After a long COVID-induced hiatus, the McPhee lab returned to the Canadian Society of Microbiologists meeting, hosted by Dalhousie University in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia. Reshmi and Natasha presented their work on Shigella signaling and uropathogenic E. coli filamentation, respectively (and even got out for a hike near Peggy’s Cove).
In August 2022, Arooj successfully defended her MSc work (cosupervised with Dr. Fiona Whelan of the University of Nottingham, UK) on the PmrAB systems of Shigella boydii and Shigella dysenteriae. Arooj had a challenging project, balancing both wet lab and bioinformatic analysis (and the demands of not only one, but two supervisors)! It was a pleasure seeing Arooj’s growth throughout the project and I look forward to seeing what she gets up to next!
At the end of April 2022, an era ended in the McPhee lab with the PhD defense of Youn Hee Cho. Youn Hee has been with the lab since the beginning and was responsible for unpacking the very first boxes of equipment that arrived way back in 2015. She has been the backbone of the lab, responsible for training almost every subsequent undergrad and graduate student who entered the lab since then. It would be impossible to overstate just how much she will be missed. Good luck Yunnie!
On Oct 8th, 2021, Raymond defended his MSc work on heterogeneity in the pmrD gene in Shigella and E. coli. Raymond has been an integral part of the team since joining as an undergraduate in 2018. He initiated all of the Shigella work that is currently happening in the lab and he was a fantastic team player. He was responsible for training of many other undergraduate trainees in the lab and his. We will certainly miss his calm presence in the lab, but he won’t be far away – he’s started a new position at UHN and we hope he’ll continue to pop by the lab from time to time… he’s always welcome here!
Youn Hee, Adam and Joe all recently attended the Canadian Society for Microbiologists meeting in Sherbrooke, Quebec. In addition to excellent poutine, craft beer, and some thrilling basketball games, some truly excellent science was also shared by all. Adam received a travel award from the CSM Executive to present his work and Youn Hee gave an update of her work on omptin regulation in Escherichia coli.
We are excited to see this in print! This work describes the broad phenotypic conservation of E. coli found in IBD patients and argues that a focus on genetic characterization may miss numerous phenotypes that are not readily predicted or predictable. We hope that some of the ideas here gain traction and provoke new ways of thinking about how intestinal microbes might drive changes in the host that are associated with IBD.
Michael recently defended his MSc work entitled, “Interactions between adherent-invasive Escherichia coli and host macrophages: a virulence phenotype”. Michael is now working as a clinical data management specialist and we wish him all the best in his future career.
The Canadian Society of Microbiologists AGM was held from June 20-23 at the University of Manitoba. Joe McPhee presented a talk highlighting recent work by Youn Hee Cho and Riasad Fadle Aziz on the role of the PhoPQ system in the regulation of omptin activity, while Michael Renouf presented his work describing how AIEC can alter macrophage behaviour while Youn Hee Cho presented her work on phenotypic diversity in IBD-associated E. coli.