VANCOUVER, BC (Monday August 13, 2018) The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) announced Dr. Zabrina Brumme has been appointed Director of Canada’s leading HIV laboratory program. Dr. Brumme will be on secondment from her position as Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU), where she additionally holds a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar award.
“The BC-CfE continues to lead progress in HIV research in BC and around the world, in a bid to eliminate this global epidemic through Treatment as Prevention®, while expanding its research in other infectious diseases like hepatitis C,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC-CfE. “Dr. Brumme shares this commitment and is well positioned to lead and expand the BC-CfE’s Laboratory Program, bringing highly specialized knowledge, coupled with remarkable leadership as a mentor to other researchers.”
Under Dr. Brumme’s leadership, the BC-CfE Laboratory Program will continue to investigate HIV at a molecular level, contributing to advancing personalized medicine, phylogenetics, vaccine and cure research. The BC-CfE Laboratory Program was the first in the world to offer routine HIV drug resistance testing for people diagnosed with HIV, helping to tailor treatment and improve health outcomes. As a cutting-edge institution, the BC-CfE lab uses phylogenetics, the mapping of HIV genome data, to identify HIV transmission patterns or clusters.
“The Faculty of Health Sciences is fully supportive of Dr. Brumme’s secondment as Laboratory Director, which recognizes the excellence of her HIV and immunology research,” said Dr. Tania Bubela, SFU Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences. “Dr. Brumme’s career progression and leadership is an inspiration for our students, and we look forward to strengthening our research and training partnerships with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.”
Recently, Dr. Brumme led unprecedented research showing HIV strains being transmitted widely in Saskatchewan had mutated, potentially leading to faster progression to AIDS-defining illnesses. The BC-CfE is expanding this knowledge to other infectious diseases like hepatitis C.
“Dr. Brumme has studied HIV through the lens of a molecular biologist and epidemiologist,” said Dr. Robert Hogg, Professor, SFU Faculty of Health Sciences and Research Scientist at BC-CfE. “She has dedicated her career to understanding how HIV can adapt and evolve within populations. This information is critical to advance research towards designing an effective HIV vaccine or cure with the potential of eliminating the disease.”
“The BC-CfE has generated an impressive pool of talent and world-class expertise, ensuring it will continue to lead the way not just in HIV research, but also in viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases,” said Dr. Brumme. “I am excited to be part of a very hard-working and innovative scientific team supporting research with a global impact. The BC-CfE has set a clear path forward for HIV control through the Treatment as Prevention® strategy. I look forward to further supporting these efforts, as well as expanding the BC-CfE’s research effort to develop an HIV cure and an effective vaccine.”
Dr. Zabrina Brumme received her Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine in 2006 from the University of British Columbia. She then went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard University (formerly known as the Partners AIDS Research Center). She joined SFU FHS as Assistant Professor, Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, in September 2009.
Dr. Brumme held a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research from 2009-14. She is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, and is an active member of the Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE) and the BELIEVE in the Cure Martin Delaney Collaboratory.
About the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility, nationally and internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. The Treatment as Prevention® (TasP® ) strategy, pioneered by BC-CfE, inspired the ambitious global UNAIDS 90-90-90 target to end AIDS as a pandemic by 2030. The BC-CfE is applying TasP® to therapeutic areas beyond HIV/AIDS, including viral hepatitis, through a Targeted Disease Elimination® (TDE®) strategy. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including government, health authorities, health care providers, academics and the community to reduce disease burden and increase health care sustainability. The BC-CfE Laboratory has provided HIV drug resistance genotyping for virtually all Canadian provinces and territories since 1998, as well as for many countries worldwide.
About Simon Fraser University
As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.
For more information, please contact:
Caroline Dobuzinskis, BC-CfE Communications Coordinator