McMaster University

McMaster University

Current Students

Program Director

Peter Margetts (Program Director)
Peter Margetts

I have been the McMaster MD/PhD Program Director since 2008. I have an MD (1994) and PhD (2002) from McMaster University. I am a staff nephrologist at St. Joseph's Healthcare with an interest in dialysis and chronic kidney disease. My research interests include gene therapy, renal and peritoneal fibrosis, and evaluation of volume status in dialysis patients.

MD/PhD Related Publications:

  • MacGillivray L, Hernandez J, Maedler C, Chu D, Margetts P. Developing Clinician Scientists: The MD/PhD Program at McMaster University. McMaster University Medical Journal 2009; 6: 5-10


Derek Chan

Derek ChanHaving just completed my undergraduate degree at McMaster, I am returning again to begin my MD/PhD studies in September 2012, conducting research in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cell biology under the supervision of Dr. Kristin Hope in the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. My primary research aims are to dually investigate the molecular regulation of HSC self-renewal and identify processes that lead to leukemia transformation and progression in order to find novel treatments for such hematopoietic malignancies. In addition to conducting basic science research, my interests also broadly span the fields of paediatric oncology, global health and medical humanities.



  • Chan, D.C.H., Atkinson, H., Berry, L.R., Athale, U.H. and Chan, A.K.C. Induction of endothelial von Willebrand's factor expression by precursor B lymphoblasts. XXIII Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), 2011, Kyoto, Japan.


  • Chan, D., Choi, W.Y., Rozenek, A. Chapter 3 – Product development partnerships, tax breaks and green intellectual property. In: Hoffman S.J., editor. Student Voices 4: Assessing Proposals for Access to Medicines Reform. Hamilton, Canada: McMaster Health Forum; 2012.
  • Chan, D., Lau, K., So, K. Advocating for global arms control: Looking beyond the arms trade treaty. In: Hoffman S.J., editor. Student Voices 5: Advocating for Global Health through Evidence, Insight and Action. Hamilton, Canada: McMaster Health Forum; 2012.
Branavan Manoranjan

Branavan completed his undergraduate Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) degree at McMaster University. Through several summer studentships and project courses, he was exposed to several clinician/surgeon-scientists, which helped confirm his passion for career in neurosurgery and brain
tumour research. His doctoral research was completed under the supervision of Dr. Sheila K. Singh at
McMaster University's Stem Cell & Cancer Research Institute. Having identified an innovative treatment paradigm with high clinical utility for the most malignant pediatric brain tumor, medulloblastoma, Branavan's thesis provided evidence for a context-specific tumour suppressive function in signaling pathways that have traditionally been considered oncogenic. He has further demonstrated how stem cell pathways may be carried forward from ontogeny into oncology to drive the growth of the most malignant adult brain tumour, glioblastoma. He has been generously supported with a CIHR Vanier Canada
Graduate Scholarship along with additional research scholarships from the Brain Tumour Foundation
of Canada, American Brain Tumor Association, Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada, and Alex’s
Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Branavan's current interest is in innovative health systems by which oncology trials may be designed to study the genetic evolution of tumors throughout therapy, specifically in the case of brain metastasis. He
is also interested in the role of surgery in developing health systems in resource-limited or conflict regions.
In his off-time you can catch him at a Raptors game or training for his next marathon!




