Sébastien P. Faucher

Sebastien Faucher
Image by Alex Tran.

Associate Professor

514-398-7886  | sebastien.faucher2 [at] mcgill.ca (Email) |  Macdonald-Stewart Building MS3-034  |  Website | @faucher_sp


PhD Microbiology & Immunology (Université de Montréal)

Short Bio

Sebastien P. Faucher graduated from Université de Montréal in Microbiology and Immunology in 2003. He obtained his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Université de Montréal in 2007. The subject of his thesis was the identification of virulence genes in Salmonella typhi. Between 2007 and 2010 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York City. He conducted research on Legionella pneumophila under the supervision of Howard Shuman. He returned to Montréal in June 2010 to start a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Philippe Gros at McGill University. During this time, he studied the genetic determinants involved in cerebral malaria. He joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in July 2011 as an assistant professor.

Active Affiliations

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Microbiology
Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports
Member, Swine and Poultry Infectious Diseases Research Centre (CRIPA)
Member, McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (M[I]4)

Research Interests

Dr. Faucher is studying the tools use by bacteria to infect humans and animals through consumption of water and food.

Members of the Faucher lab have a focused interest on the behaviour of bacterial pathogens in non-clinical environments, such as in water. Survival and perhaps growth of water-borne pathogen in this environment is crucial for its transmission to its host. Our aim is to understand the genetic factors and environmental factors that influence water-borne pathogens behaviour in the non-clinical environment and their transmission to humans. We are also investigating how this environment influence evolution of these pathogens.

Model organisms are Legionella pneumophila and Campylobacter jejuni. L. pneumophila is a ubiquitous habitant of natural and human-made water systems and is transmitted to human by inhalation of contaminated aerosols, generated by cooling towers, showers and other devices. Quebec City suffered from a major Legionella outbreak in the summer 2012, resulting in 183 cases and 13 deaths. C. jejuni causes severe intestinal infection in humans and is associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can lead to life-threatening neuronal damage. Poultry and cattle are carriers of C. jejuni and transmission to humans is associated with consumption of uncooked meat, unpasteurized dairy product and contaminated water.

Current Research

Genetics of water-borne pathogens: L. pneumophila grows in water system by infecting unicellular host cells, such as ciliates and protozoa. Dr. Faucher is using transcriptomic to uncover the mechanism underlying long-term survival in water and growth in host cells. Dr. Faucher also studies the survival of Campylobacter in water systems and the role of ciliates in the packaging of Campylobacter, which improves its resistance to disinfectant.

Evolution of water-borne pathogens: Microbial control strategies apply an evolutionary pressure on water-borne pathogen. Dr. Faucher is using in vitro experimental evolution to dissect the evolutionary path leading to increase resistance to disinfection strategy and improved virulence properties.

Microbial diversity in water systems: Dr. Faucher also studies the effect of environmental conditions and the role of resident microbiome on the growth of L. pneumophila in real and model water systems by using metagenome sequencing. He is also interested in mining the water microbiome for novel molecules and finding microbes that can be used as biocontrol agents to protect water systems.

Detection of L. pneumophila in water systems: The current methods available to detect L. pneumophila in water are inadequate to monitor its presence in real time. Therefore, Dr. Faucher and his colleagues are developing DNA aptamers for in situ rapid detection of L. pneumophila.


LSCI 230 Introductory Microbiology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MICR 341 Mechanisms of Pathogenicity 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of current publications.


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