INTRODUCING

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.

About PIPPS

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.

Our vision

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.

Our mission

  • 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

Scientific Co-Directors

Dr. Caroline Colijn

Dr. Caroline Colijn

BIO

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

Dr. Kelley Lee

BIO

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

Dr. Elisha Are

Postdoctoral Researcher, MAGPIE group

Dr. Kaylee Byers

Dr. Kaylee Byers

University Research Associate

Ying Liu Bazak

Ying Liu Bazak

Postdoctoral fellow pandemics and borders project

Felicia Chiappetta

Felicia Chiappetta

Journalism Intern

Jennifer Fang

Jennifer Fang

Research Fellow, Pandemics & Borders Project

Stella-Luna Ha

Stella-Luna Ha

Journalism Intern

Inayat Lakhani

Inayat Lakhani

MAGPIE Group Manager

Julia Lukacs

Julia Lukacs

Research Assistant, Social Media Project

Alice Mũrage

Alice Mũrage

Research Fellow, Health and social inequities theme

Julianne Piper

Julianne Piper

Research Fellow and Project Coordinator, Pandemics & Borders Project

Simran Purewal

Simran Purewal

Research and Engagement Coordinator

Yexuan Song

Yexuan Song

MSC student, MAGPIE group

Haaris Tiwana

Haaris Tiwana

Research Fellow, Health and Social Inequities Theme

Gladys We

Gladys We

PIPPS Communications

Cody Zhang

Cody Zhang

Junior Software Developer

Salta Zhumatova

Salta Zhumatova

Postdoctoral Fellow, Pandemics and Borders

Neda Zolfaghari

Neda Zolfaghari

Project Coordinator

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

PIPPS framework

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.

Join us

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. 

Affiliated projects

Canadian Network for Modelling Infectious Diseases

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Funding: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling program

PIPPS Researcher: Caroline Colijn

Pandemics and Borders Project

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Funding: New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), others

PIPPS Researcher: Kelley Lee

Gender and COVID-19 Project

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Funding: CIHR, Gates Foundation, others
PIPPS Researcher: Julia Smith

Evolving Pathogens and Host-Pathogen Coevolution

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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.

Resources

Selected Recent Publications

News

Stay updated

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