The Canada Research Chairs Program was launched by the federal government in 2000 to help Canadian universities attract and retain the world's best researchers.
McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences currently boasts 33 Canada Research Chairs:
Aging, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion Interventions— Maureen Markle-Reid
Aging and Immunity— Dawn Bowdish
It is unclear why susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia begins to increase in middle age (i.e 55 yrs); however, these infections become increasingly common and costly to treat with age. In addition, acquiring bacterial pneumonia in mid- or late life often exacerbates or accelerates sub-clinical or existing chronic inflammatory conditions, decreasing the quality of life and increasing the cost of care.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Aging and Immunity]
Allergy and Immune Tolerance— Mark Larché
Dr. Larché's research involves studying the development of peptide immunotherapy leading to the development of new treatments for immunological diseases. He uses synthetic fragments (peptides) of the proteins that cause the disease (pollen, dust mites) to "switch on" the immune responses. Because the peptides lack the structure of the whole proteins, they don't stimulate an allergic reaction themselves — but they do trigger the immune system to begin to defend the body. This helps to minimize that body's subsequent allergic reactions.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Allergy and Immune Tolerance]
Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology— Guillaume Paré
The overall objective of the proposed research program is to identify and characterize novel genetic and molecular biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Through early identification of at-risk individuals and optimization of drug therapy, this research program aims to reduce the burden of CVD in Canada and lead to a better understanding of their genetic basis. The guiding principle of the proposed program is that integration of information from population genetics, plasma biomarkers, gene expression and clinical variables will provide a powerful framework to develop clinically useful algorithms and gain pathophysiological insights.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology]
Geroscience— Parminder Raina
Dr. Raina's research involves successful aging, aging brain, disability, and fall related injury. It brings together the capacity, knowledge and expertise of experts in the physical, psychological and social health domains to unlock some of the greatest mysteries of aging that have the most impact on the health of Canadians over time.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Geroscience]
Health Services Research in Cancer— Timothy Whelan
Dr. Whelan's research involves clinical trials regarding optimal radiation treatment for patients with cancer and Health Services research in supportive cancer care. The goal of his research is to identify the optimal use of radiation therapy in the treatment of women with breast cancer and other malignancies. This will involve developing reliable approaches where benefits are maximized and side effects are minimized. This study foresees better-managed radiation therapy leading to better quality of life for patients.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research in Cancer]
Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology— Sheila Singh
Dr. Singh's research focuses on further characterization of genetic abnormalities of brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs), with the intent of developing future therapies that will target BTICs, and provide insight into patient prognosis.
Targeting BTICs holds great promise in potentially alleviating brain tumours — a leading cause of cancer deaths in children and a form of cancer that remains difficult to cure despite advances in surgery. Dr. Singh has discovered an abnormal stem cell, the brain tumour initiating cell (BTIC), that may drive the formation of brain tumours.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology]
Human Stem Cell Biology— Mick Bhatia
Dr. Bhatia's research examines the parallels between the behaviour of human stem cells and the initial stages of the development of human cancer in order to advance understanding of how cancer begins. The research has the potential to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients — and save lives — through pre-clinical modelling of new cancer drugs and by developing therapies to regenerate immune systems. By studying the sequence of events that cause the development of a cancer tumour, Bhatia hopes to come up with much "smarter" agents for treating cancer.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Biology]
Human Stem Cell Lineage Commitment— Jonathan Draper
Dr. Draper's research uses a range of technologies to screen, identify and investigate the factors that determine cell division during the process when human embryonic stem cells become specialized tissues. Dr. Draper aims to unlock the secrets of human development by investigating the very beginnings of life, working with embryonic stem cells. His goal is to find out how embryonic stem cells become specialized — a step which lays the groundwork for future drug discoveries, as well as therapeutic applications such as tissue transplantation.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Lineage Commitment]
Infectious Disease Pathogenesis— Brian Coombes
Dr. Brian Coombes' research involves investigating how major enteric pathogens — the organisms that enter our bodies and cause serious problems with our gastrointestinal systems — infect humans, and how human and environmental activities influence the evolution of these infectious diseases.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis]
Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition—Elena Verdú
Dr. Verdú's research involves Investigating the mechanisms involved in food intolerance in functional gut disorders. Her research will lead to the development of non-dietary approaches to prevent and treat gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition]
Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research— Michael Surette
Dr. Surette's research involves the relationships between microbes and humans in health and disease. This research has the potential to transform the ways we understand human health and prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research]
Maternal and Child Obesity Prevention and Intervention— Sarah McDonald
Seeking to develop interventions that promote applicable weight gain, the goal is to improve the physical and mental well-being of women and their children through appropriate pregnancy weight gain (PWG). Given the difficulties in treating obesity, resources need to be focused on prevention. By targeting pregnancy, two groups, mothers and their children, will benefit.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Child Obesity Prevention and Intervention]
Metabolism in Human Stem Cells and Cancer Development— Eva Szabo
The rise in obesity over the past decade and its link to diabetes and cancer has increased interest in fat tissue biology. Therefore, Szabo's research focuses on the role of fat in a disease setting, by studying fat development from stem cells obtained from healthy, diabetic patients, obese patients or patients suffering from cancers.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Metabolism in Human Stem Cells and Cancer Development]
Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes— Gregory Steinberg
Dr. Steinberg's research involves understanding how hormones regulate the body's storage and breakdown of fat and its response to insulin. He is conducting metabolic studies in which genetically modified mice exercise or consume calorie foods. How many and what type of calories (fat or carbohydrate) the mice burn will be measured both during exercise and in response to hormones.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes]
Microbial Chemical Biology— Eric Brown
Multidrug resistant bacteria continue to be a health-care burden in both hospital and community settings. Remarkably, in the past fifty years, only a few new chemical classes of antibiotics have reached the clinic. Existing antibiotics are directed at a small number of targets, principally cell wall, DNA and protein biosynthesis.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Chemical Biology]
Molecular Studies of Antibiotics— Gerard D. Wright
Gerard D. Wright
Dr. Wright's research involves antibiotic resistance and chemically synthesizing antibiotics. Gerard Wright's research concentrates on understanding the mechanisms that promote antibiotic resistance and the reasons micro-organisms become resistant. He is particularly interested in the enzymes that alter or destroy antibiotics. By identifying resistance genes, expressing and purifying enzymes, and understanding their role in the process of antibiotic resistance, Wright hopes to gather data to help reverse this resistance and develop new drugs.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Studies of Antibiotics]
Natural Immunity and NK Cell Function— Ali Ashkar
The focus of Dr. Ashkar's research is to develop methods to empower patents' own natural defense against chronic viral infections and tumors. Dr. Ashkar's research team have developed a method to expand a cell population, called "natural Killer cells (NKs), outside of our body and turn them against tumor cells or cells infected with virus. These cells can be empowered and transferred into patients' body.
