VEC's Researchers and Staff

 

Director

Dr. Manish Sadarangani

Dr. Manish Sadarangani

Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Sauder Family Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of British Columbia
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Sadarangani began the role of VEC Director in 2016. He joined the VEC from The Children's Hospital in Oxford, UK, where he was a Clinical Lecturer and Consultant in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology. Dr. Sadarangani plans to build a research program that incorporates laboratory, clinical and population-based studies. His work will include studying the relationships between bowel bacteria and responses to infant vaccines, as increasing evidence points to "good germs" being able to strengthen immunity. The ultimate goal of his research is to inform evidence-based policy to lower the burden of childhood infectious diseases through vaccination.

Investigators

Dr. David Scheifele

Dr. David Scheifele

Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Professor Emeritus, Division of Infectious and Immunological Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Scheifele is one of the original founders of the VEC and was the VEC Director from 1988-2016. In 2012, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the prevention of infections in children. Dr. Scheifele is a pediatric infectious disease specialist and his many interests include the prevention of influenza, haemophilus influenzae type b infections (which cause meningitis), pneumococcal infections, and vaccine safety.

Dr. Julie Bettinger

Dr. Julie Bettinger

Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Bettinger is an Associate Professor at the VEC in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. Her research interests include vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases as well as attitudes and beliefs around immunization uptake and use. She is the epidemiologist for the Canadian Immunization Monitoring Program, Active (IMPACT), an active surveillance network for vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine adverse events in 12 tertiary care pediatric hospitals across Canada and the lead investigator for PCIRN's National Ambulatory Network.

Dr. Tobias Kollmann

Dr. Tobias Kollmann

Affiliate Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Pediatric Infectious Disease Consultant, BC Children's Hospital
Senior Clinician Scientist, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
Affiliate Professor, Infectious and Immunological Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Kollmann joined the VEC in 2006. As a pediatric infectious disease specialist, his main research interest is to learn how the newborn's immune system works to prevent infections during this vulnerable time period. His goal is to find ways to improve the immune response that babies have to vaccines to provide them with better protection.

Dr. Soren Gantt

Dr. Soren Gantt

Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, BC Children's Hospital
Director, Clinical Research, BC Children's Hospital
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Gantt joined the VEC in 2012. He is a Senior Associate Clinician Scientist at the VEC and an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia. His current research focus includes Herpesvirus infection (HHV), HIV, cancer, antiviral, and immune response. His goals are to address fundamental questions about how to prevent and treat HHV-related diseases, including a focus on HHV infections early in life and in utero.

Dr. Laura Sauvé

Dr. Laura Sauvé

Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dr. Sauvé joined the VEC in 2007. She is a pediatric infectious disease specialist who has a special interest in Pediatric HIV. Her main research interests include vaccine preventable disease, global child health and pediatric HIV. She is the BC site investigator for the Immunization Monitoring Program, Active, a national surveillance system for vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine adverse events in 12 pediatric tertiary care centers across Canada. She also is the co-primary investigator of the Canadian Perinatal HIV Surveillance Program, which studies vertical transmission of HIV across Canada.

Dr. Ali Harandi

Dr. Ali Harandi

Visiting Associate Professor

Dr. Harandi is an Associate Professor in Clinical Immunology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and a visiting Associate Professor at the VEC, Department of Peadiatrics, BCCHR, The University of British Columbia. He serves in the leadership of several EU/international projects on vaccine R&D, and also serves as an advisor to several non-profit research organizations. His main research goal is to characterize protective immune responses induced by vaccines and mucosal infections in humans. 

Research Associates

Dr. James Zlosnik

Research Associate, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Co-director, Canadian Burkholderia cepacia complex research and referral repository.

Dr. Zlosnik joined UBC in 2006 and is an infectious disease microbiologist.   He is co-director, along with Dr. Sadarangani and Dr. Mark Chilvers (Director of the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Clinic), of the Canadian Burkholderia cepacia complex research and referral repository - which is a national resource for hospitals and CF clinics to obtain accurate bacterial identifications.  Dr Zlosnik's research ranges from the molecular level (DNA sequencing, molecular genetics, proteomics and application of bioinformatics) to phenotype based laboratory studies through to population biology (epidemiology and clinical research).  His goals are to better understand the microbial component of infectious diseases such that continued improvements can be made to treatment and the lives of people affected.

 

Research Fellows and Students

Aaron Liu

PhD Candidate

Aaron Liu is a graduate student in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia, working under the supervision of Dr. Soren Gantt and previously Dr. Tobias Kollmann in the VEC since 2017. His research involves using next-generation sequencing to understand viral infection and immunity. His interests are in developing assays to measure antibody responses to viral infections to aid the development of vaccines and surveillance of viral infections. Aaron has previously held the BCCHR Healthy Starts Studentship and currently holds UBC’s Four Year Fellowship. 

