I obtained my combined MD-PhD degree at UBC in 1999. My PhD thesis, under the supervision of Julia Levy, was on the use of a photosensitizer for the purging of contaminating leukemic cells in autologous bone marrow transplantations. I was then accepted into the neurosurgery training program at VGH and completed four years of residency training before switching to the neuropathology program at VGH and obtained my FRCPC certification in 2006. Next, I completed two years of Royal College- funded CIP fellowship in molecular neuro-oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital under the supervision of David Louis. Dr Louis, chief of pathology at MGH, through his description and characterization of 1p19q chromosomal loss in oligodendroglioma, propelled the field of molecular diagnostics in neuro-oncology. My research was focused on the molecular characterizations of recurrent glioblastomas specifically somatic mutations in the mismatch repair gene MSH6. I then completed fellowship training in molecular genetics pathology at Harvard Medical School under the supervision of John Iafrate at MGH. This one year clinical training consisted of rotations in different clinical molecular diagnostic laboratories affiliated with Harvard Medical School. I was exposed to different advanced molecular diagnostic techniques and was involved in trouble- shooting clinical molecular diagnostic problems.
Upon my return to Vancouver in 2009 I was initially appointed clinically at the BC Cancer Agency and performed brain tumour consultations. I am also affiliated with the Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics (CTAG) and involved in the developments of novel molecular diagnostic assays. My current research interests are in the genomic and epigenomic profiling of cancers especially primary brain tumours, taking advantage of the local expertise at the Genome Sciences Centre, BCCRC, and CTAG. Currently I am using 2nd generation sequencing technology to study brain tumours. Ultimately I want to take novel genomic/epigenomic discoveries to the clinic – by developing clinical molecular assays and than be used to better stratify cancer patients and to identify those that might respond to novel molecular targeting agents. I am also associated with the development of BrainCare, a local effort to develop multidisciplinary seamless care for brain tumour patients in this province and also in the establishment of a local neuro-oncology research network which includes the development of a brain tumour tissue bank. I am the course director for Oncology 502 (Concepts in Oncology) that is offered under the Interdisciplinary Oncology Program (IOP) and am a member of the IOP executive committee as well as the UBC M.D.-Ph.D. admission and advisory committee. I moved to Vancouver General Hospital in February 2012 and took on a full time neuropathology position and will maintain my research at CTAG which currently involves dissecting the role of CIC in the molecular pathogenesis of oligodendrogliomas and practical application of mid-size sequencing platforms such as the Ion Torrent PGM and Illumina MiSeq for sequence validation and clinical sequencing.
- HMS – Molecular Genetic Pathology fellowship. 2009
- MGH – Molecular neuro-oncology research fellowship (FRCPC certification – CIP). 2008
- VGH – Neuropathology residency (FRCPC certification). 2006
- VGH – Neurosurgery residency (year 1-4). 2003
- BC – MD-PhD (Microbiology & Immunology). 1999
- UBC – BSc (Microbiology & Immunology). 1991
Awards and Recognition
Research interests: high throughput genomic/epigenomic profilings of tumors and downstream validation, development of brain tumor tissue bank (Center for Translational and Applied Genomics – BCCA).
Specialties: Neuropathology, Cancer Genetics, Molecular diagnostics