Previous messageNext messageFull view [VanBUG] Reminder: VanBUG Seminar Series September 25th – Dr. Jennifer Gardy‏

Dear all,

Our first VanBUG event of the season will be this Thursday, September 25th at 6pm.  Dr. Jennifer Gardy will give a presentation titled: Investigation of a tuberculosis outbreak in a BC homeless shelter: from bunk bed maps to bacterial genomes to Bayesian phylogenetics.
In early 2008, an outbreak of tuberculosis began in a BC homeless shelter, with many early cases traced to a highly infectious index case. Since 2011, we have been investigating this outbreak using a variety of approaches. In this talk, I’ll describe three of the studies we’ve pursued. In one, we used a unique set of records kept by the regional health authorities and the shelter to examine TB transmission, looking at whether sleeping distance from the index case, duration of exposure to the index, or a combination of both put shelter clients at higher risk of being infected. In the second, we used whole genome sequencing of the bacterial isolates from the outbreak patients combined with detailed epidemiological data to identify individual transmission events and the clinical risk factors associated with being a transmitter. In the third – a spin-off study from the second – we explored how well genomic data alone captures transmission events, in other words, can genomics alone tell us who infected whom, even for an outbreak with no associated epidemiological data.
Dr. Jennifer Gardy is both a scientist and science communicator. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, Jennifer holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics. Situated at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, her lab uses microbial genomics, phylogenetics, and bioinformatics to understand the transmission and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, influenza, and measles. Her group was the first to use genome sequencing to reconstruct a large outbreak of tuberculosis, and she is continuing to apply this novel technique to other outbreak scenarios. She is also involved in other genomics-related research, including metagenomic surveys of human and environmental samples. She completed a PhD in microbial genomics and bioinformatics at Simon Fraser University in 2006 under Dr. Fiona Brinkman, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in the systems biology of innate immunity with Dr. R.E.W. Hancock at UBC, before joining BCCDC in 2009.

Outside of academia, Jennifer works in science communication. She’s hosted an 8-part science series for CBC Television, multiple episodes of CBC’s long-running documentary series The Nature of Things, and is a regular guest host on Discovery Channel Canada’s flagship science newsmagazine, Daily Planet. She’s also blogged and written for Canadian newspaper The Globe & Mail, recently published a children’s book called It’s Catching! The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes, and runs a series of workshops for grad students and postdocs on how to communicate science effectively.

Dr. Gardy’s talk will be preceded by a 10 min introductory talk by Tyler Funnell, Graduate student from Dr. Sohrab Shah’s Lab at the BC Cancer Agency.
Title: Transcriptomic consequences of RNA processing disruption by a novel kinase inhibitor
The other speakers for this year are as follow (save the dates!):
October 9th (Thursday) 2014: Dr. Dave Clarke Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University
November 20th (Thursday) 2014: Film Screening – The Perfect 46.  In collaboration with ReelCauses, we will screen the Sci-fi Docudrama, the Perfect 46 ( at the SFU Woodward’s Theatre.  It is a thought provoking film on genetic engineering. The director of the film will be attending in person to talk about his film.  We are also in the process organizing a discussion panel.  We will be raffling off tickets to the screening to members on our mailing list. So don’t forget to invite friends and colleagues to sign up to our mailing list!
December 12th (Friday) 2014: Annual Christmas Social with Lightning Talks
February 12th (Thursday) 2015: Dr. Nick Loman, University of Birmingham University, UK
March 12th (Thursday) 2015: Dr. Titus Brown, Michigan State University
April 9th (Thursday) 2015: Dr. Martin HirstMichael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia
Seminar is followed by complementary pizza, refreshments and great networking.
For updates on seminar topics and abstracts, please check out our website at

Please note:
Trainees are invited to meet with the VanBUG speaker for open discussion
of both science and career paths. This takes place 4:30-5:30pm in either
the Boardroom or Lunchroom on the ground floor of the BCCRC

675 West 10th Avenue
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Family Theatre
BC Cancer Agency


September 25th, 2014
Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Time: 7:30 PM (followed by pizza and drinks)

Contact Name:
William Hsiao

William Hsiao
on behalf of VanBUG Organization Team:
  • Cedric Chauve (Department of Mathematics, SFU)
  • Rodrigo Goya (Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre & Centre for High-Throughput Biology, UBC)
  • William Hsiao (BCCDC Public Health Microbiology & Reference Laboratory)
  • Kieran O’Neill (BC Cancer Agency)
  • Raunak Shrestha (Collin’s Lab, Vancouver Prostate Centre)
  • Shing Hei Zhan (Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre)
VanBUG is generously sponsored by the CIHR Bioinformatics Training Program, BCCDC Foundation, PIMS, PROOF Centre, GenomeBC, and the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops. We thank our major sponsor CIHR Bioinformatics Training Program and welcome a new major sponsor, the BCCDC Foundation.
If you wish to subscribe and unsubscribe from our mailing list, please visit and follow the instructions there.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.