News and Events
Our Researchers in the News
UCalgary researchers discover the microbiome’s role in attacking cancerous tumours
Findings show how our gut bacteria can enhance immunotherapy to battle different forms of cancer
Researchers with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered which gut bacteria help our immune system battle cancerous tumours and how they do it. The discovery may provide a new understanding of why immunotherapy, a treatment for cancer that helps amplify the body’s immune response, works in some cases, but not others.
The interconnectivity of the world has never been more apparent to us than during a pandemic. Tapping into our natural need to connect with one another is a logical first step to solving some of our biggest global issues.
One of these global issues is the containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is when “microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics).” When this change occurs, these microorganisms, which are often referred to as ‘Superbugs’ develop AMR, which results in the medicines becoming ineffective.
Check out page 23 of the new edition of Horizons, Olds College Newsletter, on "Health Impacts of Optimized Pre-conditioning in Beef Cattle” story, one of the AMR - One Health Consortium projects, chaired by Principal Investigator Dr. Karin Orsel from the University of Calgary, and Co-Investigator, Sean Thompson, Manager, Technology Access Centre (TAC) for Livestock Production, from the Olds College.
Five ways COVID-19 will change the food business
Eating at home more and sticking with online delivery or takeout are habits likely to persist even as pandemic measures ease, according to one expert.
“The ‘new normal’ is unlikely to be the same for retail and food service as life was in January of 2020,” when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Canada, said Ellen Goddard, one of the AMR - One Health Consortium Principal Investigators and the University of Alberta food economist.
The Quirks & Quarks listener show with Kathy McCoy
Fungi play a critical role within our gut microbiome, research finds
Many fundamental scientific questions about the relationships between microbiomes and their hosts are unanswered. We know that bacteria in the microbiome are critical but there is little known about the role of fungi. Fungi have prominent roles in soil, marine, plant, and even food microbiomes. But what about the gut? Do gut fungi directly impact the microbiome, gut physiology and human immunity?
A recent study by Dr. Marie Claire Arrieta, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), and Co-principal Investigator with the AMR-One Health Consortium, shows that fungi have a larger role in the development of the gut microbiome than we realized.
Leading metabolomics researcher in Faculty of Science mobilizes lab to help with COVID-19 relief
Dr. Ian Lewis, one of the AMR-One Heath Consortium Co-Investigators, has devoted his career to developing faster, more efficient ways to diagnose infections. Now, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, he and his collaborators are ready to face an unprecedented challenge as his field of research is being thrust into the spotlight.
Premier Kenney says he might bring in tests and vaccines for COVID-19 not yet approved
Ryan Jespersen talks news, politics, and pop culture. He's one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People and one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 on Avenue Magazine’s inaugural list, Ryan has established himself as a next-generation mover and shaker in Alberta’s capital city.
Check out Ryan's recent discussion with Dr. Lorian Hardcastle, assistant professor, faculty of law, University of Calgary, and one of the AMR-One Health Consortium Principal Investigators on Premier Kenney's recent announcement saying "he might bring in tests and vaccines for COVID-19 not yet approved by Health Canada"
The Effects of COVID-19 on the Health System: Legal and Ethical Tensions Part II
Since it appeared in Canada at the end of January, the number of cases of COVID-19 has steadily increased. Despite considerable efforts to contain the spread of the disease, Canada has seen over 1000 new cases per day since late March, with this number reaching 1600 new cases in a single day on April 5. On April 7, 58 people succumbed to the disease in one day. The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak raises numerous pressing legal and ethical tensions.
UCalgary researchers tapped to help mitigate spread of coronavirus
Three University of Calgary-led research teams including Dr. Dylan Pillai and Dr. Myles Leslie, AMR – One Health Consortium Principal Investigators have received over $1.6 million in federal funding to accelerate the development, testing and implementation of countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19, and its consequences on people and communities.
Drug meant for Ebola may also work against coronaviruses
A group of University of Alberta researchers who have discovered why the drug remdesivir is effective in treating the coronaviruses that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) expect it might also be effective for treating patients infected with the new COVID-19 strain. “Even if you know a drug works, it can be a red flag if you don’t know how it works,” said virologist Matthias Götte, one the AMR – One Health Consortium Principal Investigators.
Coronavirus outbreak raises ethical dilemmas for governments and health-care systems
From the restriction of fundamental liberties to the rationing of scarce medical resources, the spread of COVID-19 is expected to raise extraordinary ethical dilemmas for leaders in government and the health-care system.
Check out what Lorian Hardcastle, a professor in the faculties of law and medicine at the University of Calgary, and one of the AMR – One Health Consortium Principal Investigators had to say in this regard:
Why doctors find fighting the coronavirus so challenging
Canadian infectious disease specialist Dr. John Conly says scientists don't yet understand the virus's transmission.
Who are you? Event guests take a quiz to learn more about their microbiomes
UCalgary expertise featured at Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
On-demand talk – Our lifestyles, our microbes: The hidden connection
In this sold-out talk at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Dr. Kathy McCoy, one of the Principal Investigators of the AMR-One Heath Consortium from the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, discusses the effect of modern lifestyles on the human gut.
How our relationships and our environments change our microbiomes?
Do our guts reflect the people around us? How our relationships and our environments change our microbiomes?
Check out this article from Laura Sycuro, AMR researcher from the University of Calgary, and learn how our microbiomes are affected by our places, our pets and our people.
Check out Jon Dennis, AMR researcher from the University of Alberta and his lab who have recently been featured in a CTY W5 piece called "Superbug Killers".
