Event Details

PHO Microbiology Rounds: CRISPR Diagnostics for Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a rapidly increasing and deadly global health threat that is undermining progress towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals related to health, food and water security, and economic growth. There is an urgent need for accurate, accessible, and rapid diagnostics that can be used in diverse settings to guide antimicrobial use and prevent the further emergence and spread of multidrug resistant pathogens. This PHO Microbiology Rounds will present on new diagnostic sensors at the interface of cell-free synthetic biology, next generation micro/nanoscale sensing systems, and engineering design for clinical and commercial translation. State-of-the-art synthetic biology techniques like isothermal cell-free lyophilized reactions and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/ Cas detection are ideally suited for the rapid identification and quantification of multidrug resistant pathogens like the deadly fungal pathogen, Candida auris. New techniques for detection of mutations have also been developed and presenters will discuss how to implement some of these sensors in rapid, low-cost sample-to-result analysis protocols.

Intended audience: Microbiologists, researchers, laboratory staff and public health professionals working in diagnostics and/or infectious diseases

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe new diagnostic innovations emerging in the antimicrobial resistance space
  • Describe how CRISPR systems can be used for nucleic acid detection and quantification
  • Provide examples of cases where these diagnostics could play a critical role
  • Discuss key criteria for designing and assessing diagnostics

Presenter(s): Dr. Nicole Weckman

Dr. Nicole Weckman,PhD, is the Paul Cadario Chair in Global Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on developing novel point-of-care technologies for diagnosing diseases and monitoring outbreaks of drug-resistant infections. Her research group develops sensitive and quantitative sensors at the interface of cell-free synthetic biology and microscale and nanoscale sensing systems by focusing on engineering design for clinical and commercial translation. Her interests are in developing low-cost and sustainable diagnostics that can help to improve health equity.


The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.


Public Health Ontario Rounds are a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). In order to receive written documentation for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, please check “Yes” beside the question “Do you require CME credits?” on the registration form.

College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Affiliate Members may count RCPSC credits toward their Mainpro+ credit requirements. All other CFPC members may claim up to 50 Certified credits per cycle for participation in RCPSC MOC Section 1 accredited activities.

PHO Rounds are also approved by the Council of Professional Experience for professional development hours (PDHs) for members of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI).

For more information or for a record of registration for other Continuing Education purposes, please contact capacitybuilding@oahpp.ca.


Public Health Ontario is committed to complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact 647-260-7100 or capacitybuilding@oahpp.ca.

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Capacity Building


Updated 7 Feb 2024