2018 CSCC Travelling Lectureship

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The Human Microbiome in Health and Disease: Challenges and Opportunities

The human body is host to numerous complex microbial communities at different body sites that comprise the human microbiome. These microbes and their dynamic interactions with each other and with the host play critical roles in health throughout the life course particularly in digestion/nutrition and maintenance of immune homeostasis. However, bacteria within the microbiome also contribute to disease: as pathogens, as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance and virulent genes and, when these microbial communities become out of sync with their host (dysbiosis), as drivers of chronic inflammatory diseases. The microbiome can interfere with therapies – degrading drugs and modulating immunotherapies. Alternatively, the microbiome itself can be a source of therapy. However, despite the hype and promise, there remain many challenges in microbiome research, and in translating research findings to new diagnostics or therapies.

Learning objectives:
1. to understand the structure and complexity of the human microbiome
2. to understand the differences in methodological approaches, their limitations, and how methodology may influence outcome
3. to understand the role of the microbiome as modifier of disease and treatment, and the microbiome as therapy



Michael G. Surette


Michael Surette (PhD) is currently Professor and Canada Research Chair Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research in the Department of Medicine and Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. He is also co-director of the McMaster Genomics Facility.

Dr. Surette’s research addresses the human microbiome of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts in health and disease. The lab is focused on developing high throughput culturing and phenotyping methods to investigate infectious disease, the microbiome, applying and improving next-generation sequencing approaches to characterize the microbiome, and exploiting secondary metabolic products of the human microbiome. Disease specific projects are focused on cystic fibrosis, asthma, pneumonia, sepsis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. His lab is currently supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Genome Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Foundation of Innovation. 




October 11, 2018   Quebec City QC 
October 13, 2018    Jasper AB 
October 15, 2018    Vancouver BC 
November 6, 2018    London ON 
November 19, 2018    Saskatoon SK