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IIDR Trainee Day 2022

Shaping the future of infectious
disease research 


Event details

Event details

Join us November 16th, 2022 in person at CIBC Hall

8:30 AM- 4:30 PM 
reception to follow

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.

Abstracts are due September 23rd, 2022 to be considered for talks and awards.

Abstracts for poster presentations are due October 7th, 2022

Registration closes October 28th, 2022.

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 #IIDR2022 to post about the event.

Message from the Director

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Dr. Matthew Miller
Director, IIDR
Associate Professor


we take a moment to recognize and reflect on the immeasurable contributions that Dr. Gerry Wright has had on building this Institute over the past 15 years as its inaugural Director. It is through Dr. Wright’s vision, dedication, and persistence that McMaster has cemented its reputation as a beacon of excellence in infectious disease research. I think it is safe to say that that every single person engaged in infectious disease research at McMaster over the past 15+ years has benefited from Dr. Wright’s leadership. Indeed, Dr. Wright embodies the quintessential qualities of all great leaders – the ability to inspire and mobilize those around him towards a common goal, the drive to succeed no matter how great the challenge, and most importantly, selfless dedication to those he serves. Indeed, while many can point very directly to ways in which Dr. Wright has elevated their research, he takes greatest pride in those unnoticed actions (“ploughing snow” – as Dr. Wright would say) that clear the road ahead before others ever notice or encounter an obstacle. 

Far from stepping back, Dr. Wright has been hard at work enacting his vision to expand McMaster’s reputation as an international hub for multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral leadership in addressing the diverse challenges posed by infectious diseases. As Lead of Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats (“Global Nexus”), Dr. Wright quickly recognized the gaps in our preparedness exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and mobilized an unprecedent, university-wide effort to respond to those challenges by engaging experts from all 6 Faculties, partners in government, public health, and the private sector. Global Nexus presents a wealth of exciting new opportunities for our Institute, and I look forward to working closely with Dr. Wright in this new role to ensure that our collective ambitions are realized.

I would also like to extend my deepest thanks to Dr. Lori Burrows, who generously led the Institute through a very challenging ~1.5 years as interim Director. Like Dr. Wright, Dr. Burrows leads by example. She is an inspirational and extraordinarily accomplished scientist who has consistently gone out of her way to give back to the scientific community. I am thrilled that Lori will continue to provide leadership to the Institute as Associate Director. I will benefit immensely from her wisdom and experience as I transition into this new role.

On behalf of the entire Institute, it is with great pleasure that I extend a warm welcome to our keynote speaker, Dr. Martha Clokie, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Leicester. Dr. Clokie is an international leader in bacteriophage biology who has made pioneering contributions to the development of phage-based therapeutics. This is a rapidly expanding area with tremendous promise to change the way we treat difficult bacterial infections. We look forward to Dr. Clokie’s lecture and to interactions with our trainees, staff, and faculty throughout the day.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Trainee Day is the recognition of our trainees’ accomplishments with a series of prestigious scholarships that have become the pinnacle of achievement within the Institute. It also provides us with a chance to honour and remember Michael Kamin Hart and Michael Kiley. Michael Kamin Hart was an IIDR trainee who passed away in 2011 after a courageous battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During his time in Dr. Justin Nodwell’s laboratory, Michael purified and solved the structure of a potent antimicrobial called “13-deoxytetrodecamycin”. Michael Kiley was a loving father who lost his battle to a drug-resistant “superbug”. We are extraordinarily grateful to both the Hart and Kiley families for their continuing support of our staff and trainees.

My sincere thanks to all of your for joining us today and especially to the organizing committee who has worked for months behind the scenes to make this day possible. Despite the challenges of the past several years, we have much to celebrate!

It is with tremendous excitement that I welcome you to IIDR Trainee Day 2022! This year marks our return to an in-person event after two years of virtual meetings necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to reconnect as a community and celebrate the accomplishments of our trainees. Indeed, trainees are the beating heart of our Institute, and this annual event highlights the most important aspects of our mission – to conduct cutting-edge infectious disease research in a world class training environment. 

The tagline for this year’s Trainee Day is, very aptly, “Shaping the future of infectious disease research”. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the global approach to infectious disease research and prevention. As an Institute who has established national and international leadership in the infectious disease space, it is our responsibility to shape the future of the field to ensure that we are better equipped to prevent and respond to infectious disease threats of the future. Our trainees represent the next generation of leaders who will shape the policies and develop the solutions to realize this ambition. As we will see today, the future is in very good hands! Shaping the future requires that we remember the past. This year it is important that

Test Tubes


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© University of Leicester

Prof. Martha Clokie
Professor of Microbiology,
Department of Genetics and Genome Biology
University of Leicester
Keynote Lecture
8:30 AM 
Nov 16th 
Trainees roundtable meeting
3:30- 4:30 PM
Nov 15th


Prof. Clokie is an internationally renowned expert in bacteriophage biology with over 100 published papers. Over the last 15 years, she has pioneered studies of developing phages for therapeutic purposes for humans and animals. She has a track record of carrying out the fundamental science needed to use phages in applied settings evidenced by her work on human associated Clostridium difficile and Salmonella 

associated with pigs.  Much of Prof. Clokie’s work uses genomic and structural approaches to identify key traits associated with phage efficacy to clear infection. Her work also incorporates studying phage-bacterial interactions in physiologically relevant models and in animal trials. Her recent publications led to two recent British Research Council awards to design phage products for use in livestock. She has had projects funded directly by Industry (Enbiotix funded 

C. difficile phage therapeutic programme) and others with close Industry collaborations (eg. ABagri on phages for use in poultry).  Prof. Clokie developed and regularly runs a course to teach phage biology to African academics, as part of a Gates funded ‘Phages for Global Health’ Yale-Leicester collaboration. All of her applied work is routed in fundamental biology and her early phage research was focussed on understanding how ocean bacteriophages controlled their marine bacterial hosts. Her work paved the way for a new research field which is still very much active, that of determining complex ways that phages interact with their bacterial hosts. 



Click here for our program!


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Thank you to Norgen Biotek for sponsoring the Norgen Biotek undergraduate award.



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Dr. Lesley MacNeil

Associate Professor at McMaster University

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences 


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Dr. Jakob Magolan

Associate Professor at McMaster University

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences 


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Sommer Chou (Trainee Day co-Chair)

Ph.D. Candidate - Wright and MacNeil labs

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences


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Victoria Coles (Trainee Day co-Chair)

Ph.D. Candidate - Burrows lab

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences


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