Spark / Fall 2018
1 October 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.
- 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.