Dr. Finlay’s appointment as PWIAS Distinguished Professor was renewed in 2017.
Dr. B. Brett Finlay, OC, OBC, FRSC, FCAHS, joined UBC in 1989 and was appointed UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor 2002-2023.
Dr. Finlay is a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, Microbiology and Immunology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Co-director and Senior Fellow for the CIFAR Humans and Microbes program. He is the co-author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World and the author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
He obtained a B.Sc. (Honors) in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, where he also did his Ph.D. (1986) in Biochemistry under Dr. William Paranchych, studying F-like plasmid conjugation. His post-doctoral studies were performed with Dr. Stanley Falkow at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he studied Salmonella invasion into host cells. In 1989, he joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Biotechnology Laboratory.
Dr. Finlay is well known for his contributions to understanding how microbes cause disease in people and developing new tools for fighting infections, as well as the role the microbiota plays in human health and disease.
Science.ca describes him as one of the world’s foremost experts on the molecular understanding of the ways bacteria infect their hosts. He also led the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (SAVI) and developed vaccines to SARS and a bovine vaccine to E. coli O157:H7. His current research interests focus on pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella pathogenicity, and the role of the microbiota in infections, asthma, and malnutrition. Dr. Finlay’s research interests are focussed on host-microbe interactions, at the molecular level. By combining cell biology with microbiology, he has been at the forefront of the field called Cellular Microbiology, making several fundamental discoveries in this area, and publishing over 460 papers (h index=110). His laboratory studies several pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli, and more recently microbiota.
Dr. Finlay’s lab is based in the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia, and involves a multidisciplinary research program exploring how microbes contribute to both human health and disease. The lab specifically focuses on type III secreted virulence factors from Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli, how microbiota influence infectious diarrhea outcomes, and the role of the microbiota in asthma, malnutrition, and environmental enteropathy.
Primary Recipient Awards
Microbiota, Nutrition and Metabolism: « les trois âges de la vie »
Principal Investigator(s): Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.
This colloquium was held on June 2-3, 2014. The aim of the symposium was to review the most recent and significant advances at the interface between the intestinal microbiota and nutrition and metabolism. The symposium has been structured according to three sessions: role of the microbiota in the growth and development of the child, role of the microbiota in health and metabolic diseases in adults, and role of perturbations of the microbiota (dysbiosis) in elderly people, particularly in senescence and cancer. Thus the subtitle: « les trois âges de la vie » (“the three ages of life”).
Zoonosis – Biology Meets Anthropology
Principal Investigator: Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.
This international colloquium was held on June 10-11, 2013. It focused on the interface between known emerging infectious diseases and anthropology studies. Experts in both these areas and especially those that span these areas took part in the discussions. The main topics of discussion included defining potential animal reservoirs, how pathogens move between species and generally how a species barrier actually exists and is broken to yield new infectious diseases. In addition, transmission mechanisms and potential ways of controlling such infections were examined.
Dr. Finlay’s appointment as PWIAS Distinguished Professor was extended in 2012 for another 5 year term.
Brett Finlay, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Conférencier Invité, Collège de France, May 2011
Professor Finlay gave four lectures in English during his stay:
Commensal Microbiota: From Homeostasis to Disease
Principal Investigator: Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.
The Institute held its first Colloquium Abroad at its partner institute, the Collège de France, Paris, 23-24 May 2011. A one-day closed-door session for key speakers followed the public meeting. This international colloquium took place during Professor Finlay’s appointment at the Collège de France as a Wall Institute-nominated State Chair. The meeting detailed recent advances as well as background information in the fast moving field of the study of microbiota to significantly advance science in this area of research.
Dr. Finlay’s appointment as PWIAS Distinguished Professor was extended in 2007 for another 5 year term.
Co-Principal Investigator Awards
Infectious Diseases of the Future: no crystal ball, just watching and thinking
How typhoid vaccination saved WW1
Public Policy Development as Related to Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Judith Hall, Department of Medical Genetics, UBC; Dr. Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC.
Blowing Hot and Cold on the Gut Epithelium: A Successful Strategy for Shigella
Developing vaccines against pediatric bacterial diarrhea: why is the path so difficult?