James A Scott PhD, ARMCCM
- Email Address(es)
- Office Phone
- +1 416 946 8778
- Office Address
- Division of Occupational & Environmental Health 223 College Street Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R4
- UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity, Publications
- Curriculum Vitae
- Occupational & Environmental Health Division
- SGS Status
- Full Member
- Appointment Status
- Admin Position
- Division Head
- Biological hazards in occupational and environmental hygiene
- Molecular detection of bioaerosols
- Bioaerosol sampling technology
- DNA sequence-based studies of human and environmental microbiomes
- Housing and health
- Environmental exposures and allergic disease
- Biodeterioration and biodegradation
- Environmental microbiology
- Evolutionary biology and ecology of microfungi
Education & Training History
James Scott earned his PhD in the Department of Botany at the University of Toronto studying the taxonomy and ecology of moulds in house dust, completing a doctoral minor in Occupational Hygiene in the Department of Community Health. Prior to that, Dr. Scott completed a BSc in Phytopathology, also at the University of Toronto. Dr. Scott joined the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Gage Occupational & Environmental Health Unit in 2002 as an Assistant Professor, was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2009, and promoted to Full Professor in 2016. His research bridges occupational health and environmental health, focusing on the measurement of exposure to health-relevant biological contaminants, particularly bioaerosols. Dr. Scott’s laboratory uses conventional microbiological methods in addition to molecular diagnostics including high throughput next-generation DNA sequencing to investigate the composition and dynamics of a variety of microbial communities. Currently, Dr. Scott is the Director of the UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity, a world-class repository of medically and environmentally important, living microfungi. Dr. Scott co-led SyMBIOTA, a large, CIHR-funded, multi-disciplinary team studying the impact of perinatal environmental exposures on early-life atopy and asthma in response to perturbations of the developing human gut microbiome. He also led an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation project on microbiology of the built environment.
Dr. Scott teaches graduate courses in DLSPH on public health sanitation and occupational & environmental microbiological hazards (indoor air quality, health care infection control, biosafety, weaponized microbes). He received the 2006 Robin Badgley Award for Teaching Excellence, Early Career. Dr. Scott has been interviewed by numerous national and international media, and his work has recently been featured in articles in Wired Magazine, New Scientist Magazine, Discover, the Globe & Mail and the New York Times.
Prior to joining DLSPH, Dr. Scott founded Sporometrics Inc. in 1993, an ISO-accredited commercial environmental microbiology laboratory. Under Dr. Scott’s leadership, Sporometrics became, and continues to be, one of the largest research-intensive commercial diagnostic microbiology laboratories in North America and a global leader in the innovation and provision of rapid, cutting edge molecular diagnostic tools to detect indoor microbes such as molds and Legionella as well as insect-vectored agents ranging from West Nile virus to phytoplasma crop pathogens in the developing world.
In addition to his activates at DLSPH, Dr. Scott is cross-appointed in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Department of Medicine where he has long served as the lead provincial consultant on mushroom poisoning to the Ontario Poison Centre located at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Scott is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Proficiency Analytical Testing (PAT) Programs Board, the Past President of the Pan-American Aerobiology Association and Past Chair of the Environmental and Medical Mycology Committee of the Mycological Society of America. He is also the Scientific Advisor to the Mycological Society of Toronto, a regional group of several hundred amateur mushroom enthusiasts.
- Director, UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity
- Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
- Department of Medicine (Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology)
Primary Teaching Responsibilities
- CHL5413H – Public Health Sanitation
- CHL5918H – Biological Hazards in the Workplace and Community
- HMB436H – Medical and Veterinary Mycology / CHL5919H – Public Health Mycology
Honours & Awards
- Lila Albin Award for the Best Indoor Environmental Quality Paper (AIHA) (2019)
- Bruce P. Squires Award for research paper most likely to influence practice (CMAJ) (2015)
- Robin Badgley Award for Teaching Excellence, Early Career (2006)
Current and recent research activities
- Filtration efficiency testing of filtering face piece masks for COVID-19 (funded by TCAI/ Connaught Fund and Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade)
- UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity – is a premier repository of biomedically and environmentally important fungi and bacteria, including emerging pathogens, opportunists, allergenic and toxigenic species. The biobank moved to Toronto from Edmonton in 2015 under Dr. Scott’s leadership. The collection comprises nearly 12,000 living biospecimens representing over 3,200 species. It is the largest and most important research archive of public health-relevant microfungi in the western hemisphere and one of only two top-level biobanks of these organisms in the world.
- SyMBIOTA – An investigation of the relationship between early life antibiotic use and allergic disease, mediated by changes in gut microbial succession (funded by CIHR).
- Use of high throughput next generation DNA sequencing to investigate the microbiome of moisture damaged building materials as a basis to develop improved biodeterioration resistance tests (funded by Alfred P Sloan Foundation).
- Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, a birth cohort examining the environmental risk factors for early childhood allergy and asthma (funded by CIHR and AllerGen NCE).
- Microbiology of metalworking fluids (funded by Ontario WSIB).
- Detection methodology for viral bioaerosol (funded by Ontario WSIB).
- Characterization of microbial populations in air and dust using molecular genetic methods (funded by AllerGen NCE).
- Tun MH, Tun HM, Mahoney JJ, Konya T, Guttman DS, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Subbarao P, Sears MR, Brook JR, Lou W, Takarao TK, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL. 2018. Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) 190(37): E1097-E1107.
- N Groulx N, Urch B, Duchaine C, Mubareka S, Scott JA. 2018. The Pollution Particulate Concentrator (PoPCon): A platform to investigate the effects of particulate air pollutants on viral infectivity. Science of The Total Environment 628, 1101-1107.
- Summerbell RC, Gueidan C, Guarro J, Eskalen A, Crous PW, Gupta AK, Gené J, Cano-Lira JF, van Iperen A, Starink M, Scott JA. 2018. The protean Acremonium. A. sclerotigenum/egyptiacum: revision, food contaminant, and human disease. Microorganisms 6, 88.
- Tun HM, Bridgeman SL, Chari R, Field CJ, Guttman DS, Becker AB, Mandhane PJ, Turvey SE, Subbarao P, Sears MR, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL. 2018. Roles of birth mode and infant gut microbiota in intergenerational transmission of overweight and obesity from mother to offspring. JAMA Pediatrics 172(4): 368-377.
- Scott JA, Ewaze JO, Summerbell RC, Arocha-Rosete Y, Maharaj A, Guardiola Y, Saleh M, Wong B, Bogale M, O’Hara MJ, Untereiner WA. 2016. Multilocus DNA sequencing of the whiskey fungus reveals a continental-scale speciation pattern. Persoonia 37:13–20.
- Levetin E, Horner E, Scott JA (on behalf of the AAAAI Working Group on Environmental Allergens). 2016. Taxonomy of allergenic fungi. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 4:375–385.
- Konya T, Koster B, Maughan H, Escobar M, Azad MB, Guttman DS, Sears MR, Becker AB, Brook JR, Takaro TK, Kozyrskyj AL, Scott JA, and the CHILD Investigators. 2014. Associations between bacterial communities in house dust and infant gut. Environmental Research 131: 25-30.
- Azad MB, Konya T, Maughan H, Guttman DS, Field CJ, Chari RS, Sears MR, Becker AB, Scott JA, Kozyrskyj AL. 2013. Gut microbiota in Canadian infants: profiles by mode of delivery and infant diet at 4 months. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) 185: 385–394.
- Gräser Y, Scott JA, Summerbell RC. 2008. The new species concept in dermatophytes: a polyphasic approach. Mycopathologia 166: 239-256.
- Scott JA, Untereiner WA, Ewaze JO, Wong B, Doyle D. 2007. Baudoinia, a new genus to accommodate Torula compniacensis. Mycologia 99: 592-601.
- Scott JA. 2004. Clean-up Procedures for Mold in Houses. Ottawa: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 90 pp.
- Scott JA. 2004. Méthodes d’élimination de la moisissure dans les maisons. Ottawa: Société canadienne d’hypothèques et de logement, 101 pp.
- Untereiner WA, Scott JA, Sigler L. 2004. The Ajellomycetaceae: A new family described to accommodate the genus Ajellomyces and its human pathogenic anamorphs Histoplasma, Blastomyces and Paracoccidioides. Mycologia 96: 812–821.