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Joan Shellard, Ph. D

Industry Experience

Prior to working at BCIT, Joan worked for over five years at Chromos Molecular Systems as a Sr. Scientist and Team Leader for their Cell Line Engineering program.  She led all projects focused on enhancing gene targeting and expression, and was successful in engineering Chromos’ proprietary (US Patents 20050181506 &0120064578) ACE System vectors (Perkins et.al.).  Joan was also responsible for engineering a manufacturing (CHO) cell line for a first-in-class therapeutic monoclonal antibody, which is now undergoing clinical development by Glenmark Pharma for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (GenEnNews2007).


Academic Background

Joan’s Ph.D thesis focused on the biochemical purification and characterization of a novel & selective growth regulator of hematopoietic progenitor cells (Shellard et.al.; Logan, Shellard et.al.). This regulator belongs to a class of neutrophilic granule proteins that mediate a variety of pro-inflammatory activities and Joan is credited as the first researcher to identify its regulatory role in hematopoiesis and the pathogenesis of myeloid leukemias (Ouriaghli et.al.; Tavor et.al.).  Joan’s post-doctoral work expanded her expertise in the molecular mechanisms governing embryonic and stem cell development. In the Zoology department at UBC, Joan analyzed the Polycomb gene, Asx, in fruit fly development (Sinclair et.al.) and at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France), she studied the role of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) in maintaining the totipotency of mouse embryonic stem cells (Shellard et.al.).


Sarah McLeod, Ph.D

Research Background

During her Ph.D, Sarah pioneered the investigation of the Rap1 GTPase in the lab of her supervisor, Dr. Michael Gold. She demonstrated Rap1 activation downstream of the B cell antigen receptor and then investigated the function of Rap1 in B lymphocytes, showing that Rap1 activation is required for integrin-mediated adhesion and chemokine-directed cell migration ( McLeod et al, 1998, McLeod et al, 2002 and McLeod et al, 2004). From 2004 to 2007 Sarah did post-doctoral training at the University of British Columbia with Dr. Calvin Roskelley in the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, extending her work with the Rap1 GTPase to investigate its role in tumour biology. She looked at Rap1 in the regulation of cancer cell adhesion, motility and invasion using in vitro cell-line models and also investigated its role in the metastasis of cancer cells to the lung using in vivo models (Freeman et al, 2010). In 2008, Sarah accepted a one year research associate position in the lab of Dr. Michel Roberge in the Department of Biochemistry, where she worked on the development of high throughput microscopy-based screens for inhibitors of cancer cell motility.

Current Research

In recent years, Sarah’s major area of research is identifying the role of inflammation in the development and progression of chronic human diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Cell-based assays are being developed for the testing of compounds and natural health products (NHPs) for their anti-inflammatory potential. Sarah was also a co-investigator with her colleague, Joan Shellard, on an NSERC Engage funded projec that assisted a local, early-stage company, iProgen Biotechnologies, in the development of their novel protein therapeutics.

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