  • El Malik B, Manoranjan B, Ajani O, Zidan A. Hypophysitis due to paranasal sinusitis: A neurosurgical perspective from the developing world. World Neurosurgery. 2018. In Press.
  • Manoranjan B, Provias JP. Central neurocytoma represents a tumor consisting of diverse neuronal phenotypes. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 2018. In Press.
  • Singh M, Venugopal C, Tokar T, Brown K, McFarlane N, Bakhshinyan D, Vijayakumar T, Manoranjan B, Mahendram S, Vora P, Qazi M, Dhillon M, Tong A, Durrer K, Murty N, Hallet R, Hassell JA, Kaplan DR, Cutz JC, Jurisica I, Moffat J, Singh SK. RNAi screen identifies essential regulators of human brain metastasis-initiating cells. Acta Neuropathologica. 2017;134:923-940. doi: 10.1007/s00401-017-1757-z
  • Manoranjan B, Koziarz A, Kameda-Smith M, Provias JP. Multiple recurrences require long-term follow-up in patients diagnosed with spindle cell oncocytoma of the sella turcica. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 2017; 43:134-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2017.05.017
  • Sergeant A, Kameda-Smith MM, Manoranjan B, Karmur B, Duckworth J, Petrelli T, Savage K, Ajani O, Yarascavitch B, Samaan MC, Scheinemann K, Alyman C, Almenawer S, Farrokhyar F, Fleming AJ, Singh SK, Stein N. Analysis of surgical and MRI factors associated with cerebellar mutism. Journal of Neuro-Oncology. 2017;133:539-552. doi: 10.1007/s11060-017-2462-4
  • Manoranjan B, Dey A, Wang X, Kuzyk A, Petticrew K, Charruthers C, Arnold I. Role of non-government organizations in engaging medical students in research. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2017;65:709-716. doi: 10.1136/jim-2016-000348.
  • Rusiecki D, Lach B, Manoranjan B, Fleming A, Ajani O, Singh SK. Progression of atypical extraventricular neurocytoma to anaplastic ganglioglioma. Human Pathology. 2017;59:125-130. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2016.08.007.
  • Garg N, Bakhshinyan D, Venugopal C, Mahendram S, Rosa DA, Vijayakumar T, Manoranjan B, Hallett R, McFarlane N, Delaney KH, Kwiecien JM, Arpin CC, Lai PS, Gomez-Biagi RF, Ali AM, de Araujo ED, Ajani OA, Hassell JA, Gunning PT, Singh SK. CD133+ brain tumor-initiating cells are dependent on STAT3 signaling to drive medulloblastoma recurrence. Oncogene. 2017;36:606-617. doi: 10.1038/onc.2016.235.
  • Manoranjan B, Mahendram S, Almenawer SA, Venugopal C, McFarlane N, Hallett R, Vijayakumar T, Algird A, Murty NK, Sommer DD, Provias JP, Reddy K, Singh SK. The identification of human pituitary adenoma-initiating cells. Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 2016;4:125. PMID: 27894339.
  • Badhiwala JH, Manoranjan B, Almenawer SA. Letter to the Editor: Mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2016;67:2449-2450. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.02.068.
  • Lucke-Wold B, Logsdon AF, Manoranjan B, Turner RC, McConnell E, Vates GE, Huber JD, Rosen CL, Simard JM. Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and neuroinflammation: A comprehensive review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2016;17:E497. doi: 10.3390/ijms17040497.
  • Venugopal C, Hallett R, Vora P, Manoranjan B, Qazi M, McFarlane N, Mahendram S, Nolte SM, Singh M, Garg N, Bakhshinyan D, Lach B, Provias JP, Reddy K, Mury NK, Dunn SE, Doble BW, Bhatia M, Hassell J, Singh SK. Pyrvinium targets CD133 in human glioblastoma brain tumor-initiating cells. Clinical Cancer Research. 2015;21:5324-5337. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-3147.
  • Singh M, Garg N, Venugopal C, Hallett R, Tokar T, McFarlane N, Mahendram S, Bakhshinyan D, Manoranjan B, Vora P, Qazi M, Arpin CC, Page B, Haftchenary S, Rosa DA, Lai PS, Gomez-Biagi RF, Ali AM, Lewis A, Geletu M, Murty NK, Hassell JA, Jurisica I, Gunning PT, Singh SK. STAT3 pathway regulates lung-derived brain metastasis initiating cell capacity through miR-21 activation. Oncotarget. 2015;6:27461-27477. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4742.
  • Manoranjan B, Singh SK. Letter to the Editor: Temporal evolution of medulloblastoma subgroups. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2015;16:349-350. doi: 10.3171/2014.12.PEDS14717.
  • Singh M, Manoranjan B, Mahendram S, McFarlane N, Venugopal C, Singh SK. Brain metastasis-initiating cells: Survival of the fittest. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2014;15:9117-9133. doi: 10.3390/ijms15059117.
  • Almenawer SA, Farrokhyar F, Hong C, Alhazzani W, Manoranjan B, Yarascavitch B, Armjand P, Baronia B, Murty N, Singh SK. Chronic subdural haematoma management: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Surgery. 2014:259:449-457. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000000255.
  • Triscott J, Lee C, Foster C, Manoranjan B, Pambid MR, Berns R, Fotovati A, Fotovati A, Venugopal C, O’Halloran K, Narendran A, Hawkins C, Ramaswamy V, Taylor MD, Singhal A, Hukin J, Rassekh R, Northcott P, Singh SK, Dunham C, Dunn SE. Personalizing the treatment for medulloblastoma: Polo-Like Kinase 1 as a molecular target for high-risk children. Cancer Research. 2013;73:6734-6744. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-4331.
  • Manoranjan B, Wang X, Hallet RM, Venugopal C, Mack SC, McFarlane N, Nolte SM, Scheinemann K, Gunnarsson T, Hassell JA, Taylor MD, Lee C, Triscott J, Dunham C, Hawkins C, Dunn SE, Singh SK. FoxG1 interacts with Bmi1 to regulate self-renewal and tumorigenicity of medulloblastoma stem cells. Stem Cells. 2013;31:1266-1277. doi: 10.1002/stem.1401. *Identified by Stem Cells editors as one of top five papers published in 2014
  • Nolte SM, Venugopal C, McFarlane N, Morozova O, Hallett RM, O’Farrell E, Manoranjan B, Murty NK, Klurfan P, Kachur K, Provias JP, Hassell JA, Marro M, Singh SK. A cancer stem cell model for studying brain metastases from primary lung cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013;105:551-562. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt022.
  • Manoranjan B, Venugopal C, McFarlane N, Doble BW, Dunn SE, Scheinemann K, Singh SK. Medulloblastoma stem cells: Modeling tumor heterogeneity. Cancer Letters. 2013;338:23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.07.010.
  • Venugopal C, McFarlane NM, Nolte SM, Manoranjan B, Singh SK. Processing of primary brain tumor tissue for stem cell assays and flow sorting. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2012;67:4111. doi: 10.3791/4111.
  • Venugopal C, Wang SX, Manoranjan B, McFarlane N, Nolte S, Li M, Murty N, Siu MKW, Singh SK. GBM secretome induces transient transformation of human neural precursor cells. Journal of Neuro-Oncology. 2012;109:457-466. doi: 10.1007/s11060-012-0917-1.
  • Manoranjan B, Venugopal C, McFarlane N, Doble BW, Dunn SE, Scheinemann K, Singh SK. Medulloblastoma stem cells: Where development and cancer cross pathways. Pediatric Research. 2012;71:516-522. doi: 10.1038/pr.2011.62.
  • Venugopal C*, Li N*, Wang X, Manoranjan B, Hawkins C, Gunnarsson T, Hollenberg R, Klurfan P, Murty N, Kwiecien J, Wynder C, Singh SK. Bmi1 marks intermediate precursors during differentiation of human brain tumor initiating cells. Stem Cell Research. 2012;8:141-153. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2011.09.008.
  • Salehi F, Scheithauer BW, Kovacs K, Horvath E, Syro LV, Sharma S, Manoranjan B, Cusimano M. O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) immunohistochemical expression in pituitary corticotroph adenomas. Neurosurgery. 2012;70:491-496. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318230ac63.
  • Wang X, Venugopal C, Manoranjan B, McFarlane N, O’Farrell E, Nolte S, Gunnarsson T, Hollenberg R, Kwiecien J, Northcott P, Taylor M, Hawkins C, Singh SK. Sonic hedgehog regulates Bmi1 in human medulloblastoma brain tumor-initiating cells. Oncogene. 2012;31:187-199. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.232.
  • Manoranjan B, Syro LV, Scheithauer BW, Ortiz LD, Horvath E, Salehi F, Kovacs K, Cusimano MD. Undifferentiated sarcoma of the sellar region. Endocrine Pathology. 2011;22:159-164. doi: 10.1007/s12022-011-9166-7.
  • Manoranjan B, Provias JP. Congenital brain tumors: Diagnostic pitfalls and therapeutic interventions. Journal of Child Neurology. 2011;26:599-614. doi: 10.1177/0883073810394848.
  • Salehi F, Scheithauer BW, Moyes VJ, Drake WM, Syro LV, Manoranjan B, Sharma S, Horvath E, Kovacs K. Low immunohistochemical expression of MGMT in ACTH secreting pituitary tumors of patients with Nelson syndrome. Endocrine Pathology. 2010;21:227-229. doi: 10.1007/s12022-010-9138-3.
  • Manoranjan B, Salehi F, Scheithauer BW, Rotondo F, Kovacs K, Cusimano MD. Estrogen receptors alpha and beta immunohistochemical expression: Clinicopathological correlations in pituitary adenomas. Anticancer Research. 2010;30:2897–2904. PMID: 20683030.
  • Manoranjan B, Provias JP. Hemimegalencephaly: A fetal case with neuropathological confirmation and review of the literature. Acta Neuropathologica. 2010;120:117–130. doi: 10.1007/s00401-010-0663-4.
  • Cusimano MD, Mascarenhas AM, Manoranjan B. Spinal cord injuries due to diving: A framework and call for prevention. Journal of Trauma. 2008;65:1180-1185. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181826e09.

