Department Head and Distinguished Scientist, Experimental Therapeutics, BC Cancer Research Centre

Hello, I’m Dr. Marcel Bally and I’m pleased to be blogging this month.

Although I was born in Calgary and spent my first eight years in Canada, I grew up in Houston, Texas. This was the start of two of my long-term goals: 1) to find a way to return to Canada; and 2) to never live in a big city. Happily I can say both goals were achieved.

After completing my Masters Degree in Biology (Texas A&M University) I was accepted into the PhD program in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia. My wife and I moved to Vancouver in 1980 and we have made B.C. our home ever since. Completion of my PhD helped to maintain a long line of PhDs in my family. My grandfather’s PhD was in Botany and he played a significant role in developing coffee bean production in Indonesia. My dad’s PhD was in Geology and even at 90 he continues to mentor graduate students at Rice University.

While working for Shell Oil my dad helped to generate some of the first geological maps of the Rockies and most people in the Vancouver area would recognize one of his finds when they pass the large sulfur piles in North Vancouver. He remains one of the most respected geophysicist in the world (if interested, check out “Regional Geology and Tectonics: Principles of Geologic Analysis” which is going into its second edition this year).

So some may be wondering given a pedigree in botany and geology, training in biology (mostly marine botany) and biochemistry, how did I end up developing drug candidates for potential use in treating cancer? I’ll tell you about this in my next post!

Marcel