Spring 2012

Notes from Conway’s chair…

Ed Conway

In December 2009, the CBR revamped its website, aiming to provide up-to-date news of education, training and research at the CBR and to recognize valued partnerships and donors. It also provided links via Twitter and Facebook and other media outlets to enhance communication and to facilitate stronger interactions among CBR members and partners throughout UBC and beyond.

In this latest revised, user-friendly version of the CBR website, content may be more easily altered, greatly improving our ability to readily communicate our achievements, our objectives and coming events.

The last year has seen many successes and breakthroughs at the CBR, including those made by summer students, undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty … and these are evident by the numerous publications, awards and presentations. The first Norman Bethune Symposium on March 29 was a resounding success and next year’s will at least equal that. We are anxious to do and hear more, so please keep us informed! You can send emails, tweets, sms messages, even phone calls….. and my door is open, so just drop by!

We are excited about the coming months at the CBR …. the Annual CBR Summer Research Day is August 16, and the Earl W. Davie Symposium is November 13 and will feature keynote speakers Drs. David Ginsburg and Charles Esmon. Watch for these and more!

In this first Newsletter, we highlight just some of the many awards and achievements of CBR members, provide you with summaries of a few of the numerous CBR-generated publications and special events, and underline the critical contributions made by our partners in industry, academia and the private sector. Lastly, in a new addition to the CBR website, we profile current and former students, staff and faculty of the CBR.

Awards and Achievements

Chris Overall receives TWO Major Awards in ProteolysisChris Overall

Professor Chris Overall was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award for Outstanding contributions to the field of Proteolysis by the International Proteolysis Society at its General Meeting in San Diego in October 2011.

This prestigious award, presented at the premier meeting for proteases, recognizes Dr. Overall’s major contributions to the field. Amongst these, he has brought proteomics to the study of proteases by inventing, developing and applying the field of Degradomics.

More recently, Chris was honoured at the 2012 Conference of the Molecular Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (MBSANZ) with the Barry Preston Award for his outstanding work in the extracellular matrix field and for his distinguished and sustained record of achievement, commitment to mentoring new researchers and exceptional communication skills. Congratulations!!

Pfizer Awards Thrombosis Research Fellowship

UBC’s Division of Hematology and Centre for Blood Research are grateful to Pfizer Canada for their generous gift of $174,000 to support the Thrombosis Research Fellowship Program. The fellowship – the first of its kind in BC – is a two-year intensive program which offers training in clinical and laboratory thrombosis, a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology on research methodology, and “hands on” experience conducting clinical trials. This marks a significant milestone for research and education at UBC.

Shannon Jackson Wins Pfizer Research Award

Dr. Shannon Jackson, a member of the CBR and a Hematologist at St. Paul’s Hospital, along with her co-investigators, Drs. Vickars, Anderson, Chan and Poon, will lead a study supported by Pfizer Canada entitled “Heart disease in hemophilia: A prospective study evaluating endothelial function, fibrinolysis and the development of atherosclerotic vascular disease in the aging hemophilia population”.

Don Brooks to Lead UBC’s Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity (SPARC)

On September 1, 2011, Professor Don Brooks, a founding member of the CBR, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Professor of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, will step down from his position as UBC’s Associate Vice President, Research and International. Fortunately, Don is not disappearing from the UBC scene! Indeed, he will continue to provide major contributions to UBC as the Director of UBC’s Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity (SPARC).

Dana Devine Appointed Editor-in-Chief of VOX SANGUINIS

We are pleased to announce that Professor Dana Devine, a founding member of the CBR, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC, and the VP Medical, Scientific & Research Affairs at the Canadian Blood Services, has been appointed Editor-in Chief of Vox Sanguinis, effective in 2012. Vox Sanguinis, the official journal of the International Society of Blood Transfusion, reports on critical and novel developments in transfusion medicine, including all aspects of blood transfusion and tissue transplantation.

Selected Highlighted Publications

Challenging Dogma: Jefferies and Colleagues Uncover New Insights into the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease

In a recent publication in PLoS One, CBR member Dr. Wilf Jefferies showed that the amyloidogenesis that is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, mediates disruption of the blood brain barrier and promotes vessel leakiness. How does this occur? The amyloidogenesis actually promotes new blood vessel formation (neoangiogenesis) and hypervascularity that results in the redistribution of the so-called tight junctions that otherwise maintain the integrity of the blood brain barrier.

Jay Kizhakkedathu and Colleagues Play with Plastics – Bending and Stretching

CBR investigator, Jay Kizhakkedathu teamed up Dr. Srikantha Phani, Canada Research Chair in Dynamics of Lattice Materials and Devices to develop a novel protocol for grafting nanoscale polymer chains to the surface of PVC film. The coated PVC acquires the remarkable capacity to bend, expand and stretch up to 10% of its original size. The breakthrough, which has wide implications for the design of a range of biomedical devices was reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie and highlighted in a UBC “Outtakes” Story.

Special Events

Norman Bethune Symposium 2012

Dr. Norman Bethune was a Canadian physician who in the 1930s spearheaded the implementation of the first practical mobile blood collection and distribution system. His approaches were novel and shaped blood transfusion practices throughout the world. This first CBR hosted Norman Bethune Symposium was held on March 29, 2012 in his honour and featured speakers from around the world, covering a breadth of topics. Included were presentations on the history of Bethune and blood transfusion, transfusion issues for the Canadian military, the potential of “pharming” blood, new directions in blood services in Canada, biomarkers for malaria, challenges of pediatric blood transfusion and exchange, new therapies for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and finally some intriguing blood transfusion cases. Overall, the event, supported by generous donations from CSL-Behring, Grifols, Novo Nordisk, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, was extremely well-received and we’re looking forward to making this an annual event.