[Read more about Canada Research Chair in Natural Immunity and NK Cell Function]
Perinatal Programming— Deborah Sloboda
Dr. Sloboda's research involves perinatal programming, reproduction and metabolism. Her laboratory investigates the impact of poor maternal nutrition on the developing fetus and how it influences the risk of non-communicable disease later in life. Her experimental studies investigate the effects of maternal nutrient manipulation combined with a changing postnatal diet on pubertal onset, ovarian development and maturation, metabolic function and the role of underlying epigenetic processes.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Programming]
Perioperative Medicine— P.J. Devereaux
Canada Research Chair in Perioperative Medicine
Dr. Devereaux proposes to undertake studies that will inform the pathophysiology, epidemiology, risk assessment, prevention, and management of major vascular complications in patients undergoing surgery. To inform these issues, he will conduct trials, cohort studies, imaging studies, and bio-bank studies. Dr. Devereaux' s research program focuses on major perioperative vascular complications because: 1. it represents a major global health problem; 2. it is a neglected area of research; 3. it brings together researchers from many disciplines, creating an exciting environment with cross fertilization of knowledge; and 4. there is enormous potential to make advances and improve population health.
The primary goal of his research program is to prevent morbidity and mortality among patients undergoing surgery. He will achieve this goal by undertaking: 1. RCTs, cohort studies, imaging studies, and bio-bank studies that will inform the risk assessment and prevention of major perioperative vascular complications; and 2. integrated and end-of-grant KT activities.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Perioperative Medicine]
Research Transfer in Intensive Care— Deborah J. Cook
Deborah J. Cook
Dr. Cook's is translating research into medical practice in intensive care units and developing ways to put research results into use at the bedside. Dr. Cook is focusing on studies that have discovered there is a practical, non-invasive way to reduce the risk of pneumonia in critically ill patients who are hooked up to ventilators in hosptial intensive care units. She was the first intensive-care specialist in Canada who is also educated in biostatistics and clinical epidemiology (the causes, distribution and control of diseases in populations).
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Research Transfer in Intensive Care]
Social Determinants of Child Health— Michael Boyle
Dr. Boyle's research involves Examining the adverse effects of socioeconomic status on children's health, and identifying the characteristics of families, communities and nations that diminish these effects. The research will provide insights for evidence-based policy decisions on the allocation of resources for children's health and development in Canada and abroad. Boyle hopes to conduct an international comparative study of child health and the impacts of social, economic and cultural forces on children and their families.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Social Determinants of Child Health]
Stem Cell Signaling— Bradley Doble
Dr. Doble's research involves Identifying different outcomes and early steps of embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation (or how these cells turn into different types) in human ESCs and prototype mouse ESC model systems. Doble's research looks, specifically, at GSK-3 (glycogen synthase kinase), a regulatory protein particularly important for the basic functioning of cells. He is using genetically engineered mouse stem cells to study GSK-3's role in these pathways in normal stem cell biology and in cancer.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Signaling]
Thrombosis— Jeffrey Weitz
Dr. Weitz's research involves new techniques for identifying and treating the underlying causes of blood clot formation. Following a comprehensive bench-to-bedside program, he will explore the most basic molecular dynamics responsible for this condition, expanding this research to develop clinical treatments that have value for patients who have already been diagnosed and are currently being treated. Dr. Weitz has also characterized the structure and function of various clotting enzymes, and has used these insights to create new types of anticoagulant drugs that are now being tested.
[Read more the Canada Research Chair in Thrombosis]
Translational Cancer Immunology— Jonathan Bramson
Dr. Bramson's research is focused on developing methods to direct cancer patients' immune systems to attack their tumors. To this end, Dr. Bramson and his team have created methods to re-educate immune cells in a petri dish and train the immune cells to destroy tumors.
[Read more about the Canada Research Chair in Translational Cancer Immunology]