McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Research conference puts brains and bugs under microscope

by Suzanne Morrison
Published: January 17, 2008

What is the next plague?

No one yet knows for sure what it will be but health care professionals and the public are being kept on their toes as new infections such as SARS emerge and ‘old’ diseases such as tuberculosis return.

Where do infections and epidemics come from and do we know enough to predict their outcome? What role does the environment play in disease? What do we know about the prevention and spread of infection in the community?

Brains and Bugs Conference

Members of the new Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research will join local researchers to explore these and other questions during Hamilton’s second annual Health Research in the City conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Entitled the Brains and Bugs conference, it will be held from 8 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. at the Hamilton Convention Centre, Third Floor, 1 Summers Lane.

This year’s conference, with its focus on microbial and brain research, is designed to highlight existing research programs and create research networks through the development of new collaborations.

It is open to all – investigators, research coordinators, health practitioners (including trainees and students), administrators, industry and public partners, said Daniela M. Bianco, research liaison officer, Office of Integrated Research Services, Hamilton Health Sciences.

"We would like to create synergy among research programs and provide a forum which fosters and establishes relationships and collaborations to build on our successes so that Hamilton can continue to flourish as a research incubator," she said. Invitations have been extended to those working in the broader community.

The conference will open with a session on microbes and infectious diseases followed by a discussion of the brain, including the young brain, autism, the aging brain, rebuilding the brain, stem cells and tumor regeneration.

The afternoon session will be devoted to the topic Bugs and Brain.  Speakers will discuss the relationship between the nervous system and normal gut bacteria and the gut-brain link in gastrointestinal disease.

A poster presentation will feature 97 peer-reviewed posters of which five will be selected for awards.

Registration is possible on-line at and registration will also be open the day of the conference.

The research day is organized by McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the Golden Horseshoe Biosciences Network, a regional innovation network of business leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs and economic development officers involved in biosciences, convergent technologies and related fields.  Its mandate is to establish a strong and thriving environment for growth and investment in the biosciences technology sector.

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