The concept of creating a multidisciplinary research institute with a focus on blood, emanated from the Krever Commission into the so-called “tainted blood” tragedy of the 1980s when the HIV and hepatitis entered the Canadian blood supply. Among many recommendations, Judge Krever called for a renewed emphasis on research excellence in the broad area of blood and blood transfusion.

In response, a group of University of British Columbia (UBC) professors, Drs. Ross MacGillivray, Dana Devine, Grant Mauk, Don Brooks, and Charles Haynes, charted a course to create a virtual Blood research institute. They gathered a team of leading scientists, engineers, social scientists and clinicians with expertise in a range of disciplines that when integrated, could more effectively address critical blood-related issues and health problems. Together, they garnered support from academia, government and industry, forming partnerships with the Canadian Blood Services (CBS), the UBC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and the Canada Foundations for Innovation (CFI).

In 2002, the UBC Centre for Blood Research (CBR) was founded. CBR investigators set out to apply emerging methods of biotechnology to the study of blood and blood processing in an integrated, interdisciplinary manner to create new knowledge in pursuit of health. Since its inception, the CBR has grown to include 38 basic science, applied science, social science and clinical investigators in 12 departments, representing 6 of the UBC faculties (Medicine, Applied Science, Arts, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Science), making it the largest interdisciplinary blood research centre in the world.

Life Science Centre, September 27, 2002

CBR team visiting construction site. (Left) October, 2003 (Right) March, 2004