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2022-2023 AMR Seminar + Social Series

Seminar + Social Series

The AMR Seminar + Social Series is a way for the AMR community to regularly meet and learn about the latest work in the AMR field.

April 18th - Dr. Herman Barkema 

Seminar + SocialFlyer for seminar

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

In-person: Thomson House Ballroom
(3650 McTavish St) McGill Campus Map
Online: Zoom link sent to registered participants.

Wine and cheese after the event!


pdf of Program with bios

"Tackling AMR in Humans and Animals"
Herman Barkema |Professor, University of Calgary
Scientific Director, Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium

Panel discussion:

  • Herman Barkema, University of Calgary
  • Xin Zhao, Animal Physiology, McGill
  • Cécile Aenishaenslin, Pathology and Microbiology, Université de Montréal
  • Simon Dufour, Veterinary Epidemiology, Université de Montréal


Human, animal and agricultural plant health rely heavily on access to effective antimicrobials to prevent and treat microbial infections. However, antimicrobial use has promoted development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), resulting in poor outcomes (treatment failures, increased costs, etc.). Worldwide, the prevalence of AMR continues to increase for pathogens of concern; it has been described as a slow-moving pandemic. Canada has a responsibility to take coordinated actions to minimize detrimental health and socio-economic impacts of increased AMR and to preserve antimicrobial effectiveness. However, health and agriculture are federal and particularly provincial jurisdictions and agricultural producer organizations lack cohesion across the country. Given these fragmented governance structures, a harmonized response is not easily attained. To be successful, the response must consider that: 1) humans and animals are interconnected in their environments, and a One Health approach is essential to address AMR; 2) antimicrobial use (AMU) is the main driver of AMR across all domains, requiring cross-sectoral antimicrobial stewardship; and 3) AMR is driven by human behaviour (AMU) and social sciences have a role in understanding barriers to antimicrobial stewardship; and 4) AMR prevalence is particularly high in low- and middle-income countries and that we must support these countries in their efforts to reduce AMU. In summary, to effectively address AMR, veterinary and human health communities must: adopt a “united front” concerning antimicrobial stewardship to promote real industry changes; establish measurable goals; and frequently assess progress. 

About our speaker:

Dr. Herman Barkema completed his DVM degree at Utrecht Univ., The Netherlands, in 1988. He spent 2½ years as manager of a large dairy and beef herd in Costa Rica, then taught bovine herd health at Utrecht University and worked as an epidemiologist for the Dutch Animal Health Service while completing his PhD. In 2001, Dr. Barkema moved to the University of Prince Edward Island. He subsequently moved to the University of Calgary, where he founded the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s (UCVM) Dept. of Production Animal Health. He currently is Professor in Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at UCVM and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases of Dairy Cattle, with a joint appointment in the Dept. of Community Health Sciences of the Cumming School of Medicine. He is also a Foreign Expert at the China Agricultural University in Beijing. Dr. Barkema’s research program focuses on prevention and control of diseases in cattle herds, including antimicrobial resistance. He has published > 400 scientific manuscripts and book chapters and has lectured all over the world. He leads the Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium, One Health at UCalgary, the Environment research theme in the Canadian Mastitis Network, the University of Calgary Biostatistics Centre, and the Alberta Johne’s Disease Initiative. Dr. Barkema is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He was recently awarded the Plowright Prize by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for his research on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.



February 1st - Dr. Nicole Ricker

Seminar + Social Flyer with speaker and talk abstract

The February event will be co-hosted with the McGill Brace Water Centre

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

In-person: Thomson House Ballroom (3650 McTavish St) McGill Campus Map
Online: Zoom link sent to registered participants.

Wine and cheese after the event!


"High-throughput AMR surveillance in a One Health Context"
Nicole Ricker | Assistant Professor, University of Guelph


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to be recognized as one of the most pressing issues of the coming decade. As antimicrobials are used in both human and animal domains, and release of antimicrobials into the environment is an on-going concern, a One Health approach to surveillance and management of AMR is necessary. There are multiple tools that have been developed for the purposes of AMR surveillance; however, choosing the best tool depends on your research question, throughput required, and funding availability. My research has focused on developing and testing high-throughput surveillance methods for the detection of AMR genes in a One Health context. In this talk, I discuss the methods we have employed to date and the insights we have gained on the utility of these methods for large-scale surveillance programs.

