The research of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology is even more multi-disciplinary then suggested by its long name. Professors in the department include specialists not only in the basic biosciences, but also in various methodological disciplines. Laboratories seeking answers to biological questions conduct research in strict biochemistry, population genetics, neuroscience, immunology relating to bacterial and viral infections, including innate and cellular responses, viral pathogenesis including HIV, biofilms, gut microbiome in health and disease, stem cell development into immune cells, and multiple areas of systems biology. Since such fundamental research in the biosciences is propelled by advances in scientific methods and tools, methodologists in the department conduct original research in imaging technology, proteomics, computational biology, and biostatistics. The resulting synergy of ideas has led to many successful collaborations within the department, supplementing the many international collaborations in which the department's professors, postdoctoral researchers, and students engage. Six core members and four cross-appointed members of the department are Canada Research Chairs. BMI also has one University Research Chair in addition to the six CRCs.
In addition, many BMI faculty organize their research in specialized groups for collaboration. First, scientists in BMI have recently formed a research group named as GRIP (group for research in inflammation and pathogenesis), which engages researchers throughout the Faculty of Medicine. Objectives of the research group are to develop new collaborative, innovative and multi-disciplinary research projects.
Second, the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology develops and applies systems biology to biological studies relevant to human diseases.
Finally, we have a comprehensive CIHR Training Program in Neurodegenerative Lipidomics that funds both an extensive curriculum and undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral awards.
New Initiative (GRIP): Group for Research in Inflammation & Pathogenesis
Working closely with the Office of International Research of the Vice President Research of uOttawa, the Department of BMI is actively seeking and promoting scientific collaborations internationally. In the past several years, BMI core members have collaborated with scientists in Australia, China, France, Italy, Netherland, Sweden, Taiwan, and USA, among others. BMI has also hosted many international speakers lecturing at our departmental seminar series. This page provides an update on recent international academic activities and on funding opportunities in international collaborations.
Collaboration with Japan
Dr. Andrew Makrigiannis, Associate Professor with BMI has been in close collaboration with researchers from Japan. One such collaborator is Dr. Noriko Toyama-Sorimachi from the International Medical Center of Japan in Tokyo. This collaboration encompasses research on the innate immune system. Specifically, the role of class I MHC receptors on leukocytes such as dendritic cells, neutrophils and macrophages during pathogen responses is being studied. Using complementary transgenic and gene knock-out approaches the labs together have shown that the Ly49Q surface protein on immune cells positively regulates cytokine production and cellular migration in response to bacterial or viral challenge.