Research in the Media

Our Researchers in the News and on Social Media

Dr. Maziar Divangahi

Dr. Maziar Divangahi’s May 2018 publication in Science Immunology tries to explain why the vast majority of people infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) can tolerate the infection without developing disease. Dr. Divangahi’s team found that rather than fighting to resist the pathogen, the body’s tolerance to Mtb is the key mechanism for preventing the spread of the infection. More surprisingly, they found that having excessive levels of T cells, which are known as soldiers of our immune system, could cause more harm than good. The study determined that the mitochondrial protein cyclophilin D (CypD) acts as a key checkpoint for T cell metabolism and regulates disease tolerance in TB. (May 2018)

Science Immunology Publication from Maz Divangahi and Nargis Khan: Mitochondrial cyclophilin D regulates T cell metabolic responses and disease tolerance to tuberculosisMcGill Med e-News: Beyond Kiling Tuberculosis. Science Immunology paper by Divangahi lab.Is tolerating TB a better way to go than resisting it?Ending Tuberculosis in humans by learning to tolerate it






Dr. Maziar Divangahi

Dr. Maziar Divangahi was interviewed by CBC Homerun 88.5 FM about his latest research on the flu vaccine. His lab has taken on the challenge of trying to understand how the mechanisms of the immune system fight the flu in the hopes of finding new immunotherapies to combat the virus. The discovery of the RIPK3 protein that is involved in the regulation of immune response to the flu means help may be on the horizon. Their findings were published in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens in 2017. (February 2018)

Divangahi MUHC press release : Meet RIPK3: Good cop, bad cop, all in one

Tech Explorists news release on Divangahi PLOS paper: Meet RIPK3: a biological weapon to combat the flu

McGill Reporter on Divangahi PLOS paper: Meet RIPK3: Good Cop, Bad Cop, all in one

New Release for Divangahi PLOS paper: This protein keeps the flu from making more of itself

Dr. Carolyn Baglole and Dr. Benjamin Smith

Dr. Benjamin Smith, in collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Baglole and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, published “Human Airway Branch Variation and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their study shows that the internal anatomy of our lungs is surprisingly variable, and some of those variations are associated with a greater risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (January 2018)

MUHC News Release for Baglole and Smith PNAS 2018 paper: Unusual lung structures may raise risk of pulmonary diseaseMcGill newsroom: Baglole and Smith PNAS 2018 publication: Unusual lung structure may raise risk of pulmonary diseaseAAAS EurekAlert for Baglole Smith 2018 PNAS publication: Unusual lung structure may raise risk of pulmonary disease

FRQS report on Baglole and Smith PNAS publication: Atypical bronchial tubes: a risk factor for lung diseasePulmonary Advisor Article on Smith and Baglole PNAS publication: Guiding COPD Management Using Airway Branch Variation

COPD news Today article about Baglole and Smith 2018 PNAS paper: Airway Branch Variations Found That May Indicate Risk for COPDPatient Daily article about Baglole and Smith PNAS 2018 publication: Study indicates genetic variations may be indicators for COPD

Dr. Maziar Divangahi

Dr. Maziar Divangahi, his lab, and collaborators at McGill University and University of Montreal published a paper in Cell. Their work shows BCG-iv induces trained immunity through education of hematopoietic stem cells and offers long-term innate immune protection against M. tuberculosis infection. Up until now, efforts in generating a vaccine against TB have been mainly focused on T cells, with very disappointing outcomes in both pre-clinical as well as clinical trials. Now, Dr. Divangahi’s and Barreiro’s teams have shown for the first time that when BCG is administered to mice in a way that enables access to the bone marrow, it can reprogram stem cells. Dr. Eva Kaufmann, a postdoctoral fellow working on the project, was also interviewed by Radio-Canada. (January 2018) 

Press Release by the MUHC: Dr. Eva Kaufmann and Dr. Maziar Divangahi and their latest Cell Publication.McGill Med-E-News: Dr. Divangahi publication in Cell: Re-programming innate immune cells to fight tuberculosis

Divangahi Cell Paper Interview with Radio Canada International: Canadian researchers learn to reprogram cells to fight TBSciDevNet article for Divangahi Cell paper: Injecter autrement le BCG protege mieux contre la tuberculose

Divangahi Cell 2018 paper featured in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Highlights: TB vaccine induces innate response via bone marrow stem cellsTechnology Networks article on Divangahi Cell paper: Innate Immune Cells Reprogrammed to Fight Tuberculosis




Radio Canada interview with Dr. Eva Kaufmann on her Cell paper. The team is re-programing - or ‘training’ - immune cells to kill TB





Dr. Carolyn Baglole

Dr. Carolyn Baglole was interviewed about her recent grant entitled “Prognostic and therapeutic utility of human antigen R (HUR) in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis”. Her project received 2 year funding from Boehringer-Ingleheim’s Innovation in Understanding ILD (BUILD) program. (2017)

Carolyn Baglole hopes to unravel the mystery of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease that affects some 15,000 Canadians. She received funding from Boehringer Ingelheim's Innovation in Understanding ILD (BUILD) program. 

Dr. Elizabeth Fixman

Dr. Elizabeth Fixman and Dr. Brian Ward (IDIGH Program at RI-MUHC) co-authored a study in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology demonstrating that STAT6-IP reduces the development of allergic-type lung inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in mice re-challenged with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). (2017)


Dr. Russell Hepple

Dr. Russell Hepple was interviewed by the New York Times about his work with octogenerian athlete Ed Whitlock. Dr. Hepple performed tests on Whitlock at McGill and found Whitlock has an exceptional VO2 max (54 at age 81) and largely preserved number of motor muscle units. A study by Dr. Russell Hepple and Dr. Tanja Taivassalo that showed exercise can lower the risk of muscle wasting associated with aging was also featured in the New York Times (Dec and Mar 2016).

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Dr. Bruce Mazer

Pediatric allergy and immunology specialists Dr. Bruce Mazer and Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan (Montreal Children’s Hospital) started the GET-FACTS (Genetics, Environment and Therapies: Food Allergy Clinical Tolerance Studies) study in 2012. The program is having good success with helping children with milk allergies build up tolerance to milk protein by introducing the allergen very slowly into the diet. They were interviewed by CTV, La Presse, Radio-Canada, 98,5 fm, the Gazette, CJAD and Le Devoir (2016).

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Dr. Larry Lands

A new study (Journal of Cystic Fibrosis 2016) led by a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Cystic Fibrosis Canada reinforces the benefits of newborn screening for Cystic Fibrosis patients. Children with Cystic Fibrosis who are diagnosed through newborn screening are healthier and benefit more from new treatments.

lands_2016CF_1   lands_2016CF_2   lands_2016CF_3   lands_2016CF_4   lands_2016CF_5 Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis has been going on for up to nine years elsewhere in Canada and for decades in some places in the United States; Quebec should follow suit, Dr. Larry Lands writes

 Dr. Dao Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen’s research team discovered that there are variants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria commonly found in Cystic Fibrosis patients, that can cause a lot of inflammation (Science Advances 2015). In some cases, that inflammation leads to the need for lung transplants. Nguyen’s team is the first to make the connection between the bacteria and inflammation.

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 Dr. Christine McCusker

Dr. Elizabeth Fixman developed STAT6-IP, a chimeric peptide with the ability to enter cells and disrupt activity of the STAT6 transcription factor. STAT6 has been show to inhibit aberrant Th2 responses in the airways of preclinical models of respiratory syncytial virus infection (Eur J Immunol 2014) and asthma (J Immunol 2007; Clin Exp Allergy 2011; Mucosal Immunol 2015). The latter publication by Dr. Christine McCusker received significant media attention. This work was also selected for one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2015 selected by Québec Science and Dr. Christine McCusker was nominated as the Feb 2016 Researcher of the Month by Canadians for Health Research

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 Dr. Arnold Kristof

Dr. Arnold Kristof participated in the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance 50K Research Challenge. Watch his video below.

 Dr. Bruce Mazer

Dr. Bruce Mazer explains how the Learning Early about Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial is changing our approach to peanut allergy. The study (NEJM 2015) found that infants (between 4−11 months) who consumed at least 6 grams of peanut per week were significantly less likely to develop an allergy by 5 years of age, compared to infants who avoided peanut entirely.

mazer_peanut2015_1 mazer_peanut2015_2  mazer_peanut2015_3

 Dr. Basil Petrof

Innovation at the Glen: the CFI talks to our researchers (February 2015)

Basil Petrof: Accelerating new treatments for respiratory diseases  – Podcast

Basil Petrof heads the program for translational research in respiratory diseases at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. His research group recently participated in a clinical trial that proved the efficacy of a new therapy that burns away the muscle tissue in the lungs of asthmatic patients to help open their airways. It’s this kind of cutting-edge discovery that Petrof expects will move more rapidly from concept to proven treatment thanks to the new facilities at the RI-MUHC.

 Dr. Maziar Divangahi

A study by Dr. Maziar Divangahi (Immunity 2014) revealed that a drug that inhibits PGE2 increases survival of mice infected with H1N1 flu virus. This finding paves the way for urgently needed novel therapies that may be effective against the flu and other viral infections.

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Dr. Basil Petrof 

Patients Referred to Neurologists with Respiratory Symptoms: Is it Pompe Disease? (Podcast, October 2014)

Listen to the podcast here

 Dr. Dao Nguyen

Dr. Dao Nguyen’s investigated the behavior of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common bacteria in patients with Cystic Fibrosis. Her research (Science 2011) identified that when bacteria are starved, they develop a starvation-signaling stringent response, which allows them to better adapt and survive. This research showed that inactivating this protective mechanism can sensitize biofilms to various antibiotics, thus providing new insights on the mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance.

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