Dr. Jennifer Ronholm

Dr. Ronholm completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo earning a B.Sc. in Microbiology. She obtained her PhD in 2013 from the University of Ottawa, where she was supported by a CIHR Banting and Best CGS that enabled her to identify and characterize novel serological detection methods for Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes. During her Ph.D. work she also held a visiting scientist position at the University of Hiroshima (Japan) where she worked on elucidating the biochemical activity of bacterial peptidoglycan hydrolyses. From 2013-2014 she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program (NSERC-CREATE) in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. Her research focused on using next generation sequencing to understand microbial communities in the Canadian high arctic. From 2014-2016 she was a Visiting Fellow in the Bureau of Microbial Hazards at Health Canada where she worked on developing next generation sequencing techniques and procedures for use in the monitoring and regulation of microbiological food safety in Canada. In 2017 she joined McGill University as an Assistant Professor where is is cross-appointed between the Department of Food Science and the Department of Animal Science. She was recently awarded the Deputy Minister's Award for Excellence in Science for her contribution to optimizing whole genome sequencing for food safety. 

Current Students

Zhiwei Li (Ph.D. Student 2019- )

My project aims to understand interactions between foodborne pathogens and host gut microbiome. I am mainly characterizing Salmonella enterica Type VI Secretion Systems to understand internal antagonistic behaviours between microorganisms, hoping to explore the possibilities of manipulating the microbiome of food-producing animals to prevent, or even cure bacterial infections.

Soyoun Park (Ph.D. Student 2018- )

I am interested in combating bacterial infections in humans and animals. My PhD project aims to develop new early diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to control Staphylococcus aureus mastitis. I am investigating how the composition of the udder microbiota influences on the susceptibility of S. aureus mastitis. 

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Dongyun Jung (Ph.D. Student 2019- )

I’m interested in understanding the genomics of pathogens and their interaction with native microbial communities in food-producing animals. My PhD research project focuses on defining the genomic differences between mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli (MPEC) and bovine commensal E. coli, as well as developing CRISPR-Cas9 based MPEC prophylactic system that targets the unique genes of MPEC. This project also focuses on tracking the differences in the microbiome between healthy and MPEC-infected bovine udders during lactation.

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Bridget O'Brien (M.Sc. Student 2021-)

Interested in understanding longitudinal changes in the bovine mammary gland microbiome during K. pneumoniae mastitis infections. My research aims to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in animal agriculture by finding novel probiotics to be used against mastitis pathogens.

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Janina Ruffini (M.Sc. Student 2019- )

Whole genome sequencing 180 bacterial isolates from clinical cases of bovine mastitis. 

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François Girouard (M.Sc. Student 2020- )

My research aims to evaluate bactericidal mechanisms of a bio-inspired antibacterial material, which has the potential to be used in food packaging.

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Ebenezer Boateng (M.Sc. Student 2020- )

The purpose of my project aims to replace the use of antibiotics with eubiotics (eg. lysozymes) in response to the development of antimicrobial resistance in animal agriculture. My project evaluates different candidates of fungal lysozymes on the growth performance of broilers. 

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Zhixuan (Tiffany) Feng (Ph.D. Student 2019-)

I have an academic background in microbiology, biotechnology, and animal science. My current project focuses on isolating bacteria from the chicken gastrointestinal tract and using culturomic and metagenomic methods to identify novel probiotics. 

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Zhangbin Cai (Ph.D. Student 2022-)

My research aims to develop probiotics that would treat/prevent bovine mastitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and to understand the mechanism and active molecules involved in the inhibition of S. aureus by those probiotics.

Lab Alumni

Palni Kundra (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Lynn Wang (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Marc-Andree Gravel (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Pragya Tiwary (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Aarushi Bhilotra (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Hartima Bhatia (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Shishira Suresh (Non-Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Tiffany Feng (Non-Thesis M.Sc., 2017)

Julian Lopez (Thesis M.Sc. 2017)

Kenneth Drummond (B.Sc. Summer Student)

Adam Classen (Thesis M.Sc., 2019)

Jessika Marquis Hrabe (Thesis M.Sc., 2019)

Luis Alberto Ibarra Sanchez (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2020)

Kevin Sun (B.Sc. Summer Student, 2021)

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