Dr. Emma Griffiths obtained a PhD in Biochemistry at McMaster University, Ontario, followed by postdoctoral studies in fungal drug discovery and fungal genetics at McMaster and UBC. At SFU, Emma works with MBB's Dr. Fiona Brinkman, a leading Canadian researcher in the field of Pathogenomics. Emma was drawn to the Brinkman lab by the prospect of being able to put theoretical work in gene-disease research to practical use in public health.
In collaboration with the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada, Emma is part of a team developing Canada's Integrated Rapid Infectious Disease Analysis (IRIDA) platform, a 1.56 million dollar project funded by Genome Canada. Using next-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics tools, they are creating a platform for infectious disease tracking that will help public health workers incorporate whole-genome sequencing into isolate typing and epidemiological pipelines to support real-time infectious disease investigation (http://www.irida.ca). A key component of the platform is the use of standardized vocabulary for describing samples and cases. Emma is currently developing a genomic epidemiology ontology which will facilitate data sharing in local and nation-wide outbreak analyses enabling faster responses.
Emma is also the first president of the Postdoc Association (PDA) at SFU (www.sfu.ca/postdocs). Emma and the PDA have pioneered the Brown Bags Professional Development Seminar Series, the Practice Job Talk program, and the annual campus-wide Postdoc Research Day showcasing PDF research excellence to the SFU community.