The problem of antimicrobial resistant bacteria has become a serious threat to all of us.
Listen to freelance broadcaster Don Hill talk with AMR researchers, John Conly from the University of Calgary and Ellen Goddard at the University of Alberta about the problem of AMR and the report’s findings.
AMR in the News
AVMA Report Details Antimicrobial Resistance Impact In Cattle
August 26, 2020
Research results enabled the scientists to develop an easy-to-reference, host-specific summary detailing pathogens of concern for cattle, followed by details about each pathogen and its resistance profile. ( AVMA )
World Health Organization
Record number of countries contribute data revealing disturbing rates of antimicrobial resistance
Geneva—A record number of countries are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance - marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance. But the data they provide reveals that a worrying number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines at hand to treat them.
The Pew Charitable Trusts:
Tracking the Global Pipeline of Antibiotics in Development
The most recent assessment of the Global Pipeline shows that there are 41 new antibiotics in development. These drugs would potentially address many, but not all, resistant bacteria. However, given the inevitability that some of these antibiotics will fail to win approval, and that resistance will eventually develop to those that are approved, it is clear that there are too few drugs in development to meet current and anticipated patient needs.
Solving AMR through a One-Health lens
The newly-funded Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium managed out of Ucalgary* is about to play an important role in how we safeguard the eroding ability of antibiotics to save lives and prevent illness. Its role will be to leverage the capacity and expertise across Alberta, nationally and internationally to find solutions to a looming antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis in humans and animals that spills over to the environment—hence the one health approach. Currently, several thousand Canadians die every year from infections with multiple drug-resistant bacteria, and the rate of increase is exponential. Worldwide, the economic impact of these infections is estimated at US$100 trillion/year.
Check out the Livestock Gentec interview with Dr. Herman Barkema, Scientific Director of the AMR – One Health Consortium in this regard:
More deaths, fewer joint replacements, huge costs: The superbug crisis is already here, report warns
According to an expert panel report, 26% of bacterial infections are now resistant to the drugs normally used to treat them, a rate predicted to reach 40%According to an expert panel report, 26% of bacterial infections are now resistant to the drugs normally used to treat them, a rate predicted to reach 40%.
Drug-resistant ‘superbugs’ could take a heavy toll on Canadians if not tackled head-on: Winnipeg researcher
Up to 400,000 Canadians could die over the next three decades if the country top doctors don't work on combating drug-resistant 'superbugs', says a new report.
Professor urges conservation and innovation to stop antibiotic-resistant superbugs
In the wake of a new report that predicts the deaths of nearly 400,000 Canadians in the next 30 years to antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a Canadian academic is urging the government and pharmaceutical companies to do more.
A long forgotten Canadian discovery used to treat superbugs
A cystic fibrosis patient infected with a dangerous superbug has become one of the first Canadians to try phage therapy -- inhaling viruses found in sewage to kill the bacteria in her lungs. The experimental treatment, discovered in Canada over a century ago, may become a new weapon in the war against drug resistant bacteria.
Gazette - Memorial University of Newfoundland
A role for everyone
It’s no secret that Newfoundland and Labrador is the best of the worst when it comes to antibiotic prescribing in Canada. Prescribing rates in the province are much higher than the national average, and those rates pose a considerable public health risk. Overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of resistant bacteria, which can mean …
How a Winnipeg entrepreneur is using Mother Nature’s deadly weapon to fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs
One to watch: Steven Theriault’s research on bacteriophages has put him at the cutting edge of a potential bio-medical revolution
One Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Conference
Nov. 19 - 20, Edmonton, Alberta
Virtual Conference to be held 2021
The ABVMA is postponing the One Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Conference originally scheduled for Nov 19-20, 2020. The conference will now be offered virtually in spring 2021 (dates TBD).
Updates can be found at: www.ohab.ca/one-health-2020/.
AMR – One Health Consortium Annual Retreat
Nov. 25 - 27, Banff, Alberta
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the 2nd Annual Retreat, originally planned for Nov 25-27, 2020 in Banff, will now be delivered in a new virtual format. The Consortium, in collaboration with One Health at UCalgary, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association and Genome Alberta will be hosting a multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral workshop series around issues that are threatening human, animal, and environmental health, and the sustainability of Alberta's livestock industry. The workshop series will be open to public and bring together stakeholders from private sector, academia, and government for presentations and panel discussions.
Stay tuned for more information!
One Health at UCalgary Seminar: Animals & COVID-19
What are the risks of COVID-19 transmission to animal? How should you protect your pet and yourself from COVID-19? How does it move between species?
One Health at UCalgary held a conversation webinar about Animals and COVID-19 on May 27, 2020.
Craig Jenne (Infectious Disease Specialist), Doug Whiteside (Zoo Veterinarian) and Rebecca Archer (Companion Animal Veterinarian) came together to discuss what we know about animals and COVID-19, how we can mitigate the risk to animals, and help us to understand the risk of transmission between animals and people.
AMR – One Health Consortium First Annual Retreat
The AMR – One Health Consortium first annual retreat was held on Oct 10-11, 2019, in Banff with more than 100 attendees.
This retreat was aimed at connecting Consortium team members within and across work packages, facilitating networking, and determining ways to best to align/collaborate in the future.
Work Package Leads and/or Principle Investigators provided short presentations on behalf of their projects. Updates was provided on key ongoing initiatives in the area of AMR, with discussions on how we can better leverage/contribute to these opportunities in the coming years.