24On February 6, 2014 McGill’s Department of Immunology celebrated the inauguration of the new Microbiome and Disease Tolerance Centre (MDTC), an advanced research and education centre located at McGill.

“We plan to be a world centre for the study of how the microbes that live in our bodies modulate our health and help us to be healthy and to prevent disease,” said Professor Joaquin Madrenas, MDTC Director, Canada Research Chair in Human Immunology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “This is where we have a tremendous opportunity that bridges what is already a global initiative – which is the mapping of the human microbiome – and translate this data into biological mechanisms with an impact in health. We plan on covering basic scientific research and clinical research and translating these into outcomes that will have an impact in the community.”

“The relationship between microbiome and disease tolerance is a field that really did not exist five years ago,” noted Dr. Rob Knight of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who earlier in the day delivered a presentation titled “Gut Microbes and their Role in Obesity and Malnutrition” as part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology Infection and Immunity Seminar Series.  “One of the things that is really exciting about this centre is the combination going from field work to molecular mechanisms to pathogenesis to vaccine development and being able to put together that pipeline of expertise to take observations in the field, understand the mechanisms in the lab and then take them back into the clinic.”

“This is a very exciting initiative. It’s an initiative that deals with scientific excellence. It’s cutting edge. It involves a number of scientists from a number of departments from a number of faculties across several universities,” said Dr. Samuel Benaroya, Associate Vice-Principal of Health Affairs at McGill. “[Interdisciplinarity] is the way that you develop cutting edge thinking nowadays and this is a priority of the university to focus on this in order to be able to go to the next level of thinking on a number of important issues. Infectious disease and inflammation is a key priority of the Faculty, so from a Faculty and University perspective this initiative fits in perfectly with our strategic priorities.”

A short reception and ribbon cutting marked the Centre’s official opening.


February 7, 2014