About our speaker:

Dr. Nicole Ricker is an early career researcher specializing in horizontal gene transfer, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), microbial community analysis, and metagenomics. She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Guelph and her graduate degrees (Masters of Environmental Science, PhD in bacterial genetics) from the University of Toronto. For her post-doctoral work, she was cross-appointed at the USDA National Animal Disease Center and Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where she investigated metagenomic methods for the analysis of bacterial communities and AMR plasmids in swine. Since joining the University of Guelph as a faculty recruit through the Food from Thought research program, she has continued her work on AMR plasmid diversity and metagenomic methods for AMR surveillance as well as expanding to include genomics of important swine pathogens and the role of the microbiome in disease development. Her research group includes students focused on microbiology, animal production and bioinformatics and is funded through various government granting agencies (NSERC, CFREF) and industry partners. Dr Ricker also received an early career researcher award from the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation in 2022 to further support her research on AMR prevalence in production animals.

November 24th - Dr. Yoshua Bengio

Seminar + Social Flyer with photo of keynote speaker Dr. Yoshua Bengio

Thursday, November 24th


in-person: Leacock Building, Room 232 McGill Campus Map

Online: Zoom link sent to registered participants.

We highly recommend wearing a mask during the main program.

Drinks and snacks will be served after the event in the open space just outside of the room.


Pdf of program

"Machine learning and the search for new antibiotics"

Yoshua Bengio | Professor, Université de Montréal; Founder and Scientific Director of Mila – Quebec AI Institute

Roundtable: "Discovering the next generation antimicrobials: what will it take?”

  • Moderator: Bastien Castagner, Dept Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University
  • Martin Schmeing, Director of the CRBS (Centre de Recherche en biologie structurale)
  • Véronique Dugas, VP Scientific Affairs at CQDM (Consortium de recherche biopharmaceutique)
  • Donald Sheppard, McGill Medicine and Executive Scientific Director PHAC AMR Task Force

Announcement of winners of the Student AMR Awareness Video Competition

About our speakers:

Dr. Yoshua Bengio is most known for his pioneering work in deep learning, earning him the 2018 A.M. Turing Award, “the Nobel Prize of Computing,” with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun. He is a Full Professor at Université de Montréal, and the Founder and Scientific Director of Mila – Quebec AI Institute. He co-directs the CIFAR Learning in Machines & Brains program as Senior Fellow and acts as Scientific Director of IVADO. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious Killam Prize and in 2022, became the computer scientist with the highest h-index in the world. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of London and Canada, Knight of the Legion of Honor of France and Officer of the Order of Canada. Concerned about the social impact of AI and the objective that AI benefits all, he actively contributed to the Montreal Declaration for the Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence.

Dr. Martin Schmeing is a Professor in the McGill Department of Biochemistry and the Director of the Centre de recherche en biologie structurale. The Schmeing lab is interested in large macromolecular machines that perform important cellular processes. The lab researches the structures and functions of nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs). NRPSs are large microbial enzymes that synthesize their products through amide bond formation between building block monomers (most commonly amino acids). The chemical and biological properties of these compounds often make them useful to society as therapeutics (antibiotics, antivirals, anti-tumours, and immunosuppressants).

Dr. Véronique Dugas is the VP Scientific Affairs at CQDM (Consortium de recherche biopharmaceutique). She joined the CQDM in June 2018 as Director, Fonds d’accélération des collaborations en santé. She previously worked for nearly seven years at Mitacs where she focused on research funding and collaborations between public and industrial partners. Véronique was awarded a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montreal in 2011. During her career as a scientist, she focused on immunotolerance mechanisms and genetic risk factors for autoimmune pathologies, including Type 1 diabetes. Afterward, she earned a Science and Engineering MBA at ESG UQAM, before pursuing her academic training as the first student from UQAM to complete a Short Graduate Program in Program, Projects and Services Evaluation.

Dr. Donald Sheppard is the Executive Scientific Director of the Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force of the Public Health Agency of Canada and practices clinical infectious diseases and medical microbiology at the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Sheppard’s research interests focus on elucidating the mechanisms by which biofilm-forming microorganisms cause human disease and resist antimicrobial therapy in order to develop new therapeutics for these infections.

Dr. Bastien Castagner obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Columbia University in New York in 2004. His postdoctoral years were spent at ETH Zürich from 2005 – 2008. From 2009 – 2014 he was a Group Leader in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zürich working on drug delivery approaches. He joined the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at McGill in 2014 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2020. He holds the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Therapeutic Chemistry. His lab is interested mainly in drug discovery, notably against C. difficile infection. He is also interested in targeting the human gut microbiota with prebiotic approaches, in particular against cancer.




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