Our Team of Investigators:
Notre équipe de chercheurs:
Bruce Mazer, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Principal Investigator, Get-Facts Network (CIHR)
Division Head, Peadiatric Allergy & Clinical Immunology, The Montreal Children's Hospital (MUHC)
Professor of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine - McGill University
Research Interests: B cells, immunoglobulins, innate immunity and the cytokine network
I am a pediatric allergist and immunologist based at the Meakins Christie Laboratories. I am also the division head of Allergy and Immunology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. My research is centered around B-lymphocytes, the cells that make antibodies, and IgE, the antibody that initiates the allergic cascade in humans and that plays a crucial role in asthma, allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis. My main projects include:
Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) and Ig receptors: The immune system uses antibodies not only to trap antigens but to regulate immune processes. Our laboratory has extensively studies the action of IVIG on IgE synthesis. We are now evaluating the action of IVIG in murine airway hyperreactivity, addressing its role on dendritic cells as well as on pulmonary T and B cell trafficking. We have determined that the distribution of Fc receptors is beyond the tradition immune cells; in fact pulmonary epithelium is likely in import tissue that is influenced by both IgG and IgE. We are currently addressing the function of Fc receptors on pulmonary epithelial cells and the role of B cells in activating the pulmonary epithelium.
Tol Receptor 4 expression in Pediatric population: In work Supported by ALLERGEN-National center of excellence, in collaboration with Dr Qutayba Hamid, James Martin and Ronald Gehr, we have been able to phenotype the cell population that express the innate immune receptor TLR-4. The distribution of this receptor is much greater in children than adults and this has led to some novel determinations in cell populations responsible for cytokine production and innate immune responses. Further work will help us elucidate many facets of the hygiene hypothesis.
Jean Marshall, M.D.
Professor, Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology, Dalhousie University
Head, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dalhousie University
I am a Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and have an active research laboratory funded by multiple agencies including CIHR, CDMRP and AllerGen NCE. I trained at the University of Manchester (UK) and at McMaster University and have been at Dalhousie University since 1997. My laboratory has been passionate and persistent in determining the role of mast cells in disease and immune regulation and we have developed an international reputation for our studies in this area. At any given time my laboratory has between 12 and 15 staff and trainees working on projects related to cancer, viral infection and allergy. I am currently particularly excited by opportunities to locally regulate mast cell function to enhance immune responses in the context of vaccines, treatments for chronic infections and immunotherapy for cancer. I particularly enjoy working with research trainees to investigate fundamental mechanisms in mast cell biology and contributing to transdisciplinary teams such as the Dalhousie Inflammation Group and the AllerGen NCE Inc to translate our research findings into practice.
Ann Elaine Clarke, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Clinical Immunologist, Allergist, Rhumatologist
Dr. Clarke is Professor of Rhumatology in the Department Medicine at the University of Calgary. She has also been appointed as the Arthritis Society Chair in Rheumatic Disease/Rheumatology and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Medicine. Dr. Clarke received her Medical Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada and completed a Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at
As a clinician scientist with expertise in allergy/immunology, epidemiology, and health economics, Dr. Clarke’s research focuses on the societal burden, quality of life, and morbidity associated with atopic and autoimmune rheumatic conditions.
Moshe Ben-Shoshan, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Medical Scientist: Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital
Assistant Professor : Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Montreal Children's Hospital
Dr Ben-Shoshan graduated from The Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv, Israel and completed his pediatric residency at Sourasky medical center in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He completed his fellowship in Pediatric Allergy/Clinical Immunology at Montreal Children's Hospital in 2009.
Dr Ben-Shoshan worked as a research fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Ann Clarke over the past years. His primary research interest is the epidemiology of food allergy and he has published several articles related to that subject.
Dr Ben-Shoshan is currently a physician in the department of Allergy/ Immunology at Montreal Children’s Hospital and is involved in several research initiatives on food allergies, and anaphylaxis.
