Brian Coombes received his BSc in Biochemistry (1997) and his PhD in Medical Sciences (2002) from McMaster University. From 2002-2006 he was a CIHR and Michael Smith Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Michael Smith Laboratories in Vancouver working in the lab of Dr. Brett Finlay, a world leader in microbial pathogenesis. There, he trained in molecular and cellular microbiology, investigating the mechanisms by which bacteria use virulence factors to modify the host environment.

 

In 2006 he joined the Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences and established an active research program in infectious diseases. The lab's major focus is on enteric bacteria associated with acute and chronic human diseases including Crohn’s disease. He is the past recipient of the CIHR New Investigator Award (2007-2011), the Scientific Merit Award from the Public Health Agency of Canada (2007) and the Fisher Scientific Prize (2012). In 2010 Brian was inducted into Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and in 2016 received the title of University Scholar.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • American Society for Microbiology Young Investigator Award (2006)

  • Most Promising Researcher Merit Award, Public Health Agency of Canada (2007)

  • CIHR New Investigator Award (2007)

  • Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (2008)

  • Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award (2010)

  • Canada Top 40 Under 40 (2010)

  • Canada Research Chair (2011, 2016)

  • Fisher Scientific Award (2012)

  • University Scholar (2016)

  • Board of Directors, Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry (2019)

 

LAB MEMBERS

Meet the team

Ashraf Bazan, PhD Student

Ashraf received BSc in pharmaceutical sciences and MSc in biotechnology where he studied the molecular biology of Toxin-Antitoxin systems and their identification in the human microbiome. In the Coombes lab, Ashraf continues his research in host-microbe interactions to understand pathogenesis and host immune response leading to better translational medicine.

Biochemistry

Elizabeth Chau, PhD Student

Elizabeth completed a BSc at the University of Toronto in human biology and animal physiology, and did research on innate immunity and neutrophil NETosis. In the Coombes lab, she is working on the mechanisms of regulatory evolution in bacterial pathogens. 

Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Fred & Helen Knight Enrichment Award

Aline Comyn, Research Technician

Aline is a Research Technician in the Coombes lab who joined the group in 2015. Prior to joining the lab, she worked abroad at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry near Munich and at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster.

MSc (Biochemistry), McMaster University

Jasmeen Dourka, Senior Thesis student and Summer Research Assistant

Jasmeen is a fourth year BDC student completing her senior thesis in the Coombes lab. Having enjoyed the research-driven environment in both the biochemistry and BDC programs, Jasmeen is excited to gain valuable experience from the lab and expand her understanding of host-pathogen interactions with respect to infectious diseases. Outside of the lab, Jasmeen enjoys graphic design, spending time with her friends and family, and reading

Biomedical Sciences and Commercialization

Dr. Wael Elhenawy, Postdoctoral Fellow

Wael joined the Coombes lab in January 2016 after completing his PhD studies at the University of Alberta with Dr. Mario Feldman. There, he studied the secretion of outer membrane vescicles by Gram-negative bacteria.  In the Coombes lab, Wael is studying how pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli contribute to the pathology of Crohn's disease.

CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Dustin Little, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dustin joined the Coombes lab in 2015 after completing his PhD in the lab of Lynne Howell at Sick Kids in Toronto. There, he characterized a bacterial enzyme required for exopolysaccharide export involved in biofilm formation. In the Coombes lab, Dustin is characterizing novel proteins involved in host-pathogen interactions and studying mechanisms of Type 3 secretion.

Michael G. DeGroote Fellowship

Alexandra Parco, M.Sc. student

After completing her B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Alexandra has joined the lab as a Masters student to continuing her research on the role of AIEC in Crohn's disease.  Outside the lab, Alexandra enjoys singing and has performed with groups such as Cirque du Soleil and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Biochemistry

Jordyn Perry, Senior thesis student and Summer Research Assistant

I’m a third year BDC student minoring in business and will be completing my fourth-year thesis in the Coombes lab. My passion for biochemical research began in the Kee Lab at the University of Chicago where I studied pathways of NK cells, and I’m very excited to expand my knowledge in the field of immunology with respect to bacteria mediated evasion of the innate immune system. Based on my love of research and clinical biochemistry the hope to pursue an MD/PhD in the future. Outside of the lab I enjoy figure skating, tutoring and spending time with friends and family.

Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery Summer Fellowship

Dr. Ryan Shaler, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ryan joined the Coombes lab in November 2017, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Mansour Haeryfar at Western University. During his time at Western, Ryan looked at the mechanism by which bacterial superantigens shaped innate T immunity. Before this, Ryan completed his Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Zhou Xing at McMaster where he studied immune regulation in the context of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In the Coombes lab, Ryan is uncovering alterations in the intestinal innate immune response in models of murine colitis.

CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow

Caressa Tsai, PhD student

Caressa joined the Coombes lab in 2016 after completing a BSc at the University of Toronto, where she studied molecular evolution and genetics of host-pathogen interactions. In the Coombes lab, Caressa will be working on the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions and bacterial adaptations contributing to pathogenicity. Caressa holds a Canada Graduate Scholarship from NSERC.

NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship; CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship

Please reload