IIDR Trainee Day 2021

Preparing today's researchers to fight tomorrow’s infectious diseases 


Event details

Join us November 10th - 12th, 2021 for our virtual event!


Trainee Day, an annual event hosted by the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, has become the ideal forum to recognize and celebrate the innovative work being done by the Institute’s students and Postdoctoral Fellows.

For the second year, our event will be held virtually in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year we will be using Underline Platform for poster presentations. Check back soon for more information about our online platform.

Abstracts are due August 27th, 2021 to be considered for talks and awards.

Abstracts for virtual poster presentations are due September 17th, 2021

Registration closes October 29th, 2021.

This event is open to all IIDR faculty, staff, undergraduate & graduate students, Postdoctoral Fellows, technicians, and clinicians. For further inquiries, please contact the Trainee Day Student Chair,

Use #fighting4tomorrow and #IIDRTraineeDay2021 to post about the event.



Trainee Day is one of my favourite events of the year—it gives us, as an institute, the opportunity to celebrate the amazing academic and research achievements of our students. Their continued commitment to learning throughout such an unusual year has been an inspiration to us all, and we’re so excited to showcase their amazing work through more than 50 poster presentations and a set of diverse talks. 


This year’s event has been aptly promoted using the hashtag “#Fighting4Tomorrow.” Indeed, our trainees have stepped up in the face of the pandemic, taken on new responsibilities, and contributed to important research with life-saving implications. Their recent contributions to infectious disease research will have impact not only tomorrow, but for many years to come. 


I want to personally give a warm welcome to our keynote speaker this year, Dr. Jim Collins. Dr. Collins is a Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. His fascinating research program applies synthetic biology methodology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics—something I’m very excited to learn more about. He’s also done fantastic work in the antibiotic resistance field, a major focus of the IIDR’s David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery. 


While Trainee Day is a time for celebration of our achievements and successes, it is also a time for us to remember and honour former IIDR trainee Michael Kamin Hart, who passed away in 2011. We are tremendously grateful to the Hart family for their ongoing support of the prestigious Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarships, which allow us to recognize students and staff who embody Michael’s excitement and passion for scientific discovery. Trainee Day also marks an opportunity for us to honour Michael Kiley, a loving father and friend who lost his battle to a drug-resistant infection a decade ago. In his memory, the Michael Kiley Scholarship in Antibiotic Resistance will be awarded to a student who is making significant contributions to the field of antibiotic research. 


On behalf of the IIDR, thank you for celebrating with us! Our trainees are the lifeblood of our institute, and their amazing work gives us great pride. Enjoy the talks, the poster presentations, and the event — hopefully next year we can once again gather together under one roof. 


Dr. Lori Burrows 

Interim Director 

Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research

Test Tubes


Keynote Lecture
November 10th
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Trainees meet the Speaker
November 10th
Time: 12:15-12:45 PM
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Dr. Jim Collins
Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Jim Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. He is also a Core Founding Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, and his research group is currently focused on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Collins' patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has co-founded a number of companies, including Synlogic, Senti Biosciences, and Sherlock Biosciences, as well as Phare Bio, a non-profit focused on AI-driven antibiotic discovery. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur "Genius" Award, and he is an elected member of all three national academies - the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National
Academy of Medicine.




Day 1 participants are invited to hear our Keynote Speaker, Dr. James J. Collins, discuss his group's current work on using AI to discover new classes of antibiotics. Following the lecture, our Keynote Speaker will be available to virtually meet with a group of students to discuss career advice and science. In addition, individual virtual meetings with PI's will be scheduled. Please stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

Day 1 will also celebrate the achievements of the Gerard Wright Postdoctoral Scholarship in Infectious Disease Research and Mildred Gulliver Postdoctoral Scholarship in Infectious Disease Research recipients. 


Day 2 will celebrate the recipients of the Michael Kamin Hart Scholarships and the Michael Kiley Scholarship in Antibiotic Resistance. Graduate students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Clinical Fellows will be given the opportunity to present their exemplary research achievements.

Following the presentations from our scholarship recipients, the first round of Poster Panel Q&A discussions will be held. Please see the Posters page for more details.


Day 3 will showcase the diverse research of the Institute with presentations from the candidates for the Mildred Gulliver Graduate Scholarship in Infectious Disease Research.  The three presentation categories trainees can apply to are outlined on the Talks page.

Following the oral presentations, the last round of Poster Panel Q&A discussions will be held. The day will conclude with a closing address and awards ceremony. 


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Dr. Amy Gillgrass

Assistant Professor at McMaster University

Department of Medicine


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Dr. Lesley MacNeil

Assistant Professor at McMaster University

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences 


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Hiva Mesbahi (Trainee Day Chair)

Ph.D. Candidate- MacNeil lab

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences


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Dhanyasri Maddiboina (Trainee Day co-Chair)

Ph.D. Candidate- Hosseinidoust lab

Department of Chemical Engineering


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Amanda Bakke (Trainee Day co-Chair)

MSc Candidate- Kaushic lab

Department of Medical Sciences