Department of Chemical Engineering
McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering
Canada Research Chair in Bacteriophage Bioengineering (Tier 2)
Department of Chemical Engineering
We address the global crises of antimicrobial resistant superbugs and viral infections by using bacteriophages, good viruses that are bacteria’s natural predators. These natural antimicrobials can be designed to act as tiny soldiers that only kill the bad bacteria and leave our good bacteria (the ones we need for our health and well-being) intact. We design and formulate phage therapeutics to target specific infections. We also pack bacteriophages into solid form to design antimicrobial biomaterials, gels and coatings. In addition, because bacteriophages are so good at targeting their prey (bacteria) in nature, we use them to design novel methods of detecting and diagnosing infectious diseases.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed a new research platform on using bacteriophage aerosols as surrogates for aerosolized SARS-COV-2. We use these phage aerosols to investigate performance of respirators and ventilation systems to infectious viral aerosols.
Our research spans across multiple disciplines and integrates engineering with molecular biology, materials science, and chemistry. To learn more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit the Resources page on our lab website to learn more about bacteriophages.
Platform A: Phage Antimicrobials
We use bacteriophages for their inherent property, as bacterial killers. We develop design/formulation criteria for bacteriophage therapeutics against common infections on the skin, medical implants, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system, specifically those that are in biofilm mode and antibiotic resistant.
Platform B: Phage Biomaterials
In their simplest form, bacteriophages are bionanoparticles than can propagate themselves and self-assemble. These properties make bacteriophages more powerful than synthetic nanoparticles. We also pack bacteriophages into solid form to design antimicrobial biomaterials, gels and coatings.
Platform C: Phage Diagnostics
Bacteriophages are very effective at finding and specifically targeting their host bacteria in nature. Because bacteriophages are so good at targeting their prey (bacteria) in nature, we use them to design novel methods of detecting and diagnosing infectious diseases.
Platform D: Aerosolized Phage
We investigate aerosolized phage to understand the behaviour of infectious aerosols, as well as to design inhalable therapeutics. We research the performance of respirators to aerosolized viruses and bacteria under clinically relevant conditions.
Did you know…
Phages are viruses that infect bacteria. They were discovered 100 years ago and have been used as natural antibacterials ever since. With the rising crisis of antibiotic resistance, phages could be our hope for a post-antibiotic era.
Our lab works on developing engineering solutions to global health problems using phages. If you want to learn more about phages, visit our lab website: https://www.biohybridslab.com/resources
For Prospective Students: We welcome applications from highly motivated students that share our passion for science and curiosity about phages and their applications. If you want to join my lab as a graduate student or a postdoc, please contact me directly with your latest transcripts and an up-to-date CV. Every year our lab hosts numerous NSERC-USRA and undergraduate thesis students. If you are an undergraduate student looking to do research for credit or to satisfy your own curiosity, do not hesitate to contact me with your latest transcripts and CV.
For postdocs: Currently, we welcome applications from postdoctoral applicants that hold a major Canadian or international fellowship.
For potential Academic or Industrial Collaborators: Please see our lab website to learn more about our research expertise (https://www.biohybridslab.com/publications) and also about the equipment and unique facilities we can offer as part of a collaborative project: https://www.biohybridslab.com/facilities
I am a chemical and biomedical engineer and the Canada Research Chair in Bacteriophage Bioengineering. My research is translational , spans across multiple disciplines and integrates engineering with molecular biology, materials science, and chemistry. I joined the Chemical Engineering Department at McMaster in July 2016. I am also an associate member at the Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, The Farncombe Institute and the School of Biomedical Engineering. Currently, I focus on two major global health challenges, namely antibiotic-resistant superbugs and viral infections. We use bacteriophages (bacterial viruses), combined with the powerful tools of bio- and nanotechnology, to design engineering solutions that tackle the global challenges in human health and the health of our environment.