  • Manoranjan B, Vora P, Venugopal C, Singh SK. (2014). Brain tumor genomics: Sequencing to clinical utility. In G Dellaire, JN Berman, RJ Arceci (Eds.), Cancer Genomics: From Bench to Personalized Medicine. (pp. 321-338). San Diego, CA: Academics Press.
  • Mann A*, van Omeren R*, Manoranjan B, McFarlane N, Vora P, Venugopal C, Singh SK. (2014). Glioblastoma stem cells drive tumor recurrence and patient relapse: What’s the evidence? In VK Rajasekhar (Ed.), Cancer Stem Cells. (pp. 193-208). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Press.
  • Manoranjan B, Garg N, Bakhshinyan D, Singh SK. (2015). The role of stem cells in pediatric central nervous system malignancies. In M Ehtesham (Ed.), Stem Cell Biology in Neoplasms of the Central Nervous System, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. (pp. 49-68). Switzerland: Springer Press.


Siddharth Nath

Siddharth completed his undergraduate studies in the Honours Biochemistry Program at
McMaster University in June 2013 and joined the MD/PhD Program in September 2013. His
research, conducted under the expert supervision of Dr. Ray Truant in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, focuses on the basic cellular biology and biochemistry underlying genetic neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease and the spinocerebellar ataxias. Siddharth also has a special interest in conducting high-quality
systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Siddharth's work has been generously funded through awards from the Huntington Society of Canada, the National Ataxia Foundation, and various institutional scholarships. Siddharth also holds a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) MD/PhD Studentship.




