University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Western Canadian Microbiome Centre

Western Canadian Microbiome Centre (WCMC) is a multidisciplinary basic and translational research centre that will deliver innovation, excellence and leadership in microbiome research. WCMC is developed under the University of Calgary’s Infections, Inflammation and Chronic Diseases in the Changing Environment (IICD) strategic theme, an Eye’s High initiative with the vision of becoming one of the top  research-intensive universities in Canada by 2016. WCMC will provide a platform by which scientist and industry can investigate the microbiome of plants, animals, and the physical environment for interactions that lead to chronic disease faced by many Canadians such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

WCMC Applied Research Objectives

New Diagnostics and therapeutics for human health: The high rate of mortality and morbidity due to anti-microbial resistant pathogens or chronic disease underscores the need for new and improved diagnostics and therapeutics.

Nutritional value of food to promote health: Microbes contribute to food waste through spoilage and to decreased food production in western Canada’s agriculture and livestock industries. WCMC will use proteomics and genomics to analyze and manipulate various crop and livestock microbiomes to increase food productivity and resistance to disease.

Biomass energy resources, reduction of carbon emission and environmental health impact: WCMC will work with industry partners to explore the ability of microbiomes to convert biomass into alternative energy sources and will develop specialized bioflms from the microbiomes to reconvert CO2 emissions.

The Infections, Inflammation and Chronic Diseases in the Changing Environment (IICD) research strategy identifies five grand challenges that speak to our strengths at the University of Calgary. These grand challenges will be undertaken using numerous core platforms available throughout the faculties and institutes - one of these being the Western Canadian Microbiome Centre (WCMC).

The Centre Director, Dr. Paul Kubes, is a Tier I CRC in Leukocyte Recruitment in Inflammatory Disease and Director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.Theme leads will provide oversight and leadership for the specific theme areas, will have an active WCMC research program, and will coordinate with other investigators to determine and communicate opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary projects.

Contact information

Shaunna Huston, ACCN RN, BSc, PhD
Director, Western Canadian Microbiome Centre/IICD
HRIC 4AA08 Foothills Campus
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1
T +1 403.220.6074

Areas of Research

WCMC provides investigators with the opportunity to test specific variables in an environment that combines scientific expertise, innovative facilities and industry participation. WCMC key differentiators include:

  • Unique resources and expertise in germ-free models, gnotobiotic models, human microbiota and therapeutic translation
  • World-renowned expertise in in-vitro and in-vivo imaging
  • Innovative microbial bioflm technology
  • Expertise and analytics in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics
  • Access to distinct environmental ecosystems (Alberta Health Services, Alberta oil sands, agriculture and livestock)

The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases was named in 2008 in honour of Joan Snyder and her parents, who she credits for teaching her the value of philanthropy. It is a group of more than 104 clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists who are impacting and changing the lives of people suffering from chronic diseases, including sepsis, MRSA, cystic fibrosis, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For more information on the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, please visit us at or follow us on Twitter @SnyderInstitute.