The LSI becomes a GREx: announcing the launch of the Biological Resilience Initiative

We are proud to announce that The Life Sciences Institute has been designated a UBC Global Research Excellence Institute (GREx) and is ready to formally launch the Biological Resilience Initiative (BRI).

As the first initiative in Canada to study life science questions through the lens of innate resilience, the BRI will be a generative hub, focusing innovative, interdisciplinary collaborations on the grand challenges that face human health—and the health of our planet—including but not limited to:
• The race against antimicrobial resistance
• Cancer as a failure of biological resilience across scales – from molecules and cells to the whole organism
• Cellular plasticity in immune resilience
• Metabolic stability and resilience in healthy aging
• Harnessing microbial resilience for sustainability

Through 4 billion years of evolution, all living organisms, from single-celled microorganisms to humans, have developed mechanisms of resilience to protect them from both internal and external threats. Deploying our collective expertise across scales and across our research focus teams, we will increase understanding of the mechanisms underlying this resilience at molecular, genetic, and cellular levels, as well as within organisms and ecosystems as a whole.

UBC has embraced a commitment to a unique-in-Canada site of innovation based at the LSI: an initiative that will fundamentally change—and improve—the efficiency of scientific workflow at UBC. We are convinced that becoming a new GREx will promote collaborative, interdisciplinary research excellence, supported by shared technology-driven resources. These combined strengths will enable us to solve the initial grand challenges we have identified, as well as those yet to come. We will also attract, nurture and educate the next generation of scientists in fields that are only just emerging.

We thank UBC leadership and the UBC Senate for approving our vision, and everyone who contributed for their hard work, advice, and support along the way to the LSI becoming a GREx Institute. This accomplishment is a testament to our great community, past, present, and future. The Biological Resilience Initiative will look at old questions from a different perspective, leveraging our diverse expertise and models, as well as the multidisciplinary collegiality that is the hallmark of the LSI community. We welcome our colleagues at UBC and beyond to participate in the BRI, and to benefit from our new GREx status.

Please join us in celebrating this great achievement, a vitally important recognition of our institutional and individual potential to excel among the top players in life sciences research worldwide.