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!

Culture for a Cure

May 28th the Surette Lab team called “Culture for a Cure” participated in Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s (CFC) Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History. Thanks to Saad Syed, Rachelle Szymkiewicz, Fiona Whelan, Mike and Ben Surette for their time and dedication inside and outside of the lab to this great cause. If you want to learn more about what CFC does please check out their website.

The Culture for a Cure team, Fiona, Rachelle, Saad, Mike and Ben


Summer Fun at the Biochem Picnic

A big thank you and shout out to Paul, Rachelle, Ryan, Saad, Richa and Pat for their competitive spirit, athletic and scientific abilities as they represented the Surette Lab in the Biochem Olympics at the beginning of June. It was a tough competition this year and sadly we didn’t place in the top 3 but the Surette Lab had a good showing over all tying with the Burrows Lab for 3rd place for the Spirit award. Thanks to all the who participated throughout the year!

Surette Lab Biochem Olympics team from left to right Paul, Rachelle, Ryan, Saad and Pat (Richa, not pictured)

The Surette and Burrows Labs pose for a picture as they accept their 3rd place prize.



Jennifer Lau, Ryan Potts and Fiona Whelan win Faculty of Health Science Graduate Programs Outstanding Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Surette Lab graduate students Jennifer, Ryan and Fiona who won the Faculty of Health Science Graduate Program’s Outstanding Excellence Awards. They received there awards May 31 2017 at the 2017 FHS Research Plenary Awards Reception. All the winners are listed here.

Fiona and Ryan winners of FHS Plenary Awards (along with Jenn Lau , not pictured)


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!