McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Top microbiologist joins Farncombe Institute

By Laura Thompson
Published: October 15, 2010
Michael Surette
Michael Surette, rofessor in the Department of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

One of Canada’s top microbiologists has been recruited to McMaster University to lead an initiative aimed at better understanding how bacteria contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases and respiratory infections.

Michael Surette, who is recognized internationally for his landmark discoveries of key bacteria that trigger lung infections in cystic fibrosis, has been appointed a professor in the Department of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. He has also been named a primary investigator at McMaster’s Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

"Mike Surette has been able to significantly improve the lives of individuals afflicted with cystic fibrosis," said John Wallace, a professor of medicine and director of the Farncombe Institute. "He will continue that work at McMaster, and he will now apply his skills to identifying the bacteria that trigger episodes of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis."

Coinciding with the Surette’s arrival, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced that he will be the lead investigator of a new Emerging Team Grant valued at $2.5 million. The project will investigate the role of bacteria in the respiratory tract in order to better understand how bacteria interact with each other and the immune system. McMaster collaborators include Dawn Bowdish, an assistant professor of pathology and molecular medicine, and Jennie Johnstone, an assistant professor of medicine.

Surette began his appointment on October 1. He was recruited from the University of Calgary, where he spent the past 12 years.

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