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Molecular Diagnostics - Molecular Microbiology

The Molecular Microbiology Laboratory is an integral part of infectious diseases diagnostics in the Calgary Zone. It provides advanced microbial and resistance detection, as well as bacterial and fungal identification and strain genotyping for outbreak purposes.

Molecular testing is currently the major platform for the detection of multiple bacterial pathogens including Chlamydia, N. gonorrhoeae, Clostridium difficile, Pneumocystis jiroveci (PJP), Trichomonas vaginalis, enteric protozoa, Malaria, and Group A streptococcus. In addition, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load testing is done for the Southern Alberta Clinic (SAC), which provides care to all HIV infected individuals in Southern Alberta. Multiple antibiotic resistance gene detection assays are also used to rapidly confirm high-level resistance phenotyping in order to improve patient care and to prevent the transmission of antibiotic resistant organisms.  

Multiple platforms are currently used for qualitative and quantitative real-time PCR assays. Bacterial and fungal identification of pathogens is performed using broad-range PCR followed by capillary-gel sequencing. Genotyping of pathogens is done using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), PCR ribotyping, and sequence-based methods.

Our clients include all patients in the Calgary zone as well as through referral of specimens and isolates from other regions in the province, and other external healthcare jurisdictions. 

The laboratory also participates in clinical research, method development, and education programs offered by both U of C and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).


Staffing

Advanced testing requires a core of highly trained technical staff (all with undergraduate degrees and/or MLT certification), proficient in advanced molecular technologies, complex methodology, and with trouble-shooting, QA/QC, and method development skill sets.


Contact

Dr. Deirdre Church MD, PhD, FRCPC (Medical Microbiologist)
Tel:  403-770-3281
Fax:  403-770-3247