Welcome to the McCormick Laboratory at  Western University


Recent Lab News:

Congratulations to Jacklyn Hurst for receiving a R.G.E. Graduate Scholarship in Microbiology and Immunology!  This scholarship was established by the late Marion (Luney) Murray in honour of Dr. Robert (Bob) Murray.

Congratulations to Stephen, Christine, Lorea, Vlad, Erica and Charly for their monster paper entitled Regulation of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 by the accessory gene regulator in Staphylococcus aureus is mediated by the repressor of toxins now published in Molecular Microbiology.

Thank you to CIHR (and the reviewers) for funding our recent Project Grant to study bacteremia and nasal colonization by S. aureus. This grant is a collaboration with Drs. Tina Mele (co-PI) and Stephen Tuffs.

Congratulations to Kevin Min who was award a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award and Andrew Flavin who was awarded an NSERC USRA award!

May 2019. The lab welcomes summer students Kevin Vlad, Isaac, Nemo, Andrew and Stephen N (aka The Undergrad Army).

April 2019. Thank you to NSERC (and the reviewers) for renewing our grant on bacteriocins of Streptococcus pyogenes for another 5 years!

March 2019. Congratulations to Blake Shannon who was awarded a prestigious Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Blake’s review on Toxins and superantigens of Group A Streptococci is now published in Microbiology Spectrum by the American Society of Microbiology. 

The Team:

Andrew Flavin, BMSc Undergraduate student, Western University

NSERC USRA Student (April 2019-)

Christine Herfst, B.Sc.Honors, Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Alberta.

Laboratory Manager (2003-)

Jacklyn Hurst, Honors BMSc, Microbiology and Immunology, Western University, Western University

PhD Candidate (Sept 2016-)

Dr. Katherine Kasper, B.Sc.Honors, M.Sc., Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Western University

Research Associate (March 2013-)

Zi Hao (Nemo) Liu, BMSc Undergraduate student, Western University

Summer Research Assistant (Sept 2018-)

Shinhyeong (Isaac) Lee, BMSc Undergraduate student, Western University

Summer Research Assistant (Sept 2018-)

Amanda Marple, BSc Honors (Biology), Ryerson University

MSc Candidate (Sept 2018-)

Kevin Min, 3rd Year Microbiology and Immunology Undergraduate

Dean’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (DUROP) Student (January 2018-)

Blake Shannon, Honors Bachelors of Medical Sciences in Microbiology and Immunology, Western University

MSc Candidate (Sept 2018-)

Akshay Sule, Honors Bachelors of Medical Sciences in Microbiology and Immunology, Western University

MSc Candidate (Sept 2017-)

Stephen Tuffs, PhD, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Postdoctoral Associate (Sept 2017-)


Dr. John McCormick is Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, a Scientist in the Lawson Health Research Institute (LHRI), and a member of both the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics at LHRI, and The Centre for Human Immunology at UWO.

We are located on UWO campus in the  Sieben's-Drake Research Institute Room 133.

Our laboratory has a primary focus on bacterial exotoxins. One major focus is on the bacterial superantigens and this work is funded by the CIHR. These toxins function by directly activating T cells of the adaptive immune system, and we are interested in understanding how the toxins contribute to the bacterial life cycle as well as infections caused by the bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. We also have a major interest in bacteriocins from S. pyogenes that is funded by NSERC. Bacteriocins are antibacterial peptides and we are focused on understanding the molecular biology of how these bacteriocins function and how they contribute to the life-cycle of S. pyogenes. As superantigens activate cells of the adaptive immune system, we also have significant efforts to engineer these proteins as targeted anti-cancer immunotherapeutics. In addition, we are interested in mechanistic studies of toxic shock syndrome, and in particular the regulatory cues that control expression of the superantigen toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1). Our team uses a range of multidisciplinary techniques including bacterial genetics, immunology, protein biochemistry, functional genomic approaches and in vivo models of infectious disease.

The Team (Summer 2019)