Paper Published!

Graphical Abstract for the recently published paper by Chiara-Maria Homann (co-first author) and Dr. Jennifer C. Stearns (co-senior author)

The paper Infants’ First Solid Foods: Impact on Gut Microbiota Development in Two Intercontinental Cohorts has been successfully published to the journal Nutrients. Click here to read!

Congrats to all the authors involved in the process.

Colton, Competitions and CSM

One more new face can be found in the Stearns Lab: Colton Mak, who will be completing his project course with us, investigating the phylogenetic placements of P. sordelli isolates and carbohydrate-use genes that enable them to co-exist with fiber fermenters in the gut.

Recent Lab Success – Colin received the 1st place in the oral presentations for the biochemistry and biomedical sciences research symposium at the masters (MSc) level, and Moiz was recently awarded both the Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) Summer Research Scholarship and the Mitacs Research Grant to continue his work over the summer!! Additionally, Colin has successfully transferred from the MSc program to the PhD program – congratulations!

Lastly, Bhavya, Colin, Dr. Stearns and Chiara presented posters at the annual CSM (Canadian Society of Microbiologists) conference.

New Faces in the Lab – and a few goodbyes

Zoom Meetings – our new normal! This picture is missing Moiz Lakhani.

After a short hiatus, we are back on the lab website! Since our last post, a lot has happened. Many of our fourth year project and thesis students have graduated and left the lab, after graduating in 2020. We are lucky to still have Sarisha Philip on board as a research assistant!

New students include Salman Reza, a new PhD candidate, Alan Minkovich, a co-op student working in the lab and Moiz Lakhani, who is primarily working on the bioinformatics side. For more information, be sure to check out the research group page:

Former undergraduate student Aelita Huang has been accepted to the University of Waterloo for a MSc in statistics – maybe she discovered her love for statistical analysis while completing her project on network analysis here in the Stearns lab;).

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!