Christine McCusker, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, McGill University
Allergy & Immunology Laboratory Director, Meakins Christie Laboratories (McGill)
Research Interests: Allergic rhinitis, Asthma, Animal models, Inflammation, T cells, Genetics
Using a novel murine of of allergic airways disease I am currently studying:
1) the role of the early neonatal environment on the development of allergic disease
2) the genotype phenotype relationships in allergy and
3) the effects of STAT 6 inhibitory peptides in prevention and treatment of allergic diseases.
Jörg Fritz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Microbiology, McGill University
Dr. Jörg Hermann Fritz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology. He joined the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in 2010.The laboratory of Jörg Hermann Fritz focuses on understanding how innate immune recognition of microbes by pattern recognition molecules (PRM) such as Toll-like receptors (TLR) and Nod-like receptors (NLR) translates into immunological memory for successful protection of the host. A particular focus is given to mucosal pathogens of the respiratory and gastrointestinal system where he is trying to understand how the expression pattern and activity of innate resistance effectors adapts to changes in the tissue milieu due to the availability of nutritional metabolites, the composition of the mutualistic microflora, or infection with pathogens. In this context he is studying the priming and function of innate lymphoid cells (ILC) and B lineage cells for their role in mucosal immunity instructed to commensals, pathobionts and pathogens.
Ciriaco Piccirillo, M.D.
Associate Professor of Immunology, McGill University
Member of the Center for the Study of Host Resistance
My research program as Canada Research Chair in Regulatory lymphocytes of the Immune System focuses on the immune regulation of autoimmune and infectious diseases mediated by naturally-occurring CD4+ regulatory T cells (nTreg), a unique population of cells with potent immunosuppressive functions in vitro an in vivo. nTreg cells constitute 1-10% of total CD4+ T cells from thymus, peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues in mice and humans. Functional abrogation of these cells in the host results in the onset of multi-organ-specific autoimmune diseases, and increases immunity to tumors, grafts, and various pathogens. Thus, nTreg cells play a central role in dampening peripheral immune responses, and contribute to the establishment of tolerance by an as-of-yet undefined mechanism. My laboratory makes use of cutting-edge experimental strategies to characterize the relative contribution of nTreg cells as a determining factor in establishing resistance or susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases. We try to characterize the functional dynamics of nTreg cell activity in human autoimmune diseases (type 1 diabetes) as well as in animal models of autoimmunity (type 1 diabetes), tumors (spontaneous breast cancer), infections (malaria), and mucosal immunity (inflammatory bowel disease). My research program makes use of standard and state-of-the-art molecular, proteomic, biochemical, cellular and imaging approaches to characterize the behavior of nTreg cells in health and disease.
Susan Elliott, Ph.D.
Professor, Dean - Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo
Cross appointment with the Department of Geography and Environmental Management
Dr. Elliott is a medical geographer, with primary research foci in the area of environment and health, the global environment, urban social geography, and philosophy and method in the social sciences. She is involved in interdisciplinary research investigating the relationship between the environment and health at different spatial scales vis-à-vis risk perception, prevalence rates and community knowledge and practice. Dr. Elliott is involved in a large population-based study on peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, and sesame allergy prevalence in urban and rural
Dr. Elliott is a program co-leader in the Public Health, Ethics, Policy and Society programme, research management committee member, and funded researcher at AllerGen NCE, the Allergy, Genes and Environment network. She also holds research grants from CIHR, SSHRC, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Cancer Care
Edmond S. Chan, M.D.,F.R.C.P.C.
Pediatric Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Dr. Edmond S. Chan completed medical school (University of Alberta) and residency in Pediatrics (University of Manitoba), and finished his training with a fellowship in Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Allergy (University of Manitoba). He has been practicing in Vancouver since 2005. Currently, he is the Head of the Division of Allergy & Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics. He is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia. He is Program director of the UBC Pediatric Clinical Immunology and Allergy Fellowship training program. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. His research interests are in food allergy and eosinophilic esophagitis. He has been collaborating with McGill on food allergy research since 2011.
