The Pacific Institute on Pathogens, Pandemics and Society
The Pacific Institute on Pathogens, Pandemics and Society (PIPPS) is a new interdisciplinary research institute focused on strengthening British Columbia’s capability to prevent, prepare for and respond to major infectious disease events, including the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pacific Institute on Pathogens, Pandemics and Society (PIPPS) is a new provincial research institute based at Simon Fraser University's (SFU) Burnaby campus. The Institute focuses on understanding the emergence and spread of new pathogens and responding to infectious disease events with pandemic potential that pose potentially severe risks to the health and well-being of populations.
PIPPS is a research and training platform that brings together B.C. scientists, educators, trainees and public health institutions with leading national and international experts. The Institute’s interdisciplinary and population-level focus provides the opportunity to support whole-of-society and planetary health understandings of the wide-ranging determinants and impacts of major infectious disease events, and the multi-sectoral responses needed to enhance and maintain societal resilience.
Research themes include: the evolving nature of pathogens and the potential for future infectious disease threats; estimating risk of future pandemics from emerging pathogens and other infectious disease threats; the health and social inequities arising from pandemic events and responses to them; and effective health and risk communication during major infectious disease events.
To convene, generate and share critical knowledge that strengthens British Columbia’s capacities to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from and be resilient to major infectious disease events that threaten to severely disrupt health and well-being in the province.
- Generate interdisciplinary knowledge for evidence-informed decision making
- Support improved preparedness and response to major infectious disease threats
- Support robust multi-sectoral responses, learning from current/previous pandemics
- Offer rapid response analytical services for policy and practice
Dr. Caroline Colijn
Caroline Colijn is a Professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and a Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution, and Public Health in the Department of Mathematics at SFU. She has broad interests in the applications of mathematics to questions in evolution and public health, and works in genomic epidemiology, infectious disease modelling and estimation, and in modelling evolution and selection. Dr. Colijn leads the Mathematics, Genomics and Prediction in Infection and Evolution (MAGPIE) research group at SFU and co-directs the Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Diseases (canmod.net). She joined SFU’s Mathematics Department in 2018.
Dr. Kelley Lee
Kelley Lee is a Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Her research focuses on strengthening collective action to mediate the population health impacts of globalization. She has received over $21 million CDN over a 28-year career, leading major projects on global infectious disease governance, globalization and health, tobacco control and health diplomacy.
PIPPS research leads
Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol
Knowledge translation lead
Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU. Her research area is knowledge translation strategies with a focus on environmental and public health policy and practice. She has been part of the province's COVID-19 response and has worked previously in the areas of cancer prevention and emerging infectious diseases.
Dr. Ben Ashby
Emerging and evolving pathogens theme lead
Dr. Ben Ashby is a mathematical biologist interested in the ecology and evolution of pathogens and their hosts. Dr. Ashby uses mathematical models to study how pathogens spread through populations and how traits such as infectivity and virulence evolve, and in turn how this affects the evolution of host traits such as resistance or tolerance. Dr. Ashby is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department at SFU.
Dr. Julia Smith
Health and social inequities theme lead
Dr. Julia Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU, with expertise in intersectional gender-based analysis, the social determinants of health and qualitative research methods.
Dr. Jessica Stockdale
Analytics and data science theme lead
Dr. Jessica Stockdale is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at SFU, with expertise in infectious disease modelling, genomic epidemiology and Bayesian statistics. Her work combines data-driven mathematical and statistical approaches to answer questions in disease transmission and public health.
Dr. Kiffer Card
Rapid response hub lead
Dr. Kiffer Card is a behavioural epidemiologist, social ecologist, and health services researcher focused on psychological distress, coping practices, and positive deviance within the context of public health crises. He is an Assistant Professor at SFU in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
PIPPS research team
Dr. Elisha Are
Postdoctoral Researcher, MAGPIE group
Dr. Kaylee Byers
University Research Associate
Ying Liu Bazak
Postdoctoral fellow pandemics and borders project
Research Fellow, Pandemics & Borders Project
MAGPIE Group Manager
Research Assistant, Social Media Project
Research Fellow, Health and social inequities theme
Research Fellow and Project Coordinator, Pandemics & Borders Project
Research and Engagement Coordinator
MSC student, MAGPIE group
Research Fellow, Health and Social Inequities Theme
Junior Software Developer
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pandemics and Borders
Three core functions
Science & Research
To establish core facilities, research space and recruit high calibre investigators to conduct and facilitate research
Convening & Capacity Building
To strengthen emerging pathogen and pandemic-related capacity within PIPPS and across B.C.
