Dr. Pauline So is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Target Validation Division. Pauline completed her PhD in Molecular Medicine at Boston University in 2011, where she studied the role of amyloid precursor protein (APP) dimerization in Alzheimer’s Disease. Her work led to a fellowship at the Laboratory for Drug Discovery and Neurodegeneration (LDDN) at the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, where she developed assays and completed a screen for APP dimerization inhibitors, and identified two lead compounds that reduced amyloid beta production.
During her studies, Pauline developed a keen interest in drug research and development, along with a wide range of applicable skill sets in molecular biology and biochemistry techniques. At CDRD, she continues to apply and develop new skills and expertise to help validate novel drug targets for a variety of diseases including MRSA, periodontal diseases, epithelial barrier dysfunction, breast cancer and Huntington’s disease, identifying biomarkers for inflammatory bowel diseases as well as working on inter-divisional collaborations with CDRD Biologics to assist in projects for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. As part of her CDRD training, Pauline is also exposed to the business perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, and is mentored by the business development manager at CDRD. As part of the program, Pauline has also participated in seminars and workshops on project management, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and communications. In the future, Pauline plans to pursue a career in industry as a scientist, participating and managing early-stage drug discovery projects in neurodegenerative diseases.
Jane is a postdoctoral fellow working within Target Validation at CDRD . Jane’s PhD work involved an RNA interference screen, identifying factors that are involved in the DNA damage response pathway. She has also completed CDRD-coordinated workshops in clinical drug development, project management, grant writing, business foundations of drug development, PK, research ethics, entrepreneurship as well as being an active participant of our mentorship program. Currently, she is involved in the development of cell-based assays for part of the future pre-clinical drug selection process.
Jane received her bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of British Columbia Prior to her PhD studies, Jane worked as a Research Associate in the drug development division of Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. She later moved to the United Kingdom where she took up PhD studies in the Department of Oncology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman. She brings to the Target Validation group, approximately 15 years of research experience.
CDRD focuses on bridging the gap between academia and industry. With a strong focus on collaboration, the ethos of CDRD is what attracted Jane to the organization. The postdoctoral training program has exposed Jane to all areas of pre-clinical drug development which has allowed her to expand her experience in assay development and diagnostics, along with her knowledge of research commercialization. She intends on taking these experiences to further her career as a leading scientist in translational research within the fields of oncology, neurological disorders, and/or metabolic diseases.
Dr. Peter Bergqvist
Dr. Peter Bergqvist is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Biologics Division. Peter is originally from Sweden where he completed his PhD in Immunology at the University of Gothenburg. During his PhD Peter studied mucosal immunology, focusing on mucosal B-cells and mechanisms of IgA class switch recombination.
Throughout his studies, Peter used a variety of molecular methods to gain in-depth knowledge about clonal relationships among B-cells and the importance of B-cell/T-cell interaction for building up a high-affinity hypermutated IgA V-gene repertoire. Peter applies this training in his current role at CDRD where he is responsible for the molecular aspects of therapeutic antibody generation. Peter’s activities include everything from cloning antigens used in screening and antibody generation, to antibody humanization strategies, and designing and implementing strategies for antibody V-gene cloning, and. As part of Peter’s training at CDRD, he has also broadened his skill set through numerous workshops and seminars on topics such as project management, grant writing, Intellectual Property rights and strategies, and entrepreneurship.
In the future, Peter plans to pursue a career within the expanding field of antibody therapeutics. His strong knowledge of general immunology and antibody generation in combination with the industrial experience he has gained at CDRD would make him a strong contributor to any antibody development team.
Dr. Derek van Pel is currently a Post-Doctoral researcher in the Screening Division at CDRD. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Derek received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia in 2012. In his Ph.D. research, Derek utilized cutting-edge yeast and human genomic techniques to identify conserved genetic interactions that reveal novel anticancer therapeutic targets.
Derek’s current role at CDRD is in assay development. He brings to bear a vast repertoire of skills as he approaches new problems, drawing from a broad background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics. His expertise is primarily in human tissue culture and gene silencing, which he uses to probe chemical-genetic interactions; additionally, he develops novel in vitro biochemical assays to identify small-molecule inhibitors for further therapeutic development.
Derek’s long-term goal is to develop a research program that combines modern high-throughput biological techniques with drug discovery, applied exclusively to human health. He believes his time at CDRD will be instrumental in developing the skills, connections, and insights into the drug development process necessary to achieve his goals.
Dr. Erik Hadley
Dr. Erik Hadley began his Post-Doctoral fellowship at CDRD in July 2008 in the Target Validation Division. His work at CDRD focused on the development of liposomal carriers for the delivery of cationic antimicrobial peptides. Erik is currently a Scientist at STEMCELL Technologies Inc.
“Over the 21 months that I worked at CDRD, I participated in a variety of fast-paced drug development projects. I found the work that I did extremely fascinating and unlike anything I had done before. Although I was using the core scientific skills I had developed in my previous training, I was applying them while working with a truly multi-disciplinary team of people from different backgrounds. I made vast improvements to my abilities in the area of project management and communication that I would not have been able to make in an academic setting. My experience in these and other areas was supplemented by the formal training courses offered by CDRD. These courses provided a solid framework from which I could maximize the benefit of my practical experience learned through direct involvement in research projects. The training courses that I took while at CDRD will definitely provide a great foundation for continued improvement throughout my career.
One of the greatest benefits of my experience at CDRD was insight into the “bigger picture” regardng the significance of the research projects that I was involved in. I was challenged to think not only of how to move a project forward, but of the utility and long-term commercial viability of the products we were developing. This experience benefited me greatly when the Vancouver-based company, STEMCELL Technologies, invited me to discuss career opportunities. I delivered a presentation that effectively communicated how my research skill set could add value to their company by providing expertise that was complementary to their current capabilities. As a result of my presentation, I obtained a position at STEMCELL Technologies and achieved my goal of becoming a research scientist at a Vancouver-based company. I believe that I was successful in this endeavor because I was able to step back from the science and generate an accurate perspective of the current needs of their company; I do not believe that I would have had the confidence to succeed at this prior to my experience at CDRD. As I move forward in my new career, I am confident that the training and experience I obtained at CDRD will continue to be exceptionally valuable.”