Dean’s Message

DEAN’S MESSAGE

The future of medicine is now 

Bio-innovation is bringing us ever closer to solving life’s most pressing health challenges. Together, let’s transform health for everyone.

Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President of Health, UBC

Every day, UBC Faculty of Medicine researchers make remarkable scientific breakthroughs that bring us ever closer to solving life’s most pressing health challenges.

In the past few years alone, UBC has delivered a breakthrough that made the COVID-19 vaccine possible and our researchers are now applying this exciting technology to other longstanding medical challenges. They have also developed promising new treatment pathways for childhood cancers, Type-1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and more — discoveries that have the potential to transform health for everyone.

The question is, how do we bring our research to patients sooner and safely, in the form of lifesaving medicine? This is perhaps the most urgent question in medicine today.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine is leading the push to accelerate the development of lifesaving medicines in British Columbia, bringing new hope to patients and their families.

Here in B.C. we are building an extraordinary bio-innovation ecosystem — encompassing academic, health and research institution partners, along with manufacturing, industry and biotechnology firms, and other collaborators such as the Business Council of B.C. — where the all-important work of world-class innovation and translation of scientific discoveries can happen efficiently in one place.

The question is, how do we bring our research to patients sooner and safely, in the form of lifesaving medicine? This is perhaps the most urgent question in medicine today.

We at UBC believe that working together and with key strategic investments, we can cut the time it currently takes to transform brilliant ideas into patient-ready treatments by 50 per cent or more, saving more lives sooner and closer to home.

In this issue of Pathways, we offer you a glimpse of this exciting future unfolding in real time.

You will read about how UBC scientists are expanding the technology behind mRNA vaccines to tackle diseases like cancer; developing a wildly inventive stem cell-based treatment for Type-1 diabetes; accelerating drug design with the help of leading-edge artificial intelligence and more. You’ll also learn about how UBC’s first-of-its kind Academy of Translational Medicine is bringing it all together in collaboration with our partners.

UBC is revolutionizing the way we treat disease, but strategic gaps still exist and support is needed to realize the full potential of this work. In this issue, you will find an editorial by Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the B.C. Business Council. He writes about how B.C.’s bio-innovation and life sciences sector can transform medicine and create new economic opportunities, as well as what’s needed to build on our current momentum.

The need for speed has never been more important. Lives depend on it. Together, let’s bring the future of medicine to everyone sooner — in British Columbia and around the world. The time is now.

Yours in good health,

Dermot Kelleher MB, MD, FRCP, FRCPI, FMedSci, FCAHS, FRCPC, AGAF
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-President, Health
The University of British Columbia