UBC researchers working at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory will benefit from state-of-the-art research infrastructure thanks to a $4 million investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
The investment will ensure the facility continues to play a leading role in addressing current and future pandemic threats in BC and Canada.
The funding, recently announced by the Government of Canada, will upgrade one of the containment level 3 (CL3) labs at the BCCDC where UBC researchers are undertaking cutting-edge research into deadly pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant microbes. The collaborative research space is focused on understanding how these pathogens cause severe disease and improving our ability to prevent and treat disease through vaccines and antimicrobial treatments.
“This much needed federal investment will help UBC and the BCCDC provide a biosafe environment for state-of-the-art research,” says Dr. Mel Krajden, a UBC professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and medical microbiologist at the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory.
“It will help protect Canadians and the international community against highly resistant microbial superbugs and will also support the surveillance and response to novel pandemic pathogens.”
The BCCDC Public Health Laboratory CL3 space was designed and constructed in 1997. The lab’s specialized biocontainment facilities enable researchers to work with Risk Group 3 pathogens, which are associated with causing serious or lethal human disease. The modernized laboratory space will ensure researchers can continue to conduct critical pathogen research for years to come.
“This investment will help protect Canadians and the international community against highly resistant microbial superbugs and will also support the surveillance and response to novel pandemic pathogens.” Dr. Mel Krajden
The funding was announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, as part of a total investment of more than $127 million through CFI to support upgrades to eight biocontainment facilities across Canada.
“To continue protecting the health and safety of Canadians, Canada’s post-secondary institutions and research hospitals require innovative research spaces and biocontainment facilities like the eight state-of-the-art facilities announced today,” said Minister Champagne. “This investment, guided by the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, will help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems to grow a competitive domestic life sciences sector, with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities.”
The investment is part of a new CFI funding program — the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund — which was launched in September 2021. It responds to urgent and essential needs of postsecondary institutions and research hospitals by supporting containment levels 3 and 4 facilities capable of working with human pathogens.
The funding is intended help institutions keep their facilities at the cutting-edge and strengthen their capacity to work with industry and government to advance promising discoveries and promote training and talent development in the biosciences.