P1-146 Teaching Molecular Epidemiology in Latin America: An International Collaborative Effort to Tackle Foodborne Pathogens

Sunday, July 26, 2015
Exhibit Hall (Oregon Convention Center)
Andrea Moreno Switt, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile
Laura Strawn, Virginia Tech, Painter, VA
Siyun Wang, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Introduction: A successful global food safety system depends on reliable, cost-effective foodborne pathogen detection and characterization technologies that can be readily applied to various sectors across the world. Currently, there are major disparities in the methods used between developed and developing countries, which resulted in knowledge gaps in data comparison and regulation standards. For example, the application of next generation sequencing and geographical information systems (GIS).

Purpose: With the goal of training grad students and food safety professionals in Chile, we conducted a 4-day workshop in collaboration with Virginia Tech, The University of British Columbia, and Universidad Andres Bello.

Methods: The workshop was focused on the application of cutting-edge technologies to study foodborne pathogens. Teaching methods as project and problem learning activities, along with exercises and paper discussions were used.

Results: A total of 38 students participated in the workshop. Participants were from the Academia (18), Industry (7) and the Government (13). Activities as outbreak investigations, bacterial genome sequencing analysis, and analysis of GIS applications were successfully conducted.

Significance: This collaborative effort was a success. It provided an overview of epidemiology and molecular subtyping methods, with emphasis on the application of whole genome sequencing and geographical information systems, to detect disease outbreaks and their sources in Chile.