Meet the Researcher: Dr. Heather Leitch

Dr. Heather Leitch, MD, PhD, is a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Blood Research (CBR), a hematologist at St. Paul’s Hospital since 2004, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia, and the Hematology Research Director for Providence Health Care. Dr. Leitch actively conducts research projects and clinical trials that focus on hematologic malignancies. Her recent publications have focused on treatment of…
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After receiving a record number of applications from across Canada, adMare BioInnovations (adMare) is pleased to announce the successful applicants for its 2020-2021 Executive Institute cohort. Launched in 2018 with the support of Pfizer Canada, this 10-month, highly-focused executive development program is custom-designed to grow the management talent needed for Canadian life sciences to lead the world. Now firmly established…
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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted challenges, exacerbated inequalities and sparked uncertainty for many. But one area of particular strength and inspiration is Canada’s research community and its response to the pandemic. According to UBC Vice-President Research and Innovation Gail Murphy, the support of successive federal and provincial governments has allowed Canada to cultivate a world-class university research community – one…
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Scientists at UBC are unravelling the mysteries behind a persistent problem in commercial beekeeping that is one of the leading causes of colony mortality—queen bee failure. This occurs when the queen fails to produce enough fertilized eggs to maintain the hive, and is regularly cited by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiarists as one of the top causes of colony mortality. In…
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To honour the 30th anniversary of the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, Dr. Pieter Cullis and collaborators from UBC and the Netherlands published their first review article showcasing the potential of gene therapy and lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) in treating diseases by gene silencing, protein expression, or gene correction. To efficiently deliver the nucleic acid payload to its target tissue, say the authors,…
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Rather than a slow build-up of plaque over time, a heart attack caused by spontaneous coronary artery dissection strikes suddenly, often in younger women who didn’t seem to be at risk for a cardiac event. SCAD is poorly understood, and it’s so far impossible to predict which combination of genes and environmental triggers will lead coronary arteries to spontaneously tear, or dissect,…
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What are the public health implications of employees returning to work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? Tania Bubela, dean of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, is co-leading a $1.2 million study focused on the impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace. The data collected from the project, “SARS-CoV-2 Study for Eased Restrictions in British Columbia” (SAfER), will…
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Walter Benjamin Fellowship awardee Dr. Larissa Kraus be coming to the LSI to work on a collaborative project that harnesses her experience with human brain tissue and her interest in epilepsy. We caught up with the newly minted PhD in the week following her thesis defense, and posed a few questions about her plans for Vancouver. How do your research…
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Study Shows CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Gene Editing Can Prevent Vision Loss in Mice

A recent study presents important steps toward a future treatment for aniridia-related vision problems and blindness in kids. Aniridia, a rare genetic eye disorder caused by mutations in the PAX6 gene, results in the complete or partial absence of the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and varied levels of vision loss or impairment. Most children with aniridia have low vision starting at birth…
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Malaria kills an estimated 400,000 people every year. In many countries, it’s the leading cause of death in children and pregnant women. But malaria isn’t just a health issue – it’s also an economic one. Countries without malaria have five times greater economic growth than countries battling malaria. There are many tools to help fight malaria – but genomics may…
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