The main campus is located on 121 hectares (300 acres) of land in the residential neighbourhood of Westdale, adjacent to Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens. The university operates six academic faculties: the DeGroote School of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Social Science, and Science. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.
The university bears the name of Honourable William McMaster, a prominent Canadian Senator and banker who bequeathed C$900,000 to the founding of the university. McMaster University was incorporated under the terms of an act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1887, merging the Toronto Baptist College with Woodstock College. It opened in Toronto in 1890. Inadequate facilities and the gift of land in Hamilton prompted the institution to relocate in 1930. McMaster was controlled by the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec until it became a privately chartered, publicly funded non-denominational institution in 1957.
The university is co-educational, and has over 24,500 undergraduate and nearly 4,000 post-graduate students. Alumni and former students of the university can be found all across Canada and in 140 countries around the world. Notable alumni include government officials, academics, business leaders and two Nobel laureates. The university ranked 92nd in the 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 92nd in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 140th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings.
The Latest Updated Research News:
McMaster University research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Scientists find Canadian dirt containing Kryptonite for superbugs – June 26, 2014
- Stanford bioengineers create circuit board modeled on the human brain | neuromorphic – April 29, 2014
- Testing for safe water – with just 1 pill – April 29, 2014
- Fighting cancer with lasers and nanoballoons that pop
- Scientists reveal cause of one of the most devastating pandemics in human history | plague
- Mac scientists make breakthrough in superbug research
- As Machines Get Smarter, Evidence Grows That They Learn Like Us
- The Scientific 7-Minute Workout
- Anti-Psychotic Drug Pushes Cancer Stem Cells Over the Edge
- Eating Your Greens Can Change the Effect of Your Genes On Heart Disease
- New Antibacterial Chemical Compound Discovered
- Identifying ID Theft And Fraud
It’s a problem as old and as aggravating as eye drops themselves: as soon as the medicine goes in, almost all of it washes right back out again.
Now, McMaster chemical engineer Heather Sheardown and the graduate students in her lab have developed a better way to deliver medicine to the surface of the eye.
They have created microscopic packets of medicine that lodge themselves imperceptibly in the base of the tear film that makes up the wet surface of the eye.
There, the molecular packets, or depots, dissolve gradually, releasing medicine slowly and making it possible for people with conditions such as dry eye and glaucoma – which require daily drops – to receive the same degree of treatment from using drops just once a week.
Sheardown, a Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Scientific Director of the 20/20 NSERC Ophthalmic Materials Research Network, says that partners in the field had named the problem with conventional eye drops as one of the top issues in all of eye care.
The problem is that the eye does a good job of defending itself against foreign substances, making it difficult for the active ingredients in eye drops to do their work before the eye sheds them.
With conventional drops, 95 per cent of the medicine is typically lost before it has a chance to work, a frustrating inefficiency, especially for patients.
“It’s a lousy delivery system,” Sheardown says. “If you can deliver drops to the front of the eye at lower concentrations that work over a longer period, it could be huge.”
Sheardown’s team is in the final stages of proving the safety and effectiveness of the new technology, which was described recently in the journal Biomacromolecules. The research was funded by the 20/20 NSERC Ophthalmic Materials Research Network and The Boris Family Foundation.
Sheardown is presenting the new technology to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society in France in September.
She says there has been interest in commercializing the technology, and she hopes it will be on the market in the near future.
Learn more: NO LONGER LOST IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
The first steps towards developing a vaccine against an insidious sexual transmitted infection (STI) have been accomplished by researchers at McMaster University.
Researchers at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster have developed the first widely protective vaccine against chlamydia, a common STI that is mostly asymptomatic but impacts 113 million people around the world each year and can result in infertility.
In a study, recently published in the journal Vaccine, the researchers show that a novel chlamydial antigen known as BD584 is a potential vaccine candidate for the most common species of chlamydia known as Chlamydia trachomatis.
As most C. trachomatis infections are asymptomatic, chlamydia can often go untreated and lead to upper genital tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. This is why the promise of a vaccine would be extremely beneficial, says David Bulir, co-author of the study.
“Vaccine development efforts in the past three decades have been unproductive and there is no vaccine approved for use in humans,” said Bulir, who just finished his PhD in medical sciences at McMaster.
“Vaccination would be the best way to way to prevent a chlamydia infection, and this study has identified important new antigens which could be used as part of a vaccine to prevent or eliminate the damaging reproductive consequences of untreated infections.”
A dietary supplement containing a blend of thirty vitamins and minerals—all natural ingredients widely available in health food stores—has shown remarkable anti-aging properties that can prevent and even reverse massive brain cell loss, according to new research from McMaster University.
It’s a mixture scientists believe could someday slow the progress of catastrophic neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s.