His other duties include: Pediatric Section Head and Board of director of the Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Co-Director, BC Children’s Hospital Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic, Clinical Investigator at the Child and Family Research Institute, and Clinical lead of the HealthLink BC Dietitian Allergy Advisory Council in the BC Ministry of Health Services.
Denise Daley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Dr. Denise Daley completed a PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University in 2003, followed by post-doctoral training at the University of British Columbia from 2003-2008. In 2008 she was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. She has received numerous awards including a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Career Scholar Award (2008) and the CIHR Institute of Genetics Maud Menten Prize (2009) in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a young investigator. In 2009 Dr. Daley was awarded a Tier II Canadian Research Chair in the Genetic Epidemiology of Complex Diseases. Then in October 2013, Dr. Daley received her Tier II renewal which will continue to 2018. Dr. Daley’s interests are in the study of complex diseases such as cancer, asthma, and heart disease, with a focus on gene-gene and gene-environment interactions.
As part of her research studying why some children get asthma and others do not, Dr. Daley is studying the genetic susceptibility to asthma and other allergic conditions. She is working to determine what contribution gender, genes, and environment make to the development of asthma, particularly how a combination of gene variations – each with a modest effect – interact with gender and environmental factors to produce asthma.
Further study of these genes in conjunction with environmental factors will create better understanding of some children develop asthma and others do not, and what factors play key roles. An understanding of how several factors – gender, genetics and the environment – come together to develop asthma and other allergic diseases will lead to better treatments for these life-long conditions. To accomplish these goals Dr. Daley is working with collaborators in both the AllerGen and Gabriel networks in a collaborative effort to understand the genetic and environmental determinants of asthma.
Dr. Daley is also working on projects to identify genetic and environmental risk factors for colorectal cancer, hypertension, healthy aging, lymphoma, and aortic stenosis.
Maziar Divengahi, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, McGill University
Associate Member, Dept. of Microbiology & immunology, McGill University
The goal of my research program is to investigate the cross-talk between innate and adaptive immunity against two intracellular pulmonary pathogens, influenza and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Antigen presenting cells, such as macrophages or dendritic cells, fine-tune immune responses, by instructing an effective level of activation, proliferation, and differentiation of naïve T cells. One mechanism by which virulent pathogens successfully inactivate host defense mechanisms is by interrupt the cross-talk between innate and adaptive immunity. APC initially sense pathogens through pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) including Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and Nod-like receptors (NODs). This initial recognition induces a cascade of inflammatory responses including cytokine/chemokine induction and recruitment of inflammatory cells to the site of infection. However, the pathogen-driven inflammatory response needs to be tightly regulated by the host to prevent immune-pathology. Eicosanoids play an important regulatory role in the host immune response including cell death programs that directly affect both innate and adaptive immunity. There are two major cell death pathways; apoptosis and necrosis. Several pathogens hijack cell death programs to their advantage. Recently we define that eicosanoid-regulated cell death of Mtb-infected macrophages modulates both innate and T cell mediated immunity against Mtb. Necrosis is a strategy that Mtb exploit to exit from macrophages and infect other cells. In contrast, apoptosis, characterized by an intact plasma membrane, is an innate defense mechanism that reduces bacterial viability as well as enhancing T cell priming via cross-presentation of the antigen cargo of apoptotic macrophages by dendritic cells. Thus, we are interesting to understand the molecular mechanisms by which APC regulate the immune response to infectious diseases which may ultimately allow us to design better vaccine or targeted drugs against these two devastating diseases.
To achieve our research goals, we have established mouse models of influenza pneumonia and M.tuberculosis as well as primary cell cultures. The laboratory has a dedicated 11-colour flow cytometer LSR-II, an imaging technology, and the state-of-art BL2 facility, which allows us to handle BL2 pathogens, including influenza virus for both in vitro and in vivo studies. The study with Mtb is being conducted through collaboration with Dr. Marcel Behr laboratories containing BL3 facility.
