Congratulations to the following faculty members on their

recent publications

Pediatric case study demonstrates value in whole genome sequencing for cancer treatment planning
Dunham, C., et al. | Clinical Case Reports. 2021;00:1–6 | Feb 18, 2021
Single-cell deconvolution of 3,000 post-mortem brain samples for eQTL and GWAS dissection in mental disorders
Park, Y., et al. | bioRxiv | Feb 2021
Granzyme B Inhibition Reduces Disease Severity in Autoimmune Blistering Diseases
Granville, D., et al. | Nature Communications | January 27, 2021
Molecular subtypes of common pancreatic cancers can be predicted from tumour characteristics
Schaeffer, D., et al. | Cancer Medicine. Online| Jan 07, 2020
An In Vitro Bioengineered Model of the Human Arterial Neurovascular Unit to Study Neurodegenerative Diseases
Wellington, C.L., et al. | Molecular Neurodegeneration | Nov, 2020
TRIM25 Promotes Capicua Degradation Independently of ERK in the Absence of ATXN1L
Yip S., et al. | BMC Biology | Oct, 2020


Our New Faculty

Dept of Pathology welcomes Dr. Ying Wang, PhD

Dr. Ying Wang, Assistant Professor (tenure-track), UBC, Researcher, The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI), Providence Health Care's St. Paul's Hospital
Born, raised, and educated in Wuhan, a famous city after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic but still one of my favorites, I have six years of training in basic sciences and pharmacology before working in the pharmaceutical industry in 2008. With a passion for science, I joined Dr. Brian Rodrigue’s lab at UBC as a PhD student in 2009. My early research focuses on how lipid metabolism is changed during diabetes. At that time, many of our studies examine specific biological processes using traditional biochemistry methods. Two of the key regulators I defined turned out to be risk factors for both diabetes and coronary artery disease by the later whole-genome sequencing association studies (GWAS). Although not in high throughput and high dimensional fashion, these basic studies explained how GWAS risk factors affect disease progression.

A little bit about you:

My first postdoc training with Dr. Gordon Francis (2014-2017, Centre for Heart Lung Innovation) was accompanied by the arises of high throughput cell profiling technology, which I customized to characterize the origin of cholesterol-overloaded cells in the blood vessels. There we found an underestimated cholesterol pool accumulated in defective blood vessel cells that cannot be removed by the current lipid-lowering therapies. It challenges the dogma that atherosclerosis is a purely macrophage-driven disease, and growing evidence in the GWAS supports our hypothesis that intrinsic defects in the blood vessel cells contribute to anthogenesis. This study is a first step to identify these defects and design therapeutics to target them.

During my second postdoc training with Dr. Nicholas Leeper at Stanford University, I used a combination of multicolor lineage-tracing model, next-generation sequencing, and human genetics approaches to study atherosclerotic disease as a “tumor on the blood vessel”. One of the translational findings is that we can inhibit the progression of the atherosclerotic disease by an antibody in human cancer trials. It is achieved by promoting the appetite of immune cells to “eat” disease cells, which will be a research topic of my lab. During this time, I also exposed myself to spatial biology technologies invented at Stanford University and Silicon Valley. They enable a high-dimensional analysis of in situ protein and gene expressions to study cell-cell and cell-microenvironment interactions.

I am very excited to take these groundbreaking technologies to UBC and to leverage them to advance translational research in atherosclerotic disease. “Biological process + Biotechnology = Answers to clinically relevant questions” is the formula of my research. My new lab is located at the HLI and one of my first projects will be to integrate spatial biotechnology with other omics data to determine how cell functions are affected by their microenvironment in atherosclerotic disease, which decides the risks of cardiovascular events in patients. The long-term goals are to find therapeutic targets and to define biomarkers for better treatment of patients with atherosclerotic disease.

Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

My grandma who was a military surgeon. She and my family stimulated my interests in science and helped me realize my potentials.

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

My day usually starts by catching myself up on the latest science and non-science world news. I dedicate my mornings to research in my office and I spend afternoons in my lab. I am currently working on developing collaborative projects with industry partners and recruiting trainees who are interested in spatial biology.

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

Besides my own research topics, I am looking forward to connecting knowledge users of spatial biology to build a local community that helps accelerate translational research for people who are new to this nascent field. It will be in the format of webinars and blogs to share experience in experimental design and data analysis. I see it as a great opportunity to foster collaborations among research users of spatial biology in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

What did you learn as a researcher the hard way?