Engaging & Disseminating
To strengthen understanding of research knowledge and expertise by researchers and non-researchers
Three core functions provide a framework for PIPPS’ early development. The first, the Science and Research core function, includes four research themes reflecting the Institute’s initial strategic research priorities. Additional research themes will be added over time based on consultation with partners and stakeholders. The three initial research themes are as follows:
- Health and social inequities: to identify health and social inequities and assist in identifying promising policy approaches to prevent or reduce the risk of social and economic inequities in future pandemics.
Lead: Dr. Julia Smith, SFU
- Emerging and evolving pathogens: to better understand the evolving nature of pathogens and the potential for future infectious disease threats in B.C.
Lead: Dr. Ben Ashby, SFU
- Analytics and data science: to identify emerging pathogens and infectious disease threats and estimate the speed of a new potential pandemic.
Lead: Dr. Jessica Stockdale, SFU
The Convening and Capacity Building core function focuses on building, strengthening and supporting pathogen and pandemic-related research capacity within PIPPS and across British Columbia. Major strategies include postgraduate specialized training, fellowships and internships, multi-institution professional opportunities, and establishment of Research Affiliates and Research Collaborators.
The Engaging and Disseminating core function aims to develop non-researcher understanding of pathogen and pandemic-related science and research to strengthen population resiliency in future infectious disease events. Major strategies include optimizing the translation of research findings to policy and practice, encouraging the application of research findings across the public domain, and supporting science-based knowledge translation and public education activities.
We have upcoming openings for lead researchers, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants. We will also be establishing an affiliate researchers program which will include our colleagues in B.C.'s Health Authorities and related organizations.
Future opportunities to join our team will be posted here.
Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Diseases
Funding: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling program
PIPPS Researcher: Caroline Colijn
Pandemics and Borders Project
Funding: New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), others
PIPPS Researcher: Kelley Lee
Gender and COVID-19 Project
Funding: CIHR, Gates Foundation, others
PIPPS Researcher: Julia Smith
Evolving Pathogens and Host-Pathogen Coevolution
Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (UK)
PIPPS Researcher: Ben Ashby
Funding and grants
PIPPS researchers have received prestigious grants to support their work on pandemics and pathogens.
- Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Diseases (CANMOD). Caroline Colijn (Principal Investigator), 2021-2024, NSERC, C2,500,000.
- Governing the global antimicrobial commons in a sustainable, acceptable, fair and effective (SAFE) manner. Kelley Lee (Co-Applicant with Nominated Principal Investigator Steven Hoffman et al.), 2022-2027, SSHRCC Partnership Grant, C$2,499,993.
- Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health. Caroline Colijn, Canada 150 Research Chair, 2018-2025, C2,000,000.
- Developing social connection guidelines to help Canadians build happier, healthier, and more inclusive communities in the late pandemic period. Kiffer Card (with collaborators from the PHAC, non-profit sector, and other Canadian researchers), 2022-2026, CIHR, C$761,000.
- Advancing methods and analyses to support evidence-informed decision-making on the coordinated use of travel-related measures during public health emergencies of international concern: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelley Lee (with Principal Applicants William Hsiao, Caroline Colijn; Co-Applicants Julia Smith, Eric Werker, Beate Sander, Zohaib Anwar), 2021-2023, CIHR Project Grant, C$646,424.
- Understanding, recovering from, and mitigating inequities associated with the use of travel measures during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons for post-pandemic recovery and future preparedness from Canada-US border management. Kelley Lee (with Laurie Trautman, Julia Smith, Anne-Marie Nicol, Julianne Piper, Jennifer Fang, Alice Murage, Salta Zhumatova), New Frontiers in Research Fund Special Call, C$500,000.
- Towards transformative pandemic response, recovery, and preparedness: An intersectional gender analysis of the secondary effects of COVID-19 on women and healthcare providers. Julia Smith, Michael Smith Health Research BC Scholar Award, C$450,000.
- Addressing the wider health impacts of COVID-19. Standing together: Strength, resilience and Indigenous leadership as the pathway to pandemic responses. Kelley Lee (Co-Applicant with Principal Investigator Shannon McDonald; with Julianne Piper and Jennifer Fang), 2022-2024, CIHR Operating Grant, C$341,752.
- Microbial evolution along the parasitism-mutualism continuum. Ben Ashby, 2022-2027, NSERC Discovery Grant, C$202,500.
