Doctoral Student - Wellington Laboratory

PhD Student in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Specialization: Clinical Chemistry, Neurology

Project: Analytical Validation of Neurological Blood Biomarkers

Primary Supervision: Dr. Cheryl Wellington

Institution: The University of British Columbia

Location: Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC


The Wellington LabORATORY

The Wellington Laboratory is a large and diverse group that conducts both clinical and preclinical research in the areas of traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We are seeking a PhD student to join the Wellington Laboratory’s clinical fluid biomarker group. The clinical fluid biomarker group uses state of the art technologies to detect a wide variety of protein biomarkers in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. These protein biomarkers help to reflect the complicated dynamics of the brain in their roles as research tools and have the potential to be used clinically to assist in screening, diagnosis, prognosis, and to have a role in clinical trial design and interpretation. We work collaboratively with many clinicians at the local, national and international levels, studying various aspects of neurological health and disease, including: neurotrauma, neurodegeneration and healthy aging.

Project Description

Blood-based biomarkers can provide a detailed picture of neurological health and disease using relatively low-cost, accessible, objective, and scalable tools. There has been a rapid expanse of research into candidate neurological blood-based biomarkers that show utility for the diagnosis and prognosis of neurological conditions. However, in order to transition these biomarkers into clinical use, multiple clinical and analytical validation steps must be taken. This project will focus on the validation of blood biomarkers of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It will involve the generation of reference intervals for multiple biomarkers using a large population-based cohort, performing assessments of associations between biomarkers and various demographic and clinical variables, and validating the use of reference intervals in multiple TBI cohorts to determine their diagnostic and prognostic potential. The outcome of this project will be to generate widely applicable cut-offs for blood-based biomarkers to be used in TBI and other neurological conditions, moving these biomarkers closer to clinical implementation.

Key Responsibilities

During their program the student will be expected to complete courses through the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC. The student will be expected to participate in regular laboratory and small group meetings, and bi-weekly check-ins with the supervisor. They will utilize multiple techniques within the context of their project, including but not limited to: processing biospecimens, analyzing blood specimens using immunoassay technology, and advanced statistical analysis. The student will be expected to oversee all stages of the project, including designing and performing complex experiments, conducting all statistical analysis, presenting results at conferences ranging from local to international, and writing publications for project. During their degree, the student may also be expected to supervise undergraduate students.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Completed MSc or equivalent training
  • 3+ years of research experience in either neurology, clinical laboratory medicine, biostatistics, or another field relevant to proposed project
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Experience supervising projects and team members
  • Experience with GraphPad Prism, RStudio, and SPSS
  • Background knowledge of immunoassay technology and troubleshooting
  • Experience working with biological specimens

How to Apply

Submit application package as a single document to:

  • Curriculum Vitae (including links to 3 most recent publications)
  • Academic transcripts
  • 1 page cover letter

For Canadian citizens or permanent residents, we must receive applications by June 1, 2024 to be considered for September 2024 program entry.

For international applicants, we must receive applications by April 1, 2024 to be considered for September 2024 program entry or July 1, 2024 for January 2025 program entry.


An annual Graduate Research Assistant Stipend will be available; however, if the candidate does not have CIHR or similar funding they will be expected to be proactive in applying for awards.

Additional Information

Wellington Laboratory

The University of British Columbia

Graduate Studies

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Program Eligibility

Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-57882 in all your correspondence about this Doctoral student position.

This position will be supervised by
Interested applicants will have to gain admission to this graduate program
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