Anil Nichani

Image Sarah London
Director General, Science, Reference & Surveillance, National Microbiology Laboratory

Leadership and coordination of diagnostic and references services and lab responses to bacterial pathogens, viral diseases, enteric diseases and sexually transmitted and blood borne diseases; surveillance of public health threats, including the tracking, diagnoses and control of zoonotic and other rare or emerging pathogens; the development of emergency and public health interventions, such as vaccines outbreak detection and other public health work.

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Anil Nichani helps protect Canadians from food- and water-borne illnesses through laboratory-based surveillance, outbreak detection and response, and prevention through routine application of advanced laboratory and bioinformatics techniques and development, dissemination and transfer of knowledge and cutting-edge technologies to federal, provincial, territorial and international stakeholders.


Dr. Nichani provides national leadership and coordination for the food- and water-borne enteric diseases diagnostics and reference services, and contributes in detection and response to foodborne disease outbreaks and emergency events as well as prevention along the food safety continuum.

Research and/or project statements

  • Deliver comprehensive, accredited reference services to federal, provincial and territorial partners for all bacterial enteric pathogens.

  • Design, deliver, and lead national laboratory-based surveillance, outbreak detection and response for enteric diseases.This comprises PulseNet Canada, National Enteric Surveillance Program, and the laboratory arm of FoodNet Canada).

  • Provide comprehensive scientific information to control, prevent, predict and reduce the risk of food- and water-borne pathogens for the purpose of development and refinement of policy.

  • Develop, leverage and disseminate technologies and methods for applied genomics and bioinformatics specifically tailored to foodborne bacterial pathogens, for both the Agency and its FPT partners, in order to further expand and enhance the public health benefits of laboratory-based surveillance, outbreak detection, outbreak response and prevention.

  • Further strengthen internal laboratory infrastructure to maximize efficiency and leverage synergies among all sites of the Division of Enteric Diseases (Winnipeg, Guelph & Lethbridge).

Professional activities / interests

Current member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (since 2011)

Former member of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (2005-2010) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (2005-2011)

Obtained the certificate of qualification from CVMA in September 2003

Education and awards


Ph.D., Roslin Institute/Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 1995

M.V.Sc., Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India, 1985

B.V.Sc.&A.H, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India, 1982



CFIA Certificate of Appreciation. For outstanding performance and lasting contribution in advancing an integrated Agency inspection model. April 24, 2013.

CFIA Special Award 2010. In recognition to the exemplary performance and contribution to the CFIA, as a member of the Animal Disease Control Working Group working for agency’s preparedness with respect to future Avian Influenza outbreaks.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship to work at Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, Saskatoon, Canada from May 2001 to March 2004.

International experience and/or work

Spent four years at the Roslin Institute (Edinburgh) and the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK (1991-1995) for conducting PhD and worked on immunological aspects of a protozoon Theileria annulata.

Collaborated with the Center for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, U.K. on epidemiological studies on bovine theileriosis in India under a Wellcome Trust funded research project.

Worked as a faculty member in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the College of Veterinary Sciences, Hisar, India for 11 years (1986-91 and 1995-2001). Also conducted research on heamoprotozoan diseases including Theileria, Babesia and Anaplasma.

Key publications

Robertson JA, Yoshida C, Gurnik S, McGrogan M, Davis K, Arya G, Murphy S, Nichani A, Nash JHE. 2018. An improved DNA array-based classification method for the identification of Salmonella serotypes show high concordance between traditional and genotypic testing. PloS One. 13(12): e0207550.

Robertson J, Yoshida C, Kruczkiewicz P, Nadon C, Nichani A, Taboada EN, Nash JHE. 2018. Comprehensive assessment of the quality of Salmonella whole genome sequence data available in public sequence databases using the Salmonella in silico Typing Resource (SISTR). Microbial Genomics. 4: 1-11.

Yachison CA, Yoshida C, Robertson J, Nash JHE, Kruczkiewicz P, Taboada EN, Malker M, Reimer A, Christainson S, Nichani A, The PulseNet Canada Steering Committee, Nadon C. 2017. The validation and implications of using whole genome sequencing as a replacement for traditional serotyping for a National Salmonella reference laboratory. Frontiers in Microbiology. 8: 1044.  

Arya G, Holtslander R, Robertson J, Yoshida C, Harris J, Parmley J, Nichani A, Johnson R, Poppe C. 2017. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, genoserotyping, antimicrobial resistance, and prevention and control of non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars. Current Clinical Microbiology Reports. 4(1): 43-53.

Kumar Y, Malhotra DV, Nichani AK, Kumar A, Dhar S, Kumar S. 2013. Immunokinetics of Theileria equi specific antibodies: a comparison in serial and single dilution ELISA antibody end titers. Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences. 37: 429-433.

Nichani AK, Dar MA, Mirakhur KK, Krieg AM, Booth JS, Townsend HGG, Potter AA, Babiuk LA, Mutwiri GK. 2010. Subcutaneous, but not intratracheal administration of the TLR9 agonist, CpG DNA transiently reduces parainfluenza-3 virus shedding in newborn lambs. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 33:111-117.

Dar MA, Nichani AK, Lai K, Potter A, Gerdts V, Babiuk, LA, Mutwiri G. 2010. All three classes of CpG ODNs up-regulate IP-10 gene in pigs. Research in Veterinary Science. 88: 242-250.

Dar A, Nichani AK, Benjamin P, Lai K, Soita H, Krieg AM, Potter A, Babiuk LA, Mutwiri GK. 2008. Attenuated cytokine responses in porcine lymph node cells stimulated with CpG DNA are associated with low frequency of IFN-a producing cells and TLR9 mRNA expression. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 123: 324-336.

Nichani AK, Dar MA, Krieg AM, Mirakhur KK, Kaushik RS, Griebel PJ, Manuja A, Townsend HGG, Babiuk LA, Mutwiri GK. 2007. Systemic innate immune stimulation following intrapulmonary delivery of CpG oligonucleotides in sheep. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 115: 357-368.

Booth JS, Nichani AK, Benjamin P, Dar A, Krieg AM, Babiuk LA, Mutwiri GK. 2007. Innate immune responses induced by classes of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides in ovine lymph node and blood mononuclear cells. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 115:24-34.

Research facility

110 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 3W4



Other languages

Hindi, Punjabi; learning French as a second language