News & Events

New Tricks for Phages

18 February 2021|

In the latest issue of Molecular Cell, the Maxwell, Davidson and Moraes labs identify and characterize Aqs1, a multi-purpose DMS3 phage protein. Aqs1 binds and inhibits LasR, which is required for quorum sensing and the release of several anti-phage defenses in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. But that’s not all. Aqs1 also binds PilB, and thereby blocks pilus assembly. Since the bacterial pilus helps phage to infect, Aqs1 prevents further […]

Phase separation of macromolecules in health and disease

28 December 2020|

It is very hard to understand the effects of disease mutations that are prevalent in intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDRs). In a Perspective published in the December 23, 2020 issue of Cell, a collaborative Toronto team from the groups of Julie Forman-Kay, Alan Moses and Steve Scherer put forward both general and specific hypotheses for how IDR mutations lead to pathology in complex diseases, particularly in autism spectrum […]

Message from the Chair

18 December 2020|

Apologies for the delay – this semester has been pretty hectic and it’s been a while since I’ve had the bandwidth to put one of these notes together.

We’ve come through the semester pretty well all things considered. All reports are that undergraduate and graduate teaching has gone as well as can be expected – thanks to the Alexes, Jen Haughton and Carrie Harber for their hard work keeping those ships […]

Oliver P. Ernst

Oliver P. Ernst Wins the 2020 Konrad Adenauer Research Award

8 December 2020|

Our congratulations goes out to Professor Oliver Ernst, the recipient of the 2020 Konrad Adenauer Research Award.

The Humboldt Foundation’s Konrad Adenauer Research Award honours researchers from Canada whose fundamental discoveries and findings have helped shape their discipline beyond their immediate research area and whose personality and research have contributed to strengthening academic and cultural relations between Germany and Canada.

The Evolution of Biological Complexity from Junk

1 December 2020|

What if we told you that you have a brain not because of natural selection, but in spite of it?

In the latest issue of Cell, Professor Alex Palazzo and his collaborator, Eugene Koonin from the NIH, have advanced a new theory on how biological complexity evolves. Most scientists assume that novel genes evolve as a direct consequence of natural selection, but Palazzo and Koonin present evidence […]

Professor Karen Maxwell wins the John C. Polanyi Award

10 November 2020|

Congratulations to Professor Karen Maxwell who was awarded the 2020 NSERC John C. Polanyi Award.  She received this award for her pioneering work investigating how bacteria like Streptomyces fight of phages by producing small molecules. This breakthrough not only reveals new biology about bacterial-phage interactions, but it also opens up a new way to screen for drugs that could be useful for the treatment of human cancers and […]

Professor Alexio Muise, awarded the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 2020 Research Leadership Award

8 November 2020|

Congratulations to Professor Alexio Muise who was awarded the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 2020 Research Leadership Award. Professor Muise’s lab has been performing groundbreaking work into the genetic causes of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome and has published several ground breaking studies in the past few years.

Science Stand-Up Comedy Night Online

14 October 2020|

On Thursday October 22th Transcripts, in collaboration with Dnatured and the Biochem Department, is hosting an online Science Stand-Up Comedy Night. See the poster for details.

Nana Lee’s article on Virtual Connections published in University Affairs, Fall 2020

17 September 2020|

Hot off the press: Nana Lee’s article on Virtual Connections published in the print edition of Canada’s national University Affairs, Fall 2020.


Message from the Chair

3 September 2020|

Hello all,

Welcome to the new graduate students!

I would like to start by congratulating and welcoming all who have signed on to our graduate program for 2020-21. I realize that this is a strange time to be starting graduate school but I would like to say on behalf of the entire department, that we’re delighted you’re here. Normally we would all be off at our departmental retreat at this time however […]

Departmental News

7 July 2020|

Message from the Chair, Justin Nodwell.

Hello all,

I hope that your returns (partial or otherwise) to lab work have gone as smoothly as possible. None of the ‘new normal’ is perfect and there are some nagging problems that are still being worked on at our various locations. But I think we all agree that it is good and necessary to have this work going again.

In the mean time here […]

Palazzo and Moraes on federal funding for basic research

21 June 2020|

In the latest CSMB Bulletin, Alex Palazzo and Trevor Moraes urge the Canadian Government to increase funding for basic research.

From the article:

Why must governments increase their support for science?  Charities do support some science, but this tends to be in very focused areas and less exploratory in nature. As for the private sector, there is no incentive to engage in basic fundamental exploratory research, as it does not provide […]