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The Gilbride Lab is a research laboratory specializing in microbiology and molecular biology. The lab's primary focus is on wastewater treatment research, particularly in the context of domestic wastewater from the Toronto area.

Cartoon electrophoresis gel image and DNA strand

Humans generate wastewater through various applications, including domestic, industrial, and agricultural uses. Urban wastewater, primarily originating from households, contributes to an estimated 2 million tons released into the world’s waterways annually. Wastewater treatment is crucial for ensuring the safety of the final effluent, a necessity given the unlikely decline in wastewater production amidst a growing global population. Treatment involves chemical and biological processes to eliminate pollutants. Our lab, focused on domestic wastewater from the Toronto area, relies on a combination of traditional microbiological methods and contemporary molecular biology techniques to study the structure, composition, and function of the microbial community.

More recently, our lab group has been utilizing molecular tools and wastewater analysis to track the COVID-19 virus in the sewage system. In an ongoing collaboration with numerous university laboratories across Ontario and Canada and with the support of the Canadian Water Network, we have established an early warning system for local outbreaks. This wastewater analysis has been a key tool used by Toronto Public Health, and Public Health Ontario to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our other areas of research:

  • Determination of the role of ammonia-oxidizers (AOB and AOA) in nitrogen cycling and nitrification processes within wastewater treatment (WW) systems,
  • Detection of specific members of the community and monitoring of microbial composition and function under the impact of pharmaceutical waste.
  • Examination of antibiotic resistance gene dissemination within the mixed microbial communities of WW biological treatment.