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!


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!


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


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!

lesley1 lesley2 lesley3

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!