pharmaceutical and life sciences. We’ve also informally
polled our biochemistry graduate students and there
is a strong consensus that the BDC program would be
outstanding preparation for a PhD in Biochemistry.
So the pilot year has been a very busy one. Among
other things, we have been building the BDC team.
Dr. Felicia Vulcu of BBS has taken a leadership role in
the BDC curriculum and steered the third year BDC
courses with aplomb and enthusiasm that only Felicia
is capable of. Dr. Nancy McKenzie has joined us as
the new Manager of the BDC program. She brings a
remarkable breadth of experience as a student of our
own Biochemistry undergraduate and graduate programs
and as a former professor in the Department of
Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Most recently, Nancy
has recruited Jodi Biro, a long time and beloved staff
member in the department of Biochemistry, to join the
team as the new Undergraduate Administrative Assistant.
Our brave accelerated BDC cohort of a dozen have also
been busy. From the beginning of January, these students
have energized us with a commitment and excitement
for the program that has made its implementation a joy.
Their participation in the new program has meant that
there have been some bumps in the road but they have
shown great spirit and, at times, a real sense of humour
as we iron out the kinks. The high point was surely the
BDC Engage symposium in April, where these outstanding
students simply wowed a crowd of faculty and community
members with their pitches for drug discovery and
development programs that targeted Huntington’s disease
and drug resistant bacterial infections.
This past spring we held the first meeting of our star-
studded advisory board to get feedback on the pilot rollout
and on the coming year. The advisory group includes
community members: Adrienne Blanchard, Partner at
Nortron Rose Fullbright in Ottawa; Brian Bloom, President
of Bloom Burton in Toronto; Shurjeel Choudhri, VP at
Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Etobicoke; and Paul Petrelli,
General Manager at Biogen in Toronto. Faculty members
Del Harnish (Health Sciences) and Benson Honig
(Business) round out this esteemed group. The feedback
and engagement of the advisory board has been simply
fantastic and we are invigorated for the coming year.
September 2015 will be full launch of the BDC
program. Some 52 new students will begin level III of the
BDC program and our brave BDC dozen who joined for
the accelerated pilot will be moving into level IV. It’s been
a long time coming and we are looking forward to it!
Director, Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization Program
CHCH TV reports on BDC Program
From left to right:
Front row: Nancy McKenzie, BDC Program Manager, Eric Brown, BDC Program Director, Felicia Vulcu, Assistant Professor
Second row: Sherry Yang, Chitman Josan, Kara Tsang, Mannie Lam, Rachel Fong, Areeba Athar
Back row: Sil Aujla, Ricky Sheetij, Stephen Catapano, Christian Pretto, Zachary Lin, Banvir Singh