2023 Finalist: Medical / Healthcare / Pharmaceuticals, Researcher of the Year
Finalist: Ian Lewis, Associate Professor and Director, Alberta Centre for Advanced Diagnostics, University of Calgary
Initiative: Rapid diagnostics in Alberta’s health innovation ecosystem: saving lives through new technology
Infectious diseases account for the majority of deaths in developing countries and are among the ten leading causes of mortality in Alberta. The emergence of diverse drug-resistant pathogens has made finding new antimicrobial therapies both a Canadian and global health priority. Dr. Lewis’ laboratory investigates the connection between metabolic adaptation and virulence of human pathogens. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop new diagnostic methods to identify high-risk patients and novel antimicrobial therapies to control infections. One of the key challenges his laboratory faces is unravelling the complex host-pathogen metabolic dynamics that occur during infections. To address this challenge, he uses state-of-the-art mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology to comprehensively quantify the flow of molecules between pathogens and their hosts. This metabolomics approach is a powerful strategy for connecting metabolic phenomena with specific genes and is essential for understanding the metabolic determinants of virulence.