Robert McMaster

Contact InformationRobert McMaster
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Jim Pattison Pavilion North
#3665 – 910 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9
Tel: 1-604-875-5641

Current Positions

  • Professor, Medical Genetics, Infectious Disease, Medicine.
  • Vice President Research, Vancouver Coastal Health.
  • Executive Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

Research Interests

Transplantation remains the main therapy for patients with end-stage vital organ failure. Despite advanced immunosuppression therapies, long term survival is compromised by the host immune response against the foreign graft. The objectives of this study are to discover and validate biomarkers that reliably predict rejection or immune accommodation of solid organ transplants, diagnose rejection in its acute and chronic forms, and forecast the response to therapies that allograft recipients receive. Two parallel approaches are being used to identity biomarkers: RNA expression analysis of peripheral T cells using human genome microarrays, and plasma proteomics using isobaric multiplex isotope tags and mass spectrometry. The technology, validation, and bioinformatics of these approaches are key areas we are investigating.


  1. Marr, A.K., S. Cen, R.E.W. Hancock, and W.R. McMaster. 2016. Identification of synthetic- and natural host defense peptides with leishmanicidal activity. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 60:2484-2491.
  2. Marr AK, McGwire BS, McMaster WR. Modes of action of Leishmanicidal antimicrobial peptides. Future Microbiol. 2012 Sep;7(9):1047-59.
  3. Lambertz U, Silverman JM, Nandan D, McMaster WR, Clos J, Foster LJ, Reiner NE. Secreted virulence factors and immune evasion in visceral leishmaniasis. J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Jun;91(6):887-99.
  4. Axerio-Cilies P, See RH, Zoraghi R, Worral L, Lian T, Stoynov N, Jiang J, Kaur S, Jackson L, Gong H, Swayze R, Amandoron E, Kumar NS, Moreau A, Hsing M, Strynadka NC, McMaster WR, Finlay BB, Foster LJ, Young RN, Reiner NE, Cherkasov A. Cheminformatics-driven discovery of selective, nanomolar inhibitors for staphylococcal pyruvate kinase. ACS Chem Biol. 2012 Feb 17;7(2):350-9.
  5. Zoraghi R, Worrall L, See RH, Strangman W, Popplewell WL, Gong H, Samaai T, Swayze RD, Kaur S, Vuckovic M, Finlay BB, Brunham RC, McMaster WR, Davies-Coleman MT, Strynadka NC, Andersen RJ, Reiner NE. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pyruvate kinase as a target for bis-indole alkaloids with antibacterial activities. J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 30;286(52):44716-25.
  6. Lynn MA, Kindrachuk J, Marr AK, Jenssen H, Panté N, Elliott MR, Napper S, Hancock RE, McMaster WR. Effect of BMAP-28 antimicrobial peptides on Leishmania major promastigote and amastigote growth: role of leishmanolysin in parasite survival. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011;5(5):e1141.
  7. Kulkarni MM, Barbi J, McMaster WR, Gallo RL, Satoskar AR, McGwire BS. Mammalian antimicrobial peptide influences control of cutaneous Leishmania infection. Cell Microbiol. 2011 Jun;13(6):913-23.
  8. Working Group on Research Priorities for Development of Leishmaniasis Vaccines, Costa CH, Peters NC, Maruyama SR, de Brito EC Jr, Santos IK. Vaccines for the leishmaniases: proposals for a research agenda. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Mar 29;5(3):e943.
  9. Zoraghi R, See RH, Axerio-Cilies P, Kumar NS, Gong H, Moreau A, Hsing M, Kaur S, Swayze RD, Worrall L, Amandoron E, Lian T, Jackson L, Jiang J, Thorson L, Labriere C, Foster L, Brunham RC, McMaster WR, Finlay BB, Strynadka NC, Cherkasov A, Young RN, Reiner NE. Identification of pyruvate kinase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as a novel antimicrobial drug target. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 May;55(5):2042-53.
  10. Cherkasov A, Hsing M, Zoraghi R, Foster LJ, See RH, Stoynov N, Jiang J, Kaur S, Lian T, Jackson L, Gong H, Swayze R, Amandoron E, Hormozdiari F, Dao P, Sahinalp C, Santos-Filho O, Axerio-Cilies P, Byler K, McMaster WR, Brunham RC, Finlay BB, Reiner NE. Mapping the Protein Interaction Network in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Proteome Res. 2011 Mar 4;10(3):1139-50.
  11. Günther OP, Lin D, Balshaw RF, Ng RT, Hollander Z, Wilson-McManus J, McMaster WR, McManus BM, Keown PA; Biomarkers in Transplantation Team. Effects of sample timing and treatment on gene expression in early acute renal allograft rejection. Transplantation. 2011 Feb 15;91(3):323-9.
  12. Silverman JM, Clos J, Horakova E, Wang AY, Wiesgigl M, Kelly I, Lynn MA, McMaster WR, Foster LJ, Levings MK, Reiner NE. Leishmania exosomes modulate innate and adaptive immune responses through effects on monocytes and dendritic cells. J Immunol. 2010 Nov 1;185(9):5011-22.
  13. Gabriel C, McMaster WR, Girard D, Descoteaux A. Leishmania donovani promastigotes evade the antimicrobial activity of neutrophil extracellular traps. J Immunol. 2010 Oct 1;185(7):4319-27.
  14. Zoraghi R, See RH, Gong H, Lian T, Swayze R, Finlay BB, Brunham RC, McMaster WR, Reiner NE. Functional analysis, overexpression, and kinetic characterization of pyruvate kinase from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Biochemistry. 2010 Sep 7;49(35):7733-47.
  15. Freue GV, Sasaki M, Meredith A, Günther OP, Bergman A, Takhar M, Mui A, Balshaw RF, Ng RT, Opushneva N, Hollander Z, Li G, Borchers CH, Wilson-McManus J, McManus BM, Keown PA, McMaster WR; Genome Canada Biomarkers in Transplantation Group. Proteomic signatures in plasma during early acute renal allograft rejection. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2010 Sep;9(9):1954-67.
  16. Keown PA, McMaster WR, McManus BM. Tools to identify organ rejection and immune quiescence for biological understanding and personalized medical care. Biomark Med. 2010 Feb;4(1):115-21.
  17. Murray AS, Lynn MA, McMaster WR. The Leishmania mexicana A600 genes are functionally required for amastigote replication. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2010 Aug;172(2):80-9.


  • Ph.D. (Biochemistry), University of Oxford.
  • M.Sc. (Microbiology and Immunology), University of British Columbia.