Award Funds New Approaches For CCB's Dr. Katherine Bujold and Biology's Dr. Patricia Chow-Fraser

Biology Professor Patricia Chow-Fraser and Chemistry & Chemical Biology Assistant Professor Katherine Bujold are among the five McMaster researchers who've been awarded a combined $1.25 million from the Government of Canada's New Frontiers in Research Fund.

Pat and Katherine received special grants that support new approaches to research for projects disrupted by the pandemic. 

For Pat, the grant will support exploring a new way of conserving freshwater turtles in two Indigenous communities along Georgian Bay. Pat and her team of researchers were unable to access most of the endangered Blanding’s turtle’s habitats along Georgian Bay region because of pandemic restrictions. Pat will now take a new approach to mapping these habitats by bringing academics together with all other key stakeholders and land owners. This new approach will include field tracking and data collection by First Nations youth interns and cottage volunteers.

Together, they'll use novel GPS-enabled tracking devices and field-tested methods to confirm turtle occupancy using environmental DNA samples. Broader community involvement will likely lead to better implementation of any proposed conservation measures that result from the study. The innovative partnership arrangement could ensure long-term protection of turtles in remote areas even if access becomes interrupted again in future pandemics.

Katherine Bujold

Katherine will use her grant to introduce novel remote collaboration methodologies for early career researchers and students who've been unable to take part in collaborative research because of pandemic restrictions. These methodologies will include remote training in lab procedures using parallel workstations and the safe shipment of samples that are sensitive to Canadian winters.

Katherine's pilot collaboration with Janelle Sauvageau’s group at the National Research Council of Canada will develop nanoscale glycan-nucleic acid conjugates for therapeutic applications, combining her group’s work on nanoscale nucleic acid nanostructures with the work on glycan synthesis and characterization being done by Janelle's group.

The goal is to use these new methodologies to open the door for fully remote collaboration between researchers across Canada, regardless of physical distance.

McMaster researchers help develop rapid, reliable vitamin D test

Outdoor closeup of fingers holding a translucent pill up to bright sunlight

Philip Britz-McKibbin and his colleagues have developed a fast, cost-effective method to identify vitamin D deficiency that could help treat respiratory illness in critically ill children in a more timely, effective way. (Shutterstock image)

A McMaster researcher is part of a team that has developed a more efficient way to screen for vitamin D deficiency that could become a tool in the fight against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
Studies show vitamin D is an important pro-hormone with a powerful impact on immune function and metabolic health.
“Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent in Canada over the winter months due to the lack of sunlight exposure, which also coincides with respiratory illness season,” says Philip Britz-McKibbin, a McMaster professor of chemistry and chemical biology.
“Beyond its importance in bone health, vitamin D also plays a key role in stimulating immune responses to foreign pathogens while modulating inflammation.”
There was a need for a cost-effective and rapid test that assesses vitamin D status from a blood sample, he says.
Britz-McKibbin and his colleagues developed a rapid method to identify vitamin D deficiency in critically ill children, who would likely benefit from vitamin D supplementation.
The method is detailed in a paper published in The Journal of Lipid Research.
“The immunoassay system we were using had certain constraints related to precision and accuracy,” he says.
“We’ve developed a faster and more reliable method that is amenable to high throughput screening, unlike traditional methods.”
This work is part of an ongoing multicentre clinical trial, which is being led by pediatric critical care physician Dayre McNally from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, examining the safety and efficacy of high-dose vitamin D intervention to improve health outcomes following critical illness.
“This new screening method is extremely valuable for clinical trials evaluating therapeutic interventions in patients with vitamin D deficiency,” McNally says.
“Routine vitamin D screening can take several days, or is not routinely available at many Canadian hospitals.”
“If our trial shows that high-dose vitamin D is beneficial for critically ill children, this screening method can better guide treatment of vitamin D deficiency as standard care in Canadian pediatric intensive care units.”

Having a rapid test to identify vitamin D deficiency is “crucial,” particularly for cases of critically ill children, where delays in treatment may affect patient outcomes,says Karen Choong, pediatric critical care physician at McMaster Children’s Hospital, who co-authored the paper.
“This test is a major step in ensuring widespread testing is feasible and timely amongst the sickest children admitted to our hospitals.”
Researchers envision that home testing could be performed in the future using a finger pinprick of blood. This supports personalized health initiatives to ensure optimal vitamin D status, because treatment responses can vary widely between individuals.
For Britz-McKibbin, the development is an example of how fundamental science can be translated for clinical care.
“Here’s our inspiration to develop new analytical methods that can be a benefit for clinicians and ultimately be used to improve patient outcomes.”

APRIL 14, 2022

Organic Chemistry Teaching Assistant Job Posting

Department/School/Unit: Chemistry and Chemical Biology                                                           Bargaining Unit: CUPE 3906 Unit #1
Wage Rate: $25.81 (Class B)
Date of Posting: April 2022

Course #* Course Title # of TAs required Term** # of Hours

Projected Enrolment (if available)


Anticipated Duties (see below)

Chem 2OA3

Organic Chemistry I





K. Luska

L, S, G, P, O

*       Not all courses will be assigned teaching assistants as such decisions are subject to budgetary and enrolment considerations. Required courses with tutorial sections receive priority consideration.
**     As defined by the applicable Undergraduate or Graduate calendar found at and

Anticipated Duties:

Leading Tutorials/Overseeing Laboratories/Field Trip Supervision


Preparation (Reading, Attending Lectures, Meeting with Instructor)


Student Consultation (Emails, Office Hours)




Grading (Marking, Entering Marks)


Other duties as assigned:

Lecture/Laboratory/Tutorial Locations, Times and Days (if available):
-       Spring (2225) Term – supervision of in-person laboratories, grading of lab reports, consultation on grade inquires of lab reports, grading of examinations

Skills, Qualifications, Abilities and Experience – Required & Preferred:
-       Only students not having completed an undergraduate degree will be considered.
-       Students must have at minimum completed 5 chemistry or chemical biology courses (15 units), with 4 courses (12 units) having a laboratory component.
-       Preference will be given to students currently enrolled in a Chemistry or Chemical Biology program, as well as upper-year students.
-       Applicants are asked to submit resume and the application here found on the departmental website before the deadline listed below.

For additional postings as per 13.03(b):
Applications submitted to: Dr. Kylie Luska, 

Application deadline: Friday, April 22nd, 2021 by 4:30 PM 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, those legally able to work in Canada and at McMaster University will be given priority. McMaster is strongly committed to employment equity within its community, and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. Accordingly, the University especially encourages applications from women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities.


Please note: those who have not, at the time of application, been assigned 260 hours of Teaching Assistantship(s) will be given priority consideration. Those who have already been assigned 260 hours of Teaching Assistantship(s) at the time of application may nevertheless apply. Once the preference note above has been taken into account, applicants who have already been assigned 260 hours of Teaching Assistantship(s) may be offered the position, but in order to accept such offer they must obtain and submit written approval to work such additional hours pursuant to section 2.4.3 of the SGS calendar in the case of graduate student applicants, and from the appropriate Department Chair in the case of undergraduate applicants.



If you require this information in an alternate/accessible format, please contact Nina Bovair, Employee/Labour Relations Administrator at extension 23850.

Career Opportunity - Academic Department Manager III

 The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is searching for an Academic Department Manager.

Reporting to the Department Chair, The Academic Department Manager III is responsible for the strategic and operational management of a very large, complex academic department with multiple functions including graduate and undergraduate programming, fee for service facilities, labs, research institutes, centres, and external partnerships. This role plays an integral role in driving the department strategy and ensuring alignment with the strategic vision of the University, influencing the culture within the department, reinforcing university values and shaping the direction of the department offerings with a forward-looking perspective. 

Ranked as one of the world’s top 70 universities, McMaster University is known for teaching and research excellence. Our purpose is the discovery, communication, and preservation of knowledge. In our teaching, research, and scholarship, we are committed to creativity, innovation, and excellence. We value integrity, quality, inclusiveness, and teamwork in everything we do. We inspire critical thinking, personal growth, and a passion for lifelong learning. We serve the social, cultural, and economic needs of our community and our society. 

About the Department: The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, with a contingent of 29 full-time faculty members, conducts leading-edge research and top-tier training of undergraduate and graduate students in all areas of chemistry.  We boast world-class facilities and instrumentation and maintain rich collaborative relationships with many departments across campus and with various McMaster research institutes and core facilities including the McMaster Nuclear Reactor, the Biointerfaces Institute, the Institute for Infectious Diseases Research, and Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research.

About the Position: Reporting to the Department Chair, The Academic Department Manager III is responsible for the strategic and operational management of a very large, complex academic department with multiple functions including graduate and undergraduate programming, fee for service facilities, labs, research institutes, centres, and external partnerships. This role plays an integral role in driving the department strategy and ensuring alignment with the strategic vision of the University, influencing the culture within the department, reinforcing university values and shaping the direction of the department offerings with a forward-looking perspective. 

