Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Environmental Chemistry Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, McMaster University

The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CCB) at McMaster University invites applications to fill a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the area of Environmental Chemistry, effective July 1, 2020. Scientists whose research interests focus on developing and implementing state-of-the-art analytical chemistry methods for the analysis of chemical contaminants and environmental toxins relevant to human health are encouraged to apply. The successful applicant will be expected to mount an innovative and multidisciplinary research program under the umbrella of environmental chemistry broadly defined, which may touch on aspects such as the analysis of chemical exposures, land, air and water remediation, and the study of chemical breakdown pathways under changing climate conditions. The research program should contribute to fundamental discoveries in emerging areas of environmental chemistry, such as environmental toxicology and exposure biology (i.e. exposomics). The central role of chemistry in understanding and resolving environmental issues is a clear area of growing importance, and CCB will provide a vibrant environment to foster a translational research program in this area, with opportunities for both internal and external collaborations, including the United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environmental and Health that is located at McMaster University.  

Our aim is to recruit a candidate who will establish an internationally competitive research program and forge numerous research interactions and collaborations with colleagues in the Faculty of Science, and other Faculties, including Engineering. Integration between Faculty of Science & Faculty of Engineering will be a key objective of this new position. The successful candidate will take advantage of numerous opportunities to attract research funding for personnel and infrastructure, including a variety of grant programs from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as well as collaborative interactions with governmental agencies and the private sector.  

The research program of the selected candidate will be located in a newly-renovated laboratory space, which was constructed in the Spring of 2019, and is shared with Engineering faculty. This space includes state-of-the-art open-concept laboratories designed for all aspects of synthetic, analytical, and physical chemistry. The candidate will benefit from the surrounding suites of shared infrastructure (Optical Spectrometers, Raman spectrometers, Device Fabrication facilities, etc.). In addition to having access to the equipment and facilities in this new space, the successful candidate will also have access to instrumentation in the CCB Core Facilities (Magnetic Resonance, Mass Spectrometry, and X-ray Diffraction), the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, the Biointerfaces Institute, and the Centre for Emerging Device Technologies (CEDT).  

Applicants should clearly demonstrate potential to develop a prominent, externally funded research program and a commitment to excellence in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Candidates must have a bachelor’s and doctoral degree in chemistry, chemical biology, or a closely related chemistry-based field, relevant postdoctoral experience, and a promising record of research scholarship and productivity. A complete application package must include a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of teaching philosophy, and detailed descriptions of at least three research projects that exemplify the proposed research program. In addition, applicants are asked to provide a one-page description of their commitment to and demonstrated experience of advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in post-secondary education, community-based or other professional settings. Applicants should also include a one-to-two page summary highlighting their top three publications and specifying the signficance and novelty of these contributions, as well as a list of the major instrumentation and equipment necessary to pursue the proposed research program. A minimum of three academic reference letters should be sent via e-mail directly from referees to chair@chemistry.mcmaster.ca. Reference letters should include the candidate’s name in the file name (Last_First.pdf) and should be submitted as a PDF, on letterhead, and from an email address that is associated with the institution or organization of origin.  

McMaster University is a globally renowned institution of higher learning and a research community committed to advancing human and societal health and well-being. Our focus on collaboratively exchanging ideas and approaches makes us uniquely positioned to pioneer groundbreaking solutions to real-world problems leading to a Brighter World. The Faculty of Science works to create global impact by advancing scientific discovery and knowledge, and promoting greater understanding. Our innovative, interdisciplinary approach generates new methods and insights, results, and lasting change. 

McMaster University has a strong commitment to achieving diversity among faculty and staff that reflects the diversity of our student body. The successful candidate will be committed to inclusion and excellence and the Department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute, through their teaching and/or service, to the diversity of the academic community. Women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Metis and Inuit persons, members of racialized communities and LGBTQ-identified persons are strongly encouraged to apply. Gender diversity is being addressed at McMaster University through our policies and actions. Recent actions in this area include the completion of a gender pay equity study and a resultant base salary adjustment applied to all female faculty members in July 2015, as well as a recent commitment by McMaster to the nation-wide Dimensions EDI charter (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/EDI-EDI/Dimensions_Dimensions_eng.asp). 

Faculty members at McMaster University enjoy numerous personal and professional benefits. University employees are offered an excellent benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, extended health care benefits, dental care, group life insurance, long term disability, worldwide travel assistance, and a retirement plan. Progressive policies are in place to assist faculty members who become parents or are needed to care for family members. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. 

