BC Children's Hospital Research Teams
BC Children's Hospital houses incredible research teams hard at work conducting discovery, translational, and clinical research on childhood illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and genetic and immunity diseases. Working in close partnership with BC Children’s Hospital physicians many teams practice "bench to bedside" medicine, meaning their discoveries that have direct impact on BC kids today and in to the future.
Below, hear from eight researchers and learn what exciting discoveries they hope to make within their lifetimes.
Dr. Kelly Brown, Asst. Professor UBC Pediatrics.
Research focus: Rheumatic Diseases
My main research interest is on childhood rheumatic diseases, which includes arthritis, lupus, vasculitis and fever syndromes. The children get inflammation in joints, muscles, and major organs of the body. My basic science research program aims to better understand and monitor the inflammation so that the disease can be treated effectively with as little drug as possible.
I hope that my research will be able to give doctors the evidence they need to make treatment decisions (like when to start, stop or change medication) that are specific to each child rather than the current 'one size fits all' approach that runs the risk of a child with aggressive disease being under treated, and a child with mild disease being over treated.
Anita Sham, Neuroscience – Goldowitz Lab, Molecular Medicine
Our lab investigates the neurological alterations occurring in kids affected by developmental neurological disorders, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, autism.
We need support from donors to recruit and retain experienced scientists/clinicians, to purchase and maintain state of the art medical equipment, create and maintain programs critical for prevention, diagnosis and treatments of acute and chronic childhood diseases.
I am especially interested in this volunteer opportunity because I am currently pregnant and would like to do something good on my unborn child’s behalf.
Fern Jaspers-Fayer, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow CFRI
I use brain imaging techniques to study the emotions of children and youth with psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression.
I would like to make substantial contributions to our scientific understanding of how the brain functions – before the onset of a mental health disorder, during an episode, and in recovery. This knowledge can then be used, for instance, to predict whether a child is at risk of developing OCD, and what treatments would be best for that child if they start showing symptoms.
BC Children's Hospital supports early treatment of childhood mental health disorders. As an example, the hospital supports the Provincial OCD Program. Through this program children can received scientifically informed treatment, and the majority of them are likely to recover.
I think research gives hope to children and their families. Research promises a better tomorrow, when we will have a better understanding of the brain and be able to provide better treatment.
Sarah McCann, Clinical Research Coordinator
Area of research: Vaccine Evaluation
The Vaccine Evaluation Centre (VEC) focuses on research related to vaccine safety, effectiveness and optimizing current immunization programs. We also monitor hospital admissions caused by vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza, pertussis, meningococcal and pneumococcal disease to name a few.
Before moving into research I worked at the bedside and cared for many children who were affected by these preventable illnesses.
In my working lifetime I hope to continue to provide education and insight for families around immunization and help to dispel vaccine misconceptions.
Conducting research studies is a huge task that takes a committed team of individuals. BC Children’s has excellent passionate researchers in so many specialty areas, and continuing to support BC Children’s and the research done here will ensure we continue to better the lives of children through science and knowledge.
Young Lo, Pediatric Immunology Research Lab- Inflammatory Diseases
I work in Dr. Laura Sly’s Pediatric Immunology research lab investigating inflammatory diseases, specifically Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD). Canada has the highest incidence of IBD worldwide affecting 1 in 200 Canadians.
Currently, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease-caused intestinal fibrosis and this often results in the need for surgery to remove the diseased area. New treatment and cure options are desperately needed to avoid this major surgery, which is why it is important for donors to help BC Children's Hospital.
Kayleigh Campbell, Msc Candidate
Area of research: Reproductive development
My research investigates the effects of maternal antidepressant (SSRI) use during pregnancy on the brain development of the fetus and newborn. I first look at blood flow the fetus' brain at 36-weeks of pregnancy with ultrasound, and then neural connectivity at approximately 6 days after birth (early newborn period) with magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
My research is important because the early developmental effects of antidepressant (SSRI) exposure on the developing child are largely unknown, making effective treatment of mothers experiencing mood disturbances during pregnancy a difficult clinical decision. Investigating such potential effects is critical to better inform safe antidepressant use during pregnancy, as well as postnatal care for the newborn child.
Bruce Verchere, Head of Diabetes Research and professor in pathology medicine
It is an exciting time for diabetes research at BC Children’s Hospital. The Canucks for Kids Fund Childhood Diabetes Laboratories are going strong with close to 100 researchers - clinicians, scientists, trainees - all trying to understand the causes of diabetes and searching for a cure for this disease. The laboratories are being outfitted with new state-of-the-art equipment for diabetes research thanks to recent investment by our partners including the provincial and federal governments, and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. There has never been a better time to support diabetes research at Children’s!
The Diabetes Research Laboratory at BC Children’s Hospital is home to a world-renowned team of diabetes investigators. The team includes outstanding clinicians and scientists who aim to understand the causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children, and ultimately hope to develop new treatments to prevent or cure this devastating disease.
See a list of their phone numbers and call any one of them to make a Miracle Weekend donation between 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM on Sunday, June 5.
www.MiracleWeekend.com for more information.