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McMaster’s Good Bugs, Bad Bugs Program Offers a Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Microbial Research

The human body contains a diverse collection of microbes. Our “good bugs” colonize us to promote ideal health and wellbeing. In contrast, our “bad bugs” – which can give rise to deadly infection and devastating disease – are becoming increasingly resistant to mainstay antibiotics and intervention strategies. Despite the dramatic effects these microbes have on our health, our current knowledge of microbial biology and pathogenesis is limited. Researchers at McMaster University aim to establish a more comprehensive understanding of human microbiota through their multi-disciplinary Good Bugs Bad Bugs Program.

The Good Bugs Bad Bugs Program is a collaborative initiative that aligns the research efforts of globally-renowned researchers from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) and the Farncome Family Digestive Health Research Institute (FFDHRI). The program will allow investigators to more effectively examine microbial host environments, explore and expand the universe of bioactive molecules, and exploit biology and unconventional screening methods to uncover new therapeutic leads. The overarching goal of this innovative program is to transform new scientific discoveries into meaningful solutions that combat antimicrobial resistance, whilst advancing novel approaches to chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

The initiative, led by IIDR principal investigator and Director of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Program, Dr. Eric Brown, was made possible by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund, which supports cross-university collaboration by allowing members to share research infrastructure. The grant will allow for the integration of carefully selected, state-of-the-art technology within the IIDR’s Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology, enabling users from diverse fields to conduct cutting-edge, globally competitive research.

Additionally, this infrastructure will provide students with unique opportunities to develop advanced technical expertise, and further generate commercial benefits that can improve health outcomes and quality of life.

Such innovative, cross-collaborative approaches allow for the high-risk, high reward research imperative to managing the global challenge of drug-resistant infections and chronic disease.

The Good Bugs Bad Bugs Program is hoping to come into effect in early 2018. Click here to read more.