- PhD, University of British Columbia, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Jan 2004 – Apr 2010
- Certificate, University of British Columbia, Watershed Management. Jan 2004 – Apr 2008
- BSc, University of Calgary, Cellular, Molecular and Microbiology (CMMB). Sep 1998 – Apr 2003
- BSc, University of Calgary, Environmental Science – Biology Focus. Sep 1998 – Apr 2003
My interest is in environmental public health microbiology, a unique expertise integrating knowledge of environmental exposures and their impact on public health. My interest in this field commenced in my undergraduate training, where I received degrees in both Environmental Science and Microbiology. In my PhD training, I was able to further integrate my interests in microbiology and environmental studies, studying the molecular epidemiology of Giardia lamblia in Canadian water supplies. This work focused on risk assessment of Giardia lamblia subtypes, with impacts on both environmental and clinical practices. I strongly feel there is a strong need to incorporate environmental health into public healthpractice, as environmental factors can strongly
influence overall health of the population.
Currently, my work focuses on the transmission of gastrointestinal pathogens through environmental matrices, primarily via food and water. I am interested in the development and implementation of molecular methods for routine surveillance, outbreak investigations and source attribution. This work includes the use of improved molecular subtyping approaches, as a critical step in outbreak investigation, to link clinical and environmental isolates.
One of my largest accomplishments was the validation and implementation of a novel Campylobacter subtyping method, developed by partners at the Public Health Agency of Canada, for routine use at BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory. This assay will greatly assist in Campylobacter monitoring initiatives, as Campylobacter is the most prevalent cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in BC and little is known about its reservoirs in BC. We are the first provincial laboratory to implement this new assay, with more labs to follow in 2012-2013.
Of great significance is Watershed Microbiome project (see below), a large-scale research project that aims to discover novel water quality markers and microbial source tracking markers. I led the grant application submission and now serve as scientific manager. This cutting edge work is on of only a handful of freshwater metagenomics projects worldwide and has received considerable attention in the scientific and stakeholder communities.
Through my role as EWQA coordinator, I provide leadership within BCCDC PHMRL and to laboratories throughout the province in Quality Management. Involvement in EWQA and cutting edge research has allowed me to look forward to changes that may impact routine water quality monitoring as new technologies emerge.
I have taught Darwinian Medicine, a course that integrates evolutionary biology and medicine, with a focus on
infectious diseases. I have organized and led two education workshops the EWQA program, using a range of teaching approaches. I have also participated in resident training at BCCDC PHMRL for the past two years. I strongly believe that there is no “one-size-fits-all” for learning, and use a variety of teaching approaches to reflect the breadth of learning styles. Additionally, I have supervised seven undergraduate students for summer work terms, teaching them principles of water microbiology and good laboratory practice.
Awards and Recognition
Awards for Scholarship
- University of British Columbia PhD Tuition Award – 2005-2009.
- Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Senior Trainee Top-Up Award – 2006-2008.
- Canadian Foundation for Infectious Disease (CFID)/Canadian Institute for Health Research – Institute of Infection and Immunity (CIHR-III) Doctoral Research Award – 2006-2009.
- Canadian College of Microbiologists (CCM) Environmental Microbiology Award 2007
- Van Dyke MI, Ong CS, Prystajecky NA, Isaac-Renton JL, Huck PM. Identifying host sources, human health risk and indicators of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in a Canadian watershed influenced by urban and rural activities. J Water Health. 2012 Jun;10(2):311-23.
- Isaac-Renton, JL, Chang, Y, Prystajecky, N, Petric, M, Mak, A, Abott, B, Paris, B, Decker, KC, Pittenger, L, Guercio, S, Stott, J and Miller JD. 2012. Pandemic influenza surge in public health laboratories: enhancing capacity through the Lean (Kaizen) response. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 18(1): 57-52.
- McIntyre L, Galanis E, Mattison K, Mykytczuk O, Buenaventura E, Wong J, Prystajecky N, Ritson M, Stone J, Moreau D, Youssef A and Outbreak Investigation Team. Multiple clusters of norovirus among shellfish consumers linked to symptomatic oyster harvesters. Journal of Food Protection. Accepted