Infectious Diseases Centres at McGill
McGill AIDS Centre
About 35 million people (including 25 million in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, and every year, another 2.3 million people become newly infected with HIV. Since its inception in 1990, the McGill AIDS Centre has strived to coordinate McGill-based research into HIV/AIDS at each of the basic science, clinical, epidemiological, and social science and behaviour levels. McGill scientists are considered second to none in Canada in regard to total research output and accomplishments. 3TC, a drug developed by BioChem Pharma Inc. and GlaxoWellcome Inc., was initially identified as having anti-viral activity at McGill AIDS Centre laboratories at the Jewish General Hospital. McGill scientists have also contributed important evidence in regard to the function of each of the reverse transcriptase, protease, and integrase enzymes, all of which are essential for HIV replication. McGill scientists were also among the first to identify the problem of HIV drug resistance, and have contributed compelling scientific information to this field. In the clinical domain, McGill-based scientists continue to participate in a large number of cutting-edge clinical and diagnostic trials that will provide enormous insight into our ability to rapidly diagnose HIV, control HIV infection and to prevent clinical deterioration in patients with HIV disease.
McGill International TB Centre
Despite the recognition of its cause in the 19th century and the development of a vaccine and effective antibiotics in the 20th century, TB continues to be the single most important bacterial pathogen of humans, responsible for about 9 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths per year. It is axiomatic that TB continues to occur due to a combination of bacterial attributes, host factors and environmental contributors, yet few groups possess the breadth of research expertise to account for each of these, in isolation, and together. The McGill International TB Centre is a world leader in the interdisciplinary study of TB. This Centre brings together over 20 investigators with expertise ranging from economics to mouse models, working both at an academic centre and with a number of collaborating groups around the world. The Centre includes researchers interested in biomedical, clinical, epidemiologic and social determinants of TB. Their work aims to develop and evaluate new diagnostic tests, new vaccines and new treatment regimens for the control of TB and other mycobacterial diseases. TB Centre investigators have a wide range of collaboration, among themselves and with numerous groups outside of McGill, and Canada, for the study of TB and other mycobacterial diseases. The team has contributed to over 20 global policies on TB and is highly productive (>160 publications/year, with over $6 million held in grants during 2014).
The Program in Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health (IDIGH) at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC)
The vision for the program in Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health (IDIGH) is to (i) act as a catalyst for innovative research programs, to establish discovery pipelines in select diseases, and to enhance research competitiveness of program members; (ii) to train the next generation of scientists in biomedical, clinical, and health outcomes research; and (iii) to make program members aware and facilitate the exploitation of the shift of research funding that health research will experience in the short- and mid-term. To do so, IDIGH will integrate the existing but fragmented strength in infectious diseases, immunology and global health at the RI-MUHC into workgroups that will implement a strong translational focus.
J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University
Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of infections caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. 17 neglected tropical diseases are prioritized by WHO, and they affect more than 1 billion people worldwide. The J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University is a world-renowned centre of expertise, research, and training in Clinical Tropical Medicine, including neglected tropical diseases, and is the largest of its kind in North America. The Centre includes the Tropical Disease Clinic, the Pre-travel clinic, the Clinical Parasitology Section of the Department of Microbiology, and the National Reference Centre for Parasitology. It brings together 11 physicians, 2 PhD scientists, 2 Travel-Health Nurses, and highly specialised technologists. Core activities include medical care for travelers, immigrants, and refugees, with particular expertise in imported and parasitic infections. The Centre also provides care for Canadians with locally acquired endoparasitic and ectoparasitic diseases or exposure to imported pathogens. The team provides comprehensive pre-travel health assessment and medical advice and is part of the global GeoSentinel network for surveillance of imported infections. The Centre provides training for health care professionals at all levels and delivers reference laboratory services in clinical parasitology. Investigators at the Centre are active in several areas, including clinical parasitology, parasite diagnostics, parasite epidemiology, vaccine immunology, as well as cold-climate parasitoses and circumpolar health.
McGill Institute of Parasitology
Parasitic diseases, especially malaria, are a major cause of the global burden of disease. In 2013, there were about 198 million malaria cases and an estimated 584,000 malaria deaths. The Institute of Parasitology is one of the oldest recognized centres of interdisciplinary research in Canada. The Institute focuses on parasitic organisms, the relationship with their host and the means to limit the impact of parasitic diseases on health and wellbeing. The Institute of Parasitology is part of the Quebec Centre for Host-Parasite Interaction (CHPI), funded by the FQRNT régroupement strategique program and is one of the longest standing research centres of its type, beginning in 1973. The CHPI supports the interaction of more than 30 research labs throughout Quebec that focus on parasite research. The Institute maintains a close working relationship with the J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases, the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance, and the Faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Medicine, and Science of McGill University. The Institute hosts an active Graduate Research program with students from Canada and around the world at the MSc and PhD level.
McGill University Research Centre on Complex Traits – MRCCT
Members of the Complex Traits Program at the Bellini Life Sciences Building currently focus their research activity on several aspects of host: pathogen interactions, including early sensing of pathogens, inflammatory response, as well as innate and acquired immunity against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. The current effort targets not only the host genes, proteins and response pathways involved, but also the microbial pathogenicity determinants that trigger such responses. The effect of these cellular and biochemical responses on the regulation of other important events, such as cell division, cell death and neoplastic transformation is also being investigated by members of the Group. The basic science insights discovered by this group are vital for the development of next-generation of vaccines, drugs, biomarkers, and diagnostics, and tools for research (e.g. mouse models, molecular and genetic risk factors).
McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity MI4
Infectious and immune diseases remain one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century. Clinicians, researchers and educators at McGill University and its affiliated hospital research institutes have long been at the forefront of the fight against these conditions. The McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) was conceived to bring together these many talented scientists, with the goal of developing new solutions for infectious and immune diseases and delivering these solutions to the patients and populations who need them most. MI4’s mission is to foster interdisciplinary translational research teams to generate new understandings of the microbial, host and environmental determinants that underlie the development of human infectious and immune diseases, as well as develop new preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to combat these conditions. MI4 strives to do this through research integration across all research pillars for four key challenges: 1) Antimicrobial Resistance; 2) Emerging Infectious Diseases; 3) Infections in Vulnerable Populations; and 4) Disease of Altered Immunity.