“The findings are dramatic,” says Jennifer Lemon, research associate in the Department of Biology and a lead author of the study. “Our hope is that this supplement could offset some very serious illnesses and ultimately improve quality of life.”
The formula, which contains common ingredients such as vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, cod liver oil and other nutraceuticals, was first designed by scientists in McMaster’s Department of Biology in 2000.
A series of studies published over the last decade and a half have shown its benefits in mice, in both normal mice and those specifically bred for such research because they age rapidly, experiencing dramatic declines in cognitive and motor function in a matter of months.
Major advance creates the potential for useful new materials
Imagine throwing Lego pieces into the air and seeing them fall to the ground assembled into the shape of a house or plane.
Nature effortlessly does the equivalent all the time, using molecules as building blocks.
The right combination of ingredients and conditions spontaneously assembles structures as complex as viruses or cellular membranes. Chemists marvel at this very efficient approach to creating large molecular structures and keep searching for new ways to emulate the process using their own components.
Now, in a McMaster University laboratory, chemistry researchers have managed to coax molecules known as tellurazole oxides into assembling themselves into cyclic structures – a major advance in their field that creates a new and promising set of materials.
“This is a seed we have found – one we have never seen. It has sprouted, now we need to see how tall the tree will grow and what kind of fruit it will bear,” says Ignacio Vargas Baca, an associate professor in McMaster’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. “Once we understand the properties of these new materials, we can look at their potential applications.”
Researchers at McMaster University have uncovered significant new evidence in the quest for the elusive goal of gaining muscle and losing fat, an oft-debated problem for those trying to manage their weight, control their calories and balance their protein consumption.
Scientists have found that it is possible to achieve both, and quickly, but it isn’t easy.
For the study, 40 young men underwent a month of hard exercise while cutting dietary energy they would normally require by 40 per cent of what they would normally require.
“It was a gruelling affair,” says Stuart Phillips, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster and senior investigator on the study. “These guys were in rough shape, but that was part of the plan. We wanted to see how quickly we could get them into shape: lose some fat, but still retain their muscle and improve their strength and fitness,” he says.
The researchers divided their subjects into two groups. Both groups went on a low calorie diet, one with higher levels of protein than the other. The higher-protein group experienced muscle gains – about 2.5 pounds – despite consuming insufficient energy, while the lower protein group did not add muscle.
The lower-protein group at least had the consolation of not losing muscle, which is a predictable outcome of cutting calories and not working out, say researchers.
“Exercise, particularly lifting weights, provides a signal for muscle to be retained even when you’re in a big calorie deficit,” says Phillips.
Researchers were intrigued because the high-protein group also lost more body fat.
“We expected the muscle retention” said Phillips, “but were a little surprised by the amount of additional fat loss in the higher protein consuming group.”
The results showed that the high-protein group lost about 10.5 pounds and the low protein group only eight pounds. All of the participants, by virtue of the demanding six-days-a-week exercise routines, got stronger, fitter, and generally were in much better shape.
However, researchers caution this regimen is not for everyone.
McMaster researchers have come up a way for inventing molecule probes to quickly identify deadly bacterial strains of infectious disease.
The find, published as a “hot paper” by a German scientific journal because of its importance, shows promise for detecting specific strains of bacteria and tracking their specific trail of illness.
“With this new technology we will be able to develop molecular tools to recognize any superbug down to the specific strain, and there will be many wide-ranging applications,” said Yingfu Li, principal investigator and a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster.
The scientists have found a way to make DNAzymes, or single-stranded catalytic DNA molecules from a simple test tube technique that allows for isolation of rare DNA sequences with special functions.
The research team’s first success was the development of a molecular probe that precisely recognizes the strain which caused the 2011 Hamilton, Ont. outbreak of Clostridium difficile infection. This strain was very infectious, resistant to antibiotics and even fatal to some patients. Instead of having to do several different tests to narrow down to a positive identification of the specific strain, the researchers can now quickly pinpoint this superbug using their new molecular probe.
“This sets up the stage for numerous other applications where we can exploit synthetic DNAzyme probes for diagnosing infectious disease,” said Li.
The test can be done in less than an hour, compared to the current 48 hours, allowing for rapid, more accurate treatment of patients.
“This technology can be extended to the further discovery of other superbug strain-specific pathogens. For example, such technology would prove useful in the identification of hypervirulent or resistant strains, implementation of the most appropriate strain-specific treatments and tracking of outbreaks”, said Bruno Salena, a co-author of the study, an associate professor of medicine for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and a gastroenterologist with Hamilton Health Sciences.
“This technology is inexpensive, accessible without a lab, and will ultimately be adaptable to identify not just many other bacteria or viruses, but even other diseases,” he said.