  • Nath S, Koziarz A, Badhiwala JH, Almenawer SA. Predicting outcomes in aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage. The BMJ 2018 360:k102. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.k102
  • Nath S, Koziarz A, Badhiwala JH, et al. Atraumatic versus conventional lumbar puncture needles: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet 2018 391:1197–204. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32451-0
  • Koziarz A, Sne N, Kegel F, Alhazzani W, Nath S, et al. Optic nerve sheath diameter sonography for the diagnosis of increased intracranial pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. BMJ Open 2017 7:e016194. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016194
  • Aref M, Martyniuk A, Nath S, Koziarz A, et al. Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy: Outcome Analysis of an Anterior Entry Point. World Neurosurgery 2017 104:554–559. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.05.052
  • Nath S, Badhiwala JH, Alhazzani W, et al. Atraumatic versus traumatic lumbar puncture needles: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. BMJ Open 2017 7:e014478. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014478
  • Jones AA*, Ng E*, Deguise M^, Mak L^, Ouyang B^, Sivapragasam M^, MacNairin IASo, Nath So, et al. MD/PhD Training in Canada: Results from a national trainee and program director review. Clinical and Investigative Medicine 2016 38:E132–E139. *,^,oEqual contribution. DOI: 10.25011/cim.v39i4.27092
  • Catana D, Koziarz A, Cenic A, Nath S, et al. Subdural Hematoma Mimickers: A Systematic Review. World Neurosurgery 2016 93:73–80. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.05.084
  • Nath S, Munsie LN, Truant R. A huntingtin-mediated fast stress response halting endosomal trafficking is defective in Huntington’s disease. Human Molecular Genetics 2015 24:450–462. DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddu460
  • Nath S*, Tang B*, Yang K* Enhancing Scientific Literacy: A Resource for Teachers. The Journal of Student Science and Technology 2015 8:77–81. *Equal contribution. DOI: 10.13034/jsst.v8i1.51

  • Nath S, Almenawer S, Alhazzani W, Przyjalkowski W, Mrukowicz J. Lumbar Puncture. In: McMaster Textbook of Internal Medicine. Krakow: Medycyna Praktyczna; 2017.


Randa Stringer

Randa StringerI completed my undergraduate degree studying genetics and biological anthropology at the University of Western Ontario in 2013.  During that time my research focused primarily on the epigenetics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with a summer spent studying dyslipidemias.
In the fall of 2013 I entered the MD/PhD program here at McMaster University, where I have continued my research in epigenetics.  Under the supervision of Dr. Guillaume Paré and Dr. Sonia Anand I am using genetic data from several large birth cohorts to investigate the effects of maternal exposures, particularly dietary patterns, on the epigenome of the offspring.  In utero exposures such as these can have profound implications on the long-term health of the child, including his/her predisposition to chronic conditions in later life like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  By working to elucidate the role of epigenetics in programming these changes, we hope to gain a better understanding of
the interaction between fetal genetics and the maternal environment, and provide better guidelines for maternal nutrition during pregnancy.



  • Lin X.H., Sjaarda J., Dyck J., Stringer R., Hillis C., Harvey M., Carter R., Ainsworth P., Leber B., Pare G., Sadicovic B. (2015). Gender and BCR-ABL transcript type are correlated with molecular response to imatinib treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. European Journal of Haematology

  • Kleiber M.L., Laufer B.I., Stringer, R.L., Singh, S.M.. (2014). Third trimester-equivalent ethanol exposure is characterized by an acute cellular stress response and an ontogenetic disruption of genes critical for synaptic establishment and function in mice. Developmental Neuroscience.

  • Dube J., Wang J., Cao H., McIntyre A., Johansen C., Hopkins S., Stringer R., Hosseinzadeh S., Kennedy B., Ban M., Young K., Dewailly E., Bjerregaard P., Boyer B., Hegele R.. (2014). The private, common LDLR p.G116S variant has a large effect on plasma LDL cholesterol in circumpolar Inuit populations. Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. : 1-32.

  • Stringer RL , Laufer BI , Kleiber ML , Singh SM. (2013). Reduced expression of brain cannabinoid receptor 1 (Cnr1) is coupled with an increased complementary micro-RNA (miR-26b) in a mouse model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Clinical Epigenetics. 5(1): 1-4.
Alexander Oberc

Alex joined the MD/PhD program in 2014 after completing his undergrad at Western
University where he specialized inMicrobiology and Immunology. He is currently
performing research in the lab of Dr. Brian Coombes in the Department of Biochemistry
and Biomedical Sciences. His research is focused on studying the role of inflammatory
E. coli and antibiotics in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.




  • Elhenawy W, Oberc A, Coombes BK. A polymicrobial view of disease potential in Crohn’s-associated adherent-invasive E. coli. Gut Microbes 2017 1:9. DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1378291
  • Lester J, Kichler S, Oickle B, Fairweather S, Oberc A, Chahal J, Ratnayake D, and Creuzenet C. Characterization of Helicobacter pylori HP0231 (DsbK): role in disulfide bond formation, redox homeostasis and production of Helicobacter cystein-rich protein HcpE. Mol. Microbiol. 2016 96:110–133. DOI: 10.1111/mmi.12923.
  • Oberc A, Coombes BK. Convergence of External Crohn’s Disease Risk Factors on Intestinal Bacteria. Frontiers in Immunology 2015 6. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00558.
Aadil Bharwani

Upon completing his Honours B.Sc. in Biology & Psychology at McMaster, Aadil entered the MD/PhD
program in 2015. His research interests include understanding the mechanisms underlying altered
behaviour and neural function in psychiatric conditions, especially states of chronic stress and depression. Under the tutelage of Dr. John Bienenstock and Dr. Paul Forsythe, he is currently investigating how
peripheral signals, such as those from the immune system and gut bacteria, interact with the brain during chronic social stress to influence depression-like changes. Aadil is currently funded by a CIHR CGS-D
and an MD-PhD fellowship from the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton.




