News Archive

In the Heart of Hamilton is a Researcher Saving Lives One Breath at a Time: Dr. Martin Kolb

International research by Dr. Martin Kolb, in partnership with McMaster University and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, has helped to develop the world's first treatments for the management of IPF, a fatal disease in which irreversible lung scarring makes it difficult for patients to breathe properly.

Starting in 2018, Dr. Kolb will be the first North American to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the European Respiratory Journal, where he will be responsible for shaping the future direction of the Journal, and highlights the esteem held by the international community for the level of research excellence seen at St Joseph's.

A Researcher Saving Lives One Breath at a Time - Dr. Martin Kolb

New Tool for Cystic Fibrosis Patients: Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Hirota who has been awarded a New Investigator Research Grant sponsored by the SickKids Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This grant is to help create a new precision medicine tool for cystic fibrosis patients.

New Investigator Research Grant - Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Polanyi Prize-winner setting her sights on targeted asthma treatment: Sarah Svenningsen

Congratulations to post-doctoral fellow Sarah Svenningsen who is one of this year's prestigious Polanyi Prize winners.

Polanyi Prize Winner - Sarah Svenningsen

Study finds asthma and food allergies predictable at age one: Dr. Malcolm Sears

Children at one year old who have eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) and are sensitized to an allergen are seven times more likely than other infants to develop asthma, and significantly more likely to have a food allergy by age three.

Article - Study finds asthma and food allergies predictable at age one

Ten McMaster researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs: Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Hirota who was awarded Canada Research Chair in Respiratory Mucosal Immunology. Five members of the Faculty of Health Sciences are among 10 McMaster researchers to be recognized as leaders in their fields. Altogether they have been awarded $8.6 million from the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program to further their work, improve Canada's international competitiveness, and train the next generation of leaders.

Ten McMaster Researchers Awarded Canada Research Chairs

Innovator 2017 - Summer Edition: Exploring How Antibiotics and Probiotics Affect Behaviour: Dr. Paul Forsythe

Drs. John Bienenstock and Paul Forsythe investigate the effects that gut bacteria have on the brain.

Exploring How Antibiotics and Probiotics Affect Behaviour

European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress 2017: Dr. Manali Mukherjee

Dr. Manali Mukherjee, one of our post-doctoral fellows, won the best poster and abstract award in the session on Autoimmune Mechanisms at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress which took place in Helsinki, Finland from June 17-21, 2017. Congratulations Dr. Mukherjee!

2017 Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Golf Classic in Support of Critical Lung Health Research

Dr.'s Nathan Hambly, Martin Kolb, Mark Inman, and Ciaran Scallan participated in the 2017 Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Golf Classic in support of critical lung health research, sponsored by The Lung Association.

Study Finds Delayed Food Introduction Increases Risk of Sensitization: Dr. Malcolm Sears

Delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods until after a baby's first year may increase the likelihood of a food allergy later on, according to new findings from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.

The research, published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, found that infants who avoided cow's milk products, egg and peanut during the first year of life were more likely to be sensitized to these foods at age one.

"Food sensitization early in life is associated with an increased risk of wheeze, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis in later childhood," said Dr. Malcolm Sears, co-director of the CHILD Study and a professor of medicine at McMaster University.

Study Finds Delayed Food Introduction Increases Risk of Sensitization

New Drug Could Help People with Asthma Come Off Steroid Treatment: Dr. Parameswaran Nair

New research led by Dr. Parameswaran Nair has found a biologic that may reduce the need of steroid-based medications for patients with severe asthma - improving their quality of life.

Many patients who suffer from severe asthma take steroid-based medications – such as prednisone – to control their symptoms. But these types of medications carry with them a risk of long-term side effects, such as headaches, nausea, sleep problems and weight gain. This new trial found that giving patients with severe asthma a biologic called Benralizumab reduced their use of steroid-based medications by up to 75%.

New Medicine Shows Potential to Reduce Oral Steroid Use

2017 Frederick Hargreave Clinical Research Award: Sarah Svenningsen

Sarah Svenningsen was awarded the 2017 Frederick Hargreave Clinical Research Award for outstanding poster presentation at the Annual CTS Poster Competition at the ATS Conference in Washington, D.C. on May 20, 2017. Sarah has done us all proud by bringing home this award. This is a tremendous achievement. Congratulations Sarah!!!

