CDRD Academy Alumni
To date, 192 trainees have completed their CDRD Academy program. 96% of Post-Graduate Institute alumni are gainfully employed in their chosen field, having successfully gone on to an array of life sciences companies and research institutions including STEMCELL Technologies Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals, the BC Cancer Agency, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and MaRS Innovation.
Here are a few examples of CDRD Alumni:
Bill Zizek is a fifth-year Honours Chemical Biology Co-op Student from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. Bill is a Dean’s Honour List student actively engaged in extra-curricular student leadership roles and comes from a background of using informatics approaches to address research questions and has a keen interest in bio-analytical chemistry and biomarker discovery. At CDRD, he works as a trainee within the Pharmacology and Toxicology team where he characterizes drug candidate's <i>in vitro </i>ADME properties and identifies potential toxicities. In his spare time, Bill can be found hiking or enjoying live music and loves playing and watching hockey. He hopes to pursue graduate studies before beginning a career in the biotech or pharmaceutical industry.
Sean Vandersluis is a fifth-year student from Camlachie, Ontario studying Biochemistry with a specialization in Biomedical Research at McMaster University. He has previously worked in and completed his senior thesis in a structural biology lab where he helped develop an assay to screen for novel cancer drugs. At CDRD he works in the screening division where assays are developed for high-throughput compound screening to identify hits for drug development.
Dr. Clement Mugabe
Clement was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD's Drug Delivery Division, then promoted to Associate Scientist. He is now Manager, Research & Formulation at BioVectra Inc in Charlottetown, PEI.
Clement's favourite project was working on Sitka Biopharma's novel polymeric nanoparticle platform for treating bladder cancer. Clement says, "The initial work for the project originated from my PhD work that I completed in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Helen Burt. I had the opportunity to continue to work on this project once I joined CDRD. I liked this project for several reasons; first, because it was a continuation of my PhD work, second, because I had the pleasure to collaborate with many individuals and organizations on this project. Finally, I like this project because it is a success story: from academia to CDRD and now to a spin-off company."
Clement recently moved across Canada to take on a new position with BioVectra Inc in Charlottetown, PEI. We asked him about his time at CDRD:
What do you think makes CDRD's training program unique? - "CDRD is a unique place in that it is probably one of the best translational research and commercialization centers across the country. Trainees at CDRD not only have access to a state-of-the-art facility, but also get to work on exciting projects that have potential in having positive impacts on patient’s health and well being. Furthermore, trainees at CDRD have the opportunity to work on collaborative research projects with leading academic institutions and industries, and, as a result, are given the advantage of networking, which can lead to future employment opportunities."
How did the CDRD training program help build your career? - "Coming from academia, I had limited knowledge of industry. Through the training program, such as the drug development workshop and seminars series that I received at CDRD, I gained valuable knowledge and a great appreciation of what it takes to develop new drugs. In addition, while at CDRD, I had the privilege of working and collaborating with the best scientists in the field, and this platform allowed me to become a better pharmaceutical scientist. Finally, with CDRD’s great reputation in Canada, I believe my career opportunities have been further advanced with my affiliation with CDRD."
What advice would you offer to potential future CDRD trainees? - "I would encourage the future CDRD trainees to fully participate in the training program and to take full advantage of what CDRD has to offer them!"
Dr. Davy Baudelet
Davy was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Medicinal Chemistry Division on an international scholarship from University of Lille 2, France and joined OmegaChem Inc as a Senior Research Scientist.
During his BSc in organic chemistry from the “Universite du Littoral Cote d’Opale”, Davy joined the “Laboratory of Organic Synthesis and Environment” of the “House Research in Environment and Industry of Dunkerque” (France) as a co-op student where he worked on the synthesis and the development of new crosslinked cyclodextrine polymers with VOC trapping properties. He then moved to Lille to complete an MRes in Drug Design at the University of Lille 2, France.
Dr. Annie Aftab
Annie was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Screening Division and accepted a medical liaison position with Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Aftab is a passionate scientist with a strong scientific foundation through her years of education and work experience both in industry and academia. She completed her PhD in the Naus laboratory at the Life Sciences Institute (UBC) where she discovered that gap junction mediated intercellular communication influences glioma cell migration by affecting their migration pattern. She then briefly worked in the Loewen laboratory where she examined the effect of acid stress on the proliferation of cancer cells.
Dr. Devinder Sharma
Devinder was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Pharmacology & Toxicology Division and accepted a full-time position as Medical Science Liaison at GSK.