Complete applications must be made online at hr.mcmaster.ca/careers (Faculty Positions, Job ID 28623) to the attention of:
Dr. Alex Adronov, Professor & Acting Chair
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4K1 

Review of complete applications will begin December 1,2019, and continue until the position is filled. The effective date of appointment is expected to be July 1st, 2020. All applicants will receive an on-line confirmation of receipt of their application; however, only short-listed applicants will be contacted for interviews. 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. To comply with the Government of Canada’s reporting requirements, the University is obliged to gather information about applicants’ status as either Permanent Residents of Canada or Canadian citizens. Applicants need not identify their country of origin or current citizenship; however, all applications must include one of the following statements:  

Yes, I am a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
No, I am not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and, within the lands protected by the “Dish With One Spoon” wampum agreement. In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity. The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of visible minorities, and LGBTQ+ persons.  

Job applicants requiring accommodation to participate in the hiring process should contact the Human Resources Service Centre at 905-525-9140 ext. 222-HR (22247) o to communicate accommodation needs. 

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Molecular Medicine Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, McMaster University

The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CCB) at McMaster University invites applications to fill a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the area of molecular medicine, effective July 1, 2020. Scientists whose research interests focus on the molecular basis of disease and/or therapy are encouraged to apply. The successful application will be expected to mount a research program targeted toward the fundamental understanding of disease and/or the development of modern therapeutic methods.   The research program should create a presence in any one of a number of critically important areas. These may include molecular research aimed at cell and organ-based disorders, molecular aspects of mental health, addiction, and aging, as well as molecular tools for gene editing, amongst others. The role of chemistry and chemical biology in understanding and treating health-related disorders is a clear area of growing importance, and CCB will provide a vibrant environment to foster a new research program in this area, with many opportunities for both internal and external collaborations.  

Our aim is to recruit a candidate who will establish an internationally competitive research program and forge numerous research interactions and collaborations with colleagues across the University, including those within the Faculty of Health Sciences. The successful candidate will take advantage of numerous opportunities to attract research funding for personnel and infrastructure, including grant programs from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and disease-specific associations/foundations.

The research program of the selected candidate will be located in newly-renovated laboratory space, which was constructed in the spring of 2019. This space includes state-of-the-art open-concept laboratories designed for chemical biology/synthetic chemistry/biochemical engineering. The candidate will benefit from the surrounding suites of shared infrastructure (Confocal microscopes, Raman spectrometers, BSL-2 labs, etc.). In addition to having access to the equipment and facilities in this new space, the successful candidate will also have access to instrumentation in the CCB Core Facilities (Magnetic Resonance, Mass Spectrometry, and X-ray Diffraction), the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, the Biointerfaces Institute, the Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology (CMCB), and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC).  

Applicants should clearly demonstrate potential to develop a prominent, externally funded research program and a commitment to excellence in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Candidates must have both a bachelor’s and doctoral degree in chemistry, chemical biology, or a closely related chemistry-based field, relevant postdoctoral experience, and a promising record of research scholarship and productivity. A complete application package must include a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of teaching philosophy and detailed descriptions of three research projects that exemplify the proposed research program. In addition, applicants are asked to provide a one-page description of their commitment to and demonstrated experience of advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in post-secondary education, community-based or other professional settings. Applicants should also include a one-to-two page summary highlighting their top three publications and specifying the signficance and novelty of these contributions, as well as a list of the major instrumentation and equipment necessary to pursue the proposed research program. A minimum of three academic reference letters should be sent via e-mail directly from referees to chair@chemistry.mcmaster.ca. Reference letters should include the candidate’s name in the file name (Last_First.pdf) and should be submitted as a PDF, on letterhead, and from an email address that is associated with the institution or organization of origin.  

McMaster University is a globally renowned institution of higher learning and a research community committed to advancing human and societal health and well-being. Our focus on collaboratively exchanging ideas and approaches makes us uniquely positioned to pioneer groundbreaking solutions to real-world problems leading to a Brighter World. The Faculty of Science works to create global impact by advancing scientific discovery and knowledge, and promoting greater understanding. Our innovative, interdisciplinary approach generates new methods and insights, results, and lasting change. 

McMaster University has a strong commitment to achieving diversity among faculty and staff that reflects the diversity of our student body. The successful candidate will be committed to inclusion and excellence and the Department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute, through their teaching and/or service, to the diversity of the academic community. Women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Metis and Inuit persons, members of racialized communities and LGBTQ-identified persons are strongly encouraged to apply. Gender diversity is being addressed at McMaster University through our policies and actions. Recent actions in this area include the completion of a gender pay equity study and a resultant base salary adjustment applied to all female faculty members in July 2015, as well as a recent commitment by McMaster to the nation-wide Dimensions EDI charter (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/EDI-EDI/Dimensions_Dimensions_eng.asp).

Faculty members at McMaster University enjoy numerous personal and professional benefits. University employees are offered an excellent benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, extended health care benefits, dental care, group life, long term disability, worldwide travel assistance, and a retirement plan. Progressive policies are in place to assist faculty members who become parents or are needed to care for family members. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. 

