The story of an outbreak: Tracking infectious disease transmission with DNA sequencing
Speaker: Jennifer Gardy, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics
Senior Scientist, BC Centre for Disease Control
Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC
Associate Member, Microbiology & Immunology, UBC
With the advent of next-generation DNA sequencing methods, sequencing the complete genome of every pathogen isolate from an outbreak has become possible. With this new, high-resolution molecular epidemiology data, we are able to reconstruct outbreaks of disease with a degree of accuracy that has previously been unattainable, revealing important aspects of transmission dynamics and providing insight into pathogen evolution and population structure. This emerging field of genomic epidemiology still faces challenges, however, including dealing with biological issues such as within-host genetic diversity, technical hurdles related to sample preparation and sequencing, and questions around clinical implementation, validation, and reporting. In this talk, I’ll discuss a multi-year genomic investigation of a tuberculosis outbreak amongst BC’s homeless population, including both the insights gained into the outbreak and the larger questions about genomic epidemiology that the work raised, which we are now addressing in follow-up projects.
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