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Philip Mak

Position/Title: Ph.D. Student

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Working with animals has always been a long-time passion of mine. My initial goals were to graduate from the Ontario Veterinary College and become a small animal veterinarian, but my interests were challenged by a course called Comparative Immunology taught by Dr. Niel Karrow. The complexity and differentiation between animal immune systems propelled me forward to change my aspirations to work in the animal research field. I pursued the animal research field by becoming a student researcher during my undergraduate degree under supervision of Dr. Niel Karrow, who also provided me with further opportunity to complete my Master's degree. 

As a Ph.D student in Animal Biosciences, I am blessed with the opportunity to collaborate with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) as a research affiliate. Working in the labs of Dr. Moussa Diarra (AAFC) and Dr. Elijah Kiarie has allowed me to specialize and expand my research passions in animal microbiology, immunology and nutrition. My current thesis focuses on the impacts of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on the poultry gut microbiome and tackling foodborne disease-associated non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica in chickens. Antibiotics have proven to be an effective method of combating disease, but antibiotic use creates consequences through the emergence of AMR in bacteria. AMR is a global threat that impacts both human and veterinary medicine, socioeconomics, and environment. In poultry production, antibiotics are used in large amounts for growth promotion and prophylaxis, raising concern with transfer of AMR bacteria to poultry product consumers. A primary research focus in Dr. Moussa Diarra's lab investigates the use of berry pomace as an alternative to antibiotics in poultry production, with a recent publication outlining the impacts of berry pomaces and phenolic-rich extracts on broiler gut microbiota. My objective for this project is to build a predictive framework that links resistance to type of broiler feeding programs and develop a vaccine to combat foodborne disease-associated non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica in chickensDuring my Bachelors and Masters degree, my research projects focused on swine and bovines respectively; having my research focus shift to poultry gives me an advantage to solve food animal-related problems from a different perspective.


  • B.Sc. Honours Animal Biosciences (2017, University of Guelph)
  • M.Sc. Animal Biosciences + Toxicology (2019, University of Guelph)