Spark / Spring 2019

No health without mental health

The stigma and challenges associated with mental illness cut across all ages and social groups. In this issue of Spark, learn how MSFHR-funded researchers are working to better understand and support mental health for all British Columbians.

Continue reading “Spark / Spring 2019”

Spark / Fall 2018

This October marks twenty five years since Dr. Michael Smith became British Columbia’s first Nobel Laureate. In honour of this occasion, the BC government has proclaimed October 1, 2018 the 25th anniversary celebration of Michael Smith’s Nobel Prize.

The prize was awarded for Smith’s work on site-directed mutagenesis, a revolutionary technique that allows scientists to make a genetic mutation precisely at any spot in a DNA molecule, helping us better understand how genes work, and what happens when they go wrong.

This technique underpins much of our current understanding of genetic diseases from cancer to HIV/AIDS, and helped propel BC to international prominence as a world leader in genomics research.

But Smith’s impact stretched far beyond genomics. He left us the chemistry, the infrastructure and the vision that has allowed BC to thrive as an international leader in life sciences research. In this issue of Spark we feature some of the MSFR-funded researchers who have been inspired by Smith and whose work builds on his ground-breaking discoveries.

Read the issue

  • Chapter 1: Building the foundations
    Smith’s chemistry and the organizations he helped create, such as the Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer, have underpinned many of our major advances in cancer over the past 20 years, from personalized medicine and drug development to advanced diagnostics.
  • Chapter 2: Competition to collaboration
    Understanding genetic changes is one thing, but you also need to understand what those changes mean for our proteins and how the body functions. Through the BC Proteomics Network, BC labs have been able to unleash the potential of proteomics research.
  • Chapter 3: From lab to life
    People talk about autism like they did about cancer 30 years ago, a single label for a single entity. Using genetics we’re learning that there are many different sub-types of autism, and each has different implications for the individual and their family.

Read Dr. Michael Smith: The legacy

Read previous issues of Spark

Spark / Fall 2016


15 years of remarkable impact

In this issue of Spark, we are proud to reflect on the achievements of the past 15 years. These stories illustrate MSFHR’s role in supporting a remarkable transformation of BC’s health research landscape.

Continue reading “Spark / Fall 2016”

Spark / Spring 2016


How the patient perspective is reshaping health

In this issue of Spark, we attempt to demystify patient engagement by looking at some of the ways researchers, care providers, and even funding agencies are helping to put the patient voice to use for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Continue reading “Spark / Spring 2016”

Spark / Fall 2015

Age in Place

How civic design can promote healthy aging

In this issue of Spark, we look at the important role of research in supporting older adults to age well in their homes and communities. Our main story follows MSFHR Scholars Joanie Sims-Gould and Heather McKay as they study street-level changes in Vancouver’s West End that influence mobility and social interaction.

Continue reading “Spark / Fall 2015”

Spark / Summer 2015

From Idea to Impact

The long road from world-class research to better health outcomes.

In this issue of Spark, we look at how four MSFHR-supported researchers have transformed made-in-BC ideas into products and policies that are improving health worldwide. Their experiences reveal British Columbia’s tremendous potential for research with global impact, as well as the myriad challenges awaiting researchers who wish to bring locally produced innovations to market or clinical practice.

Continue reading “Spark / Summer 2015”