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!

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!


Surette Lab at IIDR!

On October 26th, the Surette Lab made its mark on McMaster’s IIDR Trainee Day 2016.

As part of the organizing committee, MSc candidate Ryan, MD/PhD candidate Saad, and PhD candidates Jenn and Daphnée were essential to the day’s success.


Jenn (left), Saad (center), and Daphnée (right) at Faculty Club after a long day of work!

Surette lab members also had the chance to present their research: Daphnée, Ryan, and PhD candidate Pat gave amazing poster presentations, while Saad, Ryan, and PhD candidate Fiona each delivered fantastic talks!

Pat (left) and Daphnée at their posters.

The Lab is particularly proud of Fiona, who was commemorated with the Michael Kamin Hart Memorial scholarship for her leadership, academic excellence, and enthusiasm in science. Congratulations, Fiona!

Fiona with her Michael Hart scholarship!

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


Fiona wins Karl Freeman Prize

PhD candidate Fiona Whelan receives a Karl Freeman Prize, which is awarded to the top Biochemistry graduate seminars each year. The awards are generously donated by Karl Freeman, a former chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1973-1979. Congratulations!