News of what's happening around MIMM
June, 2016
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Chair's Corner
Summer holidays!
Dear MIMMers,

Welcome to the last MIMM Bites of the 2015-16 academic year. This is the 38th issue of our newsletter. Because it coincides with the last newsletter of my first term as Chair of the Department, I thought that it would be a good time to pause and briefly look back at where we are.

The Newsletters from over 3.5 years reflect the life of the department and its evolution. We have gone through challenging times but we have come out stronger and invigorated. Over the last 5 years, our primary faculty has grown by 25%. Our department now includes more CRCs than any other MIMM department in Canada. Our peer-reviewed funding has increased by 61% and our publication output has increased by 17%. Our department has the second largest undergraduate program in Microbiology and Immunology in Canada, and enrollment is increasing steadily. And these are just a few examples.
This month’s MIMM Bites is no exception as it contains more examples of departmental successes, including Dr. Albert Berghuis’ appointment as Chair of Biochemistry at McGill, and Dr. Jorg Fritz promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure. Congrats Albert and Jorg!

I know…  There are still some challenges.  But I am convinced that we can tackle them and tackle them successfully. 
As we look at the summer break, I invite you to enjoy the time with your family, with your friends and with your colleagues. Do so with the inner peace that comes from the realization of a job well done. Each and every one of you, academic and non-academic staff, trainees and students, have made of our department a better place. And for this, I sincerely thank you.

Yours in service,
Dr. Albert appointed as Chair of Biochemistry
Dr. Berghuis appointed as Chair of Biochemistry
Originally from Netherlands, Dr. Berghuis joined McGill as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology & Immunology in 2001. He was promoted to Professor in 2007 and has successfully served as interim Chair of the Department of Biochemistry since 2013. We would like to congratulate Dr. Albert Berghuis on his new appointment as the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at McGill. As Chair, Dr. Berghuis will lead the strategic planning of the Department, while mentoring faculty members at the various stages of their careers. He will continue to advise the Dean on all matters pertaining to the Department, including recruitment, academic appointments, promotion and tenure. Read more.
Dr. Fritz awarded Academic Tenure!
Dr. Fritz awarded Academic Tenure
Member of the faculty, who is granted tenure maintains the high standards of academic freedom in research, teaching, and service. Dr. Jörg Hermann Fritz, was promoted to Associate Professor and was awarded Tenure for his significant contributions in the field of health sciences.
Dr. Nicolas nominated for Faculty Honour List
Dr. Cermakian nominated for Faculty Honour List
Faculty Honor List for Educational Excellence is to recognize outstanding contributions towards education in the Faculty of Medicine, in the areas of teaching, educational leadership, innovation  in research and scholarly activity. McGill Faculty of Medicine has nominated Dr. Nicolas Cermakian, for the year 2016-17 for his significant and noteworthy contribution to health sciences education.
Dr. Martin Won the Wardle Award!
Dr. Olivier Won the Wardle Award
The Parasitism, Immunity and Environment (PIE) section of the Canadian Society of Zoologists (CSZ) promotes the study of infectious agents and their inter-relationships, the response of animals to these agents, and the environment in which these relationships exist. In recognition for his outstanding contribution in the field of Parasitology and Immunology, the Canadian Society of Zoologists awarded Dr. Martin Olivier the Robert Arnold Wardle Award at Western University, London, ON.
Mirzaei joins Maurice Lab as a Postdoctoral fellow
Mirzaei joins Maurice Lab as a Postdoctoral fellow
In May 2016, Mohammadali Khan Mirzaei joined the Maurice Lab after completing his PhD in phage therapy at Stockholm University. As a postdoctoral fellow at McGill, his work will be on a microbiome engineering project that determines the role of bacteriophage in the gut of stunted children. His research interests focus on phage-bacteria interactions in the gut environment and their role in health and disease. In addition to that, Mirzaei also secured a FRQNT award for the Program Établissement de nouveaux chercheurs universitaires. His work will be in collaboration with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, based in Bangladesh.
U3 student won Research Award
U3 student won Research Award
Cavazzoni Undergraduate Student Research Award is awarded to outstanding undergraduate students at McGill undertaking a mentored research project. This year, Clare Fogarty, a MIMM U3 student won this prestigious award. She will be working with Dr. Jonathan Chevrier of the department of Environmental Epidemiology on Venda Health Examination of Mothers, Babies, & their Environment (VHEMBE). The project is in conjunction with Berkeley and the University of Pretoria and will focus on studying the health effects of insecticides used for malaria control on women and their children. She will be staying at a research center in Limpopo, South Africa for 7 weeks as an intern for the project and presenting a poster on her work at the Global Health Fair.
MSc student, Felix received NSERC Award
MSc student, Felix LaRoche-Johnston received NSERC Award
Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS-M) Program is to help develop research skills and support students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies. Felix LaRoche-Johnston, a MSc student, received a CGS-M  award from the NSERC for his graduate studies. In addition to that, he also received the Great Travel award to attend a conference at the RiboClub this September. 
PhD student, David received FRSQ Award
PhD student, David Salem received FRSQ Award
FRSQ (Fonds de la recherche en santé Quebec) program aims to support university students seeking to pursue health research training in a master's or doctoral university program. David Salem, a Ph.D. candidate, has received a FRSQ Studentship for 3 years for his research in infection and immunity.
MISA Executives for 2016 –17!
From Left to Right - Top, Adam Hassan (VP Communications), Olivia Ganescu (President) & Mario Corrado (VP Academic). Bottom: Joy Tseng (VP Finance), Reggie Sivarajan (VP External) & Clare Fogarty (VP Social).

