Great news all around

First of all Bhavya Singh has been named a 2019 McMaster MacData Fellow. This competitive award is given to one student to work on a multidisciplinary project for eight months in addition to their thesis work. Bhavya will study how to assemble metagenomic communities that have a lot of diversity within closely related bacterial species. Congratulations Bhavya and good luck!

Image result for cihrSecondly, I was awarded a CIHR Early Career Investigator Grants in Maternal, Reproductive, Child & Youth Health for three years to study the role of fibre fermentation in the infant gut microbiome.

December has been a great month so far.

The first official MSc from the Stearns lab

Luna ElDakiky successfully completed her MSc thesis and oral defence this Fall and is now the first official graduate of the Stearns lab. During her time in the lab, Luna learned all about anaerobic bacterial culture, culture independent community analysis and did tons of PCR! Luna was recognized for Academic Excellence within the Faculty of Health Sciences and took home a poster award from the Medical Sciences Trainee Research Day. The future is bright for Luna, who is taking some time to decide how she wants to use her new Mastery of Science. Congratulations Luna!

Luna ElDakiky, Masters student, Medical Sciences


IIDR Trainee Research Day

Aman Patel UG researcher extraordinaire

A job well done goes out to Bhavya Singh and Aman Patel for participating in the IIDR research day held on November 9th, 2018.
Aman, an undergraduate student in the lab presented a poster on his current project in the lab which involves exploring and characterizing novel bacterial cross-feeding interactions in the infant gut microbiome.

Bhavya Singh – Best IIDR MSc poster

Bhavya presented a poster in the MSc category on metagenomic data analysis methods for relatively low diversity microbial communities such as the infant gut microbiome. She specifically looked at how strain diversity impacts accurate metagenomic assembly.
Also, a BIG congratulations to Bhavya for WINNING best poster!!!

Clara Long awarded a summer research scholarship

Clara Long recently completed a 3rd year Health Sciences independent study in the lab and has just received a prestigious Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours Program Summer 2017 Research Scholarship. She’ll complete work on bacterial fermentation of specific dietary components in the infant gut and will focus on the diversity of bacterial taxa found to be enriched in South Asian infants in our recent paper. Keep up the good work Clara!

We are hosting a IUSR scholar this summer

As part of the Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars Program at McMaster University the Stearns lab will welcome Christie for 8 weeks starting in May 2017. Below is a description of the our plan for the summer.

Name of project and a brief description

  • In partnership with the Six Nations Reserve, a dietary trial is underway to study how a return to traditional foods affects the health and microbiota of indigenous individuals. The Healthy Roots study will look at clinical indicators of cardio-metabolic health from the blood and microbes in the stool of individuals before, during and after a dietary intervention trial. The student would be participating in aspects of microbial research in a basic research lab.

What would a typical day look like for an IUS Scholar?

  • The student will be taught laboratory techniques such as DNA extraction, bacterial culture and biochemical assays as well as some data analysis techniques. A typical day will involve a portion of his or her time being spent at the lab bench and the rest at the computer.