Dr. Melanie Wills (Ph.D.)
Director, G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab
Melanie completed her Doctoral degree in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph as a Brock Scholar and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Vanier Fellow, after which she pursued postdoctoral studies in Lyme Borreliosis at Mount Allison University. Her research strives to elucidate biological mechanisms of human disease by spanning the intersection of biochemistry, cell physiology, and clinical investigation. In 2014, Melanie co-founded the Canadian Lyme Science Alliance as a platform through which academics and clinicians promote rigorous scientific study, thoughtful dialogue, and ethical stewardship of tick-borne illness. Her leadership and achievements have been recognized with several awards, including the Governor General’s Academic Medal.
The G. Magnotta Foundation (for vector borne diseases)
The G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases is a non-profit organization. One of its primary focuses is to establish Canada’s first research centre for vector-borne illnesses including Lyme Disease which is growing rapidly across Canada. The Foundation has been named in memory of Gabe Magnotta, co-founder of Magnotta Winery, to recognize his lengthy and courageous battle with Lyme Disease, a battle he and so many other patients should never have lost in this country.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected tick which creates flu-like symptoms in the beginning. Left undiagnosed, this multi-system infection can then attack a person’s heart, brain, joints, connective tissue, muscles, digestive system, skin, eyesight, hearing and more. It even mimics other diseases resulting in a prolonged misdiagnosis.
The University of Guelph
With its roots in agriculture and veterinary medicine, the University of Guelph has evolved into a diverse and internationally recognized institution that retains its position of leadership and excellence in all facets of life science. Guelph draws the most research funding of any comprehensive university in Canada, and has gained a reputation for socially conscious, community engaged scholarship. The University benefits from its strategic location in the heartland of southern Ontario, where it is close to major clinical centers and medical research networks of Toronto and the surrounding communities.
The College of Biological Sciences, now home of the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab, employs over 100 faculty members whose work spans many orders of biological magnitude, from molecules to ecosystems. Cutting edge facilities that support these initiatives include centres for genome analysis, molecular modeling, and advanced light, super-resolution, and electron microscopy. The G. Magnotta Lab will benefit from the wide array of existing expertise and research capacity.