McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Faculty researchers reap ORF awards

Published: June 10, 2015
Gerry Wright
Gerry Wright, director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
Jan Huizinga
Jan Huizinga, professor, Department of Medicine, was awarded funds for human colon function assessment.
Jonathan Schertzer
Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, received Early Researcher Award for looking at how the bacteria in the gut link obesity, diabetes and fighting infections.

Two significant projects aimed at battling superbugs are among those to receive nearly $15 million in research funding, one focused on solving the antibiotic resistance crisis, the other designed to provide instant diagnosis of infectious disease, deadly pathogens and environmental contaminants.

A total of 14 grants from the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) for McMaster University were announced today.

The province is granting more than $3.5 million for research into antimicrobial resistance, which global health agencies have identified as one of the most critical public health challenges.

"Resistance to antibiotics is a challenge of global proportion that is undermining advances of modern medicine," says Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. "We are losing our ability to control infection because microbes are evolving resistance at a faster pace than we are delivering new antibiotics. This funding will help our team find creative ways to solve the crisis."

Together, investigators will work to identify new antimicrobial drug candidates, explore the impact of clinical drug use on the evolution of resistance, and build a massive library of tens of thousands of compounds considered the building blocks for drug discovery.

Another major grant — more than $3.5 million — goes to McMaster's Biointerfaces Institute. The funding builds on an earlier ORF grant that helped establish the Institute.

Researchers there are developing new, printable biosensors which can be used in the doctor's office or in the field to instantly detect bacterial and respiratory infections, among other applications.

Five other research projects received a total of $683,000 under the ORF-Small Research Infrastructure program. Among them were Jan Huizinga, a professor in the Department of Medicine, who was awarded funds to support human colon function assessment.

Jonathan Schertzer, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, is one of five McMaster researchers to receive an Early Researcher Award. He is looking at how the bacteria in the gut link obesity, diabetes and fighting infections.

Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, announced the ORF funding on campus today.

"We are grateful to the Ontario government for recognizing the very real public benefits that can flow from research now underway in McMaster's facilities, both in terms of public health and economic development," said Patrick Deane, McMaster president.

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