RESEARCHERS

Christine Allen

Professor, University of Toronto

Researcher

Dr. Christine Allen is a Professor and the GlaxoSmithKline Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. She previously served as the Associate Dean Graduate Education and as the Associate Dean Academic. Her research is focused on the rational design and development of new materials and technologies for the delivery of drugs and contrast agents.

Dr. Allen completed her doctoral research in the Department of Chemistry at McGill University and post-doctoral research in the Department of Advanced Therapeutics at the B.C. Cancer Agency. She joined University of Toronto in 2002, from Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Vancouver, B.C.) where she had worked as a scientist and Assistant Director of materials research.

She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, numerous patent applications, and nine book chapters on both lipid and polymer-based delivery systems. She has served on several peer review panels for granting agencies including CIHR, NCIC and NIH. She was awarded a CIHR-Rx&D Career Award (2004-2009) for her research on the design and development of technologies for cancer treatment in addition to many other awards.

publication

NMIN project involvement:

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto
144 College Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3M2
Tel: 416-946-8594
cj.allen@utoronto.ca
Website

Marcel Bally

Professor, University of British Columbia

Theme 1 Leader; PharmaCore Leader

Dr. Marcel Bally is Head & Distinguished Scientist of Experimental Therapeutics for BC CANCER; Division Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology for the Centre for Drug Research and Development; a Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Bally's laboratory focuses on developing improved protocols for the treatment of cancer. Basic research interests include evaluation of novel targeted anticancer drugs. However, his group is also comprehensively pursuing combinations of existing, already approved, cytotoxic agents, to demonstrate the value of pursuing anticancer drug combination products.

Dr. Bally has extensive expertise in the use of liposome drug carriers for improving the specificity of anti-cancer drugs as well as enabling the use of some exciting new biologically active agents, such as therapeutically active antibodies, nucleic acid drugs (antisense oligonucleotides and siRNA) and therapeutically active peptides.

675 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 1L3
Tel: 604-675-8020
mbally@bccrc.ca
Website

Pieter Cullis

Professor, University of British Columbia

Scientific Director; Theme 2 Leader; NanoCore Leader

Dr. Cullis is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. He is also the Director of the NanoMedicines Research Cluster and Founding Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development.

His laboratory has been responsible for fundamental advances in the generation, loading and targeting of liposomal systems for intravenous delivery of conventional and genetic drugs. This work has led to two products that have been approved by regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe for the treatment of cancer and its complications, one that is in late stage (Phase III) clinical trials and two more that are about to enter Phase I studies.

From 1987 to 1991, Dr. Cullis was President and Director of The Canadian Liposome Company Inc. (CLC), a company he co-founded. CLC was a subsidiary of The Liposome Company Inc. (TLC, Princeton , NJ ). Dr. Cullis has also played a founding role in Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Director and CSO 1992-2004), Lipex Biomembranes Inc. (Director and Chairman, 1985-2000), Northern Lipids Inc. (Director and Chairman, 2005 onwards) and Protiva Biotherapeutics Ltd. (Director 2001-2005 and Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board).

He has published over 300 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 30 patents. Dr. Cullis was awarded the Ayerst Award by the Canadian Biochemical Society in 1986, the B.C. Science Council Gold Medal for Health Sciences in 1991, the Alec D. Bangham Award for contributions to liposome science and technology in 2000, the B.C. Biotechnology Association award for Innovation and Achievement in 2002, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004 and was awarded the Barre award for contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences by the University of Montreal in 2005. Dr. Cullis also received the UBC Alumni Award for Research in Science and Medicine in 2005. In 2011, Dr. Cullis won the prestigious Prix Galien Canada award and the Bill and Marilyn Webber Lifetime Achievement Award.

Life Sciences Centre,Office 5451 2350 Health Sciences Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Tel: 604-822-4144 pieterc@mail.ubc.ca
Website

Christian Kastrup

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Theme 2 Co-Leader; NanoCore Co-Leader

Dr. Kastrup is an Associate Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia, and is a member of the Centre for Blood Research and Associate Member of the School of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Kastrup’s research utilizes biochemical engineering to solve problems related to hemostasis and thrombosis. He and his trainees investigate, utilize, and mimic the biochemistry and biophysical dynamics of blood coagulation to create innovative materials that perform new functions inside of blood vessels, and work to develop novel treatments for severe hemorrhage. They use a variety of biochemical assays, genetic engineering tools, blood samples, biomaterial synthesis, microfluidics, imaging, and small and large animal models to answer the following research questions.

Dr. Kastrup’s accolades include the Sir Major Banting Award from the True Patriot Love Foundation, being a MSFHR Scholar, a Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, and receiving a CIHR Foundation Grant. He is the Chief Scientific Officer and a founding member of CoMotion Drug Delivery Systems, Inc., a UBC based start-up, which is currently working to develop a hemostatic agent for severe combat and surgical hemorrhage.

Michael Smith Laboratories, 211
2185 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604-827-3749
ckastrup@msl.ubc.ca
Website

Shana Kelley

Professor, University of Toronto

Theme 3 Leader

Dr. Shana Kelley is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Kelley's research interests are the development of new technologies for clinical diagnostics and drug delivery.

