Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health
Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation
(604) 323-2547 ext 10
Biography & Research Interest:
Dr. Pelech received his B.Sc. (1979, Honours) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia (UBC). He undertook five years of postdoctoral training with Sir Philip Cohen at the University of Dundee in Scotland and Nobel laureate Dr. Edwin Krebs at the Howard Hughes Medical Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1987, he was one of the founding scientists of the Biomedical Research Centre at UBC, and he joined the UBC faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in 1988. He has been a full professor at UBC since 1997. Concurrently, Dr. Pelech was the principal founder of Kinetek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1992, and served as its president for 6 years. In 1999, he founded Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, and has also been its president and chief scientific officer for over 19 years. Since 1988, Dr. Pelech has been an active member of the UBC Experimental Medicine Graduate Program Committee, a course instructor in graduate courses in this program (including MEDI-501, MED-502 and MEDI-590), and a direct research supervisor for over 12 graduate students and 150 undergraduate coop–education trainees.
Dr. Pelech’s research is focused on mapping and tracking protein kinase-based cell signalling systems to identify diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for drug development for neurological disorders, cancer and diabetes. Experimental disease model systems under analyses in his lab relate to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, and diabetes. Other systems under study pertain to the regulation of meiotic maturation of oocytes, mitotic cell cycle progression in human tumour cells, and insulin signalling for metabolic control. Dr. Pelech’s industrial/academic lab has developed and utilized novel proteomics strategies involving the production of antibodies, multi-immunoblotting and protein microarrays. The latest generation antibody microarray developed in his lab features 1300 different pan- and phosphosite-specific antibodies that are printed in quadruplicate on glass microscope slides to provide 5200 separate measurements of protein expression, modifications and interactions with other proteins and drugs. Dr. Pelech has authored over 230 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, over 250 blog commentaries on the GenomeWeb website and created the SigNET KnowledgeBank with 9 open-access websites containing over 3 million webpages of scientific information about genes, proteins and drugs.