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Meet Our Faculty: Associate Professor Amee Manges

Sep 28, 2016 |


Working with a public health physician almost 25 years ago set Associate Professor Amee Manges on her path to specialize in molecular epidemiology. “I thought, ‘This is great. You can really make a difference in the world.’”

A love of science helped push Dr. Manges towards the field, as it allows people to adapt tools and techniques from basic science to answer questions relevant to the health of populations, such as why some people become seriously ill from a bacterial infection while others do not.

Dr. Manges’ work looks at how microorganisms living in the gut affect people’s health, an emerging field that needs more investment, she says. The tools molecular epidemiology is developing, such as bio measurements, and sequencing of metabolites, gives researchers the ability to measure and delve into the origins of disease and risk, speeding up progress in developing prevention techniques. An example of recent work in animal studies was the investigation of the gut-brain connection, where research suggested bacterial metabolites could access the brain and influence mood, raising questions about how this might change standard mental health epidemiology, should it be found to occur in humans, Dr. Manges said.

A highlight of Dr. Manges’ career has been the SHINE trial, looking into child health and development in Zimbabwe. Slated for completion in 2017, the project looks at stunting in children and aims to test whether a combination of nutrition, and water sanitation and hygiene, can improve the growth of infants. Her work involves measuring the microbiota in babies and mothers, as changes in the functioning of this community of organisms could be important to how babies grow.

“As a public health study, you couldn’t work on a better project. Everyone comes into this field thinking you’re going to make life better for people, and here’s a study that has the chance to help babies grow and reach their full cognitive potential.”
Associate Professor Amee Manges

Having completed her Master of Public Health (MPH), and then PhD, at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Manges has been the SPPH MPH program director for about four years, and says she still cries at every graduation ceremony, thinking about the potential in that moment, and how many choices her students face. It is one of the best programs on offer thanks to its connections to public health practice in the province, Dr. Manges says.

Teaching at SPPH has also led to some fond memories, including witnessing students who are struggling with a topic at the start of the term surpass all expectations through hard work and connecting with peers.

“They absolutely shine.”
Associate Professor Amee Manges

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