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"Live microrganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." (FAO/WHO, 2001)

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Our laboratory focuses mainly on bacterial infections in the urinary and urogenital tracts, incorporating in vitro methods, animal models and clinical samples to study their development and hopefully find ways to improve their prevention and treatment. Specifically, we are studying: 1) Novel urinary tract devices coated with anti-fouling compounds and/or impregnated with antimicrobials for the prevention of device-related urinary tract infections; 2) The utility of probiotics in preventing and treating female urogenital tract infections and kidney stones; 3) The potential link between infections and certain autoimmune disorders; 4) The development of diagnostic tools to more quickly and accurately identify urinary tract infections in the clinic

  • probiotics
  • Molecular genetics
  • Bacterial virulence
  • Biofilm formation

We aim at identifying the role played by surface carbohydrates in the virulence of two genetically related gastro-intestinal human pathogens that cause very different and specific pathologies: Campylobacter jejuni and Helicobacter pylori. One hallmark of these two bacteria is to produce glycosylated proteins. We have made great progress in the elucidation of the N- and/or O-linked protein glycosylation pathways in these bacteria, and in the determination of their role in pathogenesis. We are now investigating the role of glycosylation on the function of select glycoproteins. Other significant research topics in the laboratory also include investigating the biosynthesis and role of C. jejuni capsular components, and investigating the use of lactobacilli as probiotics to treat/prevent H. pylori infections.

  • molecular genetics
  • enzymology
  • probiotics

As an established major source of life threatening hospital infections, the Staphylococcus aureus superbug is also causing serious infections in the community. The primary focus of my laboratory is on the study of S. aureus proteins that are essential for the acquisition of iron, a critical nutrient. Bacterial proteins involved in the acquisition of host iron sources are considered virulence factors, and studying how these proteins operate will allow us to design rationale approaches to inhibit their function and thus attenuate S. aureus infections.

Macrophages residing in almost all tissues are specialized phagocytes positioned in the first line of host defense and a rich source of cytokines regulating immune responses. Different microbes manipulate macrophage to live in harmony with their host or target macrophages to colonize and proliferate. Our laboratory investigates the molecular and signalling mechanisms by which macrophages interact and response to different microbes, including Bacillus anthracis, commensals and probiotics. Our researches will provide new tools and therapeutic strategies for treating inflammatory and infectious diseases.

  • anthrax lethal toxin
  • in vitro-gene trapping in somatic cells
  • innate immune signaling
  • probiotics
  • CHI

Our major research focus includes a detailed structural and functional characterization of a group of potent "superantigen" toxins produced by the notorious human pathogens Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus . Our goals include the development of novel inhibitors for these toxins and harnessing their properties for immunotherapeutic agents.We are also interested in host-pathogen and interspecies bacterial communication systems. This work includes communication between pathogens and commensal or probiotic organisms, and we are utilizing proteomic and in vivo expression technology systems to achieve these goals.

Gregor Reid

With ten times more bacteria in us than human cells, ever wondered who's really the boss? Our lab is interested in understanding how indigenous and exogenously applied (probiotics) lactobacilli confer health benefits in the gut and urogenital tract. Our projects include: (i)Genomic analysis of strains, (ii) Applications to dairy products, (iii) Clinical and fundamental studies on the use of probiotics to prevent preterm labour, urinary tract infections, yeast vaginitis and act as adjuncts or alternatives to antimicrobial agents.

  • probiotics



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