Sébastien P. 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 viruelence 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 return 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
Member, Swine and Poultry Infectious Diseases Research Centre
Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports

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. What are the genetic factors and environmental factors that influence its behaviour in the non-clinical environment and its further transmission to the host are among the top questions that are shaping their research. They use transcriptomic tools extensively to answer these questions, and the data generated from these studies are used to identify new systems involved in the non-clinical environment and in host-pathogen interactions, and are fully equipped to perform high-density microarray experiments.

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

Survival of Legionella pneumophila in water: L. pneumophila is able to survive up to a year in water without the presence of any food source, i.e. susceptible protozoan. Dr. Faucher is using transcriptomic to uncover the mechanism underlying long-term survival in water, including the role of the stringent response. Dr. Faucher is also interested in the effect of environmental conditions and resident microbiome on the transmission of L. pneumophila from water system to humans and on the induction of the viable but non-culturable state (VBNC). 

Biology of Campylobacter jejuni in water: C. jejuni is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans in Canada. This bacterium naturally colonized the cecum of chicken and wild birds. Water contaminated with bird droppings is a source for the transmission of C. jejuni to human. Dr. Faucher is investigating the mechanisms that increase the survival of C. jejuni in water, such as the genetic determinants, conditions, and interaction with protozoans.

Small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs): sRNAs are important regulators of genetic expression in bacteria. More than 70 sRNAs have been identified in L. pneumophila. Using genetic and molecular tools, Dr. Faucher is studying their implication in the ability of L. pneumophila to grow inside host cells.


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.


Back to top