It is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Pieter R. Cullis, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has been appointed as the new Director of the Life Sciences Institute, effective immediately.
As Director of the LSI, Dr. Cullis will work to nurture, expand and coordinate the work of its nine research groups and their scientists, who continually advance our understanding of biological processes and disease, identifying targets and pathways for new treatments and raising the profile of UBC as a leader in the life sciences. He will bring a new vision and mission for the LSI, drawing upon his interest in personalized medicine; will be a strong representative for LSI researchers to the University at large, the research community, and the general public; will encourage interdisciplinary investigations; and will identify and pursue fund-raising and commercialization opportunities.
Dr. Cullis is an internationally recognized pioneer and leader in the physical properties and functional roles of lipids in biological membranes and liposomal drug delivery systems. His lipid nanoparticle systems are enabling the therapeutic potential of siRNA, and have resulted in formulations of anti-cancer drugs that are more potent and less toxic than the “free” drug. He has co-founded several companies, as well as the Centre for Drug Research and Development, which has become a model on how to facilitate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to therapeutic applications.
Dr. Cullis has supervised dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and research associates, and has taught biochemistry to successive waves of undergraduates and graduate students. Whether in the lab, the seminar room or the lecture theatre, he has earned a reputation for being an exemplary innovator and motivator.
Dr. Cullis has won many awards, most recently the Prix Galien Canada and the Bill and Marilyn Webber Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faculty of Medicine, both in 2011. He has also received the Ayerst Award from the Canadian Biochemical Society, the Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Scientists Leadership Award, the Jacob Biely Prize from UBC, and is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Cullis to his new position at UBC, and in thanking Dr. Christian Naus and Dr. Linda Matsuuchi for their leadership of the LSI over the previous term.
Gavin Stuart Simon Peacock
Dean, Faculty of Medicine Dean, Faculty of Science
Vice Provost, Health, UBC