Intestinal ulceration in C. rodentium-infected mice.
Intestinal ulceration in C. rodentium-infected mice.
Courtesy of S. Girardin

Infectious Diseases & Immunopathology

Viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic pathogens are major threats to the Canadian and global public health infrastructure. Our researchers use a variety of leading-edge microbiological, biochemical, immunological and biophysical techniques to discover important model principles of microbial pathogenesis. From uncovering the molecular mechanisms of bacterial antibiotic resistance, malarial infection, effects of toxins on cellular function, viral entry and replication, to the immune restriction of microbial pathogens, researchers in this area bring a diverse breadth of focus that is key to the development of new countermeasures, such as vaccines, antibodies, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Researchers in this area focus on various aspects including mechanisms of:

  • infection processes
  • host-pathogen interactions
  • cellular and organismal immune systems
  • immune surveillance
  • innate immunity
  • viral entry and replication
  • microbial pathogenesis
  • antibiotic resistance
  • bacterial toxins
  • vaccine development
  • microbial diagnostics

Faculty Involved in Infectious Diseases & Immunopathology Research

Oyedele Adeyi
Associate Professor

My work is centered around transplant immunology and recurrent infections post-transplant.

Associate Professor
Associate Professor

Dr. Branch’s research includes:  (1) Investigation of the pathogenesis of HIV to identify new host cell targets for alternative therapies. (2) Projects related to the mechanism of action and replacement of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). (3) The role of the signalling molecules SHP-1 and  c-Src  in cancers and HIV infection.   

Assistant Professor

I am interested in projects that aim to discover biomarkers of disease or biomarkers that are informative about the patients’ response to therapy. As part of this effort, the aim is also to develop new methods for possible clinical laboratory applications, such as immuno-mass spectrometry or improved immunoassays, capable of detecting proteins with specific post-translational modifications, isoforms, or activity.

Gueorgui (George) Broukhanski
Assistant Professor

Initiates and implements research studies in molecular epidemiology of Clostridium difficile, investigates biomarkers associated with strains causing outbreaks in hospitals, develops methods for detection and typing of this pathogen, supervises implementation of these methods for routine testing at the Public Health Ontario Laboratories.

Martha Brown
Associate Professor

My lab studies the human fastidious enteric adenoviruses (HAdV-40 and 41), with a primary focus on their unique structural features and the role of these features as determinants of gut tropism. Related projects include the development of HAdV-40/41 as vaccine vectors and the study of antiviral agents for treatment of adenovirus infection.    

Associate Professor

Dr. Chandran’s research expertise is in the area of translational research involving the identification of soluble biomarkers. His bench research aims to identify mechanisms underlying inflammation and joint damage. His program aims to address the current gaps in disease assessment such as early diagnosis and prognostication to prevent joint damage and development of tools to facilitate efficient management of psoriatic arthritis.

Assistant Professor

My laboratory interests include the role of the human microbiome in infectious diseases pathogenesis, it's potential as a clinical biomarker in infectious and non-infectious diseases and the interactions of the human microbiome, host and antibiotics during treatment for infection.

Professor

As a public health physician my most significant research involves epidemiological studies designed to answer applied public health questions for decision-makers on infectious diseases and immunization. Outcomes include changes in policy and practice. Research funding has been for research of national and global significance.     

Associate Professor

My laboratory focuses on developing integrated systems biology and functional genomics approaches to: (1) understanding molecular mechanisms of acute multiple organ failure (HEART and LUNG) in the critically ill (sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome ARDS), and (2) developing an “informed” approach to the discovery of novel molecular targets for therapy including stem cell and gene therapy.

Assistant Professor

The leading cause of death worldwide is cardiovascular disease. We focus on the role of immune cells (macrophages and dendritic cells) in cardiac injury and tissue regeneration. Using a variety of cardiac injury models (ischemia, hemodynamic strain & viral infection), we explore how individual immune subsets control the balance between protective and pathological healing, both in mice and in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Associate Professor

The Girardin lab studies multiple aspects of innate immunity and cellular stress responses. We have a specific interest in host response to bacterial infection, the role played by intracellular sensors such as Nod-like receptors (NLR), and the interplay between the evolutionary conserved integrated stress response (ISR) and innate immunity.

