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Head of National Microbiology Lab resigns in wake of scientist security scandal

The head of the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg says he is stepping down to continue his medical work and take a position at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, CBC News has learned.

Since 2020, Dr. Guillaume Poliquin has overseen Canada's only Level 4 virology facility, which is equipped to deal with the most serious and deadly human and animal diseases.

Poliquin announced his resignation to staff in an internal email on Tuesday.

«This decision did not come easily, and followed a lot of introspection,» Poliquin wrote.

«It has been a wild ride. Truly, it has been the greatest honour of my career to be asked to do this work during the pandemic and I hope I availed myself of the task with some modicum of success, recognizing there is always more work to be done and improvements to be made.»

Poliquin is an infectious disease pediatrician who has conducted research for several vaccines, including one that prevents pneumonia, blood poisoning and meningitis among children in the North.

He said his goal over the past four years was to get the lab through the COVID-19 pandemic and its «extraordinary demands.»

Poliquin said his successor will need to «be out and about and travelling» to «rebuild [the lab's] connections to external partners and stakeholders,» something he said he couldn't do because of clinical and family obligations.

Poliquin's last day will be Aug. 2. When asked about the resignation at an event in Winnipeg Thursday, federal Health Minister Mark Holland said he was late for another event and wouldn't comment.

A statement provided later from the health minister's office wished Poliquin well in his endeavours.

«Dr. Poliquin has led the NML with distinction for four years and PHAC [the Public

Read more on cbc.ca