Fiona Brinkman, Simon Fraser University

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Professor Vancouver, British Columbia brinkman@sfu.ca Office: (778) 782-5646

Bio/Research

Fiona Brinkman (née Lawson) is a Professor in Bioinformatics and Genomics (Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, and is a leader in the area of pathogen bioinformatics.

The daughter of Scottish parents, Brinkman was born i...


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Bio/Research

Fiona Brinkman (née Lawson) is a Professor in Bioinformatics and Genomics (Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, and is a leader in the area of pathogen bioinformatics.

The daughter of Scottish parents, Brinkman was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1967. She immigrated to Canada as a child where she grew up primarily in Mississauga, Ontario. She completed her B.Sc. in Biochemistry at the University of Waterloo in 1990 and her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Jo-Anne Dillon at the University of Ottawa in 1996. She completed two postdoctorates at the University of British Columbia under the guidance of Drs Robert (Bob) Hancock and Ann Rose. Originally trained as a microbiologist, she developed an interest in bioinformatics through her graduate and postdoctoral studies, leading her to develop a career in pathogen bioinformatics as a professor starting in 2001.

Brinkman's current research interests center around improving understanding of how pathogens and pathogenicity evolve and improving computational methods that aid the development of new vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for infectious diseases. She is noted for developing PSORTb, the most precise method available for computational protein subcellular localization prediction and the first computational method that exceeded the accuracy of some common high-throughput laboratory methods for such subcellular localization analysis. This method aids the prediction of cell surface and secreted proteins in a bacterial cell that may be suitable drug targets, vaccine components or diagnostics. She has also developed bioinformatics methods that aid the more accurate identification of genomic islands and orthologs. Her research has provided new insights into the evolution of pathogens and the role that horizontal gene transfer and genomic islands play. She was involved in the Pseudomonas Genome Project and is the coordinator of the Pseudomonas Genome Database, a database of Pseudomonas species genomic data and associated annotations that is continually updated. She is the Research Director, Bioinformatics, of the Genome Canada Pathogenomics Project, and she is co-lead of the Bioinformatics for Combating Infecious Diseases (BCID) project.



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