Dr. Pieter Cullis

Director of Life Sciences Institute, Co-Chair of BC Personalized Medicine Initiative, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Director of the NanoMedicines Research Group, the University of British Columbia (UBC)

Dr. Pieter Cullis is the Director of Life Sciences Institute, Co-Chair of BC Personalized Medicine Initiative, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Director of the NanoMedicines Research Group, the University of British Columbia (UBC). He obtained his PhD in Physics in 1972 and has published over 300 scientific articles and 45 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.

Dr. Cullis’ research interests are focused on the roles of lipids in biological membranes and the use of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) systems to deliver small molecule drugs such as chemotherapeutics and genetic drugs such as siRNA, mRNA and plasmid DNA. Dr. Cullis and co-workers have been responsible for fundamental advances in the generation, loading and targeting of LNP systems for intravenous delivery of these drugs. These efforts have led to three drugs 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 has also been extensively involved in founding companies to commercialize technologies developed, at least in part, in his UBC laboratory. He has co-founded the Canadian Liposome Company, Inex Pharmaceuticals (now Tekmira Pharmaceuticals), Northern Lipids Inc., Lipex Biomembranes Inc., and, most recently, Acuitas Pharmaceuticals and Precision NanoSystems. In addition, he co-founded and was Scientific Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), which is aimed at developing, within academia, the extensive proof-of-concept data packages necessary to attract investment to preclinical drug candidates. He has been part of management teams that have raised over $200M in the biotechnology sector in BC. Recently, he has become interested in influencing the healthcare system to introduce medicine based on the molecular makeup of the individual and their disease and has therefore co-founded the BC Personalized Medicine Initiative to bring this to the front lines of healthcare.

Dr. Pieter Cullis Grants