Adriana Cabrera

Adriana Cabrera

PhD Student

Ms. Cabrera is a graduate student in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia, working under the supervision of Dr. Manish Sadarangani in the VEC since 2019. Her research involves the development of a vaccine against antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, focusing primarily on Klebsiella peneumoniae. She is interested in finding a new approach that would help to limit the spread and emergence of bacterial resistance, particularly through vaccination.

Dr. Bahaa Abu Raya

Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellow

Dr. Abu Raya is an Infectious Diseases clinician-scientist and joined the VEC in 2015 as a pediatric infectious disease fellow. His research has been predominantly in the field of immunization in pregnancy to protect the newborn, focusing on pertussis. He is also a member of the "Immunization Monitoring Program ACTive" (IMPACT) pertussis working group and the "Progressing Immunization in Pregnancy Evaluation and Research" (PIPER) group.​ Dr. Abu Raya is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award in the "basic science" category and a holder of the prestigious Vanier Canada Scholarship award. 

Byron Brook

PhD Student

Byron is a PhD Candidate in Dr. Kollmann's lab. Byron's research and passion has focused around understanding what makes a neonate susceptible to disease, and how this could be prevented using BCG vaccination. His work involved neonatal mouse models to establish a method of predicting mortality so that the important mechanisms leading to death or survival could be identified. The mouse model also revealed the mechanism of how BCG can reduce neonatal death from sepsis by 40%, establishing the steps involved in BCG nonspecific effects.

Catherine Byrne

PhD Student

 

 

Citlali Marquez

Post Doctorate Student

 

Dr. Hana Mijovic

Dr. Hana Mijovic

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mijovic is an infectious disease pediatrician with interest in qualitative health research. She is enrolled in the Clinician Investigator Program through the University of British Columbia. Her post-graduate research work at the VEC includes: examining barriers and facilitators of HPV vaccine uptake in BC school immunization programs, exploring healthcare providers' experiences with recommending and providing pregnancy vaccines, and producing a short film about childhood vaccine counselling for frontline healthcare providers.

Jessica Tuengel

PhD Candidate

Jessica is a member of Dr. Soren Gantt's lab and a graduate student in Experimental Medicine. She has a master's degree in International Community Development where her studies focused on social justice, medical anthropology, global health and how poverty and numerous social inequalities create health disparity. Her current doctoral research at the University of British Columbia focuses on immune ontogeny during early life and infant immune responses to viral infections. She is inspired by a world where advocacy and science aid in alleviating human suffering caused by poverty and inequalities in the distribution and outcome of infectious diseases.

Jimmy Lopez

Jimmy Lopez

Masters Student

Jimmy joined the VEC in 2019. He studies epidemiology and biostatistics at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. His current research is on influenza vaccine safety with focus towards high-risk populations.

Dr. Robine Donken

Dr. Robine Donken

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Donken has been a postdoctoral fellow with the VEC since 2017. Robine is an epidemiologist and obtained her PhD at the VU University in Amsterdam in collaboration with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Her research focus is on the most effective dosing schedule for HPV vaccination with regard to effectiveness and immunogenicity.

Dr. Wendy Pringle

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Pringle joined the VEC in 2019. She has a PhD in Communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MA from McGill. Wendy's research deals broadly with strategies for effective health communication, with a current focus on vaccine hesitancy and perinatal care."

Support Staff

The investigators of the VEC are supported by an experienced and well-trained pool of staff that have extensive experience in program management, clinical field studies, data management, and laboratory testing.

Administration

Betty Wong

Betty Wong

Research Administrator

 

Jennifer Mark

Jennifer Mark

Senior Research Coordinator

 

Karen Simmons

Senior Research Coordinator

 

Kim Marty

Senior Data Manager

 

Mistin Wilkinson

Mistin Wilkinson

Administrative Assistant

 

Research Coordinators

Brittany Seligman

Brittany Seligman

Clinical Research Coordinator

 

Helen He

Helen He

Clinical Research Coordinator

 

Jessica Bow

Assistant Research Coordinator

 

Lilah Johnson

Lilah Johnson

Clinical Research Coordinator

 

Nurses

Ivor Chee

Clinical Research Coordinator/Research Nurse

 

Jasmine Wong

Research Nurse

 

Kelly Simmons

Kelly Simmons

Research Nurse

 

Data Team

Luke Li

Database Programmer

 

Nasrin Ahosan Chowdhury

Data Coordinator

 

Suzanne Liu

Suzanne Liu

Statistician

 

Wendy Klassen

Data Coordinator

 

Research Assistants

Anjana Rajendran

Anjana Rajendran

Work Learn Student

 

Debbie Lam

Debbie Lam

Research Assistant

 

Lizl Bonifacio

Lizl Bonifacio

Research Assistant

 

Rebecca Lim

Rebecca Lim

Work Learn Student

 

Tanya Bajwa

Research Assistant

 

Laboratory Staff

Bing Cai

Lab Manager for Kollman and Gantt labs

 

Jung-Bahadur Singh Kandola

Undergraduate Student for the Sadarangani Lab

 

Mandy Lo

Research Technician

 

Tony Harn

Research Technician for the Sadarangani Lab

 

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