Key Accountabilities
•    Provides administrative and operational leadership, visioning and strategic planning, and advises the Chair and faculty members on financial and human resources, space, curriculum, academic planning, advising and scheduling, and other strategic matters.
•    Collaborates with the academic leadership of the department and senior administrative staff of the Faculty and with central offices such as the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the School of Grad Studies, the Office of the Registrar, Human Resources, Institutional Research and Analysis, ROADs, MILO, Finance, Facility Services. 
•    Provides critical analysis of the Department’s needs related to planning, resourcing and proposal development using detailed data analytics to develop and drive the Department’s strategy. 
•    Provides a link between incoming and outgoing faculty and staff on operational procedures and policy as they relate to undergraduate and graduate education, and research administration, and advises on new initiatives or changes to policies and procedures at both the department and university levels.
•    Plays an integral role in managing and overseeing all aspects of the Accreditation process (includes overseeing the administration of the annual Graduate Attribute measurement and collection process, as well as the preparation for the program visits) 
•    Manages and oversees the Internal Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) for both graduate and undergraduate programs. 
•    On a day-to- day basis, the Manager implements the policy decisions taken by the Department, Faculty, or University with respect to undergraduate and graduate students, and research administration, represents the department/programs on University-wide committees, and provides leadership and direction to the staff who provide service to students in the undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Other Key Areas Include: 

1)    Financial Management
•    Independently manages the financial resources (operating, research, facilities/services, research institutes and centres) of the department. 
•    Serves as the Chair’s delegate and has financial decision making and signing authority necessary for the continued operation of the Department. 
•    Develops and monitors financial policies and procedures and ensures compliance with University policies, participating in audits where necessary, develops and prepares reports. 
2)    Strategic Planning
•    Plays a key role in advising the Chair on strategic planning, not only in the respective Department but also within the Faculty.  
•    Drives the implementation of the department strategy and ensures alignment with the strategic vision of the University, influences the culture within the department, reinforces university values and shapes the direction of the department offerings with a forward-looking perspective. 
•    Provides critical analysis of the Department’s needs related to planning, resourcing and proposal development using detailed data analytics.
3)    Operational Management
•    Responsible for ensuring that the Department is managed in an effective and efficient manner.
•    Develops, implements, monitors and evaluates all infrastructure activities of the Department including staff recruitment, promotion, human resource, finance, research and teaching activities within the Department. 
•    Develops and facilitates marketing and communication plans for the Department. 
4)    Human Resources Management
•    Manages all direct reports including hiring, work assignment, conflict management, performance management, hiring disciplinary action, training and development for direct reports. 
•    Supports the Chair in hiring and onboarding all employees including Faculty, Sessionals ,Post Docs, IAs, TAs, work study, co-ops, technical and research staff 
•    Establishes and ensures adherence to quality and quantity standards and coordinates the resource needs of the staff, balances workloads, assesses and meets training requirements. 
5)    Physical Resource Management: 
•    Performs space analysis for space planning activities (including funding), tracking the NASM for budgeting purposes/reporting ensuring optimal space utilization within the Department 
•    Ensures the maintenance of a fixed asset and space inventory and creates asset replacement plans to accompany the budget each year. 
•    Serves as the main contact and must resolve all security issues. 
6)    Education Administrative Support: 
•    Responsible for managing the resources and infrastructure supporting education activities within the Department and is heavily involved in academic planning, advising and development. Educational activities include: 
•    Manages and participates in (representing the non-academic members of the Department) the Departmental Accreditation process (for external bodies such as IQAP and Accreditation Boards (for graduate and undergraduate programs) and internal process, i.e., department reviews). 
•    Accountable for administration of graduate and undergraduate programs (i.e., financial, statistical, external reviews). 
7)    Research Administrative Support: 
•    Oversees the administrative support of research activity within the Department
•    Observes and identifies opportunities for research collaboration, keeping the Chair informed. 
•    Consults with research finance on complex financial or legal matters as required, providing advice and direction to the Chair and faculty members. 

Are you the right candidate? 
This role requires a senior level professional with at least 5-10 years of managerial/leadership experience with a broad understanding of research, finance, Faculty and University initiatives. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of driving strategic initiatives and has been recognized for building impactful relationships, handling complex decisions with tact, good judgement and diplomacy. Additionally, the successful incumbent will have demonstrated experience making decisions independently and exercising leadership in the management of support services.

Other qualifications 
•    Master’s level degree in relevant field or a professional designation such as CPA 
•    Demonstrated knowledge and experience interpreting policies, procedures, and guidelines 
•    Must be organized, a long range-planner and an accomplished problem-solver able to quickly assess situations and individuals and lead solutions. 

 Apply on-line.The full job description and details can be found by visiting here and searching for job 44482. 

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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology