McMaster University

McMaster University

Marek Smieja


Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Division: Clinical Pathology (Microbiology)

Associate Member: Medicine
Associate Member: Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (HEI)
Microbiologist & Infectious Diseases Physician

Chief of Laboratory Medicine (Interim)

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences

Laboratory Medical Director (Interim)

Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Association


Medical Co-director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton


St. Joseph's Healthcare
L-424, St. Luke's Wing
Hamilton, Ontario
905 521 6143 Ext 36143

Currently accepting HRM Graduate Students

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PhD Clinical Health Sciences (Health Research Methodology), McMaster University, 2002
  • FRCPC Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, McMaster University, 1998
  • MSc Clinical Health Sciences (Health Research Methodology), McMaster University, 1997
  • FRCPC Medicine, McMaster University, 1995
  • DTM&H, University of London, London U.K., 1990
  • MD, University of Western Ontario, 1987


Research Focus

My primary research interests are in the diagnosis of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and in the role of chronic infections in respiratory and cardiovascular disease.


I am involved in the development and evaluation of respiratory diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), influenza, and rhinovirus. Our lab develops tests for respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, in Canada and in Botswana. 


Clinical Focus

My clinical focus encompasses infectious diseases, complicated Clostridiodes (Clostridium) difficile infection and HIV care.


Academic Interests

I currently teach in the post-graduate Residency Program in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. I also teach and supervise graduate students in Health Research Methodology and in Public Health.

Team Members

Research Team

Kathy Luinstra
Sue Carruthers

Jodi Gilchrist

Dr. David Bulir

Sylvia Chong

Sarah Marttala

Julia Maciejewski


Graduate Students

Dr. Ken Gavina

Vitheya Thanabalan


Selected Publications

  • Speicher D, Luinstra K, Smith E, Castriciano S, Smieja M. Non-invasive detection of IgG antibodies from common, pathogenic virus using Oral flocked swabs. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease. In Press, 2020.
  • Smieja M, Castriciano S, Carruthers S, So G, Chong S, Luinstra K, Mahony JB, Petrich A, Chernesky M, Savarese M,  Triva D.  Development and Evaluation of a Flocked Nasal Mid-Turbinate Swab for Self-Collected Respiratory Virus Diagnostic Testing. J Clin. Microbiol 2010; 48:3340-2.
  • Zhang K, Beckett P, Abouanaser S, Stankus V, Lee C, Smieja M. Prolonged oral vancomycin for secondary prophylaxis of relapsing Clostridium difficile infection. BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Jan 14;19(1):51. doi: 10.1186/s12879-019-3676-1.  PubMed PMID: 30642269; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6332588.
  • Kwong JC, Schwartz KL, Campitelli MA, Chung H, Crowcroft NS, Karnauchow T, Katz K, Ko DT, McGeer AJ, McNally D, Richardson DC, Rosella LC, Simor A, Smieja M, Zahariadis G, Gubbay JB. Acute Myocardial Infarction after  Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Infection. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jan 25;378(4):345-353.
  • Smieja M, Goldfarb DM. Molecular Detection of Diarrheal Pathogens.  Clinical Microbiology Newsletter; 2016: 38, 137-145.
  • Mertz D, Alawfi A, Pernica JM, Rutherford C, Luinstra K, Smieja M. Clinical severity of pediatric respiratory illness with enterovirus D68 compared with rhinovirus or other enterovirus genotypes. CMAJ. 2015 Nov 17;187(17):1279-84.
  • Ali M, Han S, Gunst CJ, Lim S, Luinstra K, Smieja M. Throat and nasal swabs for molecular detection of respiratory viruses in acute pharyngitis. Virol J. 2015; 12:178.
  • Goldfarb DM, Steenhoff AP, Pernica JM, Chong S, Luinstra K, Mokomane M, Mazhani L, Quaye I, Goercke I, Mahony J, Smieja M. Evaluation of anatomically designed flocked rectal swabs for molecular detection of enteric pathogens in children admitted to hospital with severe gastroenteritis in botswana. J Clin. Microbiol. 2014 Nov;52(11):3922-7. Epub 2014 Aug 27.
  • Goodall EC, Granados AC, Luinstra K, Pullenayegum E, Coleman BL, Loeb M, Smieja M. Vitamin D3 and gargling for the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Infect Dis. 2014 May 19;14:273.
  • Mahony JB, Hatchette T, Ojkic D, Drews SJ, Gubbay J, Low DE, Petric M, Tang P, Chong S, Luinstra K, Petrich A, Smieja M.  Multiplex PCR tests sentinel the appearance of pandemic influenza viruses including H1N1 swine influenza. J Clin. Virol. 2009 Jul; 45(3): 200-2.

Book Chapters

  • Pang X, Smieja M. Chapter 95: Gastroenteritis Viruses.  In:  Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 12th Edition, 2019.  Editors: Carroll KC, Pfaller MA.  ASM Press: Washington DC. 
  • Speicher DJ, Ali M, Smieja M.  Respiratory Viruses.  In:  Manual of Molecular and Clinical Laboratory Immunology, 8th Edition, Detrick B, Schmitz JL, Hamilton RG (editors), ASM Press: Washington DC, 2016. 
  • Loeb M, Smaill FM, Smieja M (editors). Evidence-based Infectious Diseases, Second Edition. Wiley-Blackwell (BMJ Books), Chichester U.K. 2009.  324 pages. 
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