April 28, 2009


Experts available to discuss swine flu outbreak

Hamilton, ON. April 28, 2009 –As the rapid spread of swine flu triggers global worries, McMaster University has several experts who can discuss a range of issues concerning this public health crisis.

Fiona Smaill, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist, and chair of the department of pathology and molecular medicine, can speak both as a clinician and on the development of vaccines.  She can be reached at smaill@mcmaster.ca or (905) 521-2100, ext. 76332.

Jim Mahony, a virologist and professor in the department of pathology and molecular medicine helped develop a multiplex PCR test which detects 18 different respiratory viruses, including flu and the common cold, helping doctors more accurately diagnose patients. He can be reached at mahonyj@mcmaster.ca or (905) 521-6021.

Gerry Wright is the director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster. He is an expert on antibiotics and resistance, and can speak to the effectiveness of antiviral drugs to combat this infectious disease.  He can be reached at wrightge@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140, ext. 22454.  

Hendrik Poinar, assistant professor in the department of anthropology, studies the evolution of the influenza virus genome to help determine what strain the pathogen is, where it derives from and whether it has drug resistant mutations. Understanding a virus' evolutionary trajectory can lead researchers to design effective vaccines. He can be reached at poinarh@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140, ext. 26331.

Terry Flynn, communications management professor at the DeGroote School of Business, can speak to the issue of pandemic planning and the importance of timely communications to reduce fear and concern about travelling to areas where there are identified cases. He can be reached at tflynn@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140, ext. 26977.

Nick Bontis, strategy professor at the DeGroote School of Business, is available to comment on the impact of this crisis on the Mexican economy, and particularly the country’s vital tourism sector.  He can be reached at nbontis@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 ext. 23918.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.


For more information, please contact:

Veronica McGuire

Community & Media Relations Coordinator, Faculty of Health Sciences

McMaster University

905-525-9140, ext. 22169


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager, Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869


Julia Thomson

Communications Officer, DeGroote School of Business

McMaster University

905-525-9140, ext. 27436