Program Overview

Dr. Erwin Schurr


Associate Leader
Dr. Marcel Behr

Dr. Jing Liu
514-934-1934 ext. 76170

The Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program (IDIGH) unites expertise, resources and research strengths in infectious diseases, immunology and global health across three domains. It comprises 18 laboratory-based research groups at the Centre for Translational Biology, 16 groups with a focus on epidemiology and health outcomes research from the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, and 25 groups conducting clinical research associated with the Centre for Innovative Medicine.

The program is designed to act as a catalyst for innovative research and establish discovery pipelines in select diseases. It also aims to train the next generation of scientists in biomedical, clinical, and health outcomes research, and to facilitate capacity-building in resource-poor countries that are disproportionately affected by diseases of poverty (e.g., tuberculosis, leprosy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and neglected tropical diseases). The synergistic interaction of methodological approaches ensures that research and training conducted within the program is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, with a strong translational focus.


 Dr. Erwin Schurr obtained his doctorate from the Institute of Biophysics and Radiation Biology at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg/Br, Germany. He then completed postdoctoral studies in molecular genetics at McGill University. In 1991, he joined the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance and the Faculty of Medicine as Assistant Professor. He is now a James McGill Professor of Human Genetics and Medicine at McGill University, and the leader of the program on Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Schurr's main research area is the identification of host genetic factors predisposing to mycobacterial disease, work that is supported by both national and international funding agencies. He has published extensively on the identification of genetic host susceptibility factors in both leprosy and tuberculosis. His current research focuses on the genetic control of inflammatory disorders and the role of microbial triggers employing system-based approaches.

 Dr. Marcel Behr is a professor of medicine at McGill University, director of the McGill International TB Centre, and microbiologist-in-chief at the McGill University Health Centre. His training included a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Toronto, an MD from Queen's University, residency training in infectious diseases and medical microbiology at McGill, a master's degree in epidemiology from McGill, and post-doctoral studies in molecular epidemiology and bacterial genomics at Stanford University. Dr. Behr's research interest applies bacterial genetics to study the epidemiology and pathogenesis of mycobacterial diseases. Specifically, he studies M. tuberculosis, the cause of tuberculosis (TB); Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), the vaccine used against TB; and non-tuberculous mycobacteria, including members of the M. avium-intracellulare complex. This work has been recognized by numerous awards, in Quebec (National Researcher of the Fonds de recherche en santé–Québec) and beyond (election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2010). His work is funded by operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Génome Québec and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Jing Liu obtained her doctorate in genetics and genomics from McGill, followed by post-doctoral training at Harvard University. She held management positions at biotech companies where she was responsible for streamlining R&D workflows for increased productivity. She also directed a multidisciplinary research group that integrated genomics, proteomics, and pre-clinical studies towards discovery of new antibiotics. Dr. Liu has extensive experience in managing operations, business development, and administration of academic core facilities.