MI4 celebrates five years of innovation and philanthropy

Vincent Chiara, real estate entrepreneur and founder and President of Groupe Mach donates $1.4 million to the MUHC Foundation for the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4)

Montreal, April 27, 2023—Though we cannot see them, microbes have had a profound effect on our lives, humanity and the world. One need only look at the past three years to understand the toll a single, microscopic virus can take. The McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) was created to address threats to human health from COVID-19 to the dwindling effectiveness of antibiotics. MI4 has become a collaborative powerhouse, bringing Quebec expertise to the global stage. This month, MI4 celebrates its fifth anniversary.

“MI4 was created because we knew the next big pandemic was coming. There had been SARS, then MERS and Zika. We were putting up slides at talks showing the interconnectedness of the world via airplane routes and telling people that a pathogen in Hong Kong could be in Canada in one flight. When COVID-19 hit, our scientists mobilized immediately to reduce its impact. Today, we continue to work toward ways to lessen the impact of this and future pandemics.”

—Dr. Marcel Behr, Director, McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity

In honour of its fifth anniversary, Vincent Chiara, Founder and President of Groupe Mach, a leader in Quebec real estate development, recently donated a generous $1.4 million to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation for the work being done by MI4. Thanks to his support, MI4 will be able to mobilize top medical talent in the fight against infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. MI4 is at the forefront of designing new life saving strategies and treatments to prevent a post-antibiotic world, being able to attract talented and up and coming clinician-scientists will ensure the MUHC continues to be a leader in life saving patient care.

“I am proud to support the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) and their incredible work in fighting infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. It is critical that we invest in research and innovative solutions to protect human health, and I am honored to be able to contribute to this important cause. We must be grateful for the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in this effort. Together, we can make a difference," said Vincent Chiara

Founded in 2018, MI4 brings together over 250 researchers and 5,000 staff from a wide range of fields to find new solutions for some of humanity’s deadliest threats: tuberculosis, antimicrobial resistance, COVID-19 and many more. An extraordinary $15 million gift from the Doggone Foundation to the MUHC Foundation and McGill University gave MI4 the start-up funds it needed to launch.

“Infectious diseases are among the greatest threats to humanity, and have been from time immemorial. Thanks to the generous support of all of our donors, MI4 is ensuring the most dangerous infectious diseases are treatable and survivable now and into the future.”

—Heather Munroe-Blum, Co-chair, MUHC Foundation Dream Big. Solve Humanity’s Deadliest Puzzles campaign

The MUHC Foundation is proud to have raised $32M in support of MI4 through its Dream Big. Solve Humanity’s Deadliest Puzzles campaign. This support has helped MI4 take on an unprecedented pandemic, and is now facing off against the growing threat of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics, and uncovering how the microbiome plays a role in our health.

“Antimicrobial resistance is fast becoming one of the greatest threats of our lifetimes. Modern medicine is built on the ability to control infections, and without them health care could be set back 100 years. We are incredibly grateful to our donors for supporting the critically important research of the new AMR Centre.”

—Mark Smith, Co-chair, MUHC Foundation Dream Big. Solve Humanity’s Deadliest Puzzles campaign

The COVID-19 pandemic: MI4’s first test

Within months of the COVID-19 pandemic being declared, the MUHC Foundation had raised $7 million to support MI4’s coronavirus research. With donor support, MI4 was able to launch over 50 research projects to create new tests and testing strategies, launch clinical trials of potential treatments, search for a vaccine, support marginalized populations, and undertake many more important projects that helped expand our understanding of the coronavirus.

While government granting agencies fund promising research, it is philanthropy that drives innovation by supporting ideas that are on the cutting-edge of science. We are grateful to the Doggone Foundation, the Trottier Family Foundation, the Hewitt Foundation, Suzanne Legge Orr and Jeffrey Orr, Marc Parent, Power Corporation of Canada, Rio Tinto, Vincent Chiara, the Mike and Valeria Rosenbloom Foundation, Pfizer Canada and many more for their generosity.

With their help, the MUHC Foundation will help MI4 have an even greater impact in its next five years.

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