Surette lab high school student wins multiple BASEF awards.

Surette lab high school student Maggie Williams has once again taken the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) by storm. Maggie’s project, which examined the survival of Staphylococcus sp. on the metal surfaces of hospitals, won her an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California as well 4 awards: the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Transforming Tomorrow Award, a Gold Merit BASEF Award, the Association for Iron and Steel Technology Award, and the 2017 Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair Award of Excellence co-sponsored by Mohawk College and Sheridan College. The lab wishes Maggie the best of luck as she begins her Undergraduate science training next year!


Bryan listed as a 3MT Finalist.

One of the lab’s newest MSc students, Bryan Wu, competed in McMaster University’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition earlier this year. Bryan, whose presentation was  entitled The Talkative Tenants of the Human Body, was chosen from his heats to compete at the University level where he was listed as a finalist.

Congratulations, Bryan!

Surette lab Undergrads win 1st place at Scinapse!

Congratulations to Surette lab Undergraduates Christine Chow, Richa John, Hiba Shareefden, and Jeffrey Ye who won first place at Scinapse! Scinapse is an Undergraduate Science Case Competition (USCC) in which participants register, and write a written proposal on a specific topic. The top written proposals were invited to present their proposals at Western University March 25-26th. This year’s topic was Zika Virus which our Undergraduates wrote, presented, and took home the first place prize with!


Kim wins an IIDR Summer Fellowship

Congratulations to Surette lab undergrad Kim Ng for winning a prestigious IIDR Summer Student Fellowship from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and McMaster University. Kim will use this Fellowship to study the interactions between specific strains of Pseudomonas and Streptococcus.

You can read more about this award on the IIDR website. Congratulations, Kim!

Minister Duncan visits the Farncombe.

On June 23, The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, visited McMaster to announce the 2016 NSERC Discovery grants and our Farncombe colleague, Dr. Lesley McNeil, was featured as she was also awarded a Discovery Accelerator Supplement grant.  Minister Duncan toured the McNeil lab to hear about Lesley’s fascinating work with worms (and bacteria!).  Members of the Surette lab also had a chance to meet and talk with her.  The Minister was engaging and genuinely interested in hearing about the microbiome and our collaborative research with worms and bugs!

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All photos credited to : Department of Communications and Public Affairs, McMaster University.

Jenn Lau wins the 2016 Finegold Award!

Congratulations to Jennifer Lau for winning The 2016 Finegold Award for Best Abstract at the recent Anaerobe 2016 Congress. Jenn’s abstract, entitled “Characterization of Phenotypic and Genetic Diversity among Lachnospiraceae Isolates from the Human Gut Microbiota.” gathered a lot of attention at the meeting.

Congratulations, Jenn!




Human microbiome journal club featured on

The Human microbiome journal club, established by Surette lab members, is a monthly journal club focussed on the latest literature in the field of human microbial communities. Recently, the associated website for the Journal Club – which includes resources such as a Mendeley manuscript library and tutorials – has been featured on the front page of Check it out here!

Surette lab high school student wins Gold Medal at BASEF.

The Surette lab is beaming after hearing that Maggie Williams, a grade 11 student from Ancaster high school, won a Gold Medal at this year’s Bay Area Science and Education Fair. Maggie has spent the last 4 months working in the Surette lab on her project entitled The Role of Fabric in the Prevention of Nosocomial Illness: Environmentally-Friendly Solutions. As part of her project, Maggie exposed various types of bacteria, including E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus, to different types of fabrics to see which were best able to prevent their growth. According to her research, fabrics made from natural fibres touted to have antibacterial activity did not prevent bacterial survival; however, silver and copper impregnated fabric did kill these bacteria.  Hospital garments made of antibacterial fabric could reduce nosocomial transmission of pathogens.

However, Maggie’s project won more than just a Gold Metal: she has also received funding along with that award to present her project at the Canada Wide Science and Engineering Fair this coming May at McGill University. Further, Maggie won another award for “Outstanding Achievement for Ability and Creativity in In Vitro Biology”, which included a tuition scholarship for both Mohawk and Sheridan Colleges.

To say we are proud is an understatement! Congratulations, Maggie!


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Mike shows off the lab’s research with 3 lectures in less than 2 weeks!

The beginning of 2016 has been busy for our fearless leader! Mike gave the Plenary Lecture, The Airway Microbiome, at the recent Canadian Respiratory Research Network Investigator and Annual General Meeting in Ottawa on January 15th. Following, he attended the Canadian Critical Care Translational Biology Group and Canadian Critical Care Trials Group meeting in Lake Louise where he gave two important seminars. The first, was on updates on the microbiome side of the PROSPECT trial with Dr. Deborah Cook and team, including PhD student Daphnée Lamarche. The second lecture was on identifying pathogens in patients with suspected ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) as part of the FINDPATH study with Dr. Alison Fox-Robichaud and team.

The lab is predicting an exciting year!