MISA Executives for 2016 –17
A big hello from your newly elected MISA Executives for 2016 –17! We are keen and excited to make next year both enjoyable and memorable for the entire department. MISA put together a proposal to develop the old cafeteria into a lounge space for Undergraduate students. We also wish to re-define MIMM Note Taking Club and to create stronger relationships with the graduate students, faculty and staff members of our department. We wish everyone a lovely and productive summer!
Graduate Student Association - MIGSA
Graduate Student Association - MIGSA
The Microbiology & Immunology Graduate Student Association MIGSA is a non-profit organization and member of McGill’s Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). MIGSA’s primary mission is to improve the graduate and post-doctoral experience in the Department and ameliorate peer relationships. We host pub nights, BBQ’s, an intramural sports team, and organize the annual MIMM Holiday Party. Have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Decreasing mortality in Malaria patients
Malaria is a severe threat to global health with an estimated 300–500 million cases annually and >1 million deaths. The clinical symptoms of malaria occur at the blood stage when parasites rapidly replicate and lyse red blood cells (RBCs) leading to anemia and high fever. In addition, parasitized RBCs can become trapped and cause lesions in brain capillaries resulting in cerebral malaria (CM), the most lethal form of the disease. Neda Moradi, a PhD. candidate, found that combination of Cys with artemisinin can significantly improve condition during initial blood stage. In addition, potentiating effect of Cys is broad and improves activity of several artemisinin derivatives used for clinical treatment of malaria in humans. Read this publication.
Understanding the cell response in cancer and chronic infections
Cells communicate with each other through the production and secretion of cytokines (proteins) in response to an infection. Stefanie F. Valbon, a U3 student, found that these proteins influence the critical immune cells that play an important role in the control and elimination of intra-cellular pathogens. Her research provides the interplay between cytokines and memory cell functions that will impact the development of vaccines while helping in understanding the cell responses in cancer and chronic infections. Read this publication.
Importance of Canadian education in bilateral exchange
Importance of Canadian education in bilateral exchange
On May 6th, Dr. Madrenas was interviewed by Noelia Garcia Palomares, a journalist from the Spanish magazine  The meeting was also attended by Laura Ballesteros, Cultural and Academic Relations Officer of the Canadian Embassy in Spain. During the meeting, they reviewed research and education in Canada but more importantly, explored the opportunities to facilitate bilateral exchanges in Science and Technology to promote collaborations at multiple academic levels.
McGill submits applications for 13 sustainable projects
McGill submits applications for 13 sustainable projects
The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) is a new federal initiative that will provide up to $2 billion over the next three years to accelerate sustainable infrastructure projects at universities and colleges across Canada to promote economic activity while benefiting the Canadian economy and society well into the future. McGill submitted applications for 13 projects. Among these applications was one for Duff Building Ventilation System.
New autoclave and glass washing units
New autoclave and glass washing units
After 2.5 years and over 200 emails, we have new autoclave and glass washing units. These are located in D14/14A. In a visit to the upgraded lab, Dr. Mardrenas said, ‘‘Undoubtedly, this is a significant development that will enhance research and educational services provided by the Department.’’ We thank Tom Ringer, Maria Babiak and Marileana Cafaro for working out administrative aspects of the project, and Dean Eidelman and Pascale Mongrain, who graciously provided the financial support.
