Welcome from the chair
Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences within the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University! We are a dynamic and enthusiastic group of faculty, staff and students with a passion for research, teaching and fun!
Research – Our faculty run internationally recognized, multi-disciplinary research programs spanning diverse areas of biochemistry, including anti-microbial research, drug discovery, cell biology and regulation, structural biology, infection and immunity, nutrition and metabolism, stem cell biology and cancer. Our research laboratories are supported by state of the art infrastructure and research facilities.
The Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology houses the High Throughput Screening Lab, the Natural Products Chemistry Lab, the Protein Lab and the Bioanalytical Lab. The McMaster Biophotonics Facility provides cutting edge microscopy and fluorimetry capabilities while the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy houses world-class electron microscopy infrastructure. The passion of our investigators for research and discovery has created a rich and collaborative environment, as evidenced by international personnel awards, competitive funding and publications in high impact journals.
Teaching - The innovation and discovery of our investigators’ research programs ensure excellence in our undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate students are exposed to a diverse curriculum in our Honours Biochemistry program, administered through the Faculty of Science. Students with more specialized interests can take our Biomedical Research Specialization, Origins Specialization, Honours Arts & Science and Biochemistry or Honours Integrated Science and Biochemistry programs. Our graduate students are involved in cutting-edge research and scholarship in two graduate programs, Biochemistry and Chemical Biology, the latter being jointly administered with the Department of Chemistry. Our graduate students are routinely awarded provincial and national fellowships and awards and publish in high impact journals. Additionally, the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences has a dynamic group of post-doctoral fellows, who play an active role in the Faculty of Health Sciences Post-Doctoral Association. The broad expertise of our faculty members along with active and innovative approaches to learning ensures that our graduates are poised for success in their future careers.
Fun – Within the Department, we have an active Biochemistry Society whose motto is “It’s only biochemistry but we like it!”. The society runs a diverse array of programs culminating in the yearly Formal, an event not to miss. Check out BiochemRocks on Facebook, to keep up with the latest events in the department. Scroll through photos of our many social events, including the annual Halloween, Christmas and summer picnic activities!
Please take this opportunity to browse through our web pages to learn more about the research, teaching and fun that make Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences such a wonderful and engaging environment. Do feel free to contact us at any time if you would like to meet with a faculty member or tour our facilities. We hope to see you soon!
Karen Mossman, Chair
Faculty Member of the Month
Ever wonder what healthcare would look like if there were no antibiotics? Where the use of antibiotics has been commonplace for almost eighty years, it is hard to imagine but we are seeing glimpses of this scenario now in modern medicine. Menacing drug resistant bacteria that are known in the clinical microbiology laboratory by their acronyms, such as MRSA, CRE and ESBLs (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and extended spectrum b-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae), are compromising our ability to treat bacterial infection. In time, these superbugs threaten to usher in a post-antibiotic era unless we can stop them.
The problem is that in the past fifty years, only a few new classes of antibiotics have reached the clinic. And bacteria are driven by natural selection to become resistant to antibiotics. Indeed, multidrug resistance is thought to be due in large part to the limited repertoire of drugs that eradicate bacteria with a narrow range of mechanisms. So the answer is to find new ways to kill bacteria but this has proven to be difficult. We simply don’t understand the complex biology that underpins bacterial survival.
Students and post-doctoral fellows in the Brown Lab are working to explore uncharted aspects of bacterial systems. They are searching for the Achilles heels of drug-resistant superbugs using tools of biochemistry, molecular genetics and chemical screening to probe the complex biology that underlies bacterial survival strategies. Indeed, Brown Lab researchers have enjoyed some exciting breakthroughs in recent years studying poorly understood aspects of cell wall synthesis, ribosome assembly and bacterial metabolism. The goal of course is to contribute fresh directions for new antibacterial therapeutics and beat back the tide of drug resistance.
Graduate Application Prcedure
NOTE: Graduate school applications for the 2013/2014 session are now closed.
Nikon Canada will be giving a seminar on super resolution imaging at McMaster.
This new method of fluorescence imaging allows observations at ten times higher resolution than current methods and has revolutionized microscopy to now be termed, nanoscopy.
The McMaster Biophotonics Facility will be acquiring High Resolution Capability for 2014.
Thursday, December 5th
1-3pm, MDCL 2230
Dr. Ray Truant Ph.D
Our Latest Story
Karen Mossman, chair of McMaster's Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, poses with postdoctoral researcher Sam Workenhe.
Biochem ROCKS !!!!!!!
On behalf of the Biochemistry graduate program, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Lindsay Matthews has been selected to receive the 2013 Governor General Academic Gold Medal. Lindsay completed her PhD studies in the laboratory of
Dr. Alba Guarne in the area of DNA replication and repair. Her work significantly advanced the understanding of how cell division and DNA repair are regulated in eukaryotic cells. Her PhD work was published in 4 peer-reviewed articles and another 12 poster and oral presentations over the course of her studies. Her PhD work was funded in its entirety by competitive scholarships, including a Master's award from the CIHR, OGS, and a doctoral research award from the CIHR.
The Governor General's Academic Medal is awarded to the graduate student who achieves the highest academic standing in their graduate degree program. One medal is awarded for the entire university. This year, there were 9 outstanding nominations from 5 different Faculties.
The award will be presented to Lindsay at the Fall Convocation to be held on November 22, 2013.
On behalf of our graduate program and the department, I would like to congratulate Lindsay on this
Brian K. Coombes, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis
Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Graduate Education
Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences
Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies (Biochemistry), Faculty of Health Sciences