Dr. Kelley’s work has been recognized with a variety of distinctions, including being named one of ‘Canada’s Top 40 under 40′, a NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow, and the 2011 Steacie Prize. She has also been recognized with the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, a NSF CAREER Award, a Dreyfus New Faculty Award, and was also named a “Top 100 Innovator” by MIT’s Technology Review. She is a founder of two molecular diagnostics companies, GeneOhm Sciences (acquired by Becton Dickinson in 2005) and Xagenic Inc.

Kelley Laboratory
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
144 College Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 3M2
Tel: 416-978-8641
shana.kelley@utoronto.ca
Website

Afsaneh Lavasanifar

Professor, University of Alberta

Researcher

Dr Lavasanifar is Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences division of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. She is also the Scientific Chief Officer and Vice President of Meros Polymers Inc., a spinoff company established based on the technology developed her lab.

Her research is focused on the design and development of polymer-based delivery systems that can increase solubility, modify the pharmacokinetic pattern, reduce toxicity and increase the efficacy of different therapeutic agents. The ongoing research projects in her laboratory include development of novel polymeric nano-carriers and stimulus responsive gels for application in cancer chemo and immunotherapy or deliver of anti-inflammatory agents. She is an inventor in 5 patent/patent applications on novel polymer-based formulations for drug and siRNA delivery.

Dr Lavasanifar is the associate Editor of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Editorial Board in Materials Sciences and Applications, and Iranian Polymer Journal.

2-142F Katz Group Centre Medical Sciences Building University of Alberta 8613 – 114 St. Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6G 2H7
Tel:780-492-2742
afsaneh@ualberta.ca Website

Blair Leavitt

Professor, The University of British Columbia

Researcher

Dr. Leavitt is Interim Director and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the BC Children's Hospital; full Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia; the UBC Director of the Transgenic Core Facility; the UBC Neurogenetics Director of Research; and a Neurologist in the Centre for Huntington Disease.

A scientist and physician, Dr. Leavitt's laboratory develops new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease using transgenic mouse models.

950 West 28th Ave Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4
Tel: 604-875-3801
bleavitt@cmmt.ubc.ca
Website

Shyh-Dar (Star) Li

Associate Professor, The University of British Columbia

Theme 1 Co-leader

Dr. Shyh-Dar (Star) Li is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and holds the Angiotech Professorship in Drug Delivery, at University of British Columbia.

Dr. Li's research focuses on developing innovative drug delivery technologies to enhance cancer therapy with a particular interest in lipid and polymer-based nanoparticles. His team has successfully licensed three drug delivery technologies to industry with one in phase II trials for brain cancer therapy.

Dr. Li has won several research awards, including 2014 AFPC New Investigator Award, 2013 AAPS New Investigator Award in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technologies, 2013 CIHR New Investigator Award, 2013 CSPS Early Career Award, and 2012 Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. He is the chair-elect of the Targeted Drug Delivery and Prodrug Focus Group of AAPS and an Academic Editor of BioMed Research International.

5519 Pharmaceutical Sciences Bldg 2405 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3
Tel: 604-827-0675
shyh-dar.li@ubc.ca
Website

Michel Meunier

Professor, Polytechnique Montréal

Researcher

Dr. Michel Meunier is a professor in the Department of Engineering Physics and the head of the Laser Processing and Plasmonics Laboratory, at Polytechnique Montréal.

Dr. Meunier’s team has developed a new approach to synthesis of gold-silver alloy nanomaterials, with fine control of their composition and size, and is working on the development of novel medical imaging techniques. Dr. Meunier has perfected a technique for detection of cell-surface biomarkers that is a cost-efficient improvement over the classic immunofluorescence method: 3D multiplexed immunoplasmonics microscopy, which uses Abs-functionalized plasmonic nanoparticles (fNPs) as “headhunters” to target biomarkers, with reflected light microscopy (RLM) used to detect the biomarkers visually.

Dr. Meunier is also developing tools for cancer treatment, drug delivery, and nanosurgery, such as the “light nanoscalpel” which is aimed at functionalized plasmonic nanoparticles that concentrate its light to perforate the membrane. Recently, Dr. Meunier designed a procedure for optimized, controlled design (material, shape and size) of metallic nanoparticles to improve nanosurgery performance.

J-4071, Édifice principal, 2900 Edouard Montpetit Blvd, Montreal, QC H3T 1J4 Tel: 514-340-4711 Ext. 4971
michel.meunier@polymtl.ca
Website

Keith Pardee

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Researcher

Keith Pardee is Assistant Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Canadian Research Chair (tier II) in Synthetic Biology and Human Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Pardee's research focuses on moving synthetic biology outside of the cell. His research program combines biochemistry, molecular engineering, and electronics to create a new class of sterile and abiotic tools for applications both in and outside the lab. By generating in vitro synthetic biology programs and creating in vitro environments to host these biomolecular programs, he aims to produce small, programmable sensors and devices for research, portable diagnostics, implantable therapeutics, and tools for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

Dr. Pardee’s research has been published in Cell, Nature, PLoS Biology, and Genes and Development, among other journals.