Assistant Professor

My research interests include the study of respiratory viruses and emerging viral pathogens, with a focus on laboratory detecion, molecular epidemiology, antiviral resistance and clinical significance of viral loads.      

Associate Professor

Our lab studies the cytoskeleton inside of cells and how these molecular highways move key components in and out of the cell. We study both immune cells and bone cells and focus on both basic cellular machinery allowing their specialized functions, as well as the intracellular changes when these cells are impacted by infection or disease. 

Professor

We study respiratory virus-host interactions, with particular emphasis on respiratory syncytial virus, from cells to populations.

Professor

Our laboratory is studying the impact of the microbial communities (i.e. the microbiome) in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases. We also participate in collaborative research investigating various aspects of lung injury, repair, and transplantation.

Associate Professor

My research is focused on the molecular epidemiology and genomics, and determinants of resistance and virulence in  M. tuberculosis strains and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM).  Research initiatives have been undertaken using comparative genomics and strain characterization (e.g. LSPs and SNPs) to recognize and identify virulence factors associated with local, circulating strains of M. tuberculosis.

Associate Professor

Research in my laboratory has been focused on the development of genetic strategies for HIV prevention and treatment. To treat HIV-infected individuals, we are developing gene therapy whereby patients own blood cells will be genetically modified to secrete antiviral proteins that would inhibit HIV infection of target cells for life.

Professor

To develop a translational research program that characterizes host-parasite interactions responsible for major global health threats such as malaria and HIV. To determine the molecular basis for adverse clinical outcomes in life-threatening inefctions and to translate this knowledge into novel therapeutic interventions.

Associate Professor

Dr. Katz’s research interests span across all areas of Infection Prevention and Control. Areas of special interest include: Infection prevention and control in a community hospital setting, Community-associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Influenza and febrile respiratory illness.

Associate Professor

Primary research interests include colorectal cancer (special focus on prognostic and predictive factors), inflammatory bowel disease and acute and chronic liver disease.           

Assistant Professor
Professor

Understanding how therapeutic antibodies can be used to treat autoimmune disease. We study the ability of novel monoclonal antibodies, as well as antibodies taken from the plasma of healthy blood donors (IVIg) to inhibit disease progression in autoimmunity. We also study how an antibody called "anti-D" is able to prevent haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn.

Associate Professor

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms at play in the tug-of-war between viruses and the host. We want to understand how certain retroviruses enter cells and are then antagonized by innate immune molecules. Immunological recognition and restriction of viral pathogens is fundamental for fighting infectious disease.

Associate Professor

My lab has an interest in how microvascular endothelial permeability is controlled. A number of projects examine how the host-pathogen interaction affects endothelial permeability.  In addition, we are investigating how the movement of critical proteins and hormones across the endothelium is regulated.

Professor

Our laboratory studies the functional role of glycosphingolipids in cell physiology and disease pathology. Abnormal GSL metabolism is associated with many human diseases and major aspects of their metabolism remain undefined.          

Assistant Professor

My current interest is in microbiology of foodborne pathogens. Particularly, I focus on Listeria to investigate the mechanisms activated by Listeria monocytogenes to sense the transit between different environments (saprophyte versus invasive).

Furthermore I am implicated in projects to improve microorganisms detection and typing by molecular methods as part of an outbreak response.

Assistant Professor
Professor

My research interests include clinical development, evaluation, and utility of viral diagnostic testing as well as rapid diagnostic testing.  I am also involved in research related to the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in the community particularly as it relates to organisms associated with infections of the respiratory tract and urinary tract.         

Professor

Dr. McGeer primary areas of research interest are the prevention of healthcare associated infection, antimicrobial resistance, the epidemiology of influenza, and adult immunization.

Assistant Professor

My lab is involved in the detection and characterization of resistance mechanisms to different antibiotic families in both Gram-negative and -positive pathogens. Elucidation of genetic platforms and enzymatic activity are part of that molecular characterization. Development of genetic and phenotypic tests is also part of our work through new technologies applied to diagnosis.

