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Agatha Jassem

Photo of Agatha Jassem
Agatha Jassem is a clinical microbiologist and the program head of the Virology Lab at the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory. She is also a clinical associate professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at UBC.


Dr. Jassem oversees diagnostic services and has extensive expertise in developing and implementing molecular- and serological-based tests for several organisms, including respiratory pathogens and those causing sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. She is the BC Lab Lead for the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network, which is monitoring SARS-CoV-2 and influenza vaccine effectiveness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Jassem secured funding to characterize the immune response after infection and vaccination. This involved validation and operationalization of novel multiplex serology, neutralization, and infectivity methods to support cohort-based studies across BC. Her current focus couples viral genomics and immune correlates of protection to understand the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 evolution under vaccine pressure. 

Other research led by Dr. Jassem includes utilization of novel phage immunoprecipitation sequencing technologies to link viral exposures to chronic illness and the validation and implementation of dried blood spot samples for diagnosis of HCV and HIV in hard-to-reach populations. 


Dr. Jassem holds a BSc (Hons) in biology from York University (2006). She completed her doctoral studies in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at UBC (under the supervision of Dr. David Speert, at the Child & Family Research Institute) (PhD, 2012). 

She finished an accredited fellowship through CPEP (sub-Committee on Postgraduate Educational Programs) at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (Clinical Microbiology Fellow, 2014), and was certified in clinical microbiology in 2016 by the American Board of Medical Microbiology  and the Canadian College of Microbiologists. 

She is the president of the Canadian Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, and the president of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Scientists. 

She is passionate about teaching and science communication, having been involved in many outreach initiatives. When she’s not in the lab, she can be found on the mountains (hiking or snowboarding depending on the season).


  • For a list of publications, see PubMed
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