Wild bee microbiomes and pollinator health

The holobiont view of organism microbiomes suggests that microbial communities influence and are influenced by animal behaviour. While many microbes are beneficial and necessary for digestion and homeostasis, others can be detrimental, including pathogens leading to compromised immunity and disease states. Recent studies suggest microbiomes covary with landscape floral and fungal diversity, yet fine scale data does not exist examining consistent hubs for beneficial and pathogenic microbes outside of select few crop and flower species.

Investigating the role of bacteria in abdominal pain and chronic constipation.

The bacteria living in our gastrointestinal system, the gut microbiome, play a key role in human health and disease. Multiple studies demonstrated altered gut microbiome in patients with constipation or abdominal pain but knowledge of a clear cause-effect relationship or underlying mechanism are lacking. We found previously that microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome induces altered gut function, low-grade inflammation and abdominal pain.

Wild bee pollinator habitat restoration through dietary breadth, nutrition and microbiome characterization across Canada

Wild bees are vital to our parks, gardens, greenspaces and ecosystem services, but we know surprisingly little about their habitat requirements and dietary breadth. In this proposal, we will characterize wild bee nutrition including their health and microbiomes across Canada. The postdoc will learn skills in bioinformatics, science writing and science communication. The W. Garfield Weston Foundation will benefit from furthering their mission to facilitate transformative research on the microbiome that will improve the health of Canadians.

Optimizing the prebiotic profile of donor human milk for preterm infants:feasibility of a new donor milk matching strategy based on maternal secretorstatus

Breastmilk is the best nutrition for a premature infant. When a mother’s milk is not available, the best alternative is donor human milk (DHM). Currently, DHM is pooled together from different mothers and there is no matching process based on the unique genetics or needs of the infant. This project will examine the possibility of developing a rapid test to match DHM to be more like the milk of each preterm infant’s mother, based on a genetic marker. We think that by doing this, we can help the infant to have a healthier gut microbiome.