The Team

The Team (May 2017)

Principal investigator

Etienne Yergeau

Étienne is a microbial ecologist interested in plant-microbe interactions. He uses genomic tools to understand these complex systems and to find way to optimize them. He is an assistant professor at the Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier and leads the team toward (hopefully) exciting discoveries!

Postdoctoral researchers

Hamed Azarbad
Hamed is an environmental microbiologist with a background in soil ecotoxicology, biogeochemistry and microbial genomics. He obtained his first PhD degree in the field of microbial ecology at the VU University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He received a second PhD in biology from Jagiellonian University-Poland in 2015 where he studied the microbial communities of metal-contaminated forest soil. His postdoctoral research focuses on understanding the power of the soil and rhizosphere microbiome to protect crops against biotic and abiotic stresses, with the main focus on the impacts of abiotic stresses on the nitrogen-cycle functions in the wheat rhizosphere. His research publication list is viewable via the following link (

Graduate students

Sara Correa Garcia
Sara is a Ph.D. student co-supervised by Armand Séguin from the Laurentian Forestry Center of Natural Resources Canada. She works on the effects of various aspect of microbial diversity on the resistance of poplars to stress. 

Simon Gallichand-Desmeules
Simon is a M.Sc. student currently working on a project aiming to modify the microbial community's gene pool. This will be useful to verify the effects of various functions on the community as a whole. Another aspect of the project will aim to determine where and how the plasmids and bacteria inoculated establish themselves in the rhizosphere and soil. 

Charlotte Giard-Laliberté
Charlotte is a M. Sc. student working on the wheat holobiont under drought conditions.  With a background in agronomy, she took a turn into the world of microbial ecology.  She is interested in understanding the interactions between the plant and its microbiome.  She believes the future of agriculture is full of (beneficial) microbes! 

Itumeleng Moroenyane
Itumeleng (Itu) is a microbial community ecologist with a keen interest in testing ecological theories of community assembly; particularly, incorporating phylogenies in community assembly analysis. He has a firm background and deep understanding of Mediterranean ecosystems and ecological theory.  His Ph.D. work focuses on understanding which assembly processes are delimiting the plant microbiome, as well as the evolutionary history of niche shifts and stability. This work will contribute to our understanding of how plant microbiomes are assembled and maintained, more importantly, offer a new perspective on the hologenome theory of evolution. He is also passionate about science communication and an active contributor to online discussions regarding advances and challenges in microbiome research @Itumeleng_M and his publication lists here and here.

Pranav Pande

Pranav is a Ph.D. student co-supervised by Marc St-Arnaud from the UdeM. He is an aspiring bioinformatician and has a background in analysis of microbial genomics data. His Ph.D. focuses on the effect of drought stress on wheat holobiont communities. In future, his research will help in devising microbial based strategies to help plants tackle drought.


Liliana Quiza

Liliana is a Ph.D. student co-supervised by Marc St-Arnaud from the UdeM. She works on wheat, trying to engineer the rhizosphere microbiome to increase wheat productivity under nutrient limiting conditions

Usman Irshad, post-doctoral researcher. Now an assistant professor in Pakistan.
Éloïse Adam-Granger, summer intern. Now a M.Sc. student at UQAM.
Deanna Chinnerman, summer intern. Now a M.Sc. student at McGill.
Karelle Rheault, summer intern. Now a B.Sc. student at U. Laval.