purple graphic that says McMaster University Research recap 2023.

McMaster research recap: Remembering the stories that got people talking

From discoveries here on campus to a trip among the stars, 2023 was a big year for McMaster researchers.

In 2023, the McMaster community once again demonstrated why the university has a global reputation for cutting-edge research that leads to innovative solutions to the biggest problems our world faces.

From groundbreaking antibiotic discoveries right here on campus to a student-guided trip to the stars, here’s a look back at some of the McMaster research stories from the past year that got people talking.

A graphic that reads, 'Creating a healthier future,' and shows a student working in a laboratory.

A new weapon in the fight against superbugs

Jon Stokes, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University, teamed up with scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to use discover a new antibiotic which could be used to fight a deadly, drug-resistant pathogen that strikes vulnerable hospital patients. Their secret weapon? Artificial intelligence.

Investing in the future

Ten people posing for a photo

Earlier this year, seven McMaster-led research projects received $61 million in funding from the CIHR’s Clinical Trials Fund, designed to enhance Canada’s clinical trials ecosystem from discovery to implementation.


 A breath of fresh air

A person in a lab coat receiving an inhaled vaccine

A team of researchers at McMaster University received more than $8 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), enabling them to proceed with Phase 2 human trials for a next-generation, inhaled COVID-19 vaccine that promises to provide better, longer lasting protection from viral infections.

Going viral

Two people in white lab coats smiling at the camera


McMaster researchers Matthew Miller and Yingfu Li, along with their research teams, have created a synthetic aptamer, made of genetic material, that can stick to a virus and protect the body from infection, much like antibodies.


Tackling period poverty

A hand holding a black silicone menstrual cup

Canada Research chairs Tohid Didar and Zeinab Hosseinidoust, along with their student researchers, are working with Bfree Cup inventor and Women’s Global Health Innovations founder Leisa Hirtz on innovations to an essential personal product — the menstrual cup — in the hope of addressing period poverty and improving women’s health.

Seeing clearly

A headshot of Varun Chaudhary

Surgery professor Varun Chaudhary is leading an international, multi-centre trial investigating a potential new treatment regimen for diabetic macular edema (DME) using a medication already approved for use in Canada.


A graphic that reads, 'Teaching our students to shoot for the stars,' and features a photo of students in front of the NASA Space Centre in Florida

Shooting for the stars

Over the course of eight years, more than 150 McMaster students and researchers built a satellite designed to measure harmful radiation in space. And earlier this year, with the help of NASA, SpaceX and the CSA, they launched it into space.

Ancient history unearthed

A person on their knees working at an archaeological site

This summer, students from McMaster’s Department of Greek & Roman Studies and St. Mary’s University travelled to Italy to participate in a real, hands-on archaeological dig in the hopes of uncovering the long-buried secrets of ancient Italian civilization.

 Tracing Indigenous history one recipe at a time

A person holding an unearthed cooking vessel

Working with communities from Six Nations of the Grand River, students and researchers from McMaster’s Collaborative Archaeologies project are studying hundreds of cooking vessels to help fill in gaps in the historical record.

A graphic that reads, 'encouraging healthy living,' and features a photo of a student deadlifting a large weighted barbell.

A new way to train the brain

The sport of orienteering, which draws on athleticism, navigational skills and memory, could be useful as an intervention or preventive measure to fight cognitive decline related to dementia, according to McMaster researchers Jennifer Heisz and Emma Waddington.

 The great weight debate

Two people working out in a gym

After studying the most popular variables among resistance training programs — how much you lift, how often, and how many times — kinesiologists at McMaster University have found all forms of resistance training are beneficial, including body-weight exercises such as planks, lunges and push-ups.

Not enough information about women’s health. Period.

Two women standing inside a gym


A new review by McMaster researchers found that evidence-based research on women and exercise was sparse, and there was even less research available on the effects their periods could have on sports performance, physiology or physical fitness.


A graphic that reads, 'Tech solutions for a brighter world' and features a photo of a student working in a laboratory

Green energy solutions

McMaster researcher Drew Higgins and his team are working to design new batteries to store solar and wind energy, create emission-conversion technology that uses electricity to convert CO2 into useful fuels and chemicals, and pursue other advancements to improve the supply of clean energy. 

 A steak in the future

A man standing with his hands on his hips looking out in the distance

Led by Ravi Selvaganapathy, a team of McMaster researchers is taking a leading role in a Canadian initiative aimed at making cultured meat more affordable and accessible to everyday consumers.


 Revolutionizing patient care

A healthcare worker speaking to a patient in a hospital bed

McMaster researcher Manaf Zargoush is using artificial intelligence to reduce the costs associated with hospital wait times and improve patients’ health.

 Hitting the road

A bus parked outside of a glass building

The McMaster Digital Transformation Research Centre (MDTRC), led by McMaster researcher Milena Head, has launched an innovative mobile user experience lab which will allow researchers to take their tools on the road and go directly into local communities.

A graphic that reads, 'Digging into centuries of human history' and features two hands holding a skull

Bone loan

Megan Brickley, a paleopathologist who uses human remains to study illnesses and injuries of the past, recently received 115 human skeletons recovered during the redevelopment of a parking lot in Guelph. This collection will be used to discover particularly interesting and valuable evidence about early colonists’ living and working conditions in southern Ontario.

History repeats itself

A black and white photo of patients in rows of hospital beds

New analysis of the remains of victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic, led by McMaster researcher Amanda Wissler, contradicts the widespread belief the flu, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, disproportionately impacted healthy young adults.

 Was Pablo Neruda poisoned?

Two people looking directly at the camera

Evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar and forensic expert Debi Poinar have spent years analyzing the remains of Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda to determine whether or not the poet was assassinated. Their research is being used to inform a tribunal investigating the Chilean poet-politician’s death.

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