2017 Frederick Hargreave Clinical Research Award - Sarah Svenningsen

Innovator 2017, Spring Edition: Meet Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Meet Dr. Jeremy Hirota

2017 Around the Bay Road Race

Congratulations to Team Firestone who once again participated in the Around the Bay Race which took place on Sunday, March 26, 2017. All funds raised support the compassionate patient care and ground breaking research here at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. Thank you to everyone who supported the Team!

2017 Around the Bay Fundraising

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Team Firestone had a very successful day of fundraising for the 2017 Around the Bay Road Race. Numerous faculty, students, staff, and even patients participated by selling samosa's and running/walking on a treadmill for 5 hours, totaling 54km and raising $2,486.00 to go towards respiratory research here at Firestone.

Giants in Chest Medicine: Dr. Paul O'Bryne

Dr. Paul O'Bryne shares his personal & professional journey in this interview for Giants of Chest Medicine.

Giants in Chest Medicine

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Dunedin Study featured in documentary series

AllerGen Research Leader Dr. Malcolm Sears is featured in a 2016 documentary series chronicling the lives of 1,037 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand during 1972-73. Episode 4: Dirt is Good, Dirt Poor is Bad features interviews with Dr. Sears and reveals how excessive cleanliness affects asthma and allergies, how poverty gets under the skin to cause lifelong damage, the physical effects of social isolation, and how mental illness and Alzheimer's can be predicted by looking at the back of an eye. Please find below the link to the episode. Congratulations Dr. Sears!

Dunedin Study featured in Documentary Series: Dr. Malcolm Sears

2016 J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine: Dr. Malcolm Sears

Congratulations to Dr. Malcolm Sears who was awarded the 2016 J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine. This award was presented at the Leaders in Innovation Dinner in London, Ontario on November 10, 2016.

Asthma Researcher Receives International Honour (McMaster Daily News)

2016 Anne and Neil McArthur Research Award: Dr. Paul O'Byrne

Congratulations to Dr. Paul O’Byrne who was awarded the 2016 Anne and Neil McArthur Award at “Celebrate Research Day” which was held at St. Joseph’s Hospital on October 13, 2016.

At this event, Dr. O’Byrne talked about the influence of the mentors that helped inspire his extraordinary research career and the advances made in the treatment of allergic asthma that has been driven by his research over the past 30 years.

Reinventing Care through Research: Dr. Parameswaran Nair

Dr. Parameswaran Nair is a respirologist and respirology researcher at the Firestone Clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. His research focuses on developing and applying non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in the treatment of severe asthma and COPD.

Reinventing Care through Research: Dr. Parameswaran Nair (Video)

2016 Taylor Prize Recipients

The Robarts Research Institute is pleased to announce that Drs. Malcolm Sears and Stephen Holgate are co-recipients of this year’s prize. Robarts has been awarding the Taylor Prize to leading scientists since 1985 and recognizes the contributions of outstanding internationally recognized researchers. Congratulations!

2016 Taylor Prize Recipients

New Endowed Chair Honours the Late Professor Frederick Hargreave: Dr. Parameswaran Nair

Dr. Parameswaran Nair is the inaugural holder of an endowed research chair named for the mentor who brought him to Canada and McMaster.

Nair, a professor of medicine in respirology, has been appointed the first Frederick Hargreave Teva Innovation Chair in Airway Diseases, named for the late Professor Frederick (Freddy) Hargreave, who was a pioneer in asthma research and patient care.

The chair has been established through a $1 million gift by Teva, the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the world, with additional funding from the Department of Medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

[Read more about the new endowed chair]

Meet our Firestone Miracle Worker: Dr. Gerard Cox

The St. Joe's Grateful Patient Program is a way our donors can say thanks for the excellent care they receive. Dr. Cox has been recognized 20 times and is deserving of the title "Mega Miracle Worker", a special honour reserved for those with 10 nominations or more. Congratulations!

Firestone Miracle Worker - Dr. Gerard Cox

2016 Paris to Ancaster: A Ride for Research

On April 24, 2016, St. Joe's researcher Drs. Kjetil Ask, Mark Inman and Michelle Kho participated in the Paris to Ancaster: A Ride for Research. Great Job!

2016 American Thoracic Society International Conference, May 13-18, 2016 - San Francisco

Drs. Kolb, O’Byrne, Jones and Cox. Past and present Directors, Division of Respirology. 

Zrinka DiVincenzo and Phil Kolb infront of his poster at the ATS Conference. The title of his poster was "How Basic Science Methodology Has Changed in the Context of the Bleomycin Model of Pulmonary Fibrosis. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 192; 2016. A4175".