  • Bharwani, A., Mian, F.M., Surette, M.G., Bienenstock, J., & Forsythe, P. (2017). Oral treatment with Lactobacillus rhamnosus attenuates behavioral deficits and immune changes in chronic social stress.BMC Medicine, 15 (1), 7.
  • Shephard, A.M., Bharwani, A., Durisko, Z., & Andrews, P.W. (2016). Reverse engineering the febrile system. Quarterly Review of Biology, 91 (4), 419-457.
  • Bharwani, A., Mian, F.M., Foster, J.A., Surette, M.G., Bienenstock, J., & Forsythe, P. (2016). Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 217-227.
  • Andrews, P.W., Bharwani, A., Kyuwon, R.L., Fox, M., & Thomson, J.A. (2015). Is serotonin an upper or a downer? The evolution of the serotonergic system and its role in depression and the antidepressant response. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 51, 164-188.


  • Bharwani, A., Bienenstock, J., & Forsythe, P. (2017). The interplay between the microbiota and central nervous system during neurodevelopment. In Claassen, E., Cabana, M., & Browne, P. (Eds), Infant and child microbiota in health and disease: A practical handbook. Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Bharwani, A. & Forsythe, P. (2016). The gut microbiota and the CNS: An old story with a new beginning. In Nibali, L. & Henderson, B. (Eds), The human microbiota and chronic disease: Dysbiosis as a cause of human pathology (pp 409-430). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Son.
  • Bharwani, A., Bienenstock, J., & Forsythe, P. (2016). The gut microbiome: Pathways to brain, stress, & behavior. In Tetro, J. A., Allen-Vercoe, E. (Eds.), The Human Microbiome Handbook (pp. 109-130). Lancaster, PA: DEStech Publications, Inc.
Madelaine Leung

Madelaine is in the department of chemical biology, completing a PhD in medicinal chemistry under
Dr. Fred Capretta. Herprojects focus on the synthesis of small molecular inhibitors of antimicrobial
resistance enzymes, with a particular emphasis onusing parallel synthetic strategies to build chemical libraries. These libraries are used to investigate structure-activity relationships of and to improve the
chemical and pharmacological properties of inhibitors, with the end goal of developing an adjuvant that
can be used clinically to rescue the activity of ineffectual antibiotics against resistant organisms.




Ali Zhang

Ali is an MD/PhD candidate in the Miller laboratory in the department of Biochemistry and
Biomedical Sciences. He completed his Master of Science at Western University in the department of Microbiology and Immunology, where he studied the interaction between adenovirus E1A and the transcriptional repressor BS69. He also completed his Honours
Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western, where he studied the interaction between human papillomavirus E7 and the cell cycle regulator p27kip1. Ali is currently investigating the mechanisms by which broadly neutralizing antibodies protect against influenza virus
infections. He currently holds a CIHR CGS-D, and a Michael G. DeGroote Doctoral Scholarship of Excellence.




  • King CR, Zhang A, Tessier TM, Gameiro SF, Mymryk JS. Hacking the cell: Network intrusion and exploitation by adenovirus E1A. mBio 2018.
  • King CR, Gameiro SF, Tessier TM, Zhang A, Mymryk JS. Mimicry of cellular A kinase anchoring proteins is a conserved and critical function of E1A across various human adenovirus species. Journal of Virology 2018 92(8).
  • Gameiro SF, Zhang A, Barrett JW, Nichols AC, Mymryk JS. Class I major histocompatibility complex gene transcription is not repressed in human tumors caused by human papillomavirus infection. Viruses 2017 9(9).
  • Gameiro SF, Kolendowski B, Zhang A, Barrett JW, Nichols AC, Torchia J, Mymryk JS. Human papillomavirus dysregulates the cellular apparatus controlling the methylation status of H3K27 in different human cancers to consistently alter gene expression regardless of tissue of origin. Oncotarget 2017 8(42):72564-72576.
  • King CR, Zhang A, Mymryk JS. The Persistent Mystery of Adenovirus Persistence. Trends in Microbiology 2016 24(5):323-324.


Michael Zon



Kevin Kim



Alice Cavanagh



Sawayra Owais



Tony Chen




Leon Chalil



Saad Syed


Joshua Xu





Marisa Azad

Marisa AzadMarisa started the McMaster M.D./Ph.D. program in September 2010. Prior to joining the program, she obtained an Honours B.Sc. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology at Thompson Rivers University in May 2010.

Marisa works with Dr. Gerry Wright at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research where her research aims to discover novel inhibitors of acetyltransferases that pathogens use to inactivate antibiotics.

