Brett Finlay

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Brett Finlay
Brett Finlay
Brett Finlay
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
ResidenceVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Alberta, Canada
Known forWork on mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity and microbiota
AwardsHoward Hughes International Scholar, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina Foreign Member

B. Brett Finlay, OC OBC FRSC (born 4 April 1959)[1] is a Canadian microbiologist well known for his contributions to understanding how microbes cause disease in people and developing new tools for fighting infections, as well as the role the microbiota plays in human health and disease. describes him as one of the world's foremost experts on the molecular understanding of the ways bacteria infect their hosts.[2] He also led the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative [3](SAVI) and developed vaccines to SARS and a bovine vaccine to E. coli O157:H7. His current research interests focus on pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella pathogenicity, and the role of the microbiota in infections, asthma, and malnutrition. He is currently the UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor[4] and a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, Microbiology and Immunology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,[5] and Co-director and Senior Fellow for the CIFAR Humans and Microbes program.[6] He is also co-author of the book Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World[permanent dead link] and The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to Harness Microbes - Inside and Out - For Lifelong Health. B. Finlay is the author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and served as editor of several professional publications for many years.


Finlay received his B.Sc.(Honors) (1981) and Ph.D. (1986) in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta, and did his post-doctoral work at Stanford University with Dr. Stanley Falkow (1986-1989).

UBC Lab[edit]

Finlay's lab is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia, and involves a multidisciplinary research program exploring how microbes contribute to both human health and disease.[7] The lab specifically focuses on type III secreted virulence factors from Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli, how microbiota influence infectious diarrhea outcomes, and the role of the microbiota in asthma, malnutrition, and environmental enteropathy.


Selected publications[edit]

More publications may be accessed at PubMed[21]

  • Diet and specific microbial exposure trigger features of environmental enteropathy in a novel murine model. Brown EM, Finlay BB, et al. Nat Commun. 2015 Aug 4;6:7806.
  • Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Arrieta MC, Stiemsma LT, Dimitriu PA,; CHILD Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Turvey SE, Finlay BB, et al. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 30;7(307):307ra152. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab2271
  • Common themes in microbial pathogenicity revisited. BB Finlay, S Falkow. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 61 (2), 136-169
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) transfers its receptor for intimate adherence into mammalian cells. B Kenny, R DeVinney, M Stein, DJ Reinscheid, EA Frey, BB Finlay. Cell 91 (4), 511-520
  • Exploitation of mammalian host cell functions by bacterial pathogens. BB Finlay, P Cossart. Science 276 (5313), 718-725
  • Molecular mechanisms of Escherichia coli pathogenicity. MA Croxen, BB Finlay. Nature Reviews Microbiology 8 (1), 26-38
  • Manipulation of host-cell pathways by bacterial pathogens. AP Bhavsar, JA Guttman, BB Finlay. Nature 449 (7164), 827-834

Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving your child from an oversanitized world[edit]

Finlay has co-authored a book for general audiences, Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving your child from an oversanitized world, about the critical role microbes play in early childhood development, having a major impact on both health and disease. It was published by Algonquin Books (USA) and Greystone (Canada) in Sept 2016, and is being translated into 11 languages

The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to harness microbes - inside and out - for lifelong health[edit]

In The Whole-Body Microbiome, microbiologist Dr. Brett Finlay and his environmental gerontologist daughter Dr. Jessica Finlay focus on the teeming world of microbes everywhere in and around us. In this book, the Finlays suggest improvements to lifestyle, diet, and household practices to promote the right kind of microbial exposure.The Whole-Body Microbiome offers exciting new ways to pursue lifelong well-being and longevity.


  • 1992-1999 Trends in Microbiology: Infection, Virulence, and Pathogenesis
  • 1993-97 Editor, Infection and Immunity section, Canadian Journal of Microbiology
  • 1994-02 Editorial Board, Infection and Immunity
  • 1997-2005 Editorial Board, Molecular Microbiology
  • 1997–present Editorial Board, Current Opinion in Microbiology
  • 1997-2010 Editorial Board, Traffic
  • 1998–present Editorial Board, Microbes and Infection
  • 1999–present Editorial Board, Cellular Microbiology
  • 1999–present Advisory Board, International Journal of Medical Microbiology
  • 2000-2003 Editor, Infection and Immunity (20 manuscripts/month)
  • 2000–present Editorial Board, Current Drug Targets - Infectious Disorders
  • 2001–present Section Head (Cellular Microbiology and Pathogenesis) for Faculty 1000, an online service to organize and evaluate the life sciences literature
  • 2001–present Editorial Board, Current Biology
  • 2003 Section Editor (Cytology), American Society for Microbiology book, "E. coli and Salmonella"
  • 2005-2008 Reviews Editor, PLoS (Public Library of Science) Pathogens
  • 2005–present Editorial Advisory Panel, Future Microbiology
  • 2006–present Editorial Board, Cell Host & Microbe
  • 2007–present Editorial Board, PNAS
  • 2009–present Associate Editor, Gut Microbes
  • 2009–present Editorial Board, mBio, American Society for Microbiology
  • 2009 Editor, Future Microbiology Special Focus Issue: The molecular basis of pathogenesis: proteomics and beyond.
  • 2010–present Editorial Advisory Panel (inaugural), Nature Communications, on-line multidisciplinary journal, Nature Publishing Group.
  • 2010–present Section Head, F1000
  • February 2011 Section Editor, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Section: Host-microbe interactions: Bacteria.
  • 2011–present Member, Senior Medical Expert Panel, Nature Index
  • 2013–present Senior Editor, Future Microbiology
  • 2013–present Associate Editor, Gut Microbes
  • 2014–present Trends in Microbiology


Finlay has established the following companies:

  • Vedanta Biosciences[22]
  • Commense[23]
  • Microbiome Insights[24]


  1. ^ " : B. Brett Finlay". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  2. ^ " : B. Brett Finlay". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  3. ^ "How BC researchers decoded the SARS genome | Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  4. ^ "Brett Finlay". Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Brett Finlay | Michael Smith Laboratories". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  6. ^ "B. Brett Finlay : CIFAR". Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  7. ^ "Finlay Lab - Michael Smith Laboratories". Finlay Lab - Michael Smith Laboratories. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  8. ^ "ANNOUNCING THE 2018 INDUCTEES". Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  9. ^ "2014 Laureates". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  10. ^ "B. Brett Finlay : CIFAR". Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  11. ^ "List of Members". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  12. ^ "2007 Recipient: B. Brett Finlay – Vancouver : Order of BC". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  13. ^ "Past Award Winners | The Royal Society of Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  14. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  15. ^ Services, Government of Canada, Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, Information and Media. "Governor General announces new appointments to the Order of Canada". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  16. ^ "Past Winners - UBC Faculty Research Awards (Seven Competitions )" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-12.
  17. ^ "UBC News Digest". UBC News. 2004-07-30. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  18. ^ Affairs,, Government of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Public, Government and Institute. "Milestones in Canadian Health Research - CIHR". Retrieved 2016-11-07.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  19. ^ "Navigation for iFrame". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  20. ^ "Brett Finlay". Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  21. ^ Search Results for author Finlay BB on PubMed.
  22. ^ "Brett Finlay". Vedanta Biosciences. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  23. ^ "Board and Advisors". Commense. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  24. ^ "Microbiome Insights - Board of Directors". Microbiome Insights. Retrieved 2016-11-07.