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Shawn Lewenza, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases (MIID)
Member, Bacterial Pathogenesis Research Group
Address:  Room 2C66, Health Research Innovation Centre
                   3280 Hospital Drive N.W. , Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6
Phone: (403) 210-7980
Fax:  (403) 210-7882

Curriculum Vitae:

B.Sc. University of Manitoba 1995
Ph.D. University of Calgary 2000
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia 2000-2004
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute Pasteur, Paris, France 2004-2006
Westaim-ASRA Chair in Bacterial Biofilm Research 2006-2012

Potential Graduate Supervisor


I am interested in the mechanisms of pathogenesis and biofilm formation in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This pathogen is the primary cause of chronic lung infections in persons with Cystic Fibrosis and is also a major cause of a variety of hospital-acquired infections.  Chronic biofilm infections are very difficult to treat due to the intrinsic antibiotic resistance of P. aeruginosa biofilms. 

My specific research interests are to understand the resistance mechanisms associated with bacterial biofilms. Biofilms and infection sites are rich in extracellular DNA, which is released from dead bacterial or host cells, and also from the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Our objectives are to characterize the influence of extracellular DNA on bacterial physiology and antibiotic resistance. We are also examining the role of DNA as an antimicrobial component of NETs, as purified DNA has antimicrobial properties.  We have ongoing projects with the aim of identifying small molecules that inhibit biofilm formation.

Our lab uses the fruit fly and nematode infection models, which are useful to identify bacterial virulence factors, in vivo biofilm determinants, and also for mixed species infections.  In addition, our lab uses bioinformatics, bacterial genetics, microscopy and biochemical approaches to study the virulence properties of P. aeruginosa.

Publications by Dr. Shawn Lewenza