This year’s University Scholars tackling some of health’s biggest questions

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A diverse group of McMaster researchers have been named this year’s University Scholars.

The title is intended to recognize faculty members in mid-career who have already distinguished themselves as international scholars.

Among the recipients are two researchers tackling infectious diseases in two very different ways.

Biophysicist Maikel Rheinstadter uses the world’s most powerful in-house x-ray instrument dedicated to cell membrane research to study trans-membrane proteins – the first to be attacked by infectious diseases.

A technique developed in the Rheinstadter lab allows researchers to study membrane-embedded proteins under realistic physiological conditions, which could lead to better treatments for disease and the development of advanced materials and biosensors.

Health Sciences’ Brian Coombes is the Canada Research Chair in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis. He investigates how the organisms that enter our bodies and cause serious problems with our gastrointestinal systems infect humans, and how human and environmental activities influence the evolution of these infectious diseases.

Sonia Anand, a professor in Cardiology, focuses on the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origins, women and cardiovascular disease.

Engineering’s Steve Hranilovic’s research interests are in optical wireless systems – wireless communications that use light.

His team develops information theory, signalling design and experimental prototypes for these systems operating in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet bands.

Each University Scholar will be awarded for a period of four years (beginning July 1, 2016), and will receive $15,000 per year provided by McMaster provost David Wilkinson and the applicable faculty dean.

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