Aside from science, Marisa enjoys art, philosophy, creative writing, yoga, hiking, and most of all, laughing and spending time with friends. She recently published her own art website.

Art website:

Facebook page:


  • Azad, M. A., and Lee, C.Clostridium difficileinfection: a practical approach. 2013.Can. J. CME. 25(2):49-51.

  • McArthur, A. G., Waglechner, N., Nizam, F., Yan, A., Azad, M. A.,et al.2013. The comprehensive antibiotic resistance database. AAC. 57(7):3348-3357.

  • Azad, M. A. and Wright, D. G. 2012. Determining the mode of action of bioactive compounds. J. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 20(6):1929-1939.

  • Azad, M. A. and Wright, D. G. 2011. Determining the mode of action of bioactive compounds. J. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Accepted.
  • Azad, M. A., Huttunen-Hennelly, H. E. K., and Friedman, C. R. 2011. Bioactivity and the first transmission electron microscopy immunogold studies of short de novo-designed antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 55:2137-2145.


  • Azad, M. A. and Huttunen-Hennelly, H. E. K. (2010 Provisional Patent: Canada). MAW-1 as a novel α-helical antimicrobial peptide with an N-terminal glycine "cap."
David Bulir

David BulirAfter completing my undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the spring of 2010, I joined the McMaster MD/PhD program in September 2010. I am working on my PhD in Medical Sciences with Dr. James Mahony at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. My area of research examines the role of type III secretion, with a specific emphasis on the hydrophobic translocators, during the lifecycle of Chlamydia pneumoniae.


  • Stone, C. B., Johnson, D. L., Bulir, D. C., Gilchrist, J. D., Mahony, J. B. 2008. Characterization of the Putative Type III Secretion ATPase CdsN (Cpn0707) of Chlamydophila pneumoniae. J. Bact. 190:6580-6588.
  • Johnson, D. L, Stone, C. B., Bulir, D. C., Coombes, B.K., Mahony, J. B. A novel inhibitor of Chlamydophila pneumoniae protein kinase D (PknD) inhibits phosphorylation of CdsD and suppresses bacterial replication. 2009. BMC Microbiology. 9:218
  • Stone, CB., Bulir, D.C., Gilchrist, JD., Toor, RK., Mahony, JB. Interactions between flagellar and type III secretion proteins of Chlamydia pneumoniae. 2010. BMC Microbiology. 10:18.
  • Stone CB, Bulir D.C., Emdin CA, Pirie RM, Porfilio EA, Slootstra JW and Mahony JB (2011) Chlamydia pneumoniae CdsL regulates CdsN ATPase activity, and disruption with a peptide mimetic prevents bacterial invasion. Front. Microbio. 2:21.
  • Mahony, J., Liu, L., Pirie, R., Bulir, D.C., Stone, C. Peptide mimetics can block bacterial Type III secretion and inhibit host cell invasion. Poster Session presented at: International Congress of Chemotherapy and Infection. 26th International Congress of Chemotherapy and Infection; 2009 Jun 19-21; Toronto, ON.
Derek Chu

Derek ChuAfter completing my BHSc at McMaster in 2008, I joined the MD/PhD program to study mechanisms of allergic sensitization to food, particularly to peanut under the superperb mentorship of Dr. Manel Jordana. Peanut allergy affects ~1-2% of the North American population and is a severe food hypersensitivity in that, unlike many others, it is highly associated with anaphylaxis and typically not outgrown. My projects have taken me to work on how epithelia instruct for Th2 responses in in house-dust mite-induced allergic asthma and peanut allergy, for which I've been fortunate enough to be awarded a Vanier doctoral award from CIHR. Clinically, I have an interest in diseases involving the immune system, and look forward to my clerkship experience. I am actively involved in immunology curriculum development for the MD program.

ps. Jeremy was once my TA!

e-mail: or


  • 1. Al-Garawi A, Fattouh R, Botelho F, Walker TD, Goncharova S, Moore CL, Mori M, Erjefalt JS, Chu DK, Humbles AA, Kolbeck R, Stampfli MR, O'Byrne PM, Coyle AJ, Jordana M. Influenza A facilitates sensitization to house dust mite in infant mice leading to an asthma phenotype in adulthood. Mucosal Immunol. 2011 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/mi.2011.35. [Epub ahead of print]
  • 2. Arias K, Chu DK, Flader K, Botelho F, Walker T, Arias N, Humbles AA, Coyle AJ, Oettgen HC, Chang HD, Van Rooijen N, Waserman S, Jordana M. Distinct immune effector pathways contribute to the full expression of peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions in mice. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Jun;127(6):1552-61.e1.
  • 3. Arias K, Baig M, Colangelo M, Chu D, Walker T, Goncharova S, Coyle A, Vadas P, Waserman S, Jordana M. Concurrent blockade of platelet-activating factor and histamine prevents life-threatening peanut-induced anaphylactic reactions. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Aug;124(2):307-14, 314.e1-2. Epub 2009 May
  • 4. MacGillivray L, Hernandez J, Maedler C, Chu D, Margetts P. Developing Clinician Scientists: The MD/PhD Program at McMaster University (2009). McMaster University Medical Journal 6: 5-10.
  • 5. Llop-Guevara A, Colangelo M, Chu DK, Moore CL, Stieber NA, Walker TD, Goncharova S, Coyle AJ, Lundblad LK, O'Byrne PM, Lovric M, Jordana M. In vivo-to-in silico iterations to investigate aeroallergen-host interactions. PLoS One. 2008 Jun 11;3(6):e2426.


  • Derek K. Chu, Alba Llop-Guevara, Tina D. Walker, Kristin Flader, Cheryl Lynn Moore, Susanna Goncharova, Jeanette Boudreau, Waliul Khan, Michael Comeau, Alison Budelsky, Roland Kolbeck, Alison A. Humbles, and Manel Jordana. The Epithelial-derived Cytokines TSLP, IL-33, and IL-25 Converge on OX40L to Elicit Peanut Allergy and Anaphylaxis in Mice. Late breaking Abstract, AAAAI 2011.
Benny Dua

David BulirI am currently enrolled in the combined MD/PhD program at McMaster University. Prior to entering the program in 2009, I have completed a Master's degree in Medical Science and an Honours Bachelor's degree in Science, both at McMaster University. Under the supervision of Dr. Paul O'Byrne at the McMaster University Medical Centre, my research involves examining the role of dendritic cells in the pathophysiology of allergen-induced airway responses in allergic asthmatics.


  • Kinoshita T, Baatjes A, Smith SG, Dua B, Watson R, Kawayama T, Larche M, Gauvreau GM, O'Byrne PM. Natural regulatory T cells in isolated early responders compared with dual responders with allergic asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. (In press)
  • Gauvreau GM, Boulet LP, Cockcroft DW, FitzGerald JM, Mayers I, Carlsten C, Laviolette M, Killian K, Davis BE, Larché M, Kipling C, Dua B, Mosesova S, Putnam W, Zheng Y, Scheerens H, McClintock D, Matthews J, O'Byrne PM. OX40L blockade and allergen-induced airway responses in subjects with mild asthma. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. (In press).
  • Tang W, Smith S, Beaudin S, Dua B, Howie K, Gauvreau G, O'Byrne P. IL-25 and IL-25 receptor expression on eosinophils from subjects with allergic asthma. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 2013;163:5-10.
  • Dua B, Smith S, Kinoshita T, Imaoka H, Gauvreau GM, O'Byrne PM. Myeloid dendritic cells type 2 in allergic asthma. Allergy. 2013;68:1322-1326.
  • Imaoka H, Gauvreau GM, Watson RM, Smith SG, Dua B, Baatjes AJ, Howie K, Hoshino T, Killian KJ, Aizawa H, O'Byrne PM. Interleukin-18 and interleukin-18 receptor- expression in allergic asthma. European Respiratory Journal. 2011;38:981-983.
  • Zahida M, Dua B, Watson RM, Gauvreau GM, O'Byrne PM. Allergen inhalation challenge in smoking compared to non-smoking asthmatic subjects. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2011;41:1084-1090.
  • Dua B, Watson RM, Gauvreau GM, O'Byrne PM. Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in induced sputum after allergen inhalation in subjects with asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;126:133-139.
Jeremy Hernandez
Jeremy Hernandez

I have been in the McMaster MD/PhD Program since September 2007. Prior to entering the program, I obtained an Honors BSc. in Physiology from the University of Western Ontario (2005) and started my MSc. in Medical Sciences at McMaster. I am currently pursuing my PhD with the Asthma Research group at the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health (St. Joseph's Healthcare). My research interests lie in the pathophysiology of airway smooth muscle contractility and hyperresponsiveness in asthma, with an emphasis on the effects of acute stretch on airway responsiveness and its contribution to bronchoconstriction.


  • Hernandez JM and Janssen LJ (2010). TP-receptor activation amplifies airway stretch-activated contractions assessed in perfused intact bovine bronchial segments. J Pharmacol Exp Ther [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hernandez JM and Janssen LJ. The role of L-type calcium channel activation in airway stretch-activated contractions. Submitted to J Pharmacol Exp Ther.
  • Noble PB, Hernandez JM, Mitchell HW and Janssen LJ (2010). Deep inspiration and airway physiology: human, canine, porcine, or bovine? J Appl Physiol 109: 938–939.
  • MacGillivray L, Hernandez J, Maedler C, Chu D, Margetts P. Developing Clinician Scientists: The MD/PhD Program at McMaster University (2009). McMaster University Medical Journal 6: 5-10.
  • Hernandez JM, Cox G and Janssen LJ (2008). Involvement of the neurokinin-2 receptor in airway smooth muscle stretch-activated contractions assessed in perfused intact bovine bronchial segments. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 327(2):503-10.
  • Janssen LJ, Mueed I, Hirota JA, Khan A, Ghayur MN, Hirota SA, Helli PB, and Hernandez JM (2007). Chapter: Excitation-contraction coupling and signalling in smooth muscle. Textbook Title: New Frontiers in Smooth Muscle Biology and Physiology. Pages: 57-83.
  • Prior T, Hernandez J, Tougas G, and Rangachari PK (2004). Phenotypic differences in cholinergic responses of distal colonic epithelium. Exp Physiol 89(2):209-17.
Nicholas Holzapfel

Prior to entering the MD/ PhD program at McMaster University, I completed an Honours Bachelor of Science specializing in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. I am currently pursuing my PhD in the lab of Dr. Kristin Hope in the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster. My PhD focuses on understanding the molecular pathways involved in the maintenance of normal hematopoietic stem cells and leukemic stem cells. I am particularly interested in how RNA-binding proteins post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression in these stem cell populations.


