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McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Newsmagazine — Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 2012

Leona Aglukkaq and Eric Brown listen to Gerry Wright during a tour of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research

Health minister tours Institute for Infectious Disease Research

On campus for an announcement in July, federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq took the opportunity to tour the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery.

Led by the institute's scientific director Gerry Wright, the tour visited the Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology, where clinicians and scientists work on novel approaches to speed the discovery of new antibiotics.

"The centre is a gem," Wright said, "a focal point of transdisciplinary research that links pressing medical and biological questions with advanced chemical technology. This will lead to new drugs, a clearer understanding of fundamental biology, the development of new analytical techniques and technology and the training of researchers."

On the tour, Wright discussed the institute's opportunities, including commercial potential in the area of drug discovery, antimicrobial resistance, the chemical biology of pathogens and diagnostics research.

"The minister's visit allowed us to showcase our unique and diverse strengths in antibiotic resistance research," Wright said. "Maintaining our scientific excellence and infrastructure in the face of research funding constraints is one of our most difficult challenges; yet, it is encouraging that there is political interest in curbing antibiotic resistance, ranked as one of the three greatest risks to human health."