Team

Pedro Dimitriu

Pedro Dimitriu is MBI’s senior scientist and Senior Director of bioinformatics. He is in charge of integrating sequencing data, ecological statistics, and machine learning methods to study host–microbe interactions. Before joining the company, Pedro was a postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. There, he and his collaborators spearheaded efforts to understand how the human gut and lung microbiomes interact to influence health and disease. He has authored and co-authored publications in the leading scientific journals Science Translational Medicine, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and Journal of Allergy and Clinical immunology.

Erick Cardenas

Erick Cardenas is MBI’s Senior Director of Bioinformatics and Gut Health Program Manager. He earned his B.Sc. from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, and his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Erick has conducted research on the role of microbial communities in bioremediation, plant-growth promotion in biofuel crops, and nutrient cycling in forest soils. He brings to MBI expertise in the analysis of metagenomes, and in the development of statistical and bioinformatics tools.

Yuling Li

Yuling earned her MD from Shanghai Medical University (currently known as Fudan University) in China. After practicing medicine in China, Yuling relocated to Canada where she began working as a laboratory technician and research assistant. Over the years she has held positions at the BC Cancer Research Center, the Department of Ophthalmology at UBC, and the Michael Smith Labs where she resided for 15 years prior to her role at Microbiome Insights. Yuling is proficient at molecular biology techniques and DNA cloning, real time PCR, and PCR. She has worked alongside Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn, with an evolving skill set that continues to develop with the emerging field of microbial sciences.

Pieter Cullis

Pieter R. Cullis, Ph.D. Director, Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia; Co-Chair, Personalized Medicine Initiative; Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Director, NanoMedicines Research Group, UBC. Dr. Cullis and co-workers have been responsible for fundamental advances in the generation, loading and targeting of lipid nanoparticle(LNP) systems for intravenous delivery of small molecule drugs and macromolecular drugs such as small interfering RNA (siRNA). This work has contributed to three LNP products that have been approved by regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe for the treatment of cancer and its complications and five more that have finished Phase I clinical studies.

Dr. Cullis co-founded Lipex Biomembranes Inc., Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Northern Lipids Inc., and, most recently, Acuitas Therapeutics and Precision NanoSystems. In addition, he co-founded and was Scientific Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) 2004-2010. He has published over 300 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 40 patents. Dr. Cullis has received many awards, including the B.C. Science Council Gold Medal for Health Sciences in 1991, the Alec D. Bangham Award for contributions to liposome science and technology in 2000 and the B.C. Biotechnology Association award for Innovation and Achievement in 2002. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004, received the Leadership Award of the Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Scientists in 2010 and was awarded the Prix Galien, Canada’s premier prize for achievements in pharmaceutical R&D, in 2011.

Brad Popovich

Brad Popovich is the former Chief Scientific Officer at Genome British Columbia in Vancouver BC (2011-present). His involvement in the organization spans many years; Brad sat on the board of directors from 2006-2011. He also acted as chair for the Science Committee at Genome British Columbia from 2008-2010. Outside his present role at Genome BC, Brad serves as Chairman, Genetic Information Management Systems, and Director, Centre for Drug Research and Development Ventures (CVI) and Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD).

Brad was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Genomics from 2006-2009 and was the Vice President of Operations at Xenon Pharmaceuticals (2001-2005). Previously, he was the Founder and Director to the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Oregon Health Sciences University where he was also the Director of Graduate Education and the Executive Director, Genetic Service Laboratories at the University Hospital (1992-2001). Brad was previously the Founder and Director of the DNA Diagnostic Laboratory at Children’s Hospital San Diego / University of California San Diego (1989-1992).

Previously Brad served as a Director for: Sirius Genomics (2006-2012); DNA Direct (2005-2010); Tm Bioscience (2003-2006); the American College of Medical Genetics (Director and VP Laboratory Genetics 1999-2005); and the American College of Medical Genetics Foundation (1999-2005). He additionally Chaired the Oregon Genetic Privacy Advisory Committee (1995-2001) and was a founding member of the Oregon DNA Forensic Experts Panel (1993-2001).

Brad’s genetic training is in genetic counselling (MS, Sarah Lawrence College) biochemical genetics (MSc, McGill University), molecular genetics (PhD, McGill University), and postdoctoral training / clinical fellowship (University of Wisconsin, and University of North Carolina (laboratory of Nobel Laureate Oliver Smithies). He became board certified in clinical molecular genetics in 1993 by the American Board of Medical Specialists and the American Board of Medical Genetics.

