Skip to content

Margaret J. McFall-Ngai


  • Advisory Committee Chair
  • Humans & the Microbiome




Margaret McFall-Ngai’s research focuses on how hosts respond to interactions with beneficial microbes.

Her lab uses squids to study questions such as how hosts recognize symbiotic bacteria in the environment and harvest them, and what makes a relationship symbiotic rather than pathogenic. McFall-Ngai’s team is also studying how symbiotic bacteria influence the development of their host, and how both organisms maintain a healthy balance to keep the symbiosis working.


  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), 2014
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2012
  • Finalist, International Prize (Japan), 2010
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2002
  • Miescher-Ishida Prize, 2001

Relevant Publications

  • Kremer, N. et al. "The dual nature of hemocyanin in the establishment and persistence of the squid-vibrio symbiosis." P. Roy. Soc. B 281, no. 1785 (June 2014).
  • Peyer, S.M. et al. "Eye-specification genes in the bacterial light organ of the bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes, and their expression in response to symbiont cues." Mech. Dev. 131 (February 2014): 111–26.
  • Koch, E.J. et al. "Features governing long-term persistence in the squid-vibrio symbiosis." Mol. Ecol. 23, no. 6 (March 2014): 1624–1634.
  • Brennan, C. et al. "A model symbiosis reveals a role for sheathed-flagellum rotation in the release of immunogenic lipopolysaccharide." eLife 4, no. 3 (March 2014).
  • McFall-Ngai, M. et al. The Influence of Cooperative Bacteria on Animal Host Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada