Featured Initiative

Stop emerging infectious diseases in their tracks

Anchored by U of T's Combined Containment Level 3 lab, the Emerging & Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC) will advance Canada’s health security.

A man wears gloves and a full one-piece protective suit with helmet. He holds up and examines a petri dish with 6 samples.

After the SARS outbreak in 2003, investment in the research and infrastructure needed to fight infectious diseases lost momentum. Two decades later, the COVID-19 pandemic caught Canada, and the world, off-guard.

EPIC builds on our momentum fighting COVID-19. It’s an integrated, multidisciplinary and game-changing response to infectious diseases. And it’s located in Canada’s strongest hub for medical discovery and clinical validation.

Scott Gray-Owen, Professor,
Molecular Genetics, U of T

Nevertheless, the University of Toronto and Toronto Academic Health Science Network Hospitals were able to mobilize rapidly in response to the pandemic, drawing on their infectious disease research capabilities and U of T’s Combined Containment Level 3 laboratory—the only C-CL3 available for research in the Greater Toronto area. But new pathogens are emerging, and existing ones are rapidly acquiring resistance to antibiotics, posing ever-changing threats to our well-being.

That’s where EPIC comes in. EPIC is a collaborative initiative—among U of T, the Hospital for Sick Children, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Research Institute, University Health Network, and Unity Health Toronto—that is working to better understand pathogens and build rapid pandemic response capacity. EPIC partners represent the country’s largest, most productive, and most renowned concentration of researchers working on infection and the development of effective countermeasures against infectious disease.

Your generous support will enable us to renew and expand our C-CL3 lab and power the research and training that will help protect Canada and other countries into the future. Join us as we work to help halt pandemics and advance national and global health security for decades to come.

To learn more about how you can support this collaborative initiative that is working to better understand pathogens and build rapid pandemic response capacity, please contact Institutional Strategic Initiatives Advancement.