Mike Fannon

Mike Fannon is the Founder and CEO of BioIT Solutions, a company specializing in advanced computational, workflow and data management systems for biotechnology research, clinical diagnostics and drug development. Mike advises emerging biotechnology companies in business strategy, customer relationship management, laboratory automation and IT management. He is the chief architect of BioIT’s 1Platform4 software that captures, presents, and analyzes information along the full biotech product lifecycle. Previously, Mike was Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Human Genome Sciences, where he and his team designed computerized systems to manage HGS’s high-volume labs, R&D functions, product development and clinical trials. Mike earned an MBA in Operations Analysis from The American University, and a Bachelors degree in Physics from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Malcolm Kendall

Malcolm Kendall has over 28 years of operational management, entrepreneurial, venture capital investment and leadership experience, the majority of which has been focused on company creation and building value in technology and biotechnology companies. Before founding Microbiome Insights, he was the co-founder and CEO of Indel Therapeutics Inc., a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing new drugs to address the global health crisis caused by antibiotic resistance. Prior to this, Malcolm was an investment professional with life science focused venture capital firms MDS Capital (now Lumira Capital), BioVista Capital (now Hatteras Venture Partners) and Intersouth Partners. Before entering business, he served in the U.S. Army where he honed his leadership skills as an Infantry and Special Forces officer. Malcolm has been an advisor and board member to numerous companies and organizations and is currently a member of the board of directors of Semios BIO Technologies, a mentor for the entrepreneurship@UBC program and an adjunct professor at the MBA MOT program at Simon Fraser University. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and an M.B.A. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

Brett Finlay

Dr. B. Brett Finlay is a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. He obtained a B.Sc. (Honors) in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, where he also did his Ph.D. (1986) in Biochemistry under Dr. William Paranchych, studying F-like plasmid conjugation. His post-doctoral studies were performed with Dr. Stanley Falkow at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he studied Salmonella invasion into host cells. In 1989, he joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Biotechnology Laboratory. Dr. Finlay’s research interests are focussed on host-microbe interactions, at the molecular level. By combining cell biology with microbiology, he has been at the forefront of the field called Cellular Microbiology, making several fundamental discoveries in this area, and publishing over 500 papers (h index=127). His laboratory studies several pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli, and more recently the microbiota. He is well recognized internationally for his work, and has won several prestigious awards including the E.W.R. Steacie Prize, the CSM Fisher Scientific Award, CSM Roche Award, a MRC Scientist, five Howard Hughes International Research Scholar Awards, a CIHR Distinguished Investigator, BC Biotech Innovation Award, the Michael Smith Health Research Prize, the IDSA Squibb award, the Jacob Biely Prize, the prestigious Canadian Killam Health Sciences Prize, the Flavelle Medal of the Royal Society, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Prix Galien. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, is a Member of the German National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Microbiology, Chair d’État, Collège de France and is the UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and Order of British Columbia, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He is a cofounder of Inimex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Microbiome Insights, scientific co-founder of Vedanta Pharmaceuticals and CommenSe, Director of the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative, and Founding Director and Senior Fellow of CIFAR’s Microbes and Humans. He is also the co-author of the book Let Them Eat Dirt.

Examples of latest publications

Arrieta MC, Arévalo A, Stiemsma L, et al. Associations between infant fungal and bacterial dysbiosis and childhood atopic wheeze in a nonindustrialized setting. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018.

Microbiome-driven allergic lung inflammation is ameliorated by short-chain fatty acids. Cait A, Hughes MR, Antignano F, Cait J, Dimitriu PA, Maas KR, Reynolds LA, Hacker L, Mohr J, Finlay BB, Zaph C, McNagny KM, Mohn WW. Mucosal Immunol. 2017 Oct 25. doi: 10.1038/mi.2017.75. PMID: 29067994

Towards standards for human fecal sample processing in metagenomic studies. Costea PI, Zeller G, Sunagawa S, Pelletier E, Alberti A, Levenez F, Tramontano M, Driessen M, Hercog R, Jung FE, Kultima JR, Hayward MR, Coelho LP, Allen-Vercoe E, Bertrand L, Blaut M, Brown JRM, Carton T, Cools-Portier S, Daigneault M, Derrien M, Druesne A, de Vos WM, Finlay BB, Flint HJ, Guarner F, Hattori M, Heilig H, Luna RA, van Hylckama Vlieg J, Junick J, Klymiuk I, Langella P, Le Chatelier E, Mai V, Manichanh C, Martin JC, Mery C, Morita H, O’Toole PW, Orvain C, Patil KR, Penders J, Persson S, Pons N, Popova M, Salonen A, Saulnier D, Scott KP, Singh B, Slezak K, Veiga P, Versalovic J, Zhao L, Zoetendal EG, Ehrlich SD, Dore J, Bork P. Nat Biotechnol. 2017 Nov;35(11):1069-1076. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3960. PMID: 28967887

Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Arrieta MC, Stiemsma LT, Dimitriu PA, Thorson L, Russell S, Yurist-Doutsch S, Kuzeljevic B, Gold MJ, Britton HM, Lefebvre DL, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A, McNagny KM, Sears MR, Kollmann T; CHILD Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Turvey SE, Finlay BB. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 30;7(307):307ra152. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab2271. PMID: 26424567

Diet and specific microbial exposure trigger features of environmental enteropathy in a novel murine model. Brown EM, Wlodarska M, Willing BP, Vonaesch P, Han J, Reynolds LA, Arrieta MC, Uhrig M, Scholz R, Partida O, Borchers CH, Sansonetti PJ, Finlay BB. Nat Commun. 2015 Aug 4;6:7806. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8806. PMID: 26241678

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Bill Mohn

Dr. William (Bill) Mohn is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia. Bill earned his B.A. from Colgate University and his Ph.D. from Michigan State. He was a Research Associate at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa prior to moving to UBC as an Assistant professor in 1993.

Bill has done pioneering research on bacterial metabolism of chlorinated compounds, terpenoids, and steroids. He is a leader in microbial ecology and development of methods to investigate highly complex microbial communities, and is internationally recognized for his research.

Bill’s current research employs classical, molecular, genomic, and metagenomic approaches to study (1) interactions between the host microbiome and immune system, (2) forest soil microbial ecology, and (3) bacterial metabolism of lignocellulose and steroids. He was awarded the UBC Killam Research Prize and the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Murray Award for career achievement. He was elected to both The American Academy of Microbiology and the Board of Directors of the International Society for Microbial Ecology. Pseudomonas mohnii was named in recognition of his pioneering contributions.

Bill has over 130 peer-reviewed publications and has led or co-led several interdisciplinary collaborative research projects. He served on the Editorial Boards of Applied & Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology and on advisory boards for several major research initiatives. Currently, he chairs the Advisory Board to the Microbiomes in Transition (MinT) program at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Bill teaches microbial ecophysiology and has supervised 15 postdocs, 33 graduate students and 47 undergraduate researchers.

Examples of recent publications

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Cait A, Hughes MR, Antignano F, Cait J, Dimitriu PA, Maas KR, Reynolds LA, Hacker L, Mohr J, Finlay BB, Zaph C, McNagny KM, Mohn WW. 2017. Microbiome-driven allergic lung inflammation is ameliorated by short chain fatty acids. Mucosal Immunology, advance on line doi: 10.1038/mi.2017.75

Cardenas E, Orellana LH, Konstantinidis KT, Mohn WW. 2018. Effects of timber harvesting on the genetic potential for carbon and nitrogen cycling in five North American forest ecozones. Scientific Reports, advance on line, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21197-0

Holert J, Cardenas E, Bergstrand L, Zaikova E, Hahn A, Hallam SJ, Mohn WW. 2018. Metagenomes reveal global distribution of bacterial steroid catabolism in natural, engineered and host environments. mBio 9:e02345-17

Sze MA, Dimitriu PA, Suzuki M, McDonough JE, Campbell JD, Brothers JF, Erb-Downward JR, Huffnagle GB, Hayashi S, Elliott WM, Cooper J, Sin DD, Lenburg ME, Spira A, Mohn WW, Hogg JC. 2015. The Host Response to the Lung Microbiota in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 192(4):438-445

Wilhelm RC, Singh R, Eltis LD, Mohn WW. Bacterial contributions to delignification and lignocellulose degradation in forest soils with metagenomic and quantitative stable isotope probing. ISME J. 2018 (in press).

 

 

Anusha Gandhi

Anusha Gandhi is the Senior Director of Sales and Business Development at Microbiome Insights. She brings nearly ten years of medical device development and sales experience to the company. Prior to joining the team, she held various positions as Channel Manager, Microbiome Product Manager, and Director of Sales at DNA Genotek Inc (now an Orasure company) and was most recently Director of Sales at Puritan Medical Products Company LLC. Anusha’s focus has been on the development of collection devices that enable the non-invasive collection of high quality DNA for genetic and microbiome testing. She has a strong understanding of study design, regulatory requirements, and commercialization and has worked with a wide range of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic companies, and academic institutions all over the world. Anusha earned a Master of Neuroscience (MSc) and Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience (BSc) from Carleton University.