As I mentioned, coming back to B.C. to work at the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) in the Vancouver Island Centre was an exciting moment in my career. Coming to the DRC in Victoria was a unique opportunity, and I’m so happy that I made the move. I’m also deeply grateful to all the donors who created the DRC by supporting the BC Cancer Foundation.
The BC Cancer Agency is an amazing organization and the Vancouver Island Centre is a perfect example of what it represents. Everyone that I work alongside with at the Centre is first class – this includes my fellow researchers, the clinicians, research students, Centre staff, and volunteers. The fact that the DRC is embedded within the cancer centre means that every time I walk to get a cup of coffee, I bump into a clinician, nurse, patient or other researcher and have a chance to chat. This form of embedded research offers many opportunities for researchers and clinicians to collaborate on projects. It also serves as a daily reminder to my research staff of the purpose of our work – to develop more effective tests and treatments for cancer.
We have a strong sense of community here on the Island, and I know that there are few places where I would have this type of experience. We are also privileged to have the Agency’s Tumour Tissue Repository and PREDICT programs housed here at the Vancouver Island Centre. When patients donate tissue and blood samples to these province-wide programs, they are helping to fuel cancer research around the world.
This sense of community extends throughout the entirety of the Agency. So for as many partnerships as I have here at the DRC, I also have many partnerships with Agency research groups across the province, such as with the Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre located in Vancouver. You met its Director, Dr. Marco Marra, last month.
Because the research here at the DRC is focused on cancer immunology, we are all working on similar problems to achieve shared goals. Working together increases our sense of purpose, and I think that definitely has had an impact on the breakthrough work we have done here.
When I came here seven and a half years ago, Victoria wasn’t on the global map for research. Now, the cancer immunology work that we do is internationally recognized. Students from the University of Victoria can now do studentships with us, and researchers are coming from across the world to study with us. Be sure to keep following the Foundation blog as I’m going to tell you all about what cancer immunology is in my next post.