A University of Guelph researcher will co-direct a research project to prepare Canada for future health emergencies by building the resilience of Canada’s biomanufacturing sector, which uses living cells and organisms to create products such as medicines and foods.  

Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, a professor in the Department of Food Science and director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety within the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), will co-direct Integrated Network for the Surveillance of Pathogens: Increasing Resilience and capacity in Canada’s pandemic response (INSPIRE) with Dr. Robert McKay of the University of Windsor. 

The full project received $12,940,731 from Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and $2,063,509 from Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF). Of this, the University of Guelph will receive $3,237,557 from CBRF and $624,946 from BRIF. 

INSPIRE will help the biomanufacturing and health sectors develop proactive strategies to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases and improve information sharing and technologies across borders. 

“Dr. Goodridge embodies the expertise, innovation and collaboration that have solidified University of Guelph’s reputation as a research-intensive institution,” says Dr. Rene Van Acker, interim vice-president (research). “His leadership will undoubtedly help prepare Canada’s responsiveness to future health priorities.”  

Advancing wastewater surveillance to find infectious diseases

Headshot of Dr. Lawrence Goodridge
Dr. Lawrence Goodridge (photo by Alex Tran)

The project will build up Canada’s capacity to produce vaccines and therapeutics by advancing wastewater surveillance and developing technologies that simplify and speed up sampling and pathogen detection.  

“As we deal with the increasing emergence of infectious diseases, it’s imperative that we enhance our preparedness for future health crises,” says Goodridge. “This project builds on U of G’s recognized expertise in wastewater surveillance to build resilience into Canada’s biomanufacturing sector. Through collaborative efforts and innovative strategies, INSPIRE aims to equip Canada with the tools and knowledge needed to mitigate risks and bolster our capacity to respond effectively to future pandemics.” 

Goodridge will be joined by U of G researchers Dr. Monica Cojocaru, Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), Dr. Marc Habash, School of Environmental Sciences within OAC, and Dr. Graham Taylor, School of Engineering in CEPS. 

The team also includes researchers from University of Windsor, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto and York University as well as partners at over 30 academic, public, private and not-for-profit institutions.  

INSPIRE is one of four research programs endorsed by the Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence and Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3) that was funded by the CBRF in 2023 with a mandate to bolster Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity and readiness to respond to emerging health threats.  

Together, these four awarded programs will support HI3’s mission to provide critical health intelligence data to guide the co-development of health threat surveillance platforms, next-generation precision interventions, and bioprocess technologies by the Hub’s academic and industry partners, while building a highly skilled workforce to support Canada’s growing biomanufacturing and life sciences sector.  


Dr. Lawrence Goodridge