Dr. Devinder Sharma began obtained his PhD from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of British Columbia (UBC) with Dr. Thomas Chang. Devinder’s doctoral research focused on investigating how a group of anti-HIV drugs may cause clinical drug interactions. Results from his study associated these drugs with Pregnane X Receptor and Constitutive Androstane Receptor, transcription factors that regulate drug elimination processes in humans. Along with offering a rational basis for selection of anti-HIV therapy, his data provide novel therapeutic prospects for these drugs in other human diseases.
Before moving to Canada, Devinder acquired industrial research experience while working in the drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics department of Bristol-Myers Squibb-Biocon R&D Center. At CDRD, he furthered his in multi-disciplinary research collaborations with an aim of finding novel therapeutics in various disease areas, and also explore other opportunities in the field of business development and project management. He is now fulfilling his long term goal is to have an exciting career in pharmaceutical industry and to be a part of teams transforming discoveries into sustainable businesses.
Dr. Anna von Rossum
Anna was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Biologics and Immunotherapy Division and promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position.
Anna completed her undergraduate degree in microbiology/biochemistry at the University of Victoria (UVic) during which time she held co-op work terms at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd., The Terry Fox Laboratory, and was involved in several research projects under the supervision of Dr. Caroline Cameron at UVic. Anna then went on to complete her PhD under Dr. Johnathan Choy at Simon Fraser University where she extensively studied the role of T cell death in solid organ transplantation. Her work was instrumental in identifying novel mechanisms by which activation-induced T cell death determines the outcome of chronic heart transplant rejection. Anna has extensive expertise in T cell biology, flow cytometry, and in vivo models of allotransplantation.
Dr. Jayakumar Surendradoss
Jay was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Pharmacology and Toxicology Division and promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position.
Jayakumar obtained his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Chang and Dr. Frank Abbott. His doctoral dissertation research was focused on the biotransformation and toxicity of valproic acid in sandwich-cultured rat hepatocytes. Specifically, he investigated the toxicity of two in situ generated reactive metabolites of valproic acid and their role in the hepatocyte toxicity of the parent compound.
Dr. Kathleen Wee
Kathleen was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Target Validation Division and promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position.
Since joining CDRD, Kathleen has been able to use her expertise in microbiology and immunology on several projects concerned with the development of antimicrobials using approaches focused on novel targets and/or novel mechanisms of action. She also utilizes her bioinformatics skills on several projects involved with identifying novel targets for drug therapy. Her long term goals include integrating –omics systems within the drug discovery and development industry.
Dr. Nazila Safaei Nikouei
Nazila joined CDRD in May 2015 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and was promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position.
She studied pharmacy at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. After graduation she worked as a Formulation Scientist in the R&D department of two pharmaceutical companies in Iran. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Afsaneh Lavasanifar in June 2014. During her PhD program she synthetized tri block copolymer with pH sensitivity and thermos responsive behavior which led to three publications and one patent. She also developed nanocarrier for targeting cisplatin to EGFR overexpressing tumors which led to one publication.
Dr. Roxana Jayo
Roxana was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Analytical and Pre-Formulation Division at CDRD and promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position at CDRD.
She holds a BSc Honors degree in Chemistry from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, followed by a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research focused on the development of methodologies, based on a novel technology that provides a robust strategy for interfacing capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (CE-ESI-MS), for the study of protein N-glycosylation in complex biological systems and therapeutic recombinant drugs. The analytical methodologies developed during her PhD demonstrated how modern bioanalytical techniques can be used to solve highly complex biotechnology and biomedical problems.
Dr. Erin Fenton
Erin began her postdoctoral fellowship with CDRD in January, 2015 and was promoted to a full time Associate Scientist position at CDRD.
As a member of Project Search and Evaluation, Erin is involved in identifying and evaluating innovative early-stage technologies across all therapeutic areas from academic partners in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. Erin also supports the development and commercialization of collaborative projects between academic investigators and CDRD and helps to leverage funds for such projects.
Dr. Kate MacDonald
Kate was Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biologics. Upon completing her term at CDRD, she accepted a full-time scientist position with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
After completing her BSc in Microbiology at the University of Victoria, she earned her PhD in Immunology from the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Megan Levings. Her graduate work focused on the role of T regulatory cells in autoimmune disease and transplant rejection. During her PhD, Kate made significant contributions to the field of Immunotherapy by developing and validating a novel chimeric antigen receptor for Treg cell therapy.