is growing evidence that macrophage dysfunction underlies many important common chronic diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disease,” said Dr. Hal Gunn, CEO of Qu Biologics. “This collaboration will be invaluable to assist in our understanding of the benefits of SSI therapy on macrophage function as it relates to chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction.” Dr. Gunn added.

The studies will test whether a lung-specific SSI therapy can restore normal lung and bone marrow-derived macrophage function using a variety of in vivo and in vitro assays.

Dr. Bowdish adds “This is an ambitious and exciting project that takes a fundamentally different approach to tackling the problem of chronic inflammation, which has been very resistant to therapeutic intervention. My team is thrilled to be working together on a problem that affects the lives of so many Canadians.”  This work capitalizes on the resources and immunology expertise of the McMaster Immunology Research Centre and Dr. Bowdish’s research interests in how inflammation impairs macrophage function.

About Qu Biologics

Qu Biologics develops Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSI), a novel class of immunotherapies that aim to reboot the body’s immune system. SSIs are designed to stimulate an immune response in targeted organs or tissues to potentially reverse the chronic inflammation underlying many conditions including cancer and autoimmune disease. The company recently launched a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to research SSI therapy for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.

Backed by a prestigious group of scientific advisors and board members, Qu Biologics is led by a management team that includes co-founder and CEO Dr. Hal Gunn, a physician and expert on the body’s immune response to chronic disease; and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, former CEO of the BC Cancer Agency and a distinguished clinician, scientist and leader in cancer control in Canada and internationally.  For more information, visit and

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Alumnus update: Former Bowdish lab undergraduate, Keith Lee, receives a CIHR MSC scholarship!

Keith Lee, who will be attending the University of Toronto for medical school starting August 2013 has received a very prestigious CIHR MSc graduate award. He has chosen to decline to pursue his medical studies and potentially re-apply as an MD/PhD student next year. Congratulations Keith!

Collaborator update: Fan Fei wins “Glasgow Polyomics & University of Strathclyde Young Scientist Award” at the 9th Annual Conference of the Metabolomics Society!

Fan Fei (PhD candidate), under the supervision of Dr. Brian McCarry, and in conjunction with Bowdish lab undergraduate Keith Lee, studies age related changes in the inflammatory response from a metabolomics perspective. Funded by the Russell Bell Travel Scholarship award, she attended the  9th Annual conference of the Metabolomics Society. July 1-4, 2013, SECC Glasgow. She won the “Glasgow Polyomics & University of Strathclyde Young Scientist Award” for outstanding poster presentation of research in the field of metabolomics at the Metabolomic Conference 2013 in Glasgow Scotland for her work “Comprehensive Metabolomic Analysis Reveals Major Differences in the Macrophage Inflammatory Response Between Young and Aged Mice”. Way to go Fan!