I am a microbial ecologist using microbiology, genomics, bioinformatics, statistics, and ecology to study host-microbe interactions on plants and humans. I started my own lab at the Université de Sherbrooke in January 2020 (after a year of mat leave) where I hold a Canada Research Chair T2 in Applied Microbial Ecology.As an assistant prof at UdeS I work mostly on plant-microbe interactions on Arabidopsis, Acer saccharum (sugar maple) and Malus domestica (common apple tree) as well as continuing my work on the role of community ecology in the human microbiome. I am also a woman and mother in Science, and yes I like to code (go here for an interview in French about the challenges of being a woman in my field). I have published a few papers (1, 2) and collabs (1, 2, 3) since the start of my lab.
My interests are microbial ecology, host-microbe interactions, the human microbiome and its role for human health and immune system development, plant phyllosphere and the rhizosphere, plant ecology, plant-microbe interactions, bioinformatics, statistics, genomics, and making nice figures in R (guilty). Of course I am also involved in knowledge translation and outreach as much as I can while also staying mentally healthy. This job ain’t easy!
When I started undergrad, I wanted to be a neurobiologist ^^. I did my undergraduate studies in Biology at Université Laval in 2010 in Quebec City, then completed a Master in Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Management at the CREAF at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in 2011 (see paper) and continued studying a Master in Statistics at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in 2012. Barcelona was so much fun I never wanted to leave.
I completed my PhD (2012-2017) at the Université du Québec à Montréal, under the supervision of the mighty duo of Prs. Steve Kembel and Christian Messier. During my Ph.D. I worked on plant-microbe interactions and genomics. I used next-generation sequencing techniques to identify the members of leaf (phyllosphere) microbial communities in Quebec’s temperate forest (see: paper 1, paper 2, paper 3, paper 4, paper 5) and collabs (collab 1,collab 2, collab 3). I wouldn’t say getting a PhD is easy but it was a wonderful experience.
From 2017-2019 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary in the Arrieta Lab working on the early-life influence of the gut microbiome on the development of the human immune system and its influence on allergies and asthma (see paper 1, paper 2, paper 3, paper 4) and collabs (collab 1, collab 2, collab 3, collab 4, collab 5, collab 6, collab 7). You can also take a look at the Q&A I did for QIAGEN.
Scientific happiness is only real when it’s shared (cue Into the Wild – Eddie Vedder). I have been very lucky to work with awesome people and here are a few of them:
Left picture starting from the left: Sophie Carpentier, myself, Gabriel Jacques during field work in Abitibi. Right picture: Maria Alejandra Hernandez and Raphaëlle Fréchon during field work in Montreal.
Left picture starting from the left: Erik van Tilburg Bernardes, Marie-Claire Arrieta, and myself in the germ-free center during our big experiment. Right picture: Erik van Tilburg Bernardes, myself, Marie-Claire Arrieta, and Haley Jamieson in the lab.
Left picture starting from the left: Zihui Wang, Geneviève Lajoie, myself, Steven Kembel, Rémi Maglione and Jean-Baptiste Leducq at the Phyllosphere Symposium in UC Davis in 2022. Right picture starting from the left: myself, Tonia De Bellis, and Joey Chamard at ESA/CSEE 22.