KCNQ5 is a highly conserved gene encoding an important channel for neuronal function; it is widely expressed in the brain and generates M-type current. Exome sequencing identified de novo heterozygous missense mutations in four probands with intellectual disability, abnormal neurological findings, and treatment-resistant epilepsy (in two of four). Comprehensive analysis of this potassium channel for the four variants expressed in…
Read More
Dr. Davide Pellacani is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Connie Eaves at the Terry Fox Research Institute. Approaching the end of his postdoc, Dr. Pellacani’s research has evolved throughout his career to include the merging of stem cell biology, epigenetics, bioinformatics, and cancer research. We sat down with Dr. Pellacani to discuss some of his current projects…
Read More
The news of a breakthrough cancer treatment that reprograms a patient’s DNA has refocused attention on similar research being done in B.C. 12 year old Emily Whitehead is alive today because of experimental cancer treatment that put her leukemia into remission when nothing else could. It’s called CAR-T therapy developed in the United States. Now the BC Cancer Agency is…
Read More

Feature Researcher: Alexander G. Beristain

Alexander G. Beristain is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. He received his Ph.D. (Reproductive and Developmental Sciences) from UBC Dept of OBGYN in 2007, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Rama Khokha at the Ontario Cancer Institute in 2012. He holds a New Investigator research grant from Sick Kids Foundation and John R Evans Leaders…
Read More
Endometrial epithelium is the presumed tissue of origin for both eutopic and endometriosis-derived clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas. We had previously hypothesized that the morphological, biological and clinical differences between these carcinomas are due to histotype-specific mutations. Although some mutations and genomic landscape features are more likely to be found in one of these histotypes, we were not able to…
Read More
Read the Publication  This week we profile a recent publication in Nature Communications from Dr. Craig Brown (left) and Dr. Kelly Tennant (right). Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus? The primary goal of our research is to understand the mechanisms of brain repair. In particular, we are interested in how stroke and co-morbidities like diabetes…
Read More
The Michael Smith Laboratories is delighted to announce the newly appointed Professor Peter Zandstra as its Director. Zandstra is a pioneer in the field of stem cell bioengineering, applying engineering principles to stem cell biology. His research group aims to understand the complex communication networks between stem cells and their progeny and how they affect self-renewal and differentiation. Zandstra’s research…
Read More
Excessive breakdown of collagen leads to the condition commonly referred to as osteoporosis. This condition affects ~50% of women aged 50 years or older, costing an estimated 17-20 billion dollars annually in the US alone. Excessive production of cathepsin K (catK) is a known cause of osteoporosis, as its primary role is to digest collagen, a matrix protein that forms…
Read More

Myelin Regulatory Factor Drives Remyelination in Multiple Sclerosis

Remyelination is limited in the majority of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions despite the presence of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in most lesions. This observation has led to the view that a failure of OPCs to fully differentiate underlies remyelination failure. OPC differentiation requires intricate transcriptional regulation, which may be disrupted in chronic MS lesions. The expression of few transcription factors…
Read More
Sirona Biochem Corp. announced positive preclinical efficacy data for its library of skin lightening compounds. The study was conducted at Bioalternatives in France, a contract research organization specializing in cellular and molecular pharmacology. The study looked at each of six compounds’ ability to inhibit melanin synthesis induced by L-tyrosine for 10 days in normal human epidermal melanocytes. Results showed a…
Read More