Clinical Research

Collaborating for better health outcomes

SAIL works with a team of expert clinicians and clinical nurse specialists at the Division of Infectious Disease at Dalhousie University and the Capital Health Authority. SAIL’s clinical research team is focused on understanding immune aging, how chronic viral infections affect immune aging, as well as clinical studies in HIV and HCV treatment.

SAIL is also working to understand how the immune system ages during chronologic aging and how this impacts poor responses to vaccines and declining health in the elderly.

We are always looking for individuals interested in contributing to our research and we have several ongoing clinical research studies. To find out more, click the links below or contact us.

Why should I participate?

  • Clinical research is pivotal for medical advancements. Participating in our research studies will help us reach our goal of improving immunity and helping people age healthier.
  • Our study volunteers help us develop new medical knowledge. Participation may not directly benefit study volunteers but may help others through knowledge gained.

Can I participate?

  • Yes. If you are 18 years of age or older you are eligible to participate in SAIL’s research studies.
  • SAIL requires healthy volunteers (individuals with no known significant health problems), as well as HIV and/or HCV infected volunteers for our research studies.

What does participation involve?

  • Each participant will be followed for five years with clinic visits and blood draws every six months. You will be compensated for your time and travel for each clinic visit.
  • All clinical studies that SAIL conducts are approved and monitored by the Research Ethics Board (a body of researchers, community members, lawyers and others with specific expertise) to ensure that the risks to participants are minimal and are worth any potential benefits.
  • Before you decide to participate, you will meet with a study team member(s) to undergo the process of informed consent. Informed consent is a process that provides participants with additional details about the study to help them decide whether or not they wish to participate. The informed consent document outlines risks and potential benefits of the research study. Participants are free to withdraw from the study completely or to refuse participation at any time; however, this may make them ineligible to continue the study.

What opportunities are available?

There are currently two studies available for enrollment:

Study 1: Understanding the mechanisms of immunologic aging

As individuals age their immunity decreases. Older individuals often are more susceptible to infections and have poor responses to vaccines. This decreased immunity is often referred to as immune aging. We are investigating mechanisms that contribute to immune aging in older individuals with a goal of improving health as people age.

By studying immune responsiveness in young, mid-life and older individuals over time, we can determine factors that contribute to decreased immunity with age. Our goal is to delineate mechanisms that reverse immune aging to improve vaccine response rates and decrease infections in older individuals.

Study 2: Understanding the immune system in HIV and HCV infection

Chronic viral infection is associated with decreased immunity and poor vaccine responsiveness, similar to what is observed in aging individuals but in a compressed timeframe. To investigate mechanisms that induce immune dysfunction in the context of chronic infection, immune responsiveness will be examined in HCV and/or HIV infected individuals over time and correlated to clinical outcome.

This study will examine changes in the immune system during chronic viral infection before and after anti-viral treatment and over time. Understanding the mechanisms that contribute to immune aging during chronic viral infection will help us develop better treatments to improve health in chronic, virally-infected individuals.  

How do I sign up?

If you're interested in participating or would like more information, please contact us.


Our clinical collaborators

  • Lynn Johnston, MD, FRCPC, MSc (Infectious Disease Physician)
  • Ian Davis, MD, FRCPC, CCFP (Infectious Disease Physician)
  • Shelly McNeil, MD, FRCPC (Infectious Disease Physician, Clinician Scientist, CCfV, Principal Investigator SOS Network)
  • Kevork Peltekian, MD, MSc, FRCPC (Hepatology Physician)
  • Geri Hirsch, MN, RN - NP MSN (Hepatology Nurse Practitioner)
  • Carla Burgess, RN - NP, MN (Hepatology Nurse Practitioner)
  • Dan Smyth, MD, FRCPC, Dip. Trop Medicine (Infectious Disease Physician, New Brunswick)
  • Duncan Webster, MD, FRCPC (Infectious Disease Physician, New Brunswick)