Being a scientist is not just about knowing how to ‘do’ sciences, but more importantly how to ‘convey’ sciences to different audiences. Having English as a second language, I multiply my efforts and use every opportunity to practice on this part. Sometimes feedback from the audience (eg. paper and grant reviewers) may make you feel that the communication does not work, but at least you learn it in a hard way of how to improve for the next time.

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

The evolution of high-throughput and high-dimension technologies greatly expand the information we can obtain from each experiment. These include the next generation sequencing that brings us to the era of ‘Omics’ and ‘Big data’, as well as the bioinformatic approaches to interpretate these data.

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

The next generation sequencing technologies are powerful tool to obtain robust information at multiple ‘omics’ levels. I believe that we are on our way to explore how to fully utilize these data and translate them to knowledge and applications that can advance the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It could be a creative way to connect genomic data to cellular functions so that we know how the GWAS risk factors contribute to disease, are they therapeutically targetable, and/or are they suitable biomarkers for personalized medicine. It could be a cost-efficient strategy to integrate ‘omics’ data to repurpose existing therapeutics for new applications and predict the efficiency and side effects of drug candidates. These are some of the trends medicine and science are following, which I vision my future research will contribute to. Going into the future, I think we will see, and we need more collaborative efforts among scientist, clinicians, and industries to implement knowledge translations of the ‘bigger data’ we are generating.

What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?

Be critical about the data you are trying to interpretate. Minimize the chances of garbage in and garbage out.

What motivates you at work?

The facts that science never stops, and new discoveries and technologies come to build on your prior knowledge motivate me every day. It is a lifelong learning process that keep you feeling rewarded.

What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?

What have been studied or found before in your earlier research can turn out to be the answers or solutions to questions in other research fields years later. It is amazing to see how a career in research can be interactive and connected with career paths of others whom you have never met.

What profession might you have pursued, if not medicine?

When I was a kid my dream was to become an artist. Sometimes I am still picturing myself working part-time in my own gallery, and part-time in a cat café.

Dr. Ying Wang at UBC, Department of Pathology and Medicine is welcoming graduate students to join her research laboratory located at Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, St. Paul’s Hospital. Her research group will be multidisciplinary combining vascular biology, spatial biology and bioinformatic methods to study atherosclerotic disease (



Jan 17

GRAY, Dr. George Robert MD F.R.C.P. (C) M.R.C. October 22, 1932 - January 17, 2021
Dr. George Gray, retired Associate Professor in Pathology and Laboratory and the Division Head of Hematopathology, Blood Bank and Immunology at VGH has passed away. His legacy will be the doctors he trained and the careers he inspired.

Projects & Research Initiatives


Remarkable Successes on COVID Research

Implementing saline gargle sample collection for COVID-19 testing

One of the key pillars of pandemic response is testing to detect active cases. But, to achieve this tenet, BCCDC PHL had to build mass testing capacity to go from performing no COVID-19 tests in 2019 to thousands per day in 2020. Every public health lab in the world was also trying to do the same thing. By March, high testing demand created shortages throughout the worldwide supply chain for many products, including nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs—essential for testing.

Research in the time of COVID

As experts in the development of a clinical assays for protein biomarkers, I decided to put my research lab’s expertise to the test in building a novel blood test for COVID-19. An early goal of the research program was to build a test that revealed detailed information about an individual’s immune response to COVID-19.

COVID-19-associated heart injury: how does it happen?

Drs. Bruce McManus and Paul Hanson at the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation in affiliation with UBC Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have studied virus-associated heart failure for several decades. Although COVID-19 is primarily recognized as a respiratory disease, ongoing global research implicates the heart as a central target of injury, which in turn causes significantly increased morbidity and mortality. Evidence of direct viral heart injury and indirect damage due to thromboembolic complications and cytokine storm have been observed. Myocarditis has also been reported. Consensus on mechanisms and timing remains to be achieved. Thus, our research aims to delineate the mechanism(s) of COVID-19-related cardiac injury.

Accelerating SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence surveys through dried blood spots’ (ASSESS-DBS for short)

Project Lead(s): Dr. Muhammad Morshed, Dr. Inna Sekirov, Dr. Sofia Bartlett Dr.Mel Krajden, Dr. Agatha Jassem, Dr. Inna Sekirov and Dr. Paul Levett

The purpose of this study is to validate COVID-19 serological assays on dried blood spot samples, so that these can be used for seroprevalence studies and vaccine efficacy monitoring. As part of this, we have conducted a rapid seroprevalence study in BC Provincial prisons collecting paired dried blood spots and serum samples from 835 people who are incarcerated as well as staff in these centres. This is part of a national initiative to track COVID-19 in correctional settings, and we have received funding from the COVID-19 Immunity task Force (CITF), as well as MSFHR, and BC SUPPORT Unit for this study.

