Assistant Professor

Vanessa Tran

Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology


Public Health Ontario
661 University Ave., Suite 1701, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1M1
Research Interests
Genetics Genomics & Proteomics, Infectious Diseases & Immunopathology
Clinical Interests
Microbiology (Clinical and Medical)
Appointment Status

Dr Vanessa Tran is a Clinical Microbiologist at Public Health Ontario, where she oversees testing for hepatitis and HIV.

Dr Tran completed her BSc at the University of Guelph, PhD at the University of Toronto, and Clinical Microbiology Fellowship at the University of Manitoba.


Research Synopsis


My broad areas of interest are molecular diagnostics and molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases of public health significance. 

Diagnostics for infectious diseases

The first steps in the continuum of care are identifying and testing those at risk of disease.

I am interested in improving the detection of infectious diseases that have a public health impact.

To this end, my research interests are in evaluating and developing new molecular methods for the rapid diagnosis of pathogens and finding testing modalities that will increase access to testing for marginalized and at-risk populations.

Molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases

I am interested in using molecular tools, such as whole genome sequencing, to understand the epidemiology and transmission patterns of infectious diseases for both surveillance and outbreak management.

This research will help to prioritize targeted interventions to high-risk populations and communities, and prevent further transmissions in an outbreak situation.


Recent Publications


Early malaria infection, dysregulation of angiogenesis, metabolism and inflammation across pregnancy, and risk of preterm birth in Malawi: A cohort study. Elphinstone RE, Weckman AM, McDonald CR, Tran V, Zhong K, Madanitsa M, Kalilani-Phiri L, Khairallah C, Taylor SM, Meshnick SR, Mwapasa V, Ter Kuile FO, Conroy AL, Kain KC. PLoS Med. 2019 Oct 1;16(10):e1002914. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002914. eCollection 2019 Oct.

A Direct from Blood/Plasma Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction for Dengue Virus Detection in Point-of-Care Settings. Mehta N, Perrais B, Martin K, Kumar A, Hobman TC, Cabalfin-Chua MN, Donaldo ME, Siose Painaga MS, Gaite JY, Tran V, Kain KC, Hawkes MT, Yanow SK. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Jun;100(6):1534-1540. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0138.

Plasmodium falciparum-CD36 Structure-Function Relationships Defined by Ortholog Scanning Mutagenesis. Cabrera A, Neculai D, Tran V, Lavstsen T, Turner L, Kain KC. J Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 23;219(6):945-954. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy607.

Recombinant BCG Overexpressing phoP-phoR Confers Enhanced Protection against Tuberculosis. Ahn SK, Tran V, Leung A, Ng M, Li M, Liu J. Mol Ther. 2018 Dec 5;26(12):2863-2874. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.08.023. Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Evaluation of three MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry libraries for the identification of filamentous fungi in three clinical microbiology laboratories in Manitoba, Canada. Stein M, Tran V, Nichol KA, Lagacé-Wiens P, Pieroni P, Adam HJ, Turenne C, Walkty AJ, Normand AC, Hendrickx M, Piarroux R, Karlowsky JA. Mycoses. 2018 Oct;61(10):743-753. doi: 10.1111/myc.12800. Epub 2018 Jul 2.

Failure of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay to detect IMP-27 in a clinical isolate of Morganella morganii. Walkty A, Adam H, Tran V, Alexander DC, Boyd D, Bharat A, Karlowsky J. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2018 Nov;92(3):194-195. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2018.06.011. Epub 2018 Jun 22.

Biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction predict sepsis mortality in young infants: a matched case-control study. Wright JK, Hayford K, Tran V, Al Kibria GM, Baqui A, Manajjir A, Mahmud A, Begum N, Siddiquee M, Kain KC, Farzin A. BMC Pediatr. 2018 Mar 23;18(1):118. doi: 10.1186/s12887-018-1087-x.

Angiogenic proteins, placental weight and perinatal outcomes among pregnant women in Tanzania. McDonald CR, Darling AM, Liu E, Tran V, Cabrera A, Aboud S, Urassa W, Kain KC, Fawzi WW. PLoS One. 2016 Dec 9;11(12):e0167716. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167716. eCollection 2016.

Dysregulation of angiopoietin-1 plays a mechanistic role in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. Higgins SJ, Purcell LA, Silver KL, Tran V, Crowley V, Hawkes M, Conroy AL, Opoka RO, Hay JG, Quaggin SE, Thurston G, Liles WC, Kain KC. Sci Transl Med. 2016 Sep 28;8(358):358ra128. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6812.

Loss of Lipid Virulence Factors Reduces the Efficacy of the BCG Vaccine. Tran V, Ahn SK, Ng M, Li M, Liu J. Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 30;6:29076. doi: 10.1038/srep29076.

Complement Activation in Placental Malaria. McDonald CR, Tran V, Kain KC. Front Microbiol. 2015 Dec 21;6:1460. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.01460. eCollection 2015.

Host biomarkers are associated with progression to dengue haemorrhagic fever: a nested case-control study. Conroy AL, Gélvez M, Hawkes M, Rajwans N, Tran V, Liles WC, Villar-Centeno LA, Kain KC. Int J Infect Dis. 2015 Nov;40:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2015.07.027. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

Inflammatory and Angiogenic Factors at Mid-Pregnancy Are Associated with Spontaneous Preterm Birth in a Cohort of Tanzanian Women. McDonald CR, Darling AM, Conroy AL, Tran V, Cabrera A, Liles WC, Wang M, Aboud S, Urassa W, Fawzi WW, Kain KC. PLoS One. 2015 Aug;10(8):e0134619. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134619. eCollection 2015.



Clinical Microbiologist, Public Health Ontario