Andrew Sandford, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Dr. Sandford earned his B.Sc. in biological sciences from the University of Leicester, England in 1988 and a Ph.D. studying the genetic basis of allergic diseases such as asthma at the University of Oxford, England in 1993. He continues to research the genetic basis of asthma and has extended his studies to include the genetic basis to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the genetic basis of pulmonary disease severity in cystic fibrosis. Dr. Sandford currently holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Scholar Award. The focus of Dr. Sandford’s research is investigation of the genetic basis of obstructive lung disease. He is currently studying three large cohorts of individuals. The first cohort was recruited by Drs. Moira Chan-Yeung from UBC and Allan Becker from the University of Manitoba. This cohort contains infants at high risk for developing allergic diseases and is being used to evaluate the importance of genetic risk factors for the development of these diseases. The second cohort was recruited as part of the NHLBI Lung Health Study and contains individuals whose lung function has been followed for five years. Genetic factors that affect the rate of decline of lung function are being investigated in this cohort. This work is a collaboration with Drs. John Connett from the University of Minnesota and Nicholas Anthonisen from the University of Manitoba. The third cohort consists of cystic fibrosis patients and their relatives that are being recruited in a collaborative study with investigators at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. This is a multi-center study to study modifier genes in cystic fibrosis and involves investigators and physicians from around Canada.
Allan B. Becker MD, FRCPC
Professor and Head, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba
Dr. Becker is Professor and Head of the Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba and a Consultant Allergist at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg. His primary research interest is origins of allergy and asthma in early life. He is co-Principal Investigator of "The Canadian Asthma Primary Prevention Study: CAPPS)”, a multifaceted study of infants at high risk for development of asthma and PI of the 1995 Manitoba birth cohort Study of Asthma Genes and the Environment (SAGE). He is co-PI of the CIHR and AllerGen supported Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. With the Canadian Network For Asthma Care, Dr. Becker led development of the process for National Asthma Educator certification in Canada and development of an Asthma Educator Education Program, AsthmaTrec, which is now used across Canada. He was lead author of the first Canadian Pediatric Asthma Guidelines and is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). He leads the Patients, Policy and Public Health platform of the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence.
Professor and Head, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Department of Pediatrics and Child Health
University of Manitoba
FE125 – 685 William Ave.
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0Z2
Phone: (204) 787-2448
Mobile: (204) 952-2246
Facsimile: (204) 787-5040
Susan Waserman, M.D. , F.R.C.P.C.
President, Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, McMaster University
Training Program Director, Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, McMaster university
Training Program Director, Basic Clinical Trainees, McMaster University
Director, Adverse Reactions Clinic, Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health
Staff Physician, Hamilton Health Sciences
Dr. Waserman obtained her MSc and medical degree from McGill University in 1981. She specialized in internal medicine and followed by subspecialty training in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, completing fellowships at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at McGill University in Montreal, and at McMaster University.
She is the president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In this position her activities include continuing medical education for physicians, allied health professionals and the community, as well as developing practice guidelines in areas such as anaphylaxis and immunotherapy.
Her research interests and activities include clinical trials in a variety of therapeutic areas related to allergy, including rhinitis, asthma, as well as othr determinants of allergic expression in asthma and food related anaphylaxis.
Neil Randall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Waterloo
I am a long-time faculty member in the English department at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and the director of the Games Institute (uwaterloo.ca/games-institute). The Games Institute was created to study game, game-driven interactions and technologies, and, in a broader scope, any form of rich, compelling engagement with digital technologies.
The Games Institute has been the focus of both my research and administration since 2010, culminating in 2012 with the awarding of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant to form a games research network.
