Public Health Ontario chooses MaRS

Public Health Ontario chooses MaRS

Public Health Ontario’s Toronto laboratory, one of Ontario’s most prominent research labs, is relocating to the MaRS Centre Phase 2. MaRS is thrilled to have cutting-edge laboratory research happening in our new tower. Dr. Vivek Goel, president and CEO of Public Health Ontario, recently visited the new tower to see the progress of the construction and to discuss why the organization chose MaRS for its Toronto lab.

What attracted you to MaRS?

Public Health Ontario is committed to remaining at the forefront of infectious disease testing, detection and control. Being located at MaRS will help us continue to attract top research talent and strengthen our links to academic, healthcare, government and private sector partners. Plus, MaRS is close to our own surveillance and infectious disease control functions just down the street on University Avenue.

The Public Health Ontario team visiting the site

What are you planning for your new space at MaRS?

This laboratory will be the central infectious disease testing and reference laboratory for Ontario.

The laboratory will use high-volume testing equipment and associated pre-analytical robotics. Cutting-edge technologies, such as nucleic acid amplification, whole genome sequencing and proteomics, will also be employed.

Implementation of new laboratory platforms and technologies will support improvements in diagnostics, research, surveillance and outbreak management, as well as efficiency gains and dramatic improvements in test turnaround times. This means quicker results to get clinicians the information that they need to provide care to Ontarians. Early detection, analysis and response save lives by preventing disease and reducing risks and issues before they cause harm.

What can you share with us about the design of the new lab?

We’ve worked closely with Diamond Schmitt Architects to maximize efficiencies, provide flexibility to adapt to changes in clinical and research testing, optimize the flow of specimens, materials, staff and information, and ensure environmental practices and sustainability. The new laboratory will be designed, constructed, commissioned and certified in accordance with the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines.

Can you tell us more about what kind of research Public Health Ontario will be doing at MaRS?

The primary focus of our laboratory research is in the area of applied research, such as an improved ability to respond to the threat of new and emerging pathogens. Some of our projects include the application of new genomics and proteomics capacity to the detection, investigation and control of infectious disease; the development and evaluation of point-of-care diagnostic tests; the evaluation of vaccines; and the study of antimicrobial resistance.

From left to right, Clive Kessel, Public Health Ontario; Randal Froebelius, MaRS; Shalana Morton, MaRS; and Dr. Vivek Goel, Public Health Ontario

What did you think of your tour?

I was thrilled to have a tour of our future laboratory space on the 17th to 20th floors of the new MaRS tower. It’s a world-class facility—and what a view over downtown! We’re looking forward to seeing the space as it develops and to working with our partners on this exciting project.

Thank you, Dr. Goel, for your time. We look forward to the opening of the Public Health Ontario laboratory in 2014.