Medical Microbiology



Medical Microbiology is the branch of medicine concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infections and communicable diseases. The discipline consists primarily of four major spheres of activity: The provision of clinical consultations on the investigation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases; the scientific development, administrative and medical direction of a clinical microbiology laboratory; the establishment and direction of infection control programs across the continuum of care; communicable disease prevention and epidemiology and related public health issues. In addition to these primary activities, medical microbiologists are also involved in teaching at all levels, and in research, both basic and applied.

UBC Residency Training Program In Medical Microbiology

The UBC program in Medical Microbiology is designed to help residents acquire expertise and broad-based experience to achieve all CanMEDS competencies. The 5-year training program begins with a rotating clinical year in PGY-1, with the philosophy that a good foundation in clinical medicine is the best foundation for a good Medical Microbiologist. The PGY-2 to PGY-5 years are structured in blocks of 4-12 week rotations in a diversity of settings, including adult and pediatric acute care hospitals, the community setting, and the Provincial Reference Lab. Medical Microbiology and clinical rotations are done throughout the PGY2-5 years, typically a 12 week block of Microbiology followed by a 4 week block of clinical ID. Within these four years, at least 24 months are spent in diagnostic microbiology labs and 12 months in directly relevant clinical medicine, with at least 7 blocks in in-patient clinical infectious diseases. The remaining 12 months are spent according to the resident’s interest in additional rotations in the lab, infection control, infectious diseases, relevant clinical medicine, public health, epidemiology, or research. Historically, graduates of the UBC MM Program have been successful at the Canadian examinations administered by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trainees have gone on to rewarding and diverse careers.


This is a very exciting time for Medical Microbiology and Infection Control. The world is becoming a smaller place with international work and travel, immigration, and the global transport of foodstuffs, all of which bring new and exotic diseases to our doorstep. Every year we are identifying new infectious agents of disease through techniques such as molecular biology. Over the past several years Medical Microbiologists have been at the forefront in the fight against SARS, MERS-CoV, West Nile Virus, Clostridium difficile, Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, pandemic H1N1 and now Ebola among others. This trend will continue. Additionally, the Medical Microbiology community in Canada is “greying” and this will provide superb opportunities for residents to choose a career path that best fits their interests, abilities and lifestyle considerations.

Contact Information

Medical Microbiologists at all training sites in the Program are willing to talk to anyone interested in further information. Electives and job shadows can be arranged through the usual process.

Program Director:
Dr. Chris Lowe
Tel: (604) 806-8422

Program Administrative Contact:
Shelley Berkow
Post-Graduate Residency Program Manager
Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Program Assistant
3203-910 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
Tel: (604) 875-4892
Fax: (604) 875-4988