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Research and Facilities

Research and Facilities

Fundamental to the success of the Michael Smith Laboratories (MSL) has been the establishment of internationally recognized research programs by our faculty members in several areas: medical and animal molecular genetics/biology, plant and forest molecular genetics/biology, bioprocess engineering, chemical biology, proteomics, micro-fluidics, bioinformatics and statistical genomics.

Also affiliated with the Michael Smith Laboratories is the Centre for High-throughput Biology (ChiBi), an autonomous interdisciplinary research and graduate teaching unit with a focus on the application and development of high-throughput methods for the analysis of biological systems.  The MSL and CHiBi comprise a diverse group of 22 research and teaching faculty and over 150 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates.

UBC with over 12,000 faculty and staff plus 8,000 graduate students, has deep research strength across the Applied Sciences, the Life Sciences, the Physical Sciences and Computation, and has formal associations with research hospitals, the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Genome British Columbia, the Genome Sciences Centre, the Centre for Drug Research an Development and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.  Researchers thus enjoy numerous opportunities for stimulating and productive collaborations.

New faculty should visit the following website: for information on research.  Information on recruitment, immigration, appointment, orientation, compensation, tenure and promotion, and sabbaticals can be found on the Faculty Relations website at: .


The Michael Smith Laboratories is a multidisciplinary group of investigators who develop and apply high-throughput methods in a variety of biological systems. This group collaborates heavily, not only internally but also externally, with other researchers, agencies, institutes and companies, particularly within British Columbia. This technology-centric focus, in conjunction with the considerable energy of the researchers, has resulted in the assembly of a large amount of instrumentation and computational resources. These resources have been assembled into managed “hubs” as follows.

Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Hub

This collection of mass spectrometers, HPLCs and associated instrumentation has been assembled by CHiBi faculty members, largely from CFI grants. In addition to serving the mass spectrometry needs of the CHiBi faculty members, the Proteomics Core Facility (PCF) provides training, fee-for-service and hands-on access to a wide range of users from the academic, institutional and commercial sectors. The PCF is directed by Dr. Leonard Foster.


To submit samples to the Proteomics Core Facility for MS analysis, click here.

MISSIONTM shRNA libraries

The University of British Columbia has recently acquired Sigma’s MISSION shRNA human and mouse whole-genome TRC shRNA libraries that consist of almost 200,000 pre-cloned shRNA vectors targeting more than 22,000 human and 20,000 mouse genes. The MISSION shRNA human and mouse libraries provided by Sigma Life Science and The RNAi Consortium (TRC) were developed at the Broad Institute, a joint venture between MIT and Harvard, and represent the most comprehensive and thoroughly validated shRNA collection available.


To learn more, click here.


Computational Hub

With approximately $1 million of cash support from the University of British Columbia a new “machine room” was constructed to house the computational capacity assembled by researchers. This computational hub operates under the direction of Dr. Paul Pavlidis. In addition to supporting the computational needs of individual CHiBi faculty members, the computational hub also supports the Proteomics core facility, the B.C. Proteomics Network and NeuroDevNet and the Network of Centres of Excellence focusing on Brain diseases.


Nanofabrication Hub

This clean room facility, for the design and fabrication of microfluidic devices, was constructed within the NCE building with financial support from Western Economic Diversification, Genome BC and the University of B.C. and is under the direction of Dr. Carl Hansen. In addition to supporting the nanofabrication needs of CHiBi researchers, this hub also provides support on a fee-for-service and/or contractual basis to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), the Advanced Materials and Processing Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) at UBC and the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle.