|June 6, 2012
May 2012 CSM President Newsletter - Ivan Oresnik, University of Manitoba
Funding for Canadian Research
The last federal budget has been received with mixed reviews. Whereas a number of organizations have endorsed what the budget does for science and technology and in Canada, many have not. In particular, it is of note that both the journals Science and Nature have pointed out the deficiencies in the current approach to supporting basic research while increasing investment in industrial research. It is important to realize that industrial and applied research depends on a community that is capable of carrying out basic research. The immediate fall-out from the budget can be seen in the lower bin values that are associated with the NSERC Discovery grant program, the cancellation of the NSERC-RTI program, and the moratorium on the major facilities support program. The society is participating in organizations such as PAGSE that are actively advocating on the behalf of scientists in Canada. I strongly urge members of the society to write letters to their MP’s to let them know how you feel, with respect to the current policy.
Armand Frappier inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
Armand Frappier was a founding member of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists, and its third president (1954-55). It is with great pride to report that this past year he has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. A full accounting of his accomplishments, and links to a vignette are available at Canadian Medical Hall of Fame website http://www.cdnmedhall.org/dr-armand-frappier .
In order to honor Armand Frappier the Society has renamed one of its major awards. The CSM Gold award is now Armand-Frappier Outstanding Student Award/La bourse Armand-Frappier pour l'étudiant exceptionnel. We look forward to giving out this award for the first time this year at the 62nd Annual Conference that is taking place in Vancouver on June 20-23.
On March 4th-8th 2012 the Canadian Society of Microbiologists sponsored an expert international workshop on ‘Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment: Assessing and Managing Effects of Anthropogenic Activities’. The workshop brought together 40 experts from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and North Africa to the Chateau Montebello in Québec. Individuals were from academia, government and industry with expertise in microbiology, environmental chemistry, risk assessments, regulatory affairs, and the economic sectors germane to the issue; agriculture, wastewater treatment and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The workshop feedback was extremely positive and the workshop deliberations and conclusions are currently being written up for dissemination. The CSM thanks the following for their generous financial backing of the workshop: The American Cleaning Institute, AstraZeneca, Canadian Animal Health Institute, GlaxoSmithKline, Health Canada, Huvepharma, Pfizer Animal Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Roche, Federal Environment Agency of Germany, and Unilever.
For further information please contact Ed Topp, Chair, CSM Montebello Workshop firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for honorary members
Within the CSM bylaws there is a provision to instate honorary members. The number of honorary members is determined by the total number of full members (not more than 5% of regular membership). We are happy to announce that because we have grown as a society, we have space for new honorary members. We are less happy to announce that in the last few years a number of our honorary members have passed away. We would greatly appreciate nominations to fill some of these spaces. If you know of a member that you feel deserves to be an honorary member, please forward their name to the CSM secretariat’s office.
CSM is on Twitter-join the conversation! @CSM_SCM
Within the last two months the society has opened an official twitter channel! Since all government agencies regularly send out notices, Twitter can be used to rapidly disseminate news and announcements to the membership. In addition, with the contacts and followers features it can also foster the building of a community of microbiologists, which we feel, will strengthen the exchange of ideas and promote a strong voice for microbiology in Canada. If you do not have a twitter account, try one out and follow @CSM_SCM.
We are happy to announce this year’s award winners. The winner of the Murray Award is Eric Brown from McMaster University. Eric Brown is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 in Biochemistry studying proline utilization in bacteria at the University of Guelph in Professor Janet Wood’s laboratory. Subsequently, he moved to Professor Christopher Walsh’s research group at Harvard Medical School to research bacterial cell wall biosynthesis as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow. Further, he worked for three years in the Boston pharmaceutical sector with Myco Pharmaceuticals and Astra (now AstraZeneca) before joining the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster in 1998 and receiving a Medical Research Council of Canada Scholarship. Dr. Brown’s research interests are oriented toward novel antibacterial chemotherapy. To this end, he and his group are studying complex and poorly understood aspects of biology in bacteria using molecular genetic and chemical biology approaches.
The winner of Fisher Award is Brian Coombs from McMaster University. Brian Coombes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. He received his PhD in Medical Sciences in 2002 studying the pathogenesis of Chlamydia pneumoniae infections in the lab of Dr. James Mahony. From 2002-2006 he was a CIHR and Michael Smith Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Michael Smith Laboratories in the lab of Dr. Brett Finlay. There, he trained extensively in molecular microbiology, investigating the mechanisms by which Salmonella uses virulence factors to modify the host environment. In 2006, he moved to the Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences at McMaster where he runs an active research program in infectious diseases at the interface of humans, animals and the environment.
The Winner of the first Armand-Frappier Outstanding Student Award is Elena Breidenstein from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. Elena carried out her research in the laboratory of Bob Hancock. Her work has made major contributions to Pseudomonas biology and to the understanding of an important and insidious resistance phenomenon, adaptive resistance. The work has yielded 6 peer reviewed
contributions and 4 review articles in excellent journals.
Congratulations to all the winners! Each will be giving a talk at the upcoming Annual Conference that is being held in Vancouver. If you are unable to attend, each of the winners has also been invited to submit a review to the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.
The CSM has initiated a number of undergraduate awards as well as an Ambassador award for graduate students. A number of applicants for the undergraduate awards have been received, and at the time of writing, final decisions have not been made. Winners will be posted when they are determined. If you have not heard of these awards, approach your departmental representative. A list of representatives can be found here (http://www.csm-scm.org/english/about_exec_rep.asp). If you do not have a departmental representative or the list is out of date, please let us know.