Complete applications must be made online at hr.mcmaster.ca/careers (Faculty Positions, Job ID 28603) to the attention of:  

Dr. Alex Adronov, Professor & Acting Chair
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4K1 

Review of complete applications will begin November 1, 2019, and continue until the position is filled. The effective date of appointment is expected to be July 1, 2020. All applicants will receive an on-line confirmation of receipt of their application; however, only short-listed applicants will be contacted for interviews. 

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. To comply with the Government of Canada’s reporting requirements, the University is obliged to gather information about applicants’ status as either Permanent Residents of Canada or Canadian citizens. Applicants need not identify their country of origin or current citizenship; however, all applications must include one of the following statements:

Yes, I am a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
No, I am not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. 

McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and, within the lands protected by the “Dish With One Spoon” wampum agreement. In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity. The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of visible minorities, and LGBTQ+ persons.  

Job applicants requiring accommodation to participate in the hiring process should contact the Human Resources Service Centre at 905-525-9140 ext. 222-HR (22247) to communicate accommodation needs. 

Scientists find simple urine test could offer a non-invasive approach for diagnosis of IBS patients

Philip Britz-McKibbin in his lab. Photo by JD Howell.

Scientists at McMaster have identified new biomarkers for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in urine, which could lead to better treatments and reduce the need for costly and invasive colonoscopy procedures currently used for diagnosis.

Little is known about the causes of IBS, a chronic and often debilitating gastrointestinal disorder which affects hundreds of thousands of Canadians in which diagnosis is complicated, patients experience a vast spectrum of symptoms and treatment options are limited.

“Diagnostic testing for IBS involves a long process of excluding other related gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease,” explains Philip Britz-McKibbin, lead author of the study and a professor in McMaster’s Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology.

“We were interested in finding if there is a better way to detect and monitor IBS that avoids invasive colonoscopy procedures while also giving us better insights into its underlying mechanisms,” he says.

Researchers performed metabolite profiling studies comparing urine samples from a cohort of IBS patients with a control group of healthy adults. They discovered for the first time distinctive metabolic signatures that were elevated in the IBS patients.  Several metabolites were related to collagen degradation, which researchers believe is derived from the gut, suggesting there is an impairment of the elastic lining in the colon impacting its normal function.

Researchers believe the findings might also allow for routine treatment monitoring of IBS patients that can also be used to validate the efficacy of dietary and/or pharmacological interventions.

Currently, they are expanding their work to discover new biomarkers in urine that can differentiate Crohn’s disease from ulcerative colitis in children, hoping they can avoid future colonoscopies altogether. This may allow for rapid screening and early detection of various chronic gut disorders more accurately and at a lower cost.

The study, was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Premysl Bercik, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and researcher at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Unit, is published in the journal Metabolomics. It was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Genome Canada.

BY MICHELLE DONOVAN

JULY 4, 2019

Scientists map elusive toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s, providing new molecular clues for prevention



Rashik Ahmed, lead author and PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences with Giuseppe Melacini, senior author and a professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Photo by: Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University.


BY MICHELLE DONOVAN

JUNE 20, 2019

A team of researchers from McMaster University has mapped at atomic resolution a toxic protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, allowing them to better understand what is happening deep within the brain during the earliest stages of the disease.    

The findings, published on the front cover of the current edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry flagship journal Chemical Science, provide new insights into the behavior of one of the prime suspects of Alzheimer’s disease: a protein fragment known as amyloid beta, which clumps together into oligomers during the early stages of the disease. 

Researchers liken amyloid beta oligomers to a neurotoxic ‘bomb’, causing the irreversible death of neurons.

“To defuse the bomb, we need to know with a high degree of precision which wires to cut and which to avoid,” explains Giuseppe Melacini, senior author and a professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Biology as well as Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. 

“This is why it is critical to map the structural features that differentiate what is toxic and what is not. However, this is a challenging task due to the transient and elusive nature of these oligomers,” he says.

Melacini, who has studied the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s for nearly two decades, is working with a team of physicists, chemists, biologists and dementia specialists at McMaster, including Maikel Rheinstädter, Richard Epand, Ryan Wylie and Chris Verschoor. Each team member brings a unique perspective and specialty to an investigation which requires highly specialized equipment, including wide-angle X-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to conduct the analysis at the atomic level. 



For the study, the team used a library of natural products extracted from green tea that are believed to interfere with the formation of the toxic protein oligomers to varying degrees. Using this toolkit they were able to build oligomers with different toxicities, allowing the team to gain unprecedented insights into how they interact with neurons and cause cell death. 

They hope this research can help them determine how to defuse the neurotoxic bomb.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a major medical, social and economic problem,” says Rashik Ahmed, the lead author on the paper and PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. “This research is the first step towards identifying how we can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease before it becomes irreparable.”

By some estimates, there are more than half a million Canadians living with dementia and the number is expected to reach more than a million by the year 2031. Once symptoms emerge, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s and treatment options are limited.
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology