David Twa Vanier Scholar 2014

Once again, one of our students in the PALM graduate program has won a Vanier scholarship.  These are highly competitive awards funded by the Government of Canada. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program “attracts and retains world-class doctoral students and helps establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning”.    It is truly an honor for David and our program to have his achievements recognized in this manner.

David is supervised by Dr. Christian  Steidl whose laboratory at the BC Cancer Research Center and studies B-cell lymphomas. David’s research study is to better understand the cross-talk arising between malignant B-cells and reactive immune infiltrate within the microenvironment of the lymphoma tumour.

Specifically, David is examining the functional consequences of how malignant B-cells hijack axes that are otherwise physiologically responsible for guarding against autoimmunity in healthy individuals. Using high-throughput sequencing techniques, he  studies novel translocations and copy number variations in programmed death ligands 1 and 2. Such structural genomic aberrations arising in these genes can serve as a reversible phenotype for molecularly precise therapies.
In addition to the Vanier Scholarship, David has also been recognized by winning several other awards which include:

  • Killam Doctoral Scholarship (2014)
  • Four Year Fellowship (2014)
  • UBC Travel Bursary (2014)
  • Canadian Hematology Society Award (2013)
  • American Society of Hematology Abstract Achievement Award (2013)
  • Gertrude Langridge Memorial Scholarship in Medical Sciences (2013)
  • Elwyn Gregg Memorial Fellowship (2013)
  • Shaughnessy Hospital Volunteer Society Fellowship in Health Care (2013)
  • Faculty of Medicine Graduate Award (2013, 2012)


Outside the lab, David rows for Burnaby Lake Rowing Club as an ex-varsity athlete, he serves as the principle clarinet for the UBC Concert Winds, he is learning to swing dance and organizes motor cycle rides across BC.
Well done David!