Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters
In our work, we strive to make a meaningful impact on maternal and child health by contributing to leading-edge research aimed at improving pain management.
Safe and effective pain management is influenced by individual genetic differences that dictate both how we feel pain and how we respond to specific pain relievers. Using pharmacogenomics, the study of how genetic variability contributes to individual drug responses, we are identifying genetic factors that can help predict an individual’s need for, and subsequent response to, specific pain relievers.
As part of the multi-disciplinary Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS) based at the University of British Columbia, candidates will work closely with clinicians, scientists, and patients across Canada to develop a pipeline from genetic discoveries to predictive genetic testing to help select the safest and most effective pain relievers for women and children based on their unique genetic signatures. Candidates will lead projects within one of two interconnected research themes focused on improving pain management through pharmacogenomics:
- Design, conduct, and disseminate findings of genetic association studies aimed at uncovering genetic factors that contribute to differences in pain perception and response to pain relievers
- Focused on predicting variability in morphine-based pain relief for children and occurrence of painful toxicities resulting from childhood cancer treatment (e.g., methotrexate-induced mucositis)
- Opportunities to explore other pain management questions stemming from collaborative pursuits and develop clinical practice guidelines to enable clinical implementation of genetic testing
- Establish a C. elegans platform to discover and validate genetic factors that contribute to differences in pain perception and response to pain relievers
- Encompassing discovery of novel genetic components of pain/nociception (e.g., influencing noxious mechanosensation) and response to pain relievers (e.g., morphine)
- Validating roles for novel genetic factors uncovered through clinical genetic association studies (described in the research theme above) in relevant pain and/or medication response pathways
Candidates will conduct research at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute where they will have access to state-of-the-art molecular biology, genotyping, sequencing and analysis platforms housed within CPNDS-developed laboratories for drug safety research and implementation.
Applicants with a background in, and enthusiasm for, C. elegans research, molecular biology, pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics, medical genetics, bioinformatics, data science, clinical pharmacology and/or other related fields are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Catrina Loucks to discuss potential research opportunities.
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
- Patient-specific genetic factors predict treatment failure in sofosbuvir-treated patients with chronic hepatitis C (2022)
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- Pharmacogenetic testing to guide therapeutic decision-making and improve outcomes for children undergoing anthracycline-based chemotherapy (2022)
Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, 130 (S1), 95-99
- Novel variant in glycophorin c gene protects against ribavirin-induced anemia during chronic hepatitis C treatment (2021)
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- Les tests pharmacogénomiques: Améliorer le recours personnalisé aux médicaments pour les patients (2020)
Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 66 (4), 247-249
- Pharmacogenomic testing: Enhancing personalized medication use for patients (2020)
Canadian Family Physician, 66 (4), 241-243
- CYP2D6 as a treatment decision aid for ER-positive non-metastatic breast cancer patients: a systematic review with accompanying clinical practice guidelines (2019)
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 173 (3), 521-532
- Efhc1, implicated in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, functions at the cilium and synapse to modulate dopamine signaling (2019)
- PACRG, a protein linked to ciliary motility, mediates cellular signaling (2016)
Molecular Biology of the Cell, 27 (13), 2133-2144
- Matching Two Independent Cohorts Validates DPH1 as a Gene Responsible for Autosomal Recessive Intellectual Disability with Short Stature, Craniofacial, and Ectodermal Anomalies (2015)
Human Mutation, 36 (10), 1015-1019
- Mutations in CSPP1, encoding a core centrosomal protein, cause a range of ciliopathy phenotypes in humans (2014)
American Journal of Human Genetics, 94 (1), 73-79
- Recessive TRAPPC11 mutations cause a disease spectrum of limb girdle muscular dystrophy and myopathy with movement disorder and intellectual disability (2013)
American Journal of Human Genetics, 93 (1), 181-190
- A shared founder mutation underlies restrictive dermopathy in Old Colony (Dutch-German) Mennonite and Hutterite patients in North America (2012)
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, 158 A (5), 1229-1232
- Congenital stationary night blindness: Mutation update and clinical variability (2012)
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 723, 371-379
- TMEM237 is mutated in individuals with a Joubert syndrome related disorder and expands the role of the TMEM family at the ciliary transition zone (2011)
American Journal of Human Genetics, 89 (6), 713-730