Professor Emeritus / Emerita
Associate Professor

We study how the NLRP1 inflammasome detects the metabolic stress that is caused by infections.  We are also investigating the entry mechanism of anthrax toxin.

Assistant Professor

The overall research goal of the lab is to reduce the burden of disease caused by viral inflammation in the lung with a focus on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).   The lab has expertise in airway epithelial cell biology and uses airway cell model systems to study a few lung diseases, most notably Cystic Fibrosis.    

Assistant Professor

Blood-borne dissemination of pathogens is responsible for most of the mortality associated with bacterial infections, but dissemination mechanisms remain largely uncharacterized. We investigate the dissemination mechanisms of invasive bacteria (especially the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi), in an effort to develop alternative therapeutic approaches for treating bacterial infection.

Assistant Professor

The focus of our research program is on virus transmission between hosts with an emphasis on the aerobiology of influenza virus.        

Associate Professor

My research is focused on the epidemiology and prevention of hospital-acquired infections, antibiotic resistant pathogens and C.difficile.  I am also interested in antimicrobial stewardship and the use of cumulative antibiogram data to guide empiric treatment.

Professor

His interests include studies on T cell immunoregulation in HIV and HCV infection, molecular adjuvants for vaccination, pDC-virus interactions, and the role of endogenous retroviruses in HIV infection. 

Assistant Professor

Microbiology, epidemiology - My clinical and research interests include identification and diagnosis of pathogens including rare or emerging pathogens.  In addition, I am involved in detection and characterization of antibiotic resistant organisms.

Associate Professor

Dr. Petrich's areas of research interest include using nucleic acid amplification technology for detection of respiratory pathogens in clinical specimens from patients with respiratory disease. Other interests include optimization of molecular diagnostics for use in the clinical microbiology laboratory and evaluation of their impact on patient care. 

Associate Professor

Dr. Poutanen is a clinician-investigator interested in applied research as it relates to the contemporary field of medical microbiology and infectious diseases.

Professor

My main research interests are in the areas of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Recently, I have focused on the role of neuropilins in cancer progression and metastasis, as well as the immunotherapy of autoimmune (type 1) diabetes. 

Professor

My research interests are in the care and treatment of patients with HIV infection. I have been involved in clinical research on antirtroviral agents, prophylaxis and treatment of opportunistic infections. My other area of interest is in medical education related to continuing education for infectious diseases and HIV infection and undergraduate medical education.

Professor

Dr. Richardson has an active research program, primarily in the areas of invasive fungal infections, the laboratory diagnosis of viral respiratory infections and investigations into diagnostic modalities for infectious diseases in children, especially utilizing molecular methods.

Professor

Transfusion/platelet immunology, pathophysiology of immune thrombocytopenias, mechanism of action of IVIg/anti-D, transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)

Professor

My research interests are primarily related to understanding the mechanisms and epidemiology of healthcare-associated infections, especially those due to antibiotic-resistant organisms, as well as evaluating methods for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of infections caused by these organisms.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Skeate is Ontario Medical Director for Canadian Blood Services (CBS), and national director of the CBS Transfusion Medicine Training.  While not primarily a researcher, he does have academic interests which include evaluation of new tools and processes for blood product manufacture, and clinical practice policy issues in Transfusion Medicine.

Associate Professor

My areas of research include mucosal immunology/inflammatory bowel diseases, histology of animal models and premalignant/malignant lesions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Professor

Dr. Tenenbaum is interested in the associations between periodontitis and non-oral inflammatory diseases.  He also has an interest in the mechanisms of chronic pain.

Lecturer

My research interests revolve around the formation of digital clinical workflow to evolve digital pathology and image analysis systems as clinically used systems for primary diagnosis. The center of my research interest is in a translation of disperse digital pathology tools into integrated systems for use in clinical subspecialized pathology practice.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Research revolves around studying the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens in the cystic fibrosis population, as well as optimizing the diagnosis of paediatric infectious diseases.