A grey and black image of a bacteria

Bacteriophage therapy research

Phage therapy is an alternative way to treat bacterial infections. Phages are a bacterial virus that preys on bacteria - it targets a particular bacterium, then injects it with DNA to take it over and make more phages. The bacteria explode and die, expelling up to 300 new phages, which then search for their next target. Phage therapy could be an adjunct to standard antibiotic therapy and a way to combat antibacterial resistance.

New research centres dedicated to harnessing and evolving phage therapies have recently been established in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Israel and France — joining longstanding phage research centres in Poland and the Republic of Georgia. Yet, despite rising global interest in phages, Canada lags behind its international peers and it is not available as a treatment here.

A recent $5 million gift from an anonymous donor to U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine is funding bacteriophage therapy research through:

  1. A Professorship in Bacteriophage Therapy Research and Innovation – awarded to Dr. Greg German.
  2. Expanding Canadian bacteriophage biobanking resources
  3. Establishing a bacteriophage therapy research accelerator fund.

Make a gift and support Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Bacteriophage Therapy Research and Innovation

Current funding applications

Deadline for letters of interest has now passed. 

Up to $1.5 million Canadian Dollars is available in 2024 to support bacteriophage therapy (including phage products) initiatives across Canada. We invite applications focused on controlling antibiotic resistant bacteria using phages across all One Health areas, including human and animal health, agriculture, food safety, and the environment.

Full proposal stage details

You must have received a notification from the Grant Administrator accepting your letter of interest to proceed to the below full proposal stage.

The submitted proposals should include the following:

  • Project title
  • Information on applicants: Names and affiliations of PI and co-PIs (collaborators do not need to be included here). The lead PI should be clearly identified. 
  • Research Proposal: include project goals and overall scope as well as details about proposed investigations.
  • Implementation plan: include milestones and path to sustainability (research grants, corporate funding, philanthropic sources).
  • Expertise, including a plan to meaningfully integrate team members. 
  • One (1) page outlining significant accomplishments for each investigator and co-investigator.  
  • One (1) page budget.

Points to note and answers to FAQs

  • You may add or remove co-applicants and collaborators but you cannot change the PI and co-PIs at this stage.
  • $200K proposals should be 4 pages including figures. References are separate.
  • $50K proposals should be 2 pages including figures. References are separate.
  • Proposals should be submitted in 1 PDF file: including main proposal, references, significant accomplishments and budget.
  • Add your reference ID and title to the header of the document.
  • Font should be 12-point Times New Roman; tables can be reduced to 10-point Times New Roman font. 
  • Margins should be 2 cm (not including the header and page numbering in the footer).
  • We intend to have our scientific committee review proposals internally but due to possible conflict of interest or the need for additional expertise an external review maybe required.  
    • Please list up to 5 individuals (include email address) you would recommend that would be able to review your proposal. You do not need to contact them in advance. 
    • Please list up to 5 individuals you would recommend that should not review your proposal.

You will be emailed an acknowledgment from the Grant administrator when your proposal has been received.

Deadline: June 3, 2024, 11:59PM EDT. Submit proposal to Ms. Debb Yorke at lmp.chairadmin@utoronto.ca. Any proposals received after the deadline will not be accepted.

For questions related to the funding, contact the Grant Administrator, Ms Debb Yorke lmp.chairadmin@utoronto.ca.

Phage therapy news

A recent $5-million donation to the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine aims to establish the country as a leading center for phage therapy and accelerate research efforts.

Dr. Greg German and Dr. Jonathan Cook have conducted a comprehensive systematic review revealing over a century of safe and effective use of Phage Therapy. The team identified more than 1,400 unique human cases of Phage therapy for urinary tract infections since 1926, prompting efforts to raise awareness and consider it as a treatment option in Canada.