Archive for category: Featured Image Top

Laboratory for Microbial Communities in Health and Disease

This laboratory is dedicated to high throughput microbiome analysis with a particular emphasis on culturing the microbiota associated with human and laboratory animals.  The facility includes 3 anaerobic and one hypoxic chamber for growth of in the absence or limiting oxygen concentrations, automated colony pickers and liquid handling for high throughput culturing and phenotyping of microorgansims.  The lab has expertise in culturing almost all members of the human microbiome from a wide variety of sample types.  We also have expertise in nucleic acid extraction from all types of biospecimens and clinical samples.

Contact us:

Dr. Michael Surette, Director

McMaster Genomics Facility

This state of the art sequencing facility is located within the Farncombe institute.  Next generation sequencing technology includes Illumina HiSeq 1500, and MiSeq sequencers, and a Roche 454 pyrosequencer.  The facility also has access to Ion PGM and Ion Proton sequencers. Standard ABI Sanger sequencing is also provided.  This technology is support by an expert staff with experience in library construction for genomics, metagenomics and RNA transcriptomics, as well as amplicon sequencing for microbiome profiling. The facility also provides nCounter Nanostring services for targeted transcriptional profiling of diverse biological samples.  The facility also offers fee for service bioinformatics support.

We can help you

Expert advice in design of microbiome and other sequencing projects, recommend sequencing strategies and protocols.

What we offer

Full range of DNA sequencing technologies

We can sequence your prepared libraries or we can provide full service library construction, sequencing and analysis.*

Preliminary microbiome analysis and genome assemblies

The facility has extensive experience with 16S bacterial profiling, genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, metatranscriptomics


*The facility only processes nucleic acids samples, if you require nucleic acid extractions of your samples, this service can be provided through the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research

Contact us:

Christine King, Manager


Dr. Michael Surette, Director



Each year the Bay and Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) brings together students from elementary and high schools in the area to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge and ingenuity. An endowment fund from the Farncombe family provides for a prize for the best project on intestinal research. Members of the Farncombe Institute are also involved as mentors, merit judges and special judges.

2016 Gold medal project done in the Surette lab

The Surette lab is beaming after hearing that Maggie Williams, a grade 11 student from Ancaster high school, won a Gold Medal at this year’s Bay Area Science and Education Fair. Maggie has spent…

Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Awards 2016

A Farncombe Team (Jan Huizinga, Alex Vincent and Josie Libertucci) descended on the annual BASEF science and engineering fair where 550 high school students presented their science projects. We gave…

2015 BASEF Winners

The Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Award went to:

Alexandra Fram – Grade 7
Regina Mundi HWCD
First Prize

Mark Georgy – Grade 12
King’s Christian…

Load More

Axenic Germ-Free Unit (AGF)

McMaster University is home to the Farncombe Family Axenic-Gnotobiotic Facility, Canada’s only gnotobiotic research facility with axenic embryo transfer capabilities. This 3,000-square-foot laboratory provides a controlled, germ-free environment in which to study host-microbial interactions. In addition to generating and housing gnotobiotic animals on prescribed genetic backgrounds for internal and external clients, the Facility is unique in that it has the capacity and infrastructure to enable the performance of long-term experimentation under controlled environmental conditions in diverse areas of biomedical sciences.

McMaster University is home to Canada’s only gnotobiotic research facility with axenic embryo transfer capabilities.

We can help you

  • Purchase germ free mice
  • Re-derivate a mouse strain in germ-free conditions
  • Obtain tissues and ship to your facility

Contact us:

Dr. Elena Verdu, Director
Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 20051

What we offer

  • Sterility and a strictly controlled bacterial environment for the study of host-microbial interactions in the gut
  • Axenic (germ-free) mice which can be purchased from the Facility or housed in the Facility in germ-free status for a per diem rate
  • Where feasible, McMaster personnel may be contracted to conduct experiments and on-site analysis for a negotiated fee

How we do it

  • Axenic (germ-free) mice obtained by two-stage embryo transfer (ET)
  • Axenic breeding for wild-type mouse inbred (e.g. BALB/c, C57BL/6) and outbred strains (e.g. NIH Swiss, Swiss Websters)
  • Breeding also available for some transgenic and knock out mouse strains
  • Facility equipped with 20 isolators of various sizes, 4 surgical units and several experimental units
  • Specific experimental facilities (e.g. animal behavior isolator) and a procedure room for ET
  • Level 2 biohazard housing and procedure area also available
  • Sterilization and storage systems on site for equipment and consumables (e.g. animal behavior isolator) and a procedure