Assistant Professor

Vanessa G Allen

Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology


Mount Sinai Hospital: Sinai Health
600 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1X5
Research Interests
Genetics Genomics & Proteomics, Infectious Diseases & Immunopathology
Clinical Interests
Microbiology (Clinical and Medical), Infectious Disease
Appointment Status
Accepting MSc students, Accepting medical students for shadowing

My primary area of research focus has been on the elucidation and mitigation of antibiotic resistant N. gonorrhoeae, the characterization and prevention of other emerging and re-emerging sexually transmitted and enteric pathogens, and the development of whole genome sequencing approaches to understand distribution, source and transmission pathways of these pathogens for public health control. 

I have been actively working on the characterization and mitigation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Initially identifying rising resistance to the cephalosporins in Ontario and Canada in 2008-2010 (Allen VG et al AAC 2011; Martin IM et al STD 2011; Martin IM et al STD 2012). I then led efforts to better understand the clinical significance of the resistance identified in the lab, and characterized a high rate of clinical failure associated with elevated cephalosporin resistance (Allen VG et al JAMA 2013). Complementing this work, we established an online interactive surveillance tool to monitor trends of N. gonorrhoeae resistance across demographic and geographic groups within Ontario, and contributed to the development of NG-STAR, an international used web-based sequence typing tool (Demczuk W et al. JCM 2017).

Since joining Sinai Health/ University Health Network Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Departments, I am now planning to expand this work to focus more of the clinical aspects and microbiology of infections during pregnancy, specifically using new genomic methodologies to better diagnose and respond to emerging and re-emerging threats.

View Dr. Vanessa Allen on Google Scholar

Selected Publications

Bharat A, Mataseje L, Parmley EJ, Avery BP, Cox G, Carson CA, Irwin RJ, Deckert AE, Daignault D, Alexander DC, Allen V, El Bailey S, Bekal S, German GJ, Haldane D, Hoang L, Chui L, Minion J, Zahariadis G, Reid-Smith RJ, Mulvey MR. One Health Genomic Analysis of Extended-Spectrum B-Lactamase-Producing Salmonella enterica, Canada, 2012-2016. Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Jul;28(7):1410-1420. doi: 10.3201/eid2807.211528. 

Akbarian S, Nelder MP, Russell CB, Cawston T, Moreno L, Patel SN, Allen VG, Dolatabadi E. A Computer Vision Approach to Identifying Ticks Related to Lyme Disease EEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine. 2022 Volume 10. doi: 10.1109/JTEHM.2021.3137956 

Drews SJ, Van Caeseele P, Bullard J, Lindsay LR, Gaziano T, Zeller MP, Lane D, Ndao M, Allen VG, Boggild AK, O'Brien SF, Marko D, Musuka C, Almiski M, Bigham M. Babesia microti in a Canadian blood donor and lookback in a red blood cell recipient. Vox Sang. 2022 March. doi: 10.1111/vox.13198. 

Burchell AN, Tan DHS, Grewal R, Macpherson PA, Walmsley S, Rachlis A, Andany N, Mishra S, Gardner SL, Raboud J, Fisman D, Cooper C, Gough K, Maxwell J, Rourke SB, Rousseau R, Mazzulli T, Salit IE, Allen VG. Routinized Syphilis Screening Among Men Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Stepped Wedge Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2022 March; 75(5). doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab582. 

Bharat A, Petkau A, Avery BP, Chen J, Folster J, Carson CA, Kearney A, Nadon C, Mabon P, Thiessen J, Alexander DC, Allen V, El Bailey S, Bekal S, German GJ, Haldane D, Hoang L, Chui L, Minion J, Zahariadis G, Van Domselaar G, Reid-Smith RJ, Mulvey MR. Correlation between Phenotypic and In Silico Detection of Antimicrobial Resistance in Salmonella enterica in Canada Using Staramr. Microorganisms. 2022 Feb; 10(2). doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10020292. 

