McMaster University

McMaster University

Maria Fe C. Medina

, PhD

Assistant Professor (Part-Time)
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Division: Molecular Medicine
McMaster Immunology Research Centre
Manager, Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory

McMaster University
4018 Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery
905-525-9140 ext. 22946

Maria Fe C. Medina

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PhD, Molecular & Medical Genetics, University of Toronto, 2000
  • Postdoctoral Training: Gene Therapy Program, University of Pennsylvania, 2000-2004


Research Focus

Adenoviruses are prevalent in the human population, and normally cause mild upper respiratory infections or the common cold. Using molecular biology approaches, these viruses have been modified and can now be used as delivery vehicles for therapeutic or antigenic genes. Adenoviral vectors are capable of infecting a wide range of target cells and have been used extensively for the preparation of genetic vaccines. Pre-clinical studies in animals have already identified several promising vaccine candidates.

In order to conduct clinical trials in human patients, adenoviral vectors must be manufactured according to strict guidelines to ensure their safety, purity and potency. These guidelines, as enforced by Health Canada and other regulatory agencies in the world, are called Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). McMaster University has established the Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory as the first Canadian laboratory that will produce clinical-grade adenoviral vectors under GMP. The 3000-square foot manufacturing facility, located at the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, includes five separate cell culture rooms, each containing a Class 100 biosafety cabinet. Two cleanrooms are outfitted with bioBubble® softwall technology with supply air delivered via ducts to terminal HEPA filters. One cleanroom is dedicated to processing and purification of vectors, and the other for aseptic filling. This facility serves the immediate needs of researchers in McMaster University and other institutions to expedite the transition of promising bench research to bedside treatment, and at the same time minimizes the cost associated with production of high quality, clinical-grade vectors.

The Vector Laboratory was most recently involved in the production of a clinical-grade AdAg85A vector, an Adenovirus vector that will be used in a phase I clinical trial as a tuberculosis vaccine. The AdAg85A vector has passed all required safety tests by Health Canada and the trial will commence summer 2009.

Team Members

Research assistant

Uma Sankar

Selected Publications

  • Damjanovic D, Zhang X, Mu J, Medina MF & Xing Z. Organ distribution of transgene expression following intranasal mucosal delivery of recombinant replication-defective adenovirus gene transfer vector. Genetic Vaccines and Therapy (2008) 6: 5.
  • Kolb M, Martin G, Medina M, Ask K & Gauldie J. Gene Therapy for Pulmonary Diseases. Chest (2006) 130: 879-884
  • Medina MF, Kobinger GP, Rux J, Gasmi M, Looney DJ, Bates P & Wilson JM. Lentiviral Vectors Pseudotyped with Minimal Filovirus Envelopes Increased Gene Transfer in Murine Lung. Molecular Therapy (2003) 8: 777-789.
  • Medina MF & Joshi S. Design, Characterization and Testing of tRNA3Lys-based Hammerhead Ribozymes. Nucleic Acids Research (1999) 27: 1698-1708
  • Medina MF & Joshi S. RNA-Polymerase III-Driven Expression Cassettes in Human Gene Therapy. Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics (1999) 1: 580-594.
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0