Congratulations to eight BCCDC researchers and their teams who have recently been awarded BCCDC Foundation grants through the Open Award Program – our busiest and most successful competition to date! We awarded five Blue Sky grants and three Workshop and Team-Building awards across a range of topics.

Dr Amee Manges will work on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) gene detection using metagenomics, addressing the need for novel ways to detect and prevent AMR, and testing whether fecal microbiota transplantation into Clostridium difficile-infected patients can eliminate or reduce the burden of other AMR bacteria in the gut. Drs Troy Grennan and Jason Wong will determine the efficacy and safety of daily doxycycline prophylaxis in preventing new syphilis cases, as well as other bacterial STIs, in high-risk, HIV-positive MSM, and the impact of doxycycline on rates of AMR. Dr Sarah Henderson, Dr Tom Kosatsky, and Lorraine McIntyre will undertake two projects on shellfish safety – one using environmental modelling to inform on shellfish bed closures, the other through a workshop that will enable public health and industry professionals to discuss specific mitigation strategies to address the risk of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in raw oyster consumers.

In the first systematic design study for reporting whole genome sequencing data in the public health microbiology domain, Dr Jenn Gardy will use the design study approach from the field of information visualization to create a one-page report that translates tuberculosis (TB) genomic data into an interpretable format to demonstrate the utility of this approach to clinical report design. In addition, Dr James Johnston, with Dr Gardy, will host a workshop to bring BC TB stakeholders together to develop and discuss the new process and reporting format for TB genotyping data to lead to faster, more appropriate patient care and TB cluster investigation. Dr Maureen Mayhew and team will target TB prevention toward those at risk by creating, testing and implementing a patient-centred web-tool that empowers patients by improving latent TB infection (LTBI) knowledge and reduces stigma, identifies personalized TB risk, and influences acceptance and completion of LTBI treatment.

Dr Jane Buxton, Ashraf Amlani, and the Peer Engagement and Evaluation Project (PEEP) team, which develops, implements and evaluates best practice guidelines for peer engagement for harm reduction programs and policies, will come together for a three-day meeting to validate qualitative analysis findings to enable their continued work in ensuring that everyone across BC has equal access to harm reduction services.

It is our goal to support BCCDC researchers with small grants to enable further peer-reviewed support from other agencies. We are excited to have been able to fund this number of diverse and innovative projects, and we look forward to some intriguing outcomes. Congrats to all and their teams!

Watch your inboxes in the coming weeks for an announcement of the next BCCDC Foundation Open Awards Program, with a deadline of April 1.

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