Called IMMERSe (The Interactive and Multi-Modal Research Syndicate), The SSHRC-funded project establishes a network of seven universities and six industry partners to conduct research into player experience and behavior, with studies focusing on player immersion, player presence, player relationships, and player addiction. The SSHRC award is $2.55M, with cash and in-kind contributions from academic and industry partners increasing the total award to $5.8M. Collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and multi-institutional from its inception, the network includes researchers from the arts, the social sciences, engineering, and computer science.
IMMERSe and the Games Institute have the goals of helping to drive game research, immersion/experience research, academic-industry collaboration in games, extensive training of graduate and undergraduate students for participation in academic research and industry careers, and extensive outreach with communities, governments, the media, and game companies large and small.
To this end, the Games Institute has initiated projects outside the SSHRC Partnership Grant, including a five-year project working with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival on a series of games and digital media properties for the purpose of linking students of high school age more directly with the understanding and appreciation of Shakespearean theatre. This project has been enlarged to include an extensive digitization of the Festival’s physical archives (costumes, masks, wigs, swords, and props) for various purposes, including the use of those archives in digital media productions and the tracing and preservation of production history. In another project, the Games Institute is collaborating with the SiG@Waterloo (Social Innovation Generation) to design game-like interactions with computer simulations of political, economic, and social systems for use in SiG’s Change Lab. In yet another, the Game Institute is partnering on the creation of a game with the creator of a smartphone app designed to help people track allergens in foods. Along with IMMERSe, these three projects suggest the broad range of potential sources of games research.
My years at the University of Waterloo have been spent helping to build the Rhetoric and Professional Writing program at the undergraduate level and the Rhetoric and Communication Design program at the graduate level while establishing a profile in the practice of professional communication and documentation. To those ends, I have published numerous how-to computer books and many feature articles, columns, and reviews in computer magazines such as PC Magazine, Smart Computing, PC Computing, PC Gamer, etc. In addition, I have consulted with a variety of technology companies on topics such as digital media creation, methods of effective interactive communication, proposal writing, copyright and patent issues, and public relations. As a games enthusiast, I have designed, developed, and produced board games of the complex simulation kind. All of this activity has found its way into my classes and my research, as has my long-time fascination with the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. My games studies work includes the relationship of boardgames to videogames, the construction of narrative and dialogue in videogames, and the adaption of Tolkien’s works from book and film into games.
Yuka Asai, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Dermatology, McGill University
John R. Gordon, Ph.D.
Professor of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. John Gordon received his PhD in immunopathology from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984. He undertook post-doctoral fellowships at the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, UK (1984-87) and the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School (1987-88), then as an Instructor in Pathology at the latter institution (1988-91). He returned to the University of Saskatchewan in 1991 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology. In 2007 he moved to the College of Medicine, Department of Medicine and took on the role of Director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (2007-12), then served as Acting Associate Dean Research (2012-13). He is presently a Professor in the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine.
The focus of Dr. Gordon’s laboratory is immunotherapeutics in the context of allergic and other inflammatory diseases. They have developed regulatory dendritic cell protocols to reverse asthma and food allergen sensitivity in animal models and have shown that these approaches can also be translated to human disease. They also developed and patented a series of anti-inflammatory drugs that attenuate neutrophilic inflammation in an array of animal models, but have more recently shown that these same agents potently antagonize tumour growth, metastasis and angiogenesis. Dr. Gordon’s research has been funded for many years by CIHR and NSERC, but also by CFI, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF), the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and other agencies.
Dr. Gordon devotes considerable time and energy to mentoring trainees within his own laboratory, but he is also a co-Leader with Dr. Don Cockcroft of the University’s Airways Research Group, Scientific Director of a multinational CIHR STIHR training program and a co-lead on a NSERC CREATE program that brings together researchers and trainees from India, Germany and Canada. He has served on the Boards, management or review committees of numerous organizations (e.g., Gairdner Foundation, AllerGen NCE, Canadian Society for Immunology), as well as in multiple capacities on peer-review panels for CIHR and a number of other granting agencies.