One very unique aspect of the study is that we have done consultation with people who have lived and living experience of incarceration to understand what some of their major concerns related to COVID-19 in prisons are, and how we could capture these in the study. We did a Zoom call with a group of men who are incarcerated at Okanagan Correctional Centre, and they reviewed the draft study protocol, consent form and questionnaire to give suggestions and feedback before recruitment began.

Inventory of the COVID-19 research projects being undertaken by our department members. NOTE: This inventory is a work in progress and is not a complete list; it may also include studies that have not yet been approved to start.


Our New e-Consent Platform

BC Children’s Hospital BioBank – Introducing our new e-consent platform!

We recently got REB approval for a new e-Consent platform that we created over the last couple years with the help of a grant from the Clinical Research Support Unit at BCCHR. We are extra excited about this as it will enable recruitment for research while minimizing patient contact during these pandemic times.


to our newly promoted faculty members

Dr. Nadia Medvedev, VGH
Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Marthe Charles, VGH
Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Sophia Park, Royal Columbian Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor



The BMLSc Program bids a fond farewell and sincere good wishes to retiring Associate Professor, Dr. John O’Kusky. BMLSc faculty, staff, students and alumni have benefitted immensely from John’s teaching, guidance, and leadership during his tenure with the program. His sense of humour and disciplinary rigour complemented each other in the best way.

In 1987, John was tapped on the shoulder by Dr. Phillip Reid to co-teach/coordinate the course PATH 305 Modern Microscopy with Dr. David Walker. They taught the course together for decades; when David retired in 2011, John took on teaching the entire course. He presented several lectures in PATH 404 Histochemistry from 1987 onward, stepping in to coordinate and teach the course in 2013 when Dr. Carol Park retired. He continued to coordinate and teach both courses until his retirement in late 2020.

John’s teaching career went beyond the BMLSc Program. For many years he was responsible for the entire 9-week Brain and Behavior section of the MD Undergraduate Program and was chief organizer of the Stroke & Cardiovascular labs and lectures. He supervised and mentored students at the graduate and undergraduate level and sat on many supervisory and examination committees. All this while also running a research lab.

Always keeping the BMLSc Program on his radar, John donated several pieces of equipment and microscope/camera set ups, which were welcome additions, essential for teaching, and are still used today by students in the program.

We will miss his rapier wit, sharp intellect, genuine concern for the BMLSc Program, its students and faculty, and most importantly, his collegial spirit and friendship.

Thank you, John, for your long-standing dedication and commitment to the BMLSc Program. We wish you Bon voyage as you sail on to your next great adventure!

John on the dock at the marina in Campbell River, in front of his boat, Cinco Llagas

Where in the world is John O’Kusky?

An accomplished sailor, John has the skills and qualifications to handle a large yacht in open ocean. In fact, John’s abode during his retirement will be his 40-foot sailboat where he has joined the live-aboard community at a marina in Campbell River. He is thoroughly enjoying this lifestyle and is looking forward to many trips into the waters of nearby beautiful Desolation Sound.

John at the helm of his sailboat underway to his new berth at Campbell River



Latest News

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

  • CARMS interviews and Royal College exams. No oral exams this year, so only written here in Vancouver.
  • Administration update: welcome to Karen du Plessis.
  • Babies, babies and more babies…
  • Dr Sophia Park - completing her term as Program Director of the Medical Biochemistry Residency Training Program (the Program) in the UBC Dept of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine effective June 30, 2021

Graduate Studies Program

  • Introducing Dr. Hélène Côté as the new Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Graduate Program Director and Graduate Advisor
  • 2020 winners of the CIHR awards
  • 2020 winners of the PATH departmental awards

Lessons in implementing virtual case-based learning

This study was carried out by 2 fourth year med students (Jessica Dawson and Geoffrey Ching – part of the required FLEX project) under Dr. Hanh Huynh supervision to address the questions relating to the benefits and difficulties of delivery Case Based Learning (CBL) in MDUP via Zoom due to covid challenge (as a substitute for in person CBL precovid).

Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program

We are thrilled to announce that Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Canada, the national IPAC association, renewed its three-year endorsement of the program. As the importance of infection prevention and control continues to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the health authorities urgently needed to train more infection prevention and control professionals.

Teaching and Course Leadership Opportunities Available in the BMLSc Program

Teaching in the BMLSc Program is a rewarding, satisfying way to contribute to the Department’s educational community. With recent retirements, we have several openings for course coordinators (or co-coordinators) and instructors.

PATH 305: Modern Microscopy - theoretical and practical application of widely used microscopy techniques.

Winter term 2; 2 hours per week (can be divided and shared between 2 co-coordinators). We are in the process of getting approval to update and modify this course and are looking for one or two keen educators to coordinate and teach the renewed course. While the new syllabus was outlined by the steering committee, there is great potential to adapt the course to “make it your own”. At the same time, previously used materials will be passed along, with permission of the past coordinators so you won’t be starting from scratch. Microscopy sessions for this course are supported by the BMLSc teaching technicians.

PATH 405: Seminars in Current Topics. Winter term 1 & 2; 3 hours per week (not lecturing!)

This course is a unique, student-centred capstone. You would work together with the 3 current coordinators. Students in PATH 405 learn to: teach effectively, find appropriate literature to answer questions, think critically, write clearly and focusing on what is important, provide constructive feedback and appraise their own performance. Course coordinators mentor, act as role models, provide constructive and instructive feedback, and seize teachable moments. Over each year, we get to witness the remarkable progress made by students as they develop their professional skills and become people who will contribute to and lead in the future.

PATH 404: Histochemistry. Currently Winter term 1 & 2; 2 hours per week

A main focus of the course is for students to apply theoretical knowledge of the chemical mechanisms of histochemical procedures to the design of histochemical experiments.

We are looking for one or two faculty to coordinate and teach this course and to be involved in redeveloping the course for the future. This course is supported by the BMLSc Educational Services manager who has years of experience and who teaches experimental design and the labs in the course. Previously used materials will be passed along, with permission of the past coordinators so you won’t be starting from scratch.

If you are interested in these specific teaching opportunities or if you would like to discuss other areas of teaching in the BMLSc, please email me at

Global Health


New initiative with University of Maryland and Botswana

Michael A. Noble MD FRCPC

It is often said that it is the role of universities to provide Education, Research, and Community Outreach. Indeed, our UBC Strategic Plan states the importance of fostering global citizenship. We see this as a call to action.

The Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management (POLQM) and the Clinical Microbiology Proficiency Testing (CMPT) program have a long history of outreach to assist low and middle income countries improve the quality of their laboratory medicine practices.

For decades CMPT has provided education and training for the delivery of in-country microbiology laboratory proficiency testing for countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. Those efforts have resulted in active proficiency testing programs around the world.

In 2007 through 2011 we participated with Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to introduce a laboratory quality framework for medical laboratories in Tanzania. We continued those efforts between 2017-19, working through the International Training and Education Center for Health and the University of Washington, providing on-site education for laboratorians in Zambia and Cambodia.

This year we are pleased to announce a new program through the University of Maryland and their Botswana-University of Maryland School of Medicine Health Initiative (BUMMHI), a new program for laboratory managers working in Botswana. Starting this week, twenty Botswana laboratory managers will join our on-line certificate program in laboratory quality management. We see this expanding to a multi-year program for 60 or more leaders involving on-line training along with capstone projects and on-site visits.

We are pleased to be a part of the international collaborative effort assist health care efforts in southern Africa.



Dr. David G. Huntsman

Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2020

Dr. Randy D. Gascoyne

Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2020

Dr. Sohrab P. Shah

Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2020

Dr. Philipp Lange

Distinguished Achievement, Overall Excellence – Early Career


Dr. Christian Steidl

Distinguished Achievement, Excellence in Basic Science Research


Dr. Emily Button

Fellowship | Supervisor: Dr. Cheryl Wellington

Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health General Award

Dr. Jay Kizhakkedathu

Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering


Dr. Muhammad Morshed

Expatriate Fellow

Bangladesh Academy of Science

Dr. Lauren Forgrave

CIHR PhD fellowship | Supervisor: Dr. Mari DeMarco

St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care



Dr. Bruce Verchere

Federal government and partners invest $6 million in diabetes research

CIHR-JDRF Partnership to Defeat Diabetes

Dr. Cheryl Wellington

Understanding the influence of genetics and sex differences in Alzheimer's Risk

Dawn Shaw Alzheimer’s Disease Research Competition