President's Award — Diane Lawson

Diane Lawson has received the prestigious President’s Award for her outstanding service. She has made an outstanding contribution to the mission of the University by providing exceptional service to our staff, faculty and students.

2015-President's Award - Biography - Diane Lawson

Congratulations Diane on this very deserving award!

We are honored to have you as part of our team!

2016 Leadership Award for Health Research and Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Award: Dr. Parameswaran Nair

On May 7, 2016, Dr. Parameswaran Nair was honoured with the 2016 Leadership Award for Health Research and Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Award. This award is to recognize an outstanding Canadian Clinician Scientist working in the area of asthma.

Congratulations to Dr. Nair on this outstanding achievement!

Dr. Param Nair - Congratulations

2016 Around the Bay Road Race

Congratulations to Team Firestone who once again participated in the Around the Bay Race which took place on Sunday, April 3, 2016. All funds raised support the compassionate patient care and groundbreaking research here at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Thank you to everyone who supported the Team!

Keith Morgan Award for Excellence: Dr. Joshua Wald

Congratulations to Dr. Joshua Wald who was awarded the Keith Morgan Award for Excellence at the OTS Better Breathing Conference. This award was in recognition of his award winning Resident Case Presentation entitled "Great Expectorations".

Firestone Featured in Globe and Mail Insert: Perspective Hamilton 2016

The Research Institute has provided us with this insert that was sent in the Globe and Mail entitled “Perspective Hamilton 2016”. On page 6 of the insert there is an article “Saving the Lives of Canadians One Breath at a Time” that discusses the research that is done in the Firestone. On page 22 of the insert there is an article, “Integrating Care around the whole Patient: Innovative Model that Leads the Province”, that discusses LDAP and ICC and features Dr. Shargall.

Perspective Hamilton 2016

Dr. Paul O’Byrne Appointed New Dean & Vice-President of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences

Following an international search, Dr. Paul O’Byrne has been selected as the next dean and vice-president of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

Currently, Dr. Paul O’Byrne is the chair of McMaster’s Department of Medicine as well as the executive director of the Firestone Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The research that he conducts at St. Joe’s has transformed the lives of patients around the world that have been diagnosed with allergic asthma. His mentorship has inspired and guided the careers of many talented respiratory researchers that have conducted studies within our hospital, and who now practice respirology around the world.

"The Faculty of Health Sciences is unique in the world," said O'Byrne. "It is very successful, very collegial and extraordinarily collaborative in advancing science, patient care and education. I'm honoured to have the opportunity to ensure that success has every opportunity to continue. I couldn't dream of a better job."

While Dr. O’Byrne will assume his new role on July 1, 2016, he will also continue to lead the Firestone Clinic and engage in respiratory research at St. Joe’s.

We congratulate Dr. O’Byrne on his new appointment. We hope that his leadership in respiratory research continues to improve the treatments that we are able to provide to our patients, and serves as an inspiration to others that will follow in his footsteps.

Dr. Paul O'Byrne Appointed New Dean & Vice-President of McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Paul O'Byrne - The Hamilton Spectator

Award of Academic Excellence in the Clinical Research Associate Certificate Program: Ms. Afia Aziz-Ur-Rehman

Afia Aziz-Ur-Rehman has recently completed the Clinical Research Associate certificate program. The Clinical Research Associate (CRA) program, offered by McMaster University Continuing Education and affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences, is designed to develop the concepts, skills, strategies, attitudes and knowledge required to perform clinical trials.

Through her hard work, she has also been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Award of Academic Excellence in the Clinical Research Associate certificate program having achieved the highest grade point average of her class.

This distinction recognizes her consistent and excellent academic performance during the program.

Congratulations Afia!

Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: 4th Annual Rob's Ride

On October 23, 2015, Dr. Kjetil Ask (Faculty), Philipp Kolb (Clinical Research), James Murphy (Lab Research Assistant for Drs. Ask and Kolb), Pavitra Parthasarathy and Karun Tandon (Masters Students for Dr. Ask) participated in some indoor cycling action at the 4th Annual Rob's Ride for the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation at the River Oaks Community Centre in Oakville, Ontario.   

Zrinka DiVincenzo, Raquel Whitwell and Victoria Reynolds lent a helping hand at the registration desk.

All money raised will go to the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

Thank you to all those who participated and volunteered their time at this event!

