DOES THIS NOT DEMOLISH THE ESTABLISHMENTS’S NARRATIVE?
AND WHO IS DR. BYRAM BRIDLE?
Byram W. Bridle
Associate Professor | PhD
Dr. Bridle is a viral immunologist who is passionate about improving life through two avenues of research. One arm of his research program is dedicated to designing and optimizing novel biotherapies for the treatment of cancers. The goal of his research team is to harness the natural power of a patient’s immune system to eliminate their own cancer cells. This represents the ultimate personalized therapy and holds the potential to treat cancers more effectively, safely, and at lower cost than current options. The second arm of his research program focuses on studying host responses to viruses and other inflammatory stimuli. This has implications for the treatment of infectious diseases and inflammation-mediated disorders. These two programs have been unified in a unique way. The Bridle lab is harnessing their expertise in making potent cancer vaccines and combining this with their interest in anti-viral immunity to develop vaccines to protect against infectious diseases such as those caused by highly pathogenic coronaviruses. Mentoring the next generation of Canadian scientists is a responsibility that Dr. Bridle takes very seriously. He also counts it a privilege to teach students in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Guelph.
The research program in the Bridle lab has two arms. One is to develop novel, highly targeted biotherapies for the treatment of cancers. In an effort to kill malignant cells with minimal bystander damage to normal tissues, two approaches are combined: (a) cancer immunotherapy that directs the power of a patient’s immune system against their own tumour(s) and, (b) oncolytic virotherapy, which utilizes viruses that replicate in and kill only cancerous cells. The exquisite specificity, systemic targeting capability and short treatment windows of these therapies hold promise that cancer patients might be effectively treated with reduced side-effects and at minimal cost. The goal is to translate the most promising iterations of these therapies into clinical trials in companion animals as a stepping stone towards testing in human patients. A second emphasis of the lab is the study of host responses to viruses. An area of focus is developing a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying virus-induced cytokine storms. Dr. Bridle’s research team has identified a critical role of signaling through the type I interferon receptor in the negative regulation of an extensive network of cytokines. Cytokine responses to viruses are often very different between females and males and the Bridle lab group is seeking to understand why. At the intersection of these two programs, is a research initiative aimed at modifying the research team’s optimized cancer vaccine platforms to target severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2, which is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease identified at the end of 2019 (COVID-19). The long-term goal is to have a flexible technological platform to rapidly develop vaccines against highly pathogenic coronaviruses that may emerge in the future.
The Bridle lab seeks researchers who are collaborative, highly motivated, innovative, hard-working and want to have a significant impact in the field of viral immunology. An outstanding academic record, excellent writing and oral presentation skills and a collaborative approach are essential. Trainees will have an opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on research experience in a variety of areas. Learning the fundamental principles of immunology, cancer biology and/or virology is an emphasis. Applicants who are willing to work longer hours than average, are passionate about pursuing a career in research, are excellent communicators, punctual, autonomous and possess excellent technical skills will excel in this laboratory. In return, members can expect diligent mentorship, access to state-of-the-art research resources, with opportunities spanning the basic to translational research spectrum, giving them the resources needed to potentially publish in the highest impact scientific journals and placing the future of their research career in their own hands. Prospective trainees should submit a curriculum vitae, transcripts (unofficial copies would suffice) and a cover letter explaining how they could help advance the research mandates of this laboratory.
The Bridle lab is or has been funded by:
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
- Terry Fox Research Institute
- Canadian Cancer Society,
- Cancer Research Society
- Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
- Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Reserach Fund
- University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College/Department of Pathobiology COVID-19 Seed Funding
- National Centre of Excellence in Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRx)
- OVC Pet Trust
- The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund
- Canadian Foundation for Innovation – John R. Evans Leaders Fund
- Canadian Foundation for Innovation – Infrastructure Operating Funds
- Ministry of Research and Innovation Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure Program
The Bridle lab is part of the…
- Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium
- Network of Centre of Excellence in Biotherapies for Cancer Treatment (founding member)
- Canadian Society for Immunology
- Canadian Society for Virology
- Terry Fox Research Institute
- Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation
- Dog Osteosarcoma Group: Biomarkers/Biotherapy Of Neoplasia (DOGBONe)
- One Health Institute
- VETM*3080 Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry (Head Instructor: Veterinary Immunology)
- VETM*3450 Principles of Disease in Veterinary Medicine (Immunology Review Lecture)
- BIOM*4150/6702 Cancer Biology (Tumour Immunology Unit)
- BIOM*6800 Gene Expression in Health and Disease (Lecture: “Identification of genes encoding tumour-associated antigens and their use in cancer vaccine design”)
- PABI*6104 Mechanisms of Disease (Lecture: “Oncolytic and Immunotherapies”)
- BIOM*4521/2 Research in Biomedical Sciences
- BIOM 4500 Research in Biomedical Sciences Literature Review
- HK*4371/2 Research in Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences
- TOX*4900/10 Research Project
- PABI*6960 Special Topics in Pathobiology
- CLIN*6560 – Small Animal Internal Medicine II (Immunology Review Lecture)
Professional Experience & Honours
Dr. Bridle received graduate training in immunology at the University of Guelph and then postdoctoral training as a viral immunologist at McMaster University.
Some of Dr. Bridle’s noteworthy honours include:
- The Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award. This is the highest teaching award given by each North American Veterinary College; the recipient is chosen based on a vote of the second, third and fourth year veterinary classes.
- Terry Fox Research Institute New Investigator Award
- Being elected to be an honourary class president for the Ontario Veterinary College’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine classes of 2017 (Violet Komodos) and 2023 (Opal Otters)
- Zoetis Award for Research Excellence
Search PubMed for additional publications by Dr. Bridle.