Earl Davie Symposium 2011

November 3, 2011 marked the 5th Annual Earl W. Davie Symposium, hosted by the CBR and sponsored by Novo Nordisk. This special symposium was opened by the Dean of Medicine, Dr. Gavin Stuart. We were particularly honoured that Dr. Davie provided us with an historical view of the “Royal” hemophilia, as well as insights into the function of coagulation factor IX. Keynote speakers – Dr. Uri Seligsohn from Israel and Dr. Steve Olson from the US – expanded our knowledge base in clinical and fundamental aspects of the regulation of coagulation. Dr. Jean St. Louis came from the University of Montreal to share his expertise on acquired hemophilia – a particularly challenging clinical disorder. These presentations were complemented by others from local investigators, and “spiced” by our annual “shot-gun” talks and poster presentations by CBR students and technicians. All of the ‘gaps’ in the program were filled with fine wining and dining!

Stay tuned for the 6th Earl Davie Symposium to be held on November 13, 2012. Keynote speakers will be Howard Hughes Investigators Dr. Charles Esmon and Dr. David Ginsburg.

Second Annual CBR Research Day

The second Annual CBR Research Day, supported this year by Pfizer Canada, was held on a sunny afternoon in August, 2011 at the Life Sciences Centre. This event marks the culmination of several months of hard work by summer students who were fortunate enough to be funded by their Principal Investigators, and by generous contributions from Bayer Canada, Baxter Canada, CSL-Behring, Grifols, the Canadian Blood Services and the CBR. Watch for Year 3, to be held on August 16, 2012. This will be bigger and better!

Partnerships and Donors

Grifols is a leading supporter of education at the CBR


In the past 2 years, Grifols (formerly Talecris Biotherapeutics) has led the way in contributing unrestricted funds to support our undergraduate summer students participating in research in CBR labs and clinics, the CBR weekly seminar series, and the recently established Collaborative Translational Training Awards program. Recently, Grifols has donated additional unrestricted funds to the CBR that were used to support more summer students and to extend our Translational Research Program that is designed to encourage interactions between CBR groups.

Désiré Collen CBR/UBC Fellowship in Hemostasis-Thrombosis

Professor Collen

We are pleased to announce that Professor Dr. Désiré Collen has kindly donated $50,000 to the CBR to support a Translational Research Fellowship in Hemostasis-Thrombosis. Dr. Collen is internationally recognized as a talented and accomplished physician-scientist, a businessman and entrepeneur, a discover and developer of widely used medicines including the “clot-buster” medicine, tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), an innovator, teacher, and a creator and leader of successful biotechnology enterprises.

CBR Profiles

This is a new feature on the CBR Website. We look forward to hearing about the experiences and impressions of all those who have been touched by the CBR. If you wish to participate or have suggestions for articles, don’t hesitate to contact us.

An Interview With Isis Carter

Isis Carter completed her Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Ross MacGillivray. In the course of this interview, she describes her experience at the CBR and how it impacted on her career.

For the whole story, click on the title.

Stephanie Sellers Reflects on CBR Studentship

My association with the CBR began in 2008, when I started working on my MSc. and was fortunate to receive a two-year studentship. The unique aspect of my CBR studentship, unlike any previous trainees supported by the CBR initiative, was that I was not located at UBC but rather at UNBC. This was made possible through my supervisor, Dr. Geoffrey Payne, who is a member of the CBR. During my time working with Dr. Payne my project focused on the use of intravital microscopy preparations of the microvasculature and characterizing lymph node arteriole remodeling during infection.

For the whole story, click on the title.

Education and Training

CBR investigators are committed to sustaining the future of blood-related research. All CBR members are involved in training and educating basic and clinical scientists in programs that foster a new generation of curious, inventive and innovative young scientists and clinicians. Since 2003, over 100 graduate students and even more post-doctoral research fellows, research associates and clinical trainees have participated in CBR training and have, as a result, co-authored approximately 400 peer-reviewed published manuscripts.

With unrestricted donations from industrial partners, the CBR has in the past couple of years, introduced new programs to provide more opportunities and to encourage translational research. Thus, in 2011, the Summer Studentship Program was introduced and provided support for 15 undergraduate science students and medical school trainees to work in labs and clinics. And the CBR Collaborative Research Program, started in 2010, continued to support 2 graduate students, each of whom is supervised by 2 CBR PIs involved in “bench-to-bedside” projects. Through the kind support of our donors and industrial partners, we are pleased that we are able to continue these programs in 2012 and hope to expand them in the future.

Upcoming Events

2012 Annual CBR Research Day, Life Sciences Centre, August 16, 2012

Supported again by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Canada, this year’s CBR Research Day will feature guest speakers, student oral and poster presentations, and of course a celebratory BBQ dinner!

Earl W. Davie Symposium, November 13, 2012

For our 6th Earl Davie Symposium, we are looking forward to another spectacular day, with Keynote Speakers Dr. Charles T. Esmon and Dr. David Ginsburg, both of whom are Howard Hughes investigators, and well-established, internationally recognized leaders in the fields of hemostasis, thrombosis and inflammation. Like Dr. Davie, they have independently made seminal discoveries of major clinical significance.

CBR Wednesday Seminar Series

This noontime weekly event, held in the Life Sciences Centre (LSC3), features high-quality local, national and international speakers who are are invited to engage the CBR community on topics that are relevant to the broad range of basic and translational research being performed by our members. An up-to-date seminar list can be found on this website. Students and faculty have the opportunity to meet with the speakers. A healthy lunch is provided! Attendance is NOT restricted to CBR members, and we welcome friends and members of UBC to join us. We also encourage you to offer suggestions for invitees.

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