- Advancing equity-based pandemic preparedness through intersectional analysis. Julia Smith (with Co-Investigator Alice Mũrage), 2022-2023, CIHR Catalyst Grant: Transforming Public Health, C$94,000.
- Building social media communications capacity for public health emergency response and preparedness in British Columbia. Kaylee Byers (with Co-Investigator Anne-Marie Nicol), 2022-2023, CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grants - Institute Community Support, C$24,662.
- Standing together: Strength, resilience, and Indigenous leadership as the pathway to pandemic responses. Kelley Lee (Co-applicant with Principal Investigator Shannon McDonald), 2021-2022, World Health Organization, US$20,185.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and commercial determinants of health: A Briefing Paper. Kelley Lee, 2021-2022, World Health Organization, US$20,185.
- Catalyzing global collective action on antimicrobial resistance. Kelley Lee (Co-Applicant with Nominated Principal Investigator Steven Hoffman et al.), 2021-2022, SSHRCC Partnership Development Grant, C$20,000.
- Resolving the primary and secondary effects of post-COVID syndrome to identify coping and management strategies for British Columbians. Kiffer Card (with Co-Investigators Anne-Marie Nicol, Kaylee Byers, Julia Smith), PHSA Post-COVID Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network, C$15,000.
- Cultivating capacity for social media communications by government and allied government agencies in British Columbia. Anne-Marie Nicol (with Co-Investigator Kaylee Byers), 2022-2023, SFU/SSHRC Small Explore Grant, C$6,931.96.
- Navigating Long COVID: Co-creating research priorities to understand and address the information needs of unpaid care providers in British Columbia. Kaylee Byers, with Family Caregivers of BC and PC-ICCN, 2022-2023, MSHR BC C2 Convening and Collaborating Grant. C$15,000.
Selected Recent Publications
Sobkowiak, B., Kamelian, K., Zlosnik, J.E.A., Tyson, J., Goncalves da Silva, A., Hoang, L.M.N., Prystajecky, N., Colijn, C.
Stockdale, J.E., Susvitasari, K., Tupper, P., Sobkowiak, B., Mulberry, N., Goncalves da Silva, A, Watt, A.E., Sherry, N., Minko, C., Howden, B.P., Lane, C.R., Colijn, C.
Tupper, P., Pai, S., COVID Schools Canada, Colijn, C.
Foreign Affairs. 9th December 2021
Iyaniwura, S.A., Falcão, R.C., Ringa, N., Adu, P.A., Spencer, M., Taylor, M., Colijn, C., Coombs, D., Janjua, N.Z., Irvine, M.A., Otterstatter, M.
Are, E.B., Stockdale, J.E., Tupper, P., & Colijn, C.
Think Global Health. 1 September 2021
Lancet Regional Commentary — Western Pacific. 20 July 2021
Liu, P., Song, Y., Colijn, C., MacPherson, A.
Piper, J., Gomis, B., Lee, K. (2022)
Frontiers in Political Science, 19 April 2022
Congratulations to Dr. Kaylee Byers and Dr. Kiffer Card! They have just received the Convening and Collaborating Award from Michael Smith Health Research BC.
Congratulations to Dr. Julia Smith, PIPPS' health and social inequities theme lead, for two prestigious recognitions this month!
- Michael Smith Health Research BC has named her as a 2022 Scholar, for a project named "Towards transformative pandemic response, recovery, and preparedness: An intersectional gender analysis of the secondary effects of COVID-19 on women and healthcare providers." Funding is $90,000 per year for five years.
- She has just received a CIHR Catalyst Grant for $94,805 for a research project on "Advancing Equity-Based Pandemic Preparedness Through Intersectional Analysis."
Follow Dr. Smith on Twitter: @juliaheather
Congratulations to Alice Mũrage and Julianne Piper! Both Alice and Julianne have received major doctoral entrance scholarships as they begin their PhD programs in Fall 2022.
Meet Dr. Kaylee Byers! Dr. Byers is one of PIPPS' research associates. She will be working on research around health communications in BC. Dr. Byers has recently received two grants — one for $24,662 from CIHR for "Building Social Media Communications Capacity for Public Health Emergency Response and Preparedness in British Columbia" and another for $15,000 from the Post-Covid Interdisciplinary Care Network, for a study entitled "Resolving the primary and secondary effects of Post-COVID Syndrome to identify coping and management strategies for British Columbians." See full profile or listen to her Nice Genes! podcast.
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