Prof.Brett Finlay

Prof.Brett Finlay

Michael Smith Laboratories,
University of British Columbia,

Dr. B. Brett Finlay, OC, OBC, FRSC, FCAHS, is a UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor and a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, Microbiology and Immunology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Co-director and Senior Fellow for the CIFAR Humans and Microbes program. He is also co-author of the book Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World. Finlay is the author of over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and served as editor of several professional publications for many years.

Dr. Finlay’s lab is based 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. 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.

He obtained a B.Sc. (Honors) in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, where he also did his Ph.D. (1986) in Biochemistry under Dr. William Paranchych, studying F-like plasmid conjugation. His post-doctoral studies were performed with Dr. Stanley Falkow at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he studied Salmonella invasion into host cells. In 1989, he joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Biotechnology Laboratory. 

Dr. Finlay is 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. He also led the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (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. Dr. Finlay’s research interests are focussed on host-microbe interactions, at the molecular level. By combining cell biology with microbiology, he has been at the forefront of the field called Cellular Microbiology, making several fundamental discoveries in this area.

Dr. Finlay has established the following companies:

  • Vedanta Biosciences
  • Commense
  • Microbiome Insights


  • 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, online multi-disciplinary 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