Integrative Oncology Department Head

Hello, my name is Calum MacAulay and I am a Research Scientist in the Integrative Oncology department at the BC Cancer Agency.  The majority of my time is spent doing research, and I am especially motivated in knowing it will make a difference in the patient care and clinical side.

I have been fortunate to have great teachers growing up, which shaped my thinking early on. Starting with my Mother, who taught me to read from her astronomy textbooks, and I was encouraged in elementary school to share my father’s work in pathology.

Growing up with four active boys in the house, something was always happening and things would get broken or taken apart, out of fascination. Many summers were spent at a rural cottage in the Maritimes where parts for anything were hard to come by so I learned to be creative at fixing things with whatever was available.

Physics and medicine were my favorite subjects in school. Even at the dinner table my Dad would ask us challenging questions about math and science that would often lead to “spirited” yet positive discussions.

Eventually, I ended up in Engineering Physics at Dalhousie University in Halifax.  I stayed there for my Masters in Physics, and studied magnetic fields and electrical signals in the heart. After completing my Masters, I originally planned to ski all the major resorts of North America, but that fell through because school took longer than I expected.

With a PhD scholarship for any Canadian university, I chose a place close to good skiing – naturally Whistler-Blackcomb – and so UBC Physics it was!  From there, a great teacher of mine introduced me to the significance of early cancer detection in managing cancer. That was in the mid-80s, and the work I started then has taken me on an amazing journey, even around the world, which continues today at the BC Cancer Agency.