Surette Lab participates in McMaster IIDR Trainee Day 2017

Many members of the Surette Lab participated in Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) trainee day on October 26, 2017 sharing their research stories by taking part in poster presentations and talks. The theme of the day was “Resistance is futile: advancement of infectious disease research”. 

Kim Chau, Christine Chow, Daphnee Lamarche, Shahrokh Shekarriz, Rachelle Szymkiewicz, and Bryan Wu shared their research stories participating in poster presentations. Ophelie Quillier and Patrick Schenck were nominated by IIDR students and staff to give talks in the afternoon regarding their current research. Great job everyone!

A very special mention goes out to three members of the Surette lab. 
First to the Staff winner of the Michael Kamin Hart Memorial Scholarship, Laura Rossi. This award is given to a staff member who has achieved excellence in demonstrating the IIDR’s core competencies and values while making outstanding contributions in the role. Laura shares Micheal’s spirit in her daily work through her leadership, passion for science and constant strive to always learn as she mentors the students within the lab as well as participates in microbiome research. Laura is a deserving winner of this award and all students of the Surette Lab appreciate all your hard work and dedication to science!


Patrick Schenck, was selected by his peers to share his research during student presentations on IIDR trainee day entitled, “Assessing the importance of the nasal microbiota during Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization” . Patrick was the PhD candidate winner of the Mildred Gulliver Scholarships in Infectious Disease Research for his delivery of his research and contribution to anti-infectious research.



Christine Chow participated in IIDR by presenting her research during the poster sessions held throughout the day. Christine’s research focused on “Characterizing the Type VII secretion system in the Streptococcus milleri group” . Christine won the Fisher Scientific Undergraduate Poster Award for delivering the best undergraduate poster at the event.


Congratulations Laura, Patrick and Christine on your accomplishments!

Congratulations, Dr. Jenn Lau!

The Surette lab would like to congratulate Jenn Lau for successfully defending her PhD entitled, “Characterizing the diversity and complexity of the human gut microbiota through the combination of culture and culture-independent methods.” Best wishes for Dr. Lau as she begins a new journey in industry and congratulations for achieving this important milestone.

Congratulations, Dr. Fiona Whelan!

It is our pleasure to announce that Fiona Whelan, a PhD student within the Surette laboratory, successfully defended her thesis entitled, “Investigations of the microbial communities of the respiratory tract in the elderly and in cystic fibrosis via culture-dependent and -independent approaches“. Congratulations Dr. Whelan, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

Patrick contributes to respiratory microbiology in his recent review.

Patrick Schenck, a current PhD candidate of the Surette lab, discusses recent updates in the field of respiratory microbiology in a review published within FEBS Letters. The publication entitled, “Composition and immunological significance of the upper respiratory tract microbiota”, is described in the following abstract:

“The intestinal microbiota is essential for nutrient acquisition, immune development, and exclusion of invading pathogens. The upper respiratory tract (URT) microbiota is less well studied and does not appear to abide by many of the paradigms of the gastrointestinal tract. Decades of carriage studies in children have demonstrated that microbe-microbe competition and collusion occurs in the URT. Whether colonization with common pathogens (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae) alters immune development or susceptibility to respiratory conditions is just beginning to be understood. Herein, we discuss the biogeography of the upper respiratory tract microbiota, the succession and evolution of the microbiota through the life course, and discuss the evidence for microbe-microbe interactions in colonization and infection.”

Citation: Schenck LP., Surette MG, and Bowdish DME. (2016). Composition and immunological significance of the upper respiratory tract microbiota. FEBS Letters. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12455