Christoph Borchers (co-Scientific Director)
Dr. Christoph Borchers received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Konstanz, Germany. After his post-doctoral training and employment as a staff scientist at NIEHS/NIH/RTP, in North Carolina, he became the director of the Duke - UNC Proteomics Facility and held a faculty position at the UNC Medical School in Chapel Hill, NC (2001-2006). Since then, Dr. Borchers holds a joint appointment at the University of Victoria (UVic), Canada and holds the current positions of Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and the Don and Eleanor Rix BC Leadership Chair in Biomedical and Environmental Proteomics. He is also the Director of the UVic - Genome BC Proteomics Centre, which is one out of six Genome Canada funded Science & Technology Innovation Centres and the only one solely devoted to proteomics.
His research is centred around the improvement, development and application of proteomics technologies with a major focus on techniques for quantitative targeted proteomics for clinical diagnostics. For his research, multiplexed LC-MRM-MS approaches and the immuno-MALDI (iMALDI) technique are of particular interest. Another focus of Dr. Borchers' research is centred on technology development and application of the combined approach of protein chemistry and mass spectrometry for structural proteomics. Dr. Borchers has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and is the founder and CSO of two companies, Creative Molecules. Inc. and MRM Proteomics Inc. He is also involved in promoting proteomic research and education through his function as HUPO International Council Member, co-leader and Scientific Director of the British Columbia Proteomics Network and President of the Canadian National Proteomics Network.
Liang Li (co-Scientific Director)
Dr. Liang Li obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan and joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta in July 1989, where he is now a Professor of Chemistry, Adjunct professor of Biochemistry and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Li's research interest is in the area of developing analytical mass spectrometry for biomolecule and polymer analysis, including proteomics and metabolomics applications. He has published 170 papers and given over 195 invited lectures. He holds 4 US patents. He has won several awards including the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry from the Royal Society of Canada (2003), the F.P. Lossing Award from the Canadian Society for Mass Spectrometry (2006), the Maxxam Award from the Canadian Society of Chemistry (2009) and the Gerhard Herzberg Award from the Canadian Society for Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy (2010). Dr. Li has served on editorial boards of several journals and is an editor of Analytica Chimica Acta.
Dr. Britz-McKibbin received his PhD from the University of British Columbia prior to joining the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at McMaster University in 2003, where is now a Professor and currently a Cystic Fibrosis Canada Researcher. Dr. Britz-McKibbin has contributed to innovations in capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry for metabolomics as applied to preventative health. His research program includes the development of higher throughput methods for identifying and quantifying metabolites of clinical significance in human biological samples, including the introduction of multiplexed separations and accelerated data workflows for biomarker discovery. His research has been funded by NSERC, CFI, CIHR, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada, the Ontario Genomics Institute, and the Ontario Ministry of Labour. He has presented over 100 invited talks and published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, including 6 invited reviews, 5 book chapters, 2 technical reports and 3 filed patents. Dr. Britz-McKibbin is the recipient of several prestigious awards for his important contributions to separation science, MS and metabolomics, including the American Chemical Society – Young Investigator Award in Separation Science (2010), Japan Society for Promotion of Science (2009), Petro-Canada Young Investigator Award (2007) and Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2004-2010). He is currently co-chair in analytical/physical chemistry in the NSERC Discovery Grant Evaluation Committee, a founding member of the North American Chapter of the Metabolomics Society, and a Section Editor in Chemical Biology for the journal Scientific Reports (Nature). He has also served as a scientific advisory board member on several metabolomics initiatives across North America. Dr. Britz-McKibbin’s research program strives to bridges the major gap existing between basic scientific research and large-scale epidemiological studies for population health, including expanding newborn screening programs.
Dr. James Harynuk received his PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2004 where he conducted pioneering work in the emerging field of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography and won the WB Pearson Medal for creative research in a doctoral thesis. He then moved to Melbourne, Australia to continue the study of multidimensional separations with Dr. Philip Marriott at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In 2007 he started his own research group at the University of Alberta where he continues to advance our understanding of multidimensional separations science. Current research interests include the development of tools to identify molecules based on their thermodynamic behavior in a gas phase separation and tools for the rapid interpretation of GCxGC and GC-MS data. The tools that Dr. Harynuk is developing have been applied in a diversity of fields with a variety of collaborators including petroleum (Syncrude, Imperial Oil), forensics (RCMP), foods (University of Jaen, Spain), anti-doping (UFRJ, Brazil), and textile science (UofA).
He has a special interest in using metabolomics to advance drug discovery and drug screening. He has developed several large libraries of biologically significant small molecules, including nucleotides, amino acid derivatives, ions, and lipids, as well as stabilizers such as osmolytes and short-chain polymers. This diverse library has been used to screen and identify novel ligands, profile binding specificities, and map interaction sites for a number of protein signaling and enzymatic domains (GTPases, kinases, phosphatases, and proteases). He also co-created an open access drug fragment library optimized by multiple drug discovery campaigns for high-throughput screening by NMR. The Membrane Optimal Docking Area (MODA) software he co-developed is freely available at Molsoft, providing a basis for further studies on specificities and cellular localization of the thousands of novel membrane binders (i.e., metabolites) that can now be easily predicted by any researcher.
Dr. Michael Overduin is an internationally recognized structural biologist who focuses on protein:lipid recognition and signaling mechanisms of therapeutic targets. He has done pioneering work in the study of interactions of small molecules with proteins and membranes, with a primary focus on NMR-based metabolomics. He has recently taken over as Executive Director of NANUC (the National High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre) at UofA, which is equipped with 2 600 MHz NMR instrument and a specially contained 500 MHz instrument. He previously led the Henry Wellcome Building for Biomolecular NMR in the UK. He has published over 100 papers in journals including Cell, Mol Cell, Dev Cell, EMBO, JACS, Nature, Nature Struct Mol Biol, Nature Communs, PNAS USA and Science, (h-index = 34; 5387 citations). He has patented the styrene maleic acid lipid particle system for preparation and analysis of native membrane proteins and developed the international SMALP network (SMALP.net). Dr. Overduin launched Science Capital as a start-up that has connected hundreds of scientists, spin-offs, industry and business experts to tackle grand challenges, is one of the original editors of the J Chem Biol Drug Design, and founded academic-pharma partnering networks at www.discoverylab.ca and www.drugdiscovery.org.uk, with outputs including molecular libraries for ligand screening and drug discovery.
David Wishart (Founder)
Dr. David Wishart (PhD Yale, 1991) is a Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science at the University of Alberta. He is also a co-director of the Nanobiology program at the NRC's National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT). He has been with the University of Alberta since 1995 and has published more than 300 articles in various peer reviewed journals. His research interests span many areas including structural biology, bioinformatics, prion biology, nanobiology and metabolomics. From 2006-2009, Dr. Wishart led the "Human Metabolome Project" (HMP), a multi-university, multi-investigator project that catalogued all of the known metabolites in human tissues and biofluids. Using advanced methods in NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, multi-dimensional chromatography and machine learning Dr. Wishart and his colleagues identified or found evidence for more than 8500 endogenous metabolites. This information has been archived on a freely accessible web-resource called the Human Metabolome Database (HMDB). The methods and ideas developed for the HMP have helped lay the foundation for a number of clinical metabolomics projects currently being pursued in his lab. These include studies of several cancer biomarkers, identifying organ transplant biomarkers, exploring wound healing mechanisms, identifying early biomarkers of prion and prion-like diseases, and investigating biomarkers of common diseases in cows.