EPIC announces new Trainee Advisory Committee and steering committee members
A smiling woman with a grey sweater and a smiling man wearing a toque and blue coat

September 18, 2023

By Betty Zou

The Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium is pleased to announce the members of its inaugural Trainee Advisory Committee and to welcome two new members to its steering committee.

With representation across the University of Toronto and hospital partners, the Trainee Advisory Committee will work closely with EPIC staff and leadership to ensure that trainee perspectives are integrated into the development and implementation of new programming and supports for our trainee community. By helping trainees achieve their short- and long-term professional goals, EPIC is training the next generation of leaders whose work will tackle infectious diseases from multiple perspectives.

The committee of 19 graduate and postdoctoral trainees is divided into subgroups focused on specific areas including science communications, training and talent development, event coordination and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. In its first year, the group will be co-chaired by PhD students Jacqueline Watt and Maxine Ty.

Watt, a sixth year PhD student in the department of molecular genetics at U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, is also joining the EPIC steering committee as the trainee representative. Her research focuses on developing a new vaccine candidate against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterial agent behind tuberculosis. She has extensive experience working in the Toronto High Containment Facility and previously co-led MicrobeTO with Ty.

In addition to Watt, EPIC is also welcoming John Marshall to its steering committee. Marshall is a professor of surgery and critical care medicine at U of T and a senior scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of Unity Health Toronto. He received his medical degree from the University of Toronto, followed by post-graduate training at Dalhousie University and McGill University. He is internationally renowned for founding the International Forum for Acute Care Trialists, of which he is the current chair. He has also served as past-Chair of the International Sepsis Forum and the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, former Secretary-General of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care, and past-President of the Surgical Infection Society. Marshall is also the Canadian principal investigator for the REMAP-CAP trial, and co-chairs the R&D Roadmap Committee of the Clinical Characterization and Management of COVID-19 of the World Health Organization. 

Composed of 13 members, the steering committee advises and provides recommendations on goals, programs and partnerships to ensure that EPIC makes strides to advance the four main pillars of our mission: accelerating transformative research, expanding training & talent development, facilitating knowledge translation and supporting specialized infrastructure.

The members of the steering committee represent the U of T divisions and hospital partners that have come together to support EPIC: the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Dentistry, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Hospital for Sick Children, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto and University Health Network.

Marshall replaces Sharmistha Mishra as the Unity Health Toronto representative on the steering committee. Mishra co-led the mpox rapid research response that EPIC launched last summer and has been a key contributor in shaping EPIC during its first year. We are grateful to her for sharing her time and expertise!

To meet the new members of our Trainee Advisory Committee and steering committee, please visit our website.