Host Defence and Pathogenesis

The Division maintains a vigorous and well funded research program in molecular microbial pathogenesis and host defence in partnership with the Immunity and Infection Research Centre (IIRC) at Vancouver General Hospital. Pathogens under study included M. tuberculosis, Leishmania, Toxoplasma, E. coli, Staphylococci, Streptococci and Chlamydia.

In addition to addressing mechanisms of pathogenesis, ongoing research is concerned with both innate and acquired immune responses to infection, including vaccine development. The Division’s research program also has an important bioinformatics focus with additional state-of-the art expertise in molecular modeling and computer-aided drug design.

Faculty researchers in this area are:

Yossef Av-Gay, Horacio Bach, Robert Brunham, Zakaria Hmama, Robert McMaster, Neil Reiner, and Theodore Steiner


The HIV/AIDS Research Program, closely allied with BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, involves faculty members at the St. Paul’s site. It is nationally and internationally recognized for work in all facets of HIV, including behavioral studies, epidemiology, clinical trials and basic sciences.

The epidemiology group has been actively developing and maintaining long-term analyses of drug treatment programs in Vancouver, including harm reduction strategies to prevent HIV transmission. Recent clinical research has been launched into HIV co-infections with Hepatitis C and human papilloma virus.

Faculty researchers in this area are:

Richard Lester, Val Montessori, Peter Phillips, Neora Pick, Natasha Press ,Melanie Murray, and Mary Kestler

Epidemiological Research

This research group focuses on STD prevention, control and service delivery; control of emerging infectious diseases; assessment of the human papillomavirus infection (HPV); reduction of antimicrobial misuse as linked to the emergence of resistant organisms; detection and description of unique disease outbreaks; and early interruption of transmission of diseases from infected food products.
In addition, our faculty have been involved in a number of projects with the Canadian International Development Agency concerning STD, HIV, TB prevention and care in Vietnam, and ecosystem health in Ecuador.

Faculty researchers in this area are:

William Bowie, David Patrick, and Michael Rekart

Clinical Research

Current clinical research projects in the Division are focusing on the management of patients with cutaneous abscesses, HIV in pregnant women and children, HIV vaccine development, bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections, and influenza vaccination.

Faculty researchers in this area are:

William Bowie, Richard Lester, Neora Pick, and Grant Stiver