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Feb - Sandrine Moreira

Speaker: Sandrine Moreira

Talk Title: SARS-CoV-2 surveillance at the Public Health Laboratory of Québec

Event Details


Wednesday, Feb 16th, 2022 11:00am ~ 12:00pm (Pacific Time)


Virtually on Zoom.

Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Montreal / Public Health Laboratory of Quebec


Sandrine Moreira is the lead genomics for SARS-CoV-2 at the Laboratoire de Santé Publique du Québec (LSPQ) and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the Université de Montreal.

She worked for more than ten years at the Institut Pasteur in Paris to develop bioinformatics tools and specialized databases for microbial genome analyses. She received her PhD in Bioinformatics from the Université de Montréal in 2016, focusing on the analysis of RNA editing and the trans-splicing of mitochondrial genes of a marine microbe. After a post-doc at Columbia University in New York on the assembly of the 16 000 nanochromosomes of a ciliate with 2 nuclei, she finally joined the Public Health Laboratory of Québec.

She is interested in clinical genomics translational research projects with the objective of accelerating the transition from cutting-edge fundamental discoveries in genomics and bioinformatics to validated clinical tests. Her aim is to use the power of genomic sequencing for Public Health needs in order to build pathogen surveillance networks, to better respond to outbreaks, to improve pathogen identification with clinical metagenomics and to facilitate the prediction of antibiotic resistance. When she has some free time, she has a passion for weird microbes with complex genome architecture.

She played a leading role to develop and implement the genomic program for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance at the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, with sequencing center partners (Génome Quebec and McGill University) and in collaboration with other provinces within the Canadian Public Health Laboratories Network. She is also co-PI in the large Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) and participates in the Canadian Network for Modeling of Infectious Diseases (CanMOD)


The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and hijacked public health genomic laboratories which had little to no preparedness to respond to this emergency, and this included the public health laboratory of Quebec. During these two years of pandemic, the laboratory has gone from anecdotal sequencing to the production of several hundred genomes per week. In my presentation, I will describe the implementation and operations involved in the SARS CoV 2 genomic surveillance project in Quebec, in particular the creation of a rich biobank of several thousands of SARS-CoV-2 samples, and the establishment of partnerships with the sequencing centers of Génome Québec and McGill University and the fruitful collaborations with academic researchers. The surveillance program has experienced and is still experiencing many challenges, particularly with regard to logistics, data integration and sharing, and staff training and retention. Despite many obstacles, great collaborations have led to a better understanding of the virus and have guided public health decision-makers. I will describe a few examples of these analyses with the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in Quebec during the early spring 2020, the contrasting analysis of two outbreaks in Long-term Health Care facilities and a preliminary look at wastewater analyses. Lastly, I will present some thoughts on the place of genomics in public health laboratories that we can anticipate for the future and the challenges that should be overcome to reach its full potential.

Introductory Speaker: Armita Safa, Hach Lab, UBC

Talk Title: Discovery of Mid-range Novel Sequence Insertions Using Long-read Sequencing