Dr. Dawn Bowdish is a Professor in the Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine and McMaster Immunology Research Centre. She is also the Executive Director of the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health; Tier 2 CRC in Aging and Immunity, University Scholar and Member of the Royal Society College of New Scholars.

Dr. Bowdish started her laboratory at McMaster in 2009. The Bowdish’s laboratory has two major focuses -1) how age and inflammation alter innate immune function and increase susceptibility to infection and 2) uncovering how the microbiome changes with age and contributes to healthy/unhealthy aging and the development of chronic inflammatory conditions. She runs the PreClinical Studies in Aging Lab (www.psal.ca), Canada’s only aging mouse facility dedicated to uncovering non-genetic factors associated with healthy/unhealthy aging.

Dr. Bowdish and her team's expertise in the aging immune system and infections/vaccinations allowed her team to quickly pivot to understanding infection & vaccination responses to COVID-19. She and her colleagues Dr. Andrew Costa, Ishac Nazy, Jonathan Bramson, Maggie Larche, Sonia Anand, Judah Denburg, Matt Miller, MyLinh Duong, Darryl Leong and others have collectively studied vaccine responses in over 3,000 people in many vulnerable populations such as long-term care residents, pregnant women, First Nations, South Asians and frontline workers. She is deeply appreciative of the support of the Department of Medicine and the entire McMaster community to be able to work together, to go farther faster during these challenging times.

Dr. Bowdish has over 100 peer reviewed publications, invited reviews and editorials, 4 white papers and 11 book chapters. She has an h-index of 47 with more than 9000 citations (>5000 since 2015). Her discovery that the microbiome contributes to unhealthy aging has resulted in invitations to give >100 scientific talks in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia and > 50 talks to lay/broad audiences, knowledge users, policy makers and media in the last 5 years. She has received over 3 million dollars in research funding from the CIHR, NSERC, NIH the Lung Health Foundation, and the Weston and Boris family foundations.

Dr. Bowdish sits on the Board of Directors of the Lung Health Foundation Ontario where she advocates to improve lung health and to increase funding for research. She has received recognition for her community outreach in the form of a McMaster Student’s Union Community Engagement Award, for her research in the form of a Breathe New Life Award  for the top rated grant from the Ontario Thoracic Society/Ontario Lung Association’s Grant in Aid program and for her graduate student supervision in the form of a Best Teacher Award from the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine. Her trainees have gone on to positions in industry, academia and law. Dr. Bowdish collaborates frequently with Drs. Verdú, Schertzer, Sloboda and Surette. 

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