New drug delivery method targets cancer cells – not the entire body – and limits chemotherapy side effects
Now, researchers are developing a better delivery method by encapsulating the drugs in nanoballoons – which are tiny modified liposomes that, upon being struck by a red laser, pop open and deliver concentrated doses of medicine.
Because the nanoballoons encapsulate the anti-cancer drugs, they diminish the drugs’ interaction with healthy bodily systems.
“The nanoballoon is a submarine. The drug is the cargo. We use a laser to open the submarine door which releases the drug. We close the door by turning the laser off. We then retrieve the submarine as it circulates through the bloodstream.” Lovell will continue fundamental studies to better understand why the treatment works so well in destroying tumors in mice, and to optimize the process.
McMaster Engineering researchers Emily Cranston and Igor Zhitomirsky are turning trees into energy storage devices capable of powering everything from a smart watch to a hybrid car.
The scientists are using cellulose, an organic compound found in plants, bacteria, algae and trees, to build more efficient and longer-lasting energy storage devices or capacitors. This development paves the way toward the production of lightweight, flexible, and high-power electronics, such as wearable devices, portable power supplies and hybrid and electric vehicles.
“Ultimately the goal of this research is to find ways to power current and future technology with efficiency and in a sustainable way,” says Cranston, whose joint research was recently published in Advanced Materials. “This means anticipating future technology needs and relying on materials that are more environmentally friendly and not based on depleting resources.
Cellulose offers the advantages of high strength and flexibility for many advanced applications; of particular interest are nanocellulose-based materials. The work by Cranston, an assistant chemical engineering professor, and Zhitomirsky, a materials science and engineering professor, demonstrates an improved three-dimensional energy storage device constructed by trapping functional nanoparticles within the walls of a nanocellulose foam.
The foam is made in a simplified and fast one-step process. The type of nanocellulose used is called cellulose nanocrystals and looks like uncooked long-grain rice but with nanometer-dimensions. In these new devices, the ‘rice grains’ have been glued together at random points forming a mesh-like structure with lots of open space, hence the extremely lightweight nature of the material.
This can be used to produce more sustainable capacitor devices with higher power density and faster charging abilities compared to rechargeable batteries.
Consumers are one step closer to benefiting from packaging that could give simple text warnings when food is contaminated with deadly pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, and patients could soon receive real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in their doctors’ offices, saving critical time and trips to the lab.
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new way to print paper biosensors, simplifying the diagnosis of many bacterial and respiratory infections.
The new platform is the latest in a progression of paper-based screening technologies, which now enable users to generate a clear, simple answer in the form of letters and symbols that appear on the test paper to indicate the presence of infection or contamination in people, food or the environment.
“The simplicity of use makes the system easy and cheap to implement in the field or in the doctor’s office,” says John Brennan, director of McMaster’s Biointerfaces Institute, where the work was done with biochemist Yingfu Li and graduate student Carmen Carrasquilla.
“Imagine being able to clearly identify contaminated meat, vegetables or fruit. For patients suspected of having infectious diseases like C. diff, this technology allows doctors to quickly and simply diagnose their illnesses, saving time and expediting what could be life-saving treatments. This method can be extended to virtually any compound, be it a small molecule, bacterial cell or virus,” he says.
The research, in its formative stage, addresses a key problem facing current paper-based biosensing techniques which are labour-intensive, sometimes costly and inconvenient, and often difficult to mass produce.
Read more: Inkjet printer could produce simple tool to identify infectious disease, food contaminants
A new discovery from researchers at McMaster University could be a major breakthrough in battling obesity and diabetes.
The team is hoping its discovery can lead to a pill or patch that would turn up the body’s “metabolic furnace” and burn more calories, said Gregory Steinberg, professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote school of medicine.
Their findings were published Monday in Nature Medicine. The study details how the Mac researchers identified an important hormone that is elevated in obese people and contributes to obesity and diabetes by inhibiting brown fat activity.
Brown adipose tissue, widely known as brown fat, is located around the collarbone and acts as the body’s furnace to burn calories. Obese people have less of it. McMaster researchers have discovered that a lesser known peripheral serotonin that circulates in the blood reduces brown fat activity or “dials down” the body’s metabolism.
Steinberg, the paper’s co-author and also co-director of MAC-Obesity, the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster, said the “results are quite striking.”
Steinberg said tests on mice showed a 25 per cent drop in body weight, without any change in diet or increased exercise. It may be the closest thing to a magic weight loss pill yet found. He said at first the results “seemed too good to be true.”
“We are very excited,” he said. “By reducing the production of this serotonin, it increases your metabolism.”
Steinberg said the serotonin “acts like the parking brake on your brown fat” and slows down metabolism.