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Chairholder Profile

Jianhong Wu

Jianhong Wu

Mathematics and Statistics
York University

Chair title

NSERC/Sanofi Industrial Research Chair in vaccine mathematics, modelling and manufacturing

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2017


This NSERC Sanofi–York Industrial Research Chair in Vaccine Mathematics, Modelling and Manufacturing (IRC) will develop cutting-edge mathematical technologies and train the next generation of mathematical modelling experts to meet the significant challenges faced by Canadian vaccine manufacturers.

These challenges include increasing costs of vaccine development, growing demand for rapid transition from vaccine development and production to mass use in target populations, and the inherent complexity of infectious disease transmission dynamics in an increasingly interconnected world. In light of these important realities, Canadian vaccine manufacturers and regulatory authorities must develop a greater capacity for making evidence-based predictions and developing new technologies to conduct transmission dynamics and cost-benefit analyses. This involves developing and applying mathematical models and tools to better understand mechanisms of infection dynamics and to inform vaccine development and production. As well, this enhanced capacity must also involve the training of the next generation of experts with the required expertise in data analytics, cost-benefit evaluation and infectious dynamics modelling and simulations.

The NSERC Sanofi–York IRC will develop a dedicated resource that will provide strategic inputs, data and advice, and enhanced research capacity in mathematical modelling for targets relevant to the Canadian vaccine industry's product pipeline and the protection of Canadians. The IRC will support mathematical modelling and data analytics for impact and safety assessment, rapid production response, and retroactive evaluation of vaccine candidates, products and programs. The mathematical technologies, as well as the datasets collected and analyzed, will be broad and generic in terms of diseases, populations, and geographical settings. Research expertise proposed for this IRC include data informatics and analytics; transmission dynamics modelling and simulations; mechanism understanding and risk projections of disease spread through population mobility, demographic shift and contact mixing.

Dedicated Sanofi scientists will participate in the program by contributing expertise on vaccine development and production, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses to collect critical vaccine product characteristics for model parameterization and calibration. These scientists will also participate in the supervision of trainees. The York team of collaborators will focus on developing mathematical models/tools to guide vaccine development and production. Expertise of the York team includes stochastic optimization; statistical computing; modelling of transmission dynamics; modeling of within-host dynamics, waning immunity and vaccine hesitancy; numerical analysis of differential equations; Markov chains and Monte Carlo methods; Bayesian inference.

The IRC program will be led by Jianhong Wu, a senior Canada Research Chair and Distinguished Research Professor at York University. Dr. Wu has an outstanding track record of organizing, leading, and promoting interdisciplinary research, developing integrated research and training programs, and nurturing industry-academic-public partnership, with an exceptional international reputation and collaborative network.

The IRC program will recruit nine postdoctoral fellows, five PhD and six MSc students. Planned activities include internship placement, biweekly project meetings, annual Sanofi–York Symposia embedded into the Knowledge Translation Canada Summer Institutes featuring distinguished visiting scholars, and training courses.

This IRC program is designed for situations in which the industry partner Sanofi Pasteur and the academic institute York University share common scientific research interests and objectives, and wish to deepen and strengthen their efforts together. The success of this IRC program will develop a new Canadian capacity and serve as a Canadian vaccine industry R&D platform.


  • Sanofi Pasteur

Contact information

Mathematics and Statistics
York University


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