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy University of Toronto 144 College Street Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3M2 Tel: 416-946-5289 keith.pardee@utoronto.ca
Website

Colin Ross

Associate Professor, The University of British Columbia

Researcher

Dr. Colin Ross is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia and a Scientist at BC Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ross’s expertise spans pharmacogenetics, genomics, drug development, drug safety, adverse drug reactions, predictive genetics, and genetic/clinical factors of drug response. Ross Lab researchers investigate the genetic basis of disease and severe adverse drug reactions using genomics-guided precision medicine approaches to help make drugs safer, improve disease diagnosis, and develop new, targeted therapeutics.

Dr. Ross’s research capitalizes upon national and international collaborations with clinicians, researchers and industry partners. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS), a nation-wide collaborative network of researchers. He currently holds a leadership role on the network’s executive steering committee.

6602 Pharmaceutical Sciences Bldg 2405 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3 Tel: 604-827-2017
colin.ross@ubc.ca
Website

Fabio Rossi

Professor, The University of British Columbia

Researcher

Dr. Fabio Rossi is a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Director of the UBC Biomedical Research Centre and BoD member of the NCE Stem Cell Network.

Dr. Rossi's research focuses on stem cells, regeneration, gene therapy, and control of cell fate. He has provided seminal contributions to multiple fields related to the role of inflammation and mesenchymal progenitors in adult tissue regeneration and pathogenesis. His laboratory was the first to show that microglia (CNS-resident macrophages) are self-renewing locally and do not originate form bone marrow. He also described a dramatic and unexpected positive trophic role of tissue resident mesenchymal progenitors in tissue regeneration, starting a novel and very active new field investigating these cells.

Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)
UBC Campus
2222 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Tel: 604–822–7138
fabio@brc.ubc.ca
Website

Bruce Verchere

Professor, The University of British Columbia

Researcher

Dr. Bruce Verchere is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Surgery at the University of British Columbia (UBC), head of the Diabetes Research Program at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) at BC Children’s Hospital, and the Irving K Barber Chair in Diabetes Research.

Dr. Verchere's research focuses on the pancreatic islet and aims to understand how beta cell death and dysfunction arises in diabetes and following transplantation, with particular focus on islet amyloid and inflammation, and with the goal of developing therapeutic approaches for enhancing beta cell survival and function in diabetes.

Dr. Verchere is chair of the CIHR Diabetes Obesity Lipid and Lipoprotein Disorders and JDRF Islet Biology & Transplantation Training and Innovative grant review panels, and a member of the national research council and national board of directors of the Canadian Diabetes Association He has served on the editorial boards of Diabetes and the Canadian Journal of Diabetes and is currently on the editorial board of Endocrinology, and associate editor of the Bjournal Islets. In 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for diabetes research and service.

950 West 28th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4
Tel: 604-875-2490 verchere@mail.ubc.ca
Website

Gilbert Walker

Professor, University of Toronto

Associate Scientific Director; Theme 3 Leader

Dr. Gilbert Walker is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Toronto and the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Biointerfaces. Dr. Walker received his B.A in Chemistry and Mathematics from Bowdoin College in 1985, and his Ph.D from the University of Minnesota in 1991. In 1999, he joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor, and, in 2005 became a Canada Research Chair Professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Walker works with polymers the size of one ten-thousandth of a human hair. He uses the unique ability of polymers to self-assemble, producing nanostructured materials with electromagnetic, mechanical, and physiological properties. His work in biomolecular interaction analysis is enabling more-timely cancer diagnosis and medical care and his aquatic polymer nanomaterials are being patented for greener aquaculture.

LM 145, 80 St. George Street
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON
M5S 3H6
Tel: 416-946-8401 gwalker@chem.utoronto.ca Website

Gang Zheng

Professor, University of Toronto

Researcher

Dr. Zheng is a Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, and the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. He is also Associate Research Director of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Scientific Lead of Nanotechnology and Radiochemistry at Techna Institute.

Dr. Zheng's research focuses on the development of novel technology platforms for molecular imaging, photodynamic therapy (PDT) and nanomedicine. His lab's main interest is to develop two new drug platforms to combat cancer: 1) light-activated intelligent molecules and 2) nature-inspired theranostic nanomedicine.

Dr. Zheng’s lab discovered porphysome nanotechnology (Nature Materials 2011), named one of the “top 10 cancer breakthroughs of 2011” by the Canadian Cancer Society. His lab also discovered that on exposure to low-frequency ultrasound, porphyrin microbubbles form nanoparticles that possess the same optical and therapeutic properties as the original microbubble, and can be used simultaneously for imaging and drug delivery (Nature Nano 2015).

MaRS Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower 5th Floor Rm 354 101 College Street Toronto, ON
M5G 1L7
Tel: 416-581-7667 gang.zheng@uhnres.utoronto.ca Website