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 Fellow 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. Gesine Heuck works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Drug Delivery and Formulation division at CDRD. She completed her PharmD at the Universities of Regensburg and Kiel, Germany, and the University of Michigan, US. During her PhD at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Gesine worked on the nanoencapsulation of porphyrin precursors for Photodynamic Therapy and Fluorescence Photodetection of cancer. She further investigated the heme pathway of gram negative bacteria in a collaborative project with the Institut Pasteur.
Gesine brings with her a multifaceted technical skillset ranging from physicochemical characterization and analytical procedure development of bio imaging to in vitro/in vivo examination of drug formulations. She has also organized and participated in numerous workshops related to Intellectual Property, Regulatory Affairs and clinical trials. At CDRD, Gesine applies her know-how to develop lipid based nanoparticle formulations. As part of the CDRD Training Program she deepens her knowledge on the non-scientific aspects of drug development with an emphasis on business development.
Dr. Matthew Smith is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Medicinal Chemistry Division. Matthew is originally from the UK where he completed his Ph.D in organic chemistry at the University of Nottingham. Matthew’s Ph.D focused on developing novel heterocyclic methodologies and their application to anti-cancer compounds. This lead the use of diazoimidazoles as a precursor for the synthesis of highly functionalized imidazole compounds.
Before joining CDRD Matthew applied his knowledge of imidazole chemistry to the development of nitro-imidazole prodrugs during a Post-Doc at UBC, in collaboration with the BC Cancer Research Centre. In his current role at CDRD, Matthew is exploiting his experience in multi-step synthesis and problem-solving for the synthesis of small molecule drug targets. In order to develop his skills as a medicinal chemist further, Matthew has taken a keen interest in other areas of preclinical drug development so he can better understand the biological testing of the compounds he synthesizes. As part of the Training Program at CDRD Matthew has also broadened his skill set through numerous workshops and seminars. Matthew’s long term goals are to continue working as a chemist in drug development and ultimately, become a Project Leader in industry.
Dr. Alon Hendel is working as a Business Development Intern at CDRD Ventures Inc. Alon completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia, working with Dr. David Granville at the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation, St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. During his graduate degree Alon started his own company, Community Care First Aid Inc., a first aid and CPR training company, training partner of the Canadian Red Cross.
His company offers certified courses at all levels in most community centres across Vancouver. Prior to his arrival to Canada, Alon completed his Bachelor of Medical Science in the University of Sydney, Australia where he also worked as a Medical Lab Technician in a clinical pathology laboratory. Alon is originally from Israel where he completed his military service as a combat medic instructor and was the head school course coordinator, responsible for the management and operation of the combat media courses.
In his role as a Business development Intern at CDRD Ventures Alon is looking forward to acquire new skills of market research, building business cases for new therapeutic technologies and evaluating commercial opportunities to support the transformation of early stage pre-clinical projects to commercially viable programs.
Dr. Sheetal Raithatha
Dr. Sheetal Raithatha was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Screening Division (April 2011 – September 2013). Originally from Calgary, Sheetal received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. During his PhD Sheetal studied intricate transcriptional mechanisms regulating key transitions in eukaryotic cell division and differentiation pathways. He furthered this study in a Post-Doctoral position at UBC, to include the characterization of post-translational modifications on key regulatory factors mediating morphological responses to extracellular stimuli.
With over 11 years of research experience in the Life Sciences arena, Sheetal utilizes his broad biochemistry and molecular biology background to develop and optimize biochemical and live-cell assays for the purpose of high-throughput small molecule screening. Sheetal currently plays a leading role in 4 different collaborative screening efforts, evaluating novel therapeutics for indications ranging from cancer to critical neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and ALS, and also metabolic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. The Post-Doctoral Training Program at CDRD has significantly enhanced Sheetal’s exposure to all areas of pre-clinical drug research and development, and has strengthened his experiences in assay development and disease evaluation. Sheetal’s future goals are to pursue a career in drug development within the areas of neurological disorders and cancer. His strong scientific background, together with his invaluable training experience at CDRD has positioned him with a significant competitive advantage in today’s biotech landscape.
In September 2013, Sheetal commenced the role of Research Scientist at viDA Therapeutics in Vancouver.
Frances Vu was a Business Development Intern at CDRD Ventures Inc. from November 2012 until October 2013. She completed her MBA from University of Oxford and has an MSc in Immunology from University of Toronto. During her MBA summer course term, she travelled to Merck KGaA (EMD Serono) in Darmstadt, Germany to develop a business plan for a new drug candidate for multiple sclerosis.
Previous to Frances’ MBA study, she was a Product Manager at STEMCELL where she was responsible for managing all stages (i.e. product development, product launch, and product change/discontinuation) of the cell separation/immunology product line. At CDRD, she continued to apply and develop her skills in market analysis and business development to help commercialize early-stage drug development projects. She wasresponsible for developing business cases, which include outlining the technical merits, key commercial issues and risks, deal terms, and financial opportunities. Her business cases have been used to guide the commercialization pathway for out-licensing or new company formation. As part of Frances’ training at CDRD, she has also broadened her skills-set through numerous workshops and seminars on topics including Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Rights and Strategies.
Frances currently works as a Medical Science Liaison Associate for Astra Zeneca, Canada.
Dr. Pauline So
Dr. Pauline So was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CDRD’s Target Validation Division from January 2012 until September 2013. 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 was also exposed to the business perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, and was mentored by the business liaison manager at CDRD. As part of the program, Pauline has also participated in seminars and workshops on project management, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and communications.
Pauline is continuing her career with CDRD as Associate Scientist in Target Validation.
Dr. Sharon Sun
Dr. Sharon Sun was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Drug Delivery division at CDRD from September 2009 until June 2013. She obtained a B.Sc. Honors degree in Chemistry from the University of Regina in 2005, after which she undertook Ph.D. studies in the lab of Dr. David Chen at the Department of Chemistry in UBC. During her PhD., Sharon was involved in investigating various types of molecular interactions using capillary electrophoresis (CE).
Throughout her studies, she also developed a computer simulation program to model the interaction of protein with small molecules during electrophoresis. This program was used to help undergraduate students envision the binding and migration process of molecules in electrophoresis in several undergraduate analytical courses.
Sharon is currently Shared Facilities Manager in the Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Jane Savill
Jane began her CDRD postdoctoral fellowship within Target Validation at CDRD in October 2010 and stayed with CDRD for over two years. Her PhD work involved an RNA interference screen, identifying factors that are involved in the DNA damage response pathway. She has also completed CDRD 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. During her time at CDRD, she was 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. 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.”