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Fostering an environment of research excellence

December 12, 2017


My name is Dr. François Bénard, and I’m the Vice President of research at BC Cancer. It’s a pleasure to return as guest blogger for the BC Cancer Foundation as we wrap up 2017. A number of achievements have been made to move the needle this past year and I’m excited to discuss them with you this month.

First – a little about me. In my role as Vice President of research, I oversee the strategic direction of research and plan how we use our resources to improve our research output, as well as how we expand and consolidate our team and recruit new talent. Our goal is to make sure we foster an environment that helps researchers fulfill their mandate, which is to reduce the burden and incidence of cancer, in turn improving outcomes and survival.

In addition to my administrative responsibilities, I also carry out my own research. My primary focus right now is to design drugs that we call radiopharmaceuticals. These are compounds that combine a cancer-seeking molecule with a radioactive isotope that hone in on cancer cells in the body. This allows us to deliver radiation locally to tumours, and is expected to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients facing cancer.

My typical work day is diverse. I tend to have a lot of meetings with scientists and administrative staff, in addition to my own students and research staff. That takes up about half of my time, and from then on I work on projects, either for the centre or my own research. I also spend a day a week focused on clinical work, and that usually entails interpreting medical images of patients suspected of having cancer or to evaluate how patients with known cancers respond to treatment.

Next week, I’ll discuss some of the more notable breakthroughs in cancer research we’ve achieved over the past year here at BC Cancer.

Thanks for reading,