Dr. Paul O'Byrne Elected a Fellow

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) works in partnership with the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering to form the three Member Academies of the Council of Canadian Academies. The academy recognizes the full breadth of academic health science ranging from fundamental science to social science and population health. Fellows elected to the Academy will be well recognized by their peers nationally and internationally for their contributions to the promotion of health science. They will have demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and a commitment to advance academic health science.

Such individuals are elected to the organization after a nominating and peer review procedure that seeks to recognize those who are marked by a record of substantial accomplishment. At the time of election, Fellows must be Canadian citizens or have been Canadian residents for the preceding three years. Election to Fellowship in the Academy is considered one of the highest honours for individuals in the Canadian health sciences community and carries with it a covenant to serve the Academy and the future well being of the health sciences irrespective of the Fellow’s specific discipline.

Fellows of the Academy are entitled to use the designation FCAHS (Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences) or MACSS (Membre de l’academie canadienne des sciences de la santé).

Dr. Paul O’Byrne has been elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). Considered one of the highest honors for Canadians in the health sciences community, CAHS Fellows are recognized for their innovative leadership, research excellence and commitment to advancing academic health science.

Attached are the elected fellows for 2015.


IPF Awareness Month: Representing the Patient Voice at Queen's Park: Dr. Martin Kolb

In commemoration of IPF Awareness Month, Dr. Martin Kolb was invited by the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to speak on behalf of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) at Queen’s Park.

The event was held to raise awareness of the disease among legislators and policy-makers – discussing the need for patients to have access to all available treatments. It is estimated that between 10,000-12,000 Canadians are diagnosed with IPF, and half of these patients will only live with the disease for an average of three to four years.

Dr. Kolb met with the Ontario Drug Plan's Executive Officer, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care representatives, MPPs and stakeholders and discussed the devastating effects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

His recent research has discovered that two new drugs can slow down the progression of IPF, offering the hope of a longer life to those with the disease. One of these treatments has recently been approved by Health Canada and is currently undergoing evaluation for coverage by OHIP.

New Treatment Offers Hope for an Incurable Disease: Dr. Martin Kolb

New drug slows lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis by 50 per cent. Attached is an article that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on August 24, 2015.

New Treatment Offers Hope for an Incurable Disease (Hamilton Spectator)

Hamilton Experts Help Chinese Doctors

Drs. O’Byrne, Kolb, Cox, McIvor and Wang participated in a Webex with Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease (GIRD). This international academic exchange web event entitled “Top Experts Ward Rounds with Remote Consultation” aim was to share complex cases and improve the diagnosis and treatment in China. Drs. O’Byrne, Kolb, Cox and McIvor were invited to join in this international consultation meeting with Chinese colleagues to share their valuable experience in the diagnosis and management of patients with lung diseases.

The Webex was very successful. More than 9000 doctors from over 2000 hospitals along with 100 additional participants from AstraZeneca China participated through the internet in China.

Attached is a media release as well as an article that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator.

2015 Respirology Publication: Dr. Nathan Hambly

Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Hambly on his recent publication which was published in the Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.

2015 Respirology Publication — Dr. Nathan Hambly

2015 Ann Woolcock Award: Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Hirota who was awarded the 2015 Ann Woolcock Award at the American Thoracic Conference on May 18, 2015.

2015 Ann Woolcock Award — Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Distinguished University Professor

Five of McMaster’s most extraordinary faculty members have been given the University’s highest honour.

Dr. Paul O’Byrne has been named Distinguished University Professor.

The title, created in 1996, goes only to those who achieve the highest level of excellence in teaching, learning and research.

Those recognized with the honour are considered "complete scholars" and have demonstrated an outstanding and sustained research record, innovation in teaching and learning and a history of service that has had an impact on the community.

The Provost’s office received 26 nominations for the title in December 2014.

“These truly are ‘complete scholars,’” said Provost David Wilkinson. “They represent the best of McMaster in teaching, research and community engagement, and should be proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to all five of our newest Distinguished University Professors.”

No more than 2% of all full-time faculty can hold a Distinguished University Professorship.

SJHH Research Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award

SJHH Research Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award has been given to Dr. Pierre-Simon Bellaye(Supervised by Dr. Martin Kolb).

2015 Around the Bay Road Race

Firestone Executive, Clinicians, Researchers, trainees and admins participated on the run this year to raise funds for Research Projects to be carried out to promote lung health at the Firestone. Thank you to those who supported us. We had a successful fundraiser.

Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA)


The Faculty of Health Sciences is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience. If there is an accessibility issue with this website, please contact us at