  • Rentas S, Holzapfel N, Hope KJ, Cancer Stem Cells: Prospective Isolation and Progress Towards Functional Biomarker Characterization, 2013, Current Pathobiology Reports
Calvin Hsiung Yeh
Lindsey MacGillivray

Dr. Lindsey MacGillivray is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and a staff psychiatrist
at the University Health Network. She graduated from the McMaster MD/PhD program in 2012, with a research specialization in neuroscience, and later completed a psychiatry residency at the University
of Toronto. Her current clinical work focuses on neuropsychiatry, inpatient consultation-liaison and inpatient acute care. She has a research interest in functional neurological disorders.



  • Benassi, P., MacGillivray, L., Silver, I., and Sockalingam, S. The role of MMR in medical education:
    A scoping review. Medical Education. 51(5): 469-479.
  • MacGillivray, L., Reynolds, K.B., Rosebush, P.I. and Mazurek MF. 2012. The comparative effects of environmental enrichment with exercise and serotonin transporter blockade on serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Synapse. 66(5): 465-470.
  • MacGillivray, L., Reynolds, K.B., Sickand, M., Rosebush, P.I. and Mazurek M.F. 2011. Inhibition of the serotonin transporter induces microglial activation and downregulation of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Synapse. 65(11): 1166-1172.
  • MacGillivray, L., Lagrou, L.L., Reynolds, K.B., Rosebush, P.I. and Mazurek M.F. 2010. Role of serotonin transporter inhibition in the regulation of tryptophan hydroxylase in brainstem raphe nuclei: Time course and regional specificity. Neuroscience. 171(2): 407-420.
  • Reynolds, KB, MacGillivray, L., Zettler, M., Rosebush, P.I. and Mazurek M.F. 2011. Role of the dopamine transporter in mediating the neuroleptic-induced reduction of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive midbrain neurons. Brain Research. 1394: 24-32.
  • MacGillivray, L., Hernandez, J., Maedler, C., Chu, D. and Margetts, P. 2009. Developing clinician scientists: The MD/PhD program at McMaster University. McMaster University Medical Journal. 6(1): 5-10.
  • MacGillivray, L. 2009. I feel your pain: mirror neurons and empathy. McMaster University Medical Journal. 6(1): 16-20
Sean Rasmussen
S. Rasmussen

I completed my BSc in psychology at Mount Allison University before joining the MD/PhD program at McMaster. Under the supervision of Dr. Michael Mazurek, I am investigating strategies to predict long-term treatment outcomes in response to antipsychotic medications. Recent evidence suggests that poor response to antipsychotic drugs can be predicted within the first 1-2 weeks of treatment. If physicians can identify non-responders early in treatment, then these patients could be quickly switched to another antipsychotic, minimizing the time that they are treated with ineffective medications. For this work, I have been awarded a CIHR Master's Award and an Ontario Mental Health Foundation Studentship

Elizabeth Simms

E. SimmsElizabeth is studying the immunological mechanisms of allergy and immune tolerance in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Larché.  Prior to joining the MD/PhD program in 2011, she completed an M.Sc. supervised by Drs. Mark Larché and Param Nair examining the role of allergen in driving T-cell cytokine responses in asthma patients.  For her PhD thesis, she is investigating the use of peptide immunotherapy for the treatment of peanut allergy.   Clinically, Elizabeth is interested in immune-mediated pathology and the role of the immune system in health and disease.


  • Simms E, The Influence of the Intestinal Microbiome on Allergic Disease. University of Toronto Medical Journal. May 2015 [Accepted].
  • Simms E, Peptide Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Peanut Allergy. Scrub-In. 2015. 10(2):19.
  • Simms E, Rudulier C, Wattie J, Kwok WW, James E, Moldaver D, Jordana M, Larché M. Ara h 1 Peptide Immunotherapy Ameliorates Peanut-Induced Anaphylaxis. 2015. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2015. 135(2):AB158.
  • Simms E, Syed I, Rudulier C, Larché M. Peptide Immunotherapy; short but long lasting? 2015. Current Treatment Options in Allergy. 2015. 2(1):64-71.
  • Simms E, Kjarsgaard M, Denis S, Hargreave F, Nair P, Larché M. Cytokine responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to allergen do not identify asthma or asthma phenotypes. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2013. 43(11):1226-1235.
  • Nair P, Ochkur S, Protheroe C, Simms E, Lee N, Lee J. The identification of eosinophilic gastroenteritis in prednisone-dependent eosinophilic bronchitis and asthma. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 2011. 7(4).
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0