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Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, University of Manitoba
I obtained my MD from Mashhad Medical School in Iran and completed my PhD in Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba in Canada. I have been involved in a variety of research projects related to human pathogens including Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, group B Streptococcus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Following the completion of my fellowship training in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba, I am now an American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) certified Clinical Microbiologist and a fellow of the Canadian College of Microbiologists (FCCM). My several years of training and experience involving clinical, diagnostic, and research aspects of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases equipped me with a multidisciplinary vision that I wish to use to bridge the gap between the basic science research and diagnostic testing and clinical management of patients.
Clinical Microbiology Fellowship Training Program (2011-2014) Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Canada
Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (2010) Microbiology Laboratory, St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, University of Manitoba, Canada
Ph.D. (2005-2009) Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Canada
M.D. (1995-2002) Mashhad Medical School, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Iran
Preterm birth is the leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality worldwide. About 10% of all newborns are born preterm many of which face lifelong disabilities. Microbial invasion of amniotic fluid is a major contributor of preterm birth. The host response to infection causes an inflammatory state that acts synergistically with microbial invasion to induce preterm birth and fetal damage. Accurate diagnosis of intra-amniotic infection is critical for improved maternal and neonatal outcomes. Current methods for diagnosing intra-amniotic infection are traditional Gram-stain/culture of amniotic fluid and clinical signs of maternal or fetal infection. Clinical features are poorly sensitive for subclinical infection and traditional laboratory techniques are simplistic, time consuming, and lack sensitivity for fastidious organisms. In recent years, high-throughput sequencing technologies have revolutionized our understanding of oral, gut and vaginal microbial communities and their effects on human health and disease, however, this technology has not been yet applied to amniotic fluid. My current research is to optimize Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for the analysis of amniotic fluid, and to characterize its microbial composition and correlate it with the outcome of pregnancies (preterm vs. term birth).
Clinical Microbiology is a rapidly changing field and in recent years many molecular and proteomic approaches have found their way into the Clinical Microbiology laboratories, replacing conventional diagnostic testing that relied mostly on Gram-stain, culture and biochemical characteristics of organisms. For example, MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight) has revolutionized the bacterial identification algorithm, replacing time-consuming and sometime hard-to-interpret biochemical reactions with a simple one-step proteomic profile identification of an organism in less than one minute. Despite its many benefits, MALDI-TOF bacterial identification still requires a cultured colony and therefore requires growth on media. This is a disadvantage not only because patients will loose valuable time (at least 24 hours), but since it affects identification of organisms that are difficult to grow in vitro (Mycoplasma spp., Ureaplasma spp.…). To address this issue I am currently working to optimize a Whole Genome Amplification (WGA) technique using isothermal multiple displacement to facilitate the bacterial identification directly (no need for culture) from clinical specimen. This is of particular benefit to patients who have potential infection of their sterile body sites (blood, CSF, amniotic fluid, tissue), where timely and appropriate treatment of the infection is crucial and can drastically change patients’ outcome.