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The Wondering Years

I grew up on a sheep farm in Wales, near a small town called Lampeter. My favorite subject at school was biology and I was lucky to have very engaged and passionate teachers in that subject that fueled my interest further. Similarly on the farm, I was always fascinated and intrigued by the selective breeding that had gone on to create the diversity of agricultural breeds, not only differing in their physical appearance but also in their temperaments and behaviour. Image: www.upsplash.com On being inspired This led me to do an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Bristol,...

Introducing January Guest Blogger: Dr. Steven Jones

Thank you to our December guest blogger, Dr. Howard Lim, who shared how his passion for science as a child led to a career treating people with cancer and doing research on this challenging and complex disease. This month, we’re excited to welcome Dr. Steven Jones, the Head of Bioinformatics and Associate Director at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. Dr. Jones is a detective, though not of the crime fighting type you might think. Instead of a tweed hat and Sherlock Holmes-like magnifying glass, Dr. Jones and his team have high tech machines and use robotics to sequence cancer. This...

Reflections on Today and Tomorrow

As part of the GI Cancer outcomes unit, the research we do ensures that new therapies are achieving the benefits in a cost effective manner. We can also use this data to link to our various pathology tumor banks to explore new areas of understanding of the causes of certain cancers in the hopes of developing new therapies and methods of detection. Our clinical trials units have continued to provide state of the art treatment for oncology patients that are not yet approved. The use of sequencing technology has helped us understand tumor biology better and hopefully in the future will provide...

Spirit of Giving

As this is the week leading up to Christmas, I would like to wish everyone all the very best over the holiday season. Each year working at the BC Cancer Agency has been a new adventure and I am grateful to work here. Every person who is treated at the Agency has the opportunity to exceed their potential and it is a privilege to experience this every day. It’s also the perfect time of time of year to thank the donors who have been key to research and innovation. These projects directly affect patient care and outcomes. Donor support leads to innovative work The BC Cancer Agency is an...

The Power of Research

I am actively involved in clinical research at the BC Cancer Agency, including being an investigator in several gastrointestinal cancer clinical trials for patients, and as such am fortunate to be able to help with the translation of research into patient outcomes. We have a world class research centre and treatment facility. Some of the research requires access to tissue samples to gain a better understanding of how cancer develops. Other research directly impacts on patient care such as clinical trials or the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program . To be honest, there is so much going on...

Dr. Howard Lim: Mad-Scientist kid turned cancer researcher

Thanks to the BC Cancer Foundation for inviting me to be a guest blogger! I am a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Centre, specializing in gastrointestinal cancer. I look forward to posting over the holiday season. I grew up in Vancouver, and my interest in science started when I was in elementary school, mainly due to trips to the library where I read books on do-it-yourself science experiments. I blew up potatoes, jumped off the balcony with garbage bags as a parachute, and other mad-scientist type adventures. Prior to going to medical school, I was fortunate to do...

Introducing December Guest Blogger: Dr. Howard Lim

Thank you to our November guest bloggers, Dr. Robert Holt and the immunogenomics team, for sharing how their exciting work with DNA analysis is helping to make immunotherapy-based treatments most effective. This month, we’re pleased to welcome Dr. Howard Lim, a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency. Dr. Lim’s research focuses on uncovering new and improved solutions for those with colorectal cancer. As well, the enrollment of one of Dr. Lim’s patients in the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program made news earlier this year , when a medication typically used to treat blood pressure was...

Govinda Sharma: Inspired by BC Cancer Foundation Donors

Hi readers, my name is Govinda Sharma and I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Rob Holt’s lab at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre in Vancouver. I’m very excited for this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my thesis work in this week’s post. Prior to starting graduate research at the BC Cancer Agency, I spent time working in various scientific fields ranging from medicinal chemistry to environmental geophysics. I’m proud of my eclectic background as it reflects my belief in interdisciplinary science and my tendency to gravitate towards big problems that need solving. For these...

Daniel Woodsworth: Developing Cell-Based Therapies for B.C. Patients

Hi, my name is Daniel Woodsworth and I work on cell-based immunotherapies at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre. Near the end of my undergraduate degree, I started to become very interested in building nanoscale devices and machines. I was captivated by the notion of recreating all of the incredible machinery that surrounds us in our everyday life, at very small scales. As I started to work in the field of nanotechnology, I became increasingly aware of the wealth of nanoscale machines that already existed in the world of molecular biology. One only has to look at the structure of ATP...

Scott Brown: From Computer Science to Cancer Research

Hello and thank you for taking a look at our Immunogenomics blog posts. My name is Scott Brown, and I am a PhD Student in Dr. Robert Holt ’s lab at the BC Cancer Agency. I began working with Dr. Holt as an undergraduate in May 2011; this was my first introduction to cancer research. Within a short period of time, I began to understand how my computer science background and skills could be applied to cancer research – specifically in the field of immunogenomics, where complex algorithms are required to sift through extremely large data sets. In other words: looking for the needle in the...

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