October 17, 2023: First annual EPIC Symposium
A smiling woman with a grey sweater and a smiling man wearing a toque and blue coat

We are excited to announce that the first annual Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium symposium will take place on October 17, 2023 at the Old Mill Toronto! Please join us for a day of research, networking and community-building.

The symposium is free to attend for anyone who is affiliated with one of EPIC’s partner institutes (the Hospital for Sick Children, Sinai Health/Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre/Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, University of Toronto).

If you are not affiliated with an EPIC partner and would like to attend, please send us a message at epic@utoronto.ca.

If you are an industry or government representative and are interested in supporting this event and/or attending, please send us a message at epic@utoronto.ca.

Registration is now open to EPIC members! To reserve your spot, check your email for your early access code and register at Eventbrite.

Registration to non-members will open on September 11.

Symposium agenda

8:00 – 8:45 amRegistration
Coffee and a light breakfast will be served.
8:45 – 9:00 amOpening remarks
9:00 – 10:45 amSession #1: Emerging pathogen surveillance and response

Silence = Death: How community engagement was central to research and public health during Ontario’s mpox response 
Darrell Tan, Unity Health Toronto

Emerging infectious diseases threats during pregnancy: building systems of surveillance and response
Vanessa Allen, Sinai Health

Alphacoronaviruses in bats in eastern Ontario, Canada
Jonathon Kotwa, Sunnybrook Research Institute

Distributed, low-burden diagnostics: an emerging role for synthetic biology and low-cost hardware 
Keith Pardee, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, U of T

Empowering communities: education and outreach in Toronto’s Black community during the COVID-19 pandemic
Upton Allen, Hospital for Sick Children
10:45 – 11:00 amCoffee break
11:00 am – 12:00 pmLightning round: Meet the new PIs

Roger Antabe, Department of Health and Society, U of T Scarborough
Aereas Aung, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, U of T
Artem Babaian, Department of Molecular Genetics, U of T
Marcus Dillon, Department of Biology, U of T Mississauga 
Guillaume Filion, Department of Cell and Systems Biology, U of T Scarborough
Greg German, Unity Health Toronto
Sarah Haines, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, U of T
Bowen Li, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, U of T
Mike Norris, Department of Biochemistry, U of T
Kathryn Rozen-Gagnon, Department of Molecular Genetics, U of T
Nicole Weckman, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, U of T
Alice Zhabokritsky, University Health Network
12:00 – 1:00 pmLunch
1:00 – 2:00 pmKeynote presentation: Lessons learned from reporting at the pandemic’s front lines

Lauren Pelley, senior health and medical reporter, CBC
2:00 – 3:00 pmPanel discussion: Breaking the cycle of panic and neglect to create sustained readiness to infectious threats

Moderator: Lauren Pelley (senior health and medical reporter, CBC)
Panelists: Leah Cowen (University of Toronto), David Naylor
3:00 – 3:15 pmCoffee break
3:15 – 5:00 pmSession #2: Development and implementation of innovative countermeasures

Flow virometry: a new lens for virus-based therapies & vaccines
Christina Guzzo, Department of Cell and Systems Biology, U of T Scarborough

Bio-inspired surfaces to prevent microbial attachment
Ben Hatton, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, U of T

Using stem cell-derived macrophages to combat pulmonary viral infections
Michael Litvack, Hospital for Sick Children

Lessons learned from studying T cell responses following SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination
Tania Watts, Department of Immunology, U of T

Understanding COVID-19’s inner workings and new treatment approaches
Haibo Zhang, Unity Health Toronto 
5:00 – 7:00 pmNetworking reception and poster session