Abdulnoor M, Eshaghi A, Perusini SJ, Broukhanski G, Corbeil A, Cronin K, Fittipaldi N, Forbes JD, Guthrie JL, Kus JV, Li Y, Majury A, Mallo GV, Mazzulli T, Melano RG, Olsha R, Sullivan A, Tran V, Patel SN, Allen VG, Gubbay JB. Real-Time RT-PCR Allelic Discrimination Assay for Detection of N501Y Mutation in the Spike Protein of SARS-CoV-2 Associated with B.1.1.7 Variant of Concern. Microbiology Spectrum. 2022 Feb; 10(1). doi: 10.1128/spectrum.00681-21. 

Vogt NA, Hetman BM, Vogt AA, Pearl DL, Reid-Smith RJ, Parmley EJ, Kadykalo S. Janecko N, Bharat A, Mulvey MR, Ziebell K, Robertson J, Nash J, Allen V, Majury A, Ricker N, Bondo KJ, Allen SE, Jardine CM. Rural Raccoons (Procyon lotor) Not Likely to Be a Major Driver of Antimicrobial Resistant Human Salmonella Cases in Southern Ontario, Canada: A One Health Epidemiological Assessment Using Whole-Genome Sequence Data. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2022 February; 25. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2022.840416. 

Sawatzky P, Demczuk W, Lefebvre B, Allen V, Diggle M, Hoang L, Van Caeseele P, Haldane D, Minion J, Mulvey MR, Martin I. Increasing Azithromycin Resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae Due to NG-MAST 12302 Clonal Spread in Canada, 2015 to 2018. Antimicrobial Agents Chemotherapy. 2022 Jan 3:AAC0168821. 

Bolotin S, Tran V, Deeks SL, Peci A, Brown KA, Buchan SA, Ogbulafor K, Ramoutar T, Nguyen M, Thakkar R, DelaCruz R, Mustfa R, Maregmen J, Woods O, Krasna T, Cronin K, Osman S, Joh E, Allen VG. Assessment of population infection with SARS-CoV-2 in Ontario, Canada, March to June 2020. Euro Surveill. 2021 Dec; 26(50). 

Cox GW, Parmley EJ, Avery BP, Irwin RJ, Reid-Smith RJ, Deckert AE, Finley RL, Daignault D, Alexander DC, Allen V, El Bailey S, Bekal S, Chui L, German GJ, Haldane D, Hoang L, Minion J, Zahariadis G, Mulvey MR, Bharat A. A One-Health Genomic Investigation of Gentamicin Resistance in Salmonella from Human and Chicken Sources in Canada, 2014 to 2017. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2021 Nov 17; 65(12):e0096621. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00966-21. Epub 2021 Sep 27. 

Tsang RSW, Morshed M, Allen V, Chernesky MA, Fonseca K, Garceau R, Jayaraman GC, Kadkhoda K, Lee BE, Levett PN, Radons SM, Serhir B, Singh AE, Wong T. Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network national syphilis laboratory testing recommendations. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. 2021; 26. doi: 10.1155/2015/808405. 

Gubbay JB, Rilkoff H, Kristjanson HL, Forbes JD, Murti M, Eshaghi A, Broukhanski G, Corbeil A, Fittipaldi N, Hopkins JP, Kristjanson E, Kus JV, Macdonald L, Majury A, Mallo GV, Mazzulli T, Melano RG, Olsha R, Perusini SJ, Tran V, Allen VG, Patel SN. Impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pre-test probability on positive predictive value of high cycle threshold severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021 Aug 9:1-5. 

Guthrie JL, Chen AJ, Budhram DR, Cronin K, Peci A, Nelson P, Mallo GV, Broukhanski G, Murti M, Majury A, Mazzulli T, Allen VG, Patel SN, Kus JV, Tran V, Gubbay JB. Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 testing for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 during the initial stages of a global pandemic. PLoS One. 2021 Jul 9; 16(7):e0253941. 

Allen VG, Mitterni L, Seah C, Rebbapragada A, Martin IE, Lee C, Siebert H, Towns L, Melano RG, Low DE. Nesseria gonorrhoeae Treatment Failure and Susceptibility to cefixime in Toronto, Canada. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013 Jan 9;309(2):163-70.


Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Specialist, Sinai Health / University Health Network Department of Microbiology & Division of Infectious Diseases

Medical Director, Provincial COVID-19 Diagnostic Network, Ontario Health

Adjunct Scientist, Public Health Ontario