Dr. Mark Larché

Divisions of Clinical Immunology & Allergy, and Respirology,
Department of Medicine and Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health,
The Research Institute at St. Joe’s,
McMaster University

Dr. Larché completed his PhD in Immunology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London in 1990. He spent 3 years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN as a postdoctoral fellow. He returned to the Immunology Department at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, prior to joining the faculty of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London (1995). In Sept 2006 he moved to McMaster University,Canada.

Dr. Larché has authored over 160 scientific papers and 17 patents. He has been the recipient of several international prizes including “The Respiratory 2000 International Young Investigator Award”, “The Henning Lowenstein Research Award 2000” and the "Pharmacia Allergy Research Foundation Award" in 2001. Together with Professor AB Kay, he co-founded Circassia Ltd. (www.circassia.co.uk ), a biotechnology company developing vaccines for allergic diseases. More recently he was Founding Scientist of Adiga Life Sciences, a Joint Venture between Circassia Ltd and McMaster University. Research interests include the immunopathogenesis of asthma/allergy, immunological mechanisms of immunotherapy, pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and graft rejection.

Dr. Larché’s research program is funded by CIHR, Canada Research Chairs Program, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Research Fund, National Institutes of Health (USA), Public Health Agency of Canada, Scleroderma Society of Ontario, McMaster University/GSK endowed Chair and Adiga Life Sciences.

Visit his website for more information. 

Dr. Nitika Pai

Department of Medicine
McGill University

Research Scientist
Research Institute of the MUHC

Dr. Nitika Pant Pai (Nikki Pai) research vision is to develop innovative, digital screening strategies and solutions, for HIV self- testing and monitoring, test/treat strategies for Hepatitis C /Hepatitis B, multiplexed co-infection screening strategies for STBBIs and for access to sexual and reproductive health Some of these solutions are being scaled nationally and internationally. Her research has informed domestic and global policy on the point of care diagnostics to date. She has contributed to WHO global HIV self-testing guidelines and implementation guidance document on HIV self-testing. She has served on various technical working groups on HIV self-testing, Multiplexed testing, Point-of-care testing, for the WHO, the Gates Foundation, UNAIDS DAI initiative, FIND, PSI, CHAI,  and the Office of Science of the US Congress, among others.

She is a recipient of many research awards: CIHR New Investigator award 2010, McMaster University's Chanchalani Award for Research Excellence in HIV 2012, McGill University's Maude Abbott Award for research excellence 2013, Grand Challenges Canada's Stars in Global Health Awards (2011,2013, 2017) FRSQ Chercheur Boursier award 2015, GCC's Transition to scale award (2015). Her research is supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the FRSQ Quebec, Grand Challenges Canada, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH, among others.  She was recently appointed the member of the New College of Scholars in the Arts & Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. She is also a social entrepreneur and has founded a social enterprise called Sympact-X to take innovations to scale in the real world. Nikki’s work has been featured in the Economist, MacLeans, The Globe and Mail, Gazette, Times now, Times, CTV. CBC, and international media. Her website is nitikapantpai.com.
Nikki and her team developed the world’s first App-based solution for HIV self-testing- the HIVSmart! App-a portable, multilingual, global screening application and HIPAA compliant platform. It won the ASAP Innovation award from Google, PLOS and Wellcome Trust in 2013.  This innovation was funded by the Government of Canada (Grand Challenges Canada). It has also been agreed to be taken up by AIPAC's fast-track cities initiative to roll out HIV self-testing. The AideSmart! App for front line health care workers- forms a complete soloution for multiplexed screening for sexually transmitted blood-borne infections with point of care technologies. It is currently being prepared for scale-up in Canada and India.HCVSmart! Also, HBVSmart! App solutions are aimed to increase screen/test/treat for Hepatitis nationally and globally.  She is also working on connected solutions to improve access to sexual and reproductive health screening for young women.

Dr. Luis Barreiro

Associate Professor
Genetics Section
University of Chicago

Luis Barreiro received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology at Lusófona University, Lisbon, Portugal. In 2008, he obtained his PhD in Human Population Genetics from the University of Paris VII, followed by a post-doc in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. From 2011 to 2018 he was Professor at the Université de Montréal, and a researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Genetics division, at the University of Chicago. His work has been pioneer at using population genomic data to characterize the genetic basis of inter-individual differences in immune response to infectious agents. Visit his website for more information. 

Dr. Nicolas Chomont

Associate research professor,
Centre de Recherche du CHUM,
Axe Immunopathologie

Dr. Nicolas Chomont is an Associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Université de Montréal – CHUM Research Center. He obtained his PhD in medical virology at Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris where he extensively studied the interactions between HIV and the genital mucosa. From 2004 to 2009, he joined Dr Sekaly’s team at the University of Montreal for his post-doctoral training. During this time, he described several cellular reservoirs that contribute to the persistence of HIV in infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy. He pursued his research as a principal investigator at the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida to characterize these reservoirs which represent the main obstacle to HIV eradication. At the Université de Montréal, Dr. Chomont is overseeing studies to unravel the molecular mechanisms involved in HIV latency and to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the size of the HIV reservoir.