Lab Philosophy

The McPhee lab focuses on fundamental problems related to bacterial pathogenesis and bacterial genetics. Our goal is to do excellent science, to continually strive to be better than anyone else in the world at what we’re doing and to help one another achieve personal and professional goals. By understanding how bacteria sense and respond to the environment, we seek to gain insights into how they adapt to the host environment and alter host health. We strive to be supportive of one another, to respect our individual strengths and priorities and to be relentless in the pursuit of interesting and important science.


The work in our lab cuts across multiple disciplines, including microbiology, immunology, bacterial genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology. It is difficult to be an expert in all of these disparate fields. To that end, we encourage and promote collaboration with colleagues, both within the Ryerson community and beyond. A rising tide lifts all boats, and similarly, by reaching out to collaborators, we are able to elevate both the quantity and the quality of the work that we are producing.


The hardest work and the longest hours are of little value if we do not have integrity in what we do. Hard work involves time at the bench but it also involves thinking about experiments, reading papers from other research groups and formulating ideas that may be tested in the lab. Working hard involves working smart. Integrity involves designing experiments with appropriate controls, accepting the results when they do not support our hypothesis and communicating those results in an honest and forthright way.