Dr. Pieter Cullis, Dr. Peter Zandstra and Dr. Connie Eaves.

New honours for UBC researchers highlight biomedical innovation golden age in B.C.

This January, the faculty of medicine’s Dr. Pieter Cullis, Dr. Connie Eaves, and Dr. Peter Zandstra received the Order of Canada — the nation’s highest civilian honour and the latest in a series of awards and research breakthroughs that highlight UBC’s and Vancouver’s emergence as a global hub for biomedical innovation.

All three scientists are visionaries in their fields. Dr. Cullis is one of the innovators of mRNA vaccines and lipid nanoparticle technology, while Dr. Eaves is a leading expert on stem cells of the blood-forming system, advancing curative therapies for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Dr. Zandstra directs the UBC School of Biomedical Engineering and Michael Smith Laboratories. His work on regulatory T cells (TREGS) has the potential to transform the way we treat cancers.

Together, they are leading a wave of innovation at UBC. In just the past few years alone, UBC researchers have also developed promising treatments for chronic diseases such as type-1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, and more.

According to Dr. Zandstra this is just the beginning.

In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, he explains how UBC scientists are solving today’s most urgent health issues with cutting-edge technologies ranging from engineered beta cells to self-replicating mRNA to an AI-powered drug discovery platform — and what this means for the future of medicine in B.C. and beyond.

Watch his wide-ranging conversation with reporter Stuart McNish, below.

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