GALA pictures are here!
GALA pictures are here!
What a great night to be remembered! The moment we have all been waiting for is here! See the pictures.
Mariia Taguer - Face of the Month!
Mariia Taguer - Face of the Month
Brewing beer and falling off hover boards, you could’ve easily guessed! Meet Mariia Taguer!
Mariia is from Ottawa who did her Undergrad from the University of Guelph in Microbiology. At McGill, she secured a NSERC Graduate fellowship to pursue her work in the Maurice Lab.
How did you first become interested in Microbiology and Immunology?
‘‘The first time I thought microbiology was cool was when I learnt about how microbes, millions of years ago, were responsible for adding oxygen to the earth's atmosphere. From there, I just had a gut feeling about it.’’
What are you currently working on: can you summarize your research, key findings and what will be its impact?
‘‘My research is on the human gut microbiome (where lab stools are not what you expect), and using flow cytometry to link together gut microbial physiology to metabolic activity.’’
GREAT Travel Award
GREAT Travel Award
Having troubles financing your travelling for a research conference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Awards (GREAT) cover graduate student presentations at conferences and other student research enhancement activities, such as travel for scholarly meetings, fieldwork, archival inquiry and extra-mural collaborative research. Get all the details here.
Summer 3-Day Writing Retreat
Summer 3-Day Writing Retreat
Need to carve out a block of dedicated time to get ahead with your writing? Struggling with writing blocks, "analysis paralysis" or a particular journal submission? Think you might benefit from working in the company of other focused writers? If so, the McGill Writing Centre is holding a 3-day writing session for graduate students. Register here! 
Research Ethics Workshop Series
Research Ethics Workshop Series
Are you new to the research scene or interested in the ethical issues that emerge throughout the research process? Then this workshop is designed just for you. These interactive series are the place to get acquainted with important ethical issues present in the research. This event is open to instructors, staff and students. Find out more.
To Do or Not to Do a PhD: Let’s weigh in
To Do or Not to Do a PhD: Let’s weigh in
On June 7, PhD’s and graduate career advisors from Career Planning Services (CaPS) will be organizing a discussion group on weighing pros and cons of doing a PhD along with engaging in dialogue with prospective doctoral candidates. Students planning to pursue careers in academia are encouraged to attend the event. Get the details and RSVP.
Duff Biobar Updates
Duff Biobar Updates
The Biobar stocks useful lab supplies including Kleenex, bleach, gloves, and paper towels at competitive prices. BioBar operating hours are from Monday to Friday: 8:00 -12:00 & 1:00 -4:00pm. More information.
Jobs Available!
Jobs Available!
Still looking for a job? Come have a look at the postings available online and in the job binder located in Room 511 of the Duff Medical Building.
We want your feedback!
We want your feedback!
Do you have a comment about our newsletter? Are we missing any features? We want to hear from you. Contact us for your valuable suggestions and feedback.
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Department of Microbiology and Immunology | Duff Medical Building
3775 University Street, Montreal (Quebec)  H3A 2B4
McGill University

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology - McGill University · 3775 University Street · Montreal, QC H3A 2B4 · Canada

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