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
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.