Research InterestsThe study of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages, phages) has been my life’s work.
The study of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages, phages) has been my life’s work. My 50-year career evolved from characterizing novel nucleic acid bases, to isolating and characterizing phages for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (with the goal of understanding the structure of lipopolysaccharides), to developing phage-based vector systems for cloning in Pseudomonas. My most recent research on controlling foodborne pathogens with phages involves collaborations with national and international partners in academe, industry, and government. These efforts have led to the sequencing and annotation of >100 complete bacteriophage genomes, and to a leadership role in the taxonomic classification of bacterial viruses.
Two factors have been transformative to my career. The first was my association with the Microbial Diversity summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), which inspired the development of a highly successful course on microbial diversity at Queen’s University. The second was a sabbatical and post-retirement career as a senior research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada (2005-2014), which allowed me to assume a leadership role in the sequencing of several hundred bacterial foodborne pathogens – particularly Salmonella.I am currently enjoying a second-post retirement at the University of Guelph, where I am collaborating on the sequencing, assembly and annotation of bacterial and viral pathogens of swine, horses and fish. I’m also continuing my research on bacteriophage.