Dr. Alberto Severini

Image Sarah London
Chief of the Viral exanthemata and STD Section

The laboratory performs surveillance and reference testing for measles mumps and rubella, human herpesviruses, papillomaviruses and chlamydia

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Severini’s Laboratory is the Canadian reference laboratory for human papillomavirus, human herpesviruses human polyomaviruses and Chlamydia trachomatis. It is also a PAHO Regional Reference Laboratory for measles and rubella.

The laboratory’s activities include molecular surveillance and reference testing for measles, mumps and rubella, reference serology testing for HSV, reference testing for VZV, genotyping and surveillance for lymphogranuloma venereum, molecular epidemiology of HPV.

Research and/or project statements

  • Collaborates on a number of seroepidemiology studies for measles, mumps and varicella and immunity in neonates aimed at evaluating the current immunity status of the Canadian population against these vaccine preventable diseases
  • Routinely genotypes measles, rubella and mumps viruses as part of our duties as a WHO Regional Reference Laboratory for measles and rubella. In particular our lab, in collaboration with the NML’s DNA and Bioinformatics core labs, specializes in whole genome sequencing and extended sequencing for measles
  • Extended genotyping and whole genome sequence of measles and mumps is being developed to investigate the surprising fidelity of measles replication and as a tool for outbreak investigation when reliable travel and contact histories are not available
  • Developed a low-cost and method for the multiplex genotyping of 46 mucosal HPV types. Numerous molecular epidemiology studied of HPV in the Canadian North, in Manitoba, Trinidad-Tobago, and others used the method
  • Participates in numerous genomics studies on herpes simplex virus, Varicella-zooster viruses and simian simplexviruses. Genomic analysis has uncovered frequent recombination between HSV strains, with implications for diagnostics and epidemiology

Professional activities / interests

2013-present Canadian for Measles and Rubella Elimination Working Group

2012-present Medical Laboratory Program Board of Advisors, Red River College Winnipeg

On the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and an ad hoc reviewer for numerous scientific journals

A regular grant reviewer for CIHR

Education and awards


Specialization in Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry, University of Parma, Parma, Italy, 1987

Medical Degree, University of Parma, Parma Italy, 1981

Diploma in Classics, Liceo - Ginnasio "D. Manin", Cremona, Italy, 1975


2012 Public Health Agency of Canada Dr. Andres Petrasovits Award for Excellence in Public Health. HPV Northern Canada Prevention Team (co-recipient)

2011 Cancer Quality Council of Ontario Innovation award. Aboriginal Human Papilloma Virus Screening Trial Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (co-recipient)

2011 European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Diseases Epidemiology award for outstanding collaboration between epidemiology and public health microbiology (co-recipient)

International experience and/or work

WHO and PAHO Measles and Rubella LabNet

Chair of the WHO “Next generation and Extended sequencing Working group for measles and rubella”

Key publications

Science M., Savage, R., Severini, A., (...), Mazzulli, T., Bolotin, S. Measles antibody levels in young infants, 2019 Pediatrics 144(6), e20190630.


Bolotin S, Hughes SL, Gul N, Khan S, Rota PA, Severini A, Hahné S, Tricco A, Moss W, Orenstein W, Turner N, Durrheim D, Schluter W, Heffernan J and Crowcroft N.  What is the evidence to support a correlate of protection for measles? A systematic review. 2019. J Infect Dis. 2019. pii: jiz380.


Bolotin S, Severini A, Hatchette T, (…) Serhir , Ward BJ, and Crowcroft N, on behalf of the Immunity of Canadians and Risk of Epidemics (iCARE) Network.  Assessment of population immunity to measles in Ontario, Canada: A Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Study. 2019. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.


McLachlan, Scholz H, Bolotin S, Crowcroft NS, Hatchette TF, Jackson C and Severini A, on behalf of the Immunity of Canadians and Risk of Epidemics (iCARE) Laboratory Group and the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN).  Calibration and evaluation of quantitative antibody titers for varicella-zoster virus using the BioPlex 2200. J Clin Microbiol. 2019; 57: e00296-19


Pabbaraju K, Gill K, Wong AA, Tipples GA, Heibert J, Severini A, Fonseca K, Tellier R. Simultaneous Detection and Differentiation between Wild-Type and Vaccine Measles Viruses by a Multiplex Real-Time Reverse Transcription-PCR Assay. J Clin Microbiol. 2019; 57. pii: e01828-18.


Wong J, Hoang L, Makaroff S, Montgomery C, Severini A, Goldman L, and Grennan T.  Epidemiology of and risk factors for lymphogranuloma venereum in British Columbia, 2011-2015. BC Medical Journal. 2018; 60:196-201

Boutin CA, Venne S, Fiset M, Fortin C, Murphy D, Severini A, Martineau C, Longtin J, Labbé AC. Lymphogranuloma venereum in Quebec: Re-emergence among men who have sex with men. Can Commun Dis Rep. 2018; 44:55-61.

No authors listed - The role of extended and whole genome sequencing for tracking transmission of measles and rubella viruses: report from the Global Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network meeting, 2017.. Weekly Epidemiol Record. 2018; 93:55-59

Hatchette TF, Scholz H, Bolotin S, Crowcroft NS, Jackson C, McLachlan E, Severini A; Immunity of Canadians and Risk of Epidemics (iCARE) laboratory group and the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN). Calibration and Evaluation of quantitative antibody titers for measles virus using the BioPlex 2200.  Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2017; 24: pii: e00269-16.

Roy F, Mendoza L, Hiebert J, McNall RJ, Bankamp B, Connolly S, Lüdde A, Friedrich N, Mankertz A, Rota PA, Severini A. Rapid identification of measles virus vaccine genotypes by real time PCR. J Clin Microbiol. 2017; 55:735-743.

Research facility

1015 Arlington Street
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3M4


Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba



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