Director’s Message

We are pleased to announce the appointments of Drs. Kelly McNagny and Fabio Rossi as Interim Co-Directors of the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) effective December 1, 2012. This follows the leadership of Dr. John Schrader for the Centre since 1996.

In their new roles, Drs. McNagny and Rossi will work with BRC members and the broader UBC scientific and clinical community to advance momentum in the development of an innovative program in regenerative medicine, stem cells and plasticity. Drs. Kelly McNagny and Fabio Rossi said that as Founding Director of the BRC in 1986, Dr. Schrader has provided tremendous vision and leadership to the BRC and will continue to be an active member of the BRC.

The guiding principle of the BRC is that, when researchers from different disciplines work alongside each other on common research problems, exchanging ideas and expertise, science flourishes. In the case of BRC researchers, the common research theme is a better understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of inflammation and repair and regeneration. These processes are the key to combating infectious diseases and restoring tissue function after injury. However it is also clear that dysregulation of these processes can lead not only to diseases like arthritis, juvenile diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, but also to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease, adult onset diabetes and cancer.

The BRC provides an environment that not only fosters the informal interactions between researchers that often lead to new ideas, but also provides access to the technologies and expertise needed to test them. The BRC researchers pioneered a breadth of new technologies including the chemical synthesis of proteins, the application of the Cre-lox technology to the generation of mice in which the function of a gene was deleted in a single tissue, and a novel technology for the generation of monoclonal antibodies. These have led to both the development of novel therapeutic diverse disease including the design of antagonists useful in treating arthritis or HIV infection and as well as spinoff companies that now provide British Columbians with high-quality jobs.

The BRC provides an internationally competitive environment for training young scientists to think boldly and work rigorously. We are proud that many former BRC students and post-doctoral trainees are now leading their own research groups at Universities and companies around the world.

In its educational role, the BRC emphasizes hands-on experience at the laboratory bench, and one-on-one mentoring of under-graduate and graduate students by faculty and senior trainees. This has prepared students for the realities of a career in research. Students learn early about selling their ideas and competing for funding and international recognition. They are also exposed to the challenges of translating research findings into commercially viable products or services.