Dr. Cheryl Wellington : Shifting research priorities to combat COVID-19: Title of project: COVID-19 inflammatory blood biomakers for clinical management, prognosis and evaluation of interventions


Our New Faculty

Dept of Pathology welcomes new faculty Dr. Yongjin Park

Dr. Yongjin Park, Assistant Professor, Dept of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UBC
Dr. Yongjin Park has accepted UBC’s appointment offer for Assistant Professor, joint Appointment Dept of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (80%) and Department of Statistics (20%). Start date will be September 1, 2020 and Dr. Park will work with the BC Cancer Agency as well . Dr. Park is coming from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science and Artifcial Intelligence Laboratory where he worked as a Postdoctoral Associate.

A little bit about you:

I am a Bayesian statistician and data-driven scientist, focusing on developing new machine learning methods. I am excited to find a new pattern emerging from big biomedical data. But I become more excited if I can design and implement a machine learning algorithm that can make such scientific discoveries in a massive scale.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Perhaps, it is not about me and not surprising. It was when my research interest in deep learning methods was so high, trying to understand the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease. I went to my daughter's daycare at MIT, and one teacher showed me a picture drawn by my daughter. It was a shape of brain coloured yellow/brown. I asked her teacher, "is it a human brain?" Then, she said, "Well, I asked students to draw his/her favourite body parts, and your daughter drew this and named its neural networks." I must have talked a lot about my research to my three-year-old daughter. Besides, my wife studies brain science.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

I spend most of time looking at Emacs (a text editor) or shell screens, writing codes and analysis scripts of genomics data. These days I am developing a suite that enables us to analyze millions of single cell data efficiently to identify known and novel cell states.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with BCCA/Dept of Pathology?

Although I am a bit introvert, I am most excited to meet new people, especially students and faculty, with whom I will work closely. I think of the discipline of pathology as a pursuit after causality, just like a detective would do for a criminal investigation. It demands the work of a multidisciplinary team. No one has a perfect clue, but we would collectively have a complete picture of causal mechanisms of cancer and other related diseases.

What did you learn as a researcher the hard way?

In computational biology research, finding a meaningful problem and defining the problem in a precise model is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks. When new trends of technology emerge, out of excitement, we tend to quickly adopt new technology to our problem without rationally thinking about its feasibility. I have made such a mistake a lot. I almost believe that it is better to design algorithms and implement tools in a problem-specific manner.

What do you like most about your job?

I am a little obsessed with details and visualization. To me, it often takes quite a time until I see the fruition of satisfying results and figures. Still, nothing is more satisfying than staring at these products. I also like the fact that researchers are constantly teaching each other regardless of positions. I enjoy learning new things from colleagues and students. It is never a one-way street.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

My job is to solve real-world biological problems using computational and statistical methods in the contexts of research and mentoring. I should be bridging between experts in two completely different fields. I need to convince a pure theoretician to work on a biology problem and teach quantitative backgrounds to biology-oriented researchers. Both are equally challenging.

What do you believe has been the greatest advancement for medicine in the last 50 years?

Human genome sequencing. With the help of sequencing technology, I believe we will see even more rapid advancement than ever seen before.

Going into the future, how do you believe medicine/science may change?

Medicine is an evidence-based science. As we collect more data, both actively and passively, it is not difficult to imagine that the very definition of many diseases will change. Therefore, the procedure and basis for diagnosis in many medical problems will be revised. We will be able to improve the accuracy of diagnosis by a collective and data-driven decision-making procedure, which involves multiple clinicians across the globe, including machine-learning algorithms. However, I do not share a view that Strong Artificial Intelligence can autonomously make more precise decisions than human clinicians. Humans are much better at reasoning causal relationships with only a few random examples.

What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?

I heard this from my postdoc advisor: Some computational problems are so easy to biologists and medical doctors. (Therefore, do not try to solve everything computationally)


What publications do you regularly read?

I follow great minds in machine learning and science through Google scholar.

What are some causes you care about?

I care about open creativity (if I understood the question correctly). I would like to keep on expressing creativity in research and attract more people to computational biology, thinking, "Well, I can do better than this guy!

How do you like to recharge?

I enjoy cooking although it does not mean that I am a good cook.

What are some words of wisdom or perhaps inspiration you wish to share with your colleagues?

Where is the finesse?
-Gordon Ramsey


We wish you well and thank you for your contribution to the Dept of Pathology

Bruce M. McManus, CM, OBC, MD, PhD

Dr. Bruce McManus, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, retired in December 2019 after a long and illustrious career focused on inflammatory diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Dr. McManus received his BA and MD degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, an MSc in Applied Physiology from Pennsylvania State University, and PhD in Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Toledo. He pursued postdoctoral fellowships in Environmental Physiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Pathology at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, MD.

Martin J. Trotter, BSc, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Martin Trotter was born in Ottawa, grew up in the Dunbar neighbourhood in Vancouver, and attended Lord Byng High School. He received most of his post-secondary education at the University of British Columbia. He obtained his BSc in Honours Physiology in 1981, his MD in 1985, and then did his rotating internship at St. Paul’s Hospital. He went on to complete his PhD in Experimental Pathology in 1990 at the BC Cancer Research Centre. Following his Anatomic Pathology Residency at UBC, Dr. Trotter received a McLaughlin Fellowship and trained in Dermatopathology for one year in London, U.K., at St. John's Institute of Dermatology under Dr. Neil Smith. Dr. Trotter is a Diplomate (Dermatopathology) of the Royal College of Pathologists (U.K.) and is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists.

Patrick Doyle, MD

Dr. Patrick Doyle, a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, retired from the clinical practice of Medical Microbiology on March 31, 2019 after a 34 year career, and recently retired as Clinical Professor at UBC in January, 2020. Pat’s most recent work place has been the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory (PHL), where he is currently continuing as a part-time consultant on a team working to bring myehealth to BCCDC lab reports. Pat spent the largest portions of his work life, first at Metro-McNair Clinical Laboratories, and then at Vancouver General Hospital.


to our newly promoted faculty members

Dr. David schaeffer (Nov 2019) VGH
Associate Professor
Dr. Bing Wang (Kelowna General Hospital)
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. William Lockwood (Jul 2019) BCCA/BCCRC
Associate Professor
Dr. Lik Hang Lee (St. Paul's Hospital)
Clinical Assistant Professor

Projects & Research Initiatives

transition into the future

news from VGH

The future of Immunology at VGH: Personalized Medicine in Immune and Inflammatory Diseases

In 2017, the Government of Canada, in partnership with Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and co-funding partners, announced a $255-million investment to support genomics, precision health projects and advanced genomics technology platforms across the country through two national funding initiatives.


from BCCH

Next Generation Technologies for BC’s next generation: Expanding clinical diagnostic testing at BC Children’s Hospital

In November, a dedicated group of generous donors came together at the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation 33rd Annual Crystal Ball Gala and raised over $3.8 million dollars to support the implementation of next generation technologies in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at BC Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Donald B. Rix Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Research Fund

The BC Children’s’ Hospital Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine recently secured funding through the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to establish a new research fund. The generous donation was made by The Rix Family Foundation and Laurie Rix. The Dr. Donald B. Rix Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Research Fund honors Dr. Donald Rix, who was a pathologist, philanthropist, and business leader in diagnostic medicine. The intent of this fund is to foster new research projects, 'grow' new ideas and approaches, and enable BC Children's Hospital pathologists and scientists to act on innovative ideas which could improve the health of children throughout the province.

Congratulations to Dr. Nicholas Au and Dr. Li Wang on receiving this year’s awards!
Project Title: Platelet functional investigation by flow cytometry: determination of clinical utility and pediatric platelet function characteristics
PI: Dr. Nick Au (Co-investigators: M. Al Bakri, S. Vercauteren, J. Wu)
Dr. Nicholas Au’s project takes a novel approach to diagnosing platelet disorders in children using flow cytometry. Platelet disorders can lead to severe and life-threatening bleeding but current testing methods require such a large blood sample that 1/3 of children who need this testing are too small to have it done. The new approach to be evaluated by Dr. Au removes this restriction, potentially providing access to this critical testing for children of all ages.
Project Title: A study of whether selectively ordering peanut component resolved diagnostics increases diagnostic accuracy in children in a cost-effective manner
PI: Dr. Li Wang (Co-investigators: E. Chan, R. Mak, M. Irvine)
Dr. Li Wang’s study addresses the complex issue of diagnosing severe peanut allergies in children, an issue of growing concern given rising rates of severe allergies in Canada. The best diagnostic tool to confirm a food allergy is a doctor supervised oral food challenge but this is dangerous to conduct in children likely to have a severe reaction. Dr. Wang will evaluate a specialized laboratory test to better determine which children can safely have an oral food challenge. This study will examine strategies combining both the laboratory testing and physician evaluation to determine the most effective and cost efficient approach to diagnosing serious nut allergies from a system-wide perspective.



Latest News


Residency Program: some of the events that happened during the year...

The residency admin offices have been a hive of activity leading up to the Royal College on site accreditation the week of March 1 – 6. The week kicked off on the Sunday, with a welcome reception for the surveyors, program directors and admin staff.

BMLSc student presents at Harvard National Collegiate Research Conference

This past January, 4th year BMLSc student William Yip presented his research at Harvard University’s 9th annual National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


On behalf of Dean and Vice-Provost Susan Porter, we recognize the following members from our department who chaired doctoral examinations between January and December 2019:

Helene Cote; C. Blake Gilks; William Godolphin; David Granville; David Huntsman; Victor Ling; Honglin Luo; Bruce McManus; Bruce McManus; Torsten Nielsen9; Martin Petric; Haydn Pritchard; Chun Yong Seow; Christian Steidl; Christian Steidl; Cheryl Wellington; Andrew Weng


Surrey Hospital

The new hospital will be located in Cloverdale beside Kwantlen Polytechnic University campus and will include inpatient beds, an emergency department, operating rooms, lab and diagnostic services, and outpatient services. Virtual care will also play an important role in connecting care teams, patients and families, through technology to improve access to care and expand capacity to provide and receive care.
  • As the second-largest city in British Columbia, Surrey is on pace to overtake Vancouver as the most populous city in the province by 2041.
  • Clinic outpatient visits in Surrey are expected to increase from approximately 296,000 in 2016-17 to around 423,000 in 2026-27.
  • Emergency room visits in Surrey are expected to increase from approximately 153,000 in 2016-17 to around 221,000 in 2026-27.
  • Inpatient and outpatient surgeries in Surrey are expected to increase from approximately 47,000 in 2016-17 to around 63,000 in 2026-27.

Samuel H Krikler, MBChB FRCPC,
Regional Medical Director, Laboratory Services,
Regional Department Head, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology,
Fraser Health Authority,
Clinical Associate Professor, UBC



Dr. Aly Karsan

Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence

2020 LifeSciences BC Award

Dr. Poul Sorensen

Aubrey J. Tingle Prize

2020 LifeSciences BC Award



Dr. Poul Sorensen

Martha’s Better Ewing Sarcoma Treatment

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Dr. Andrew Weng

Machine Learning for Flow Cytometry Clinical Data and Trial Analysis

CIHR Project Grant