Bruce Vallance, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce Vallance is the director of the Gut4Health Microbiome core facility. Dr. Vallance completed his PhD training in gastrointestinal inflammation at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and then moved to Vancouver in 1999 to pursue his postdoctoral studies on disease-causing bacteria. Dr. Vallance was recruited to the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital as assistant professor in 2003. He has won numerous awards and currently holds the CHILD Foundation Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Vallance’s research focuses on microbe-host interactions within the intestine, including defining the role that gut microbes play in causing chronic intestinal inflammation, as seen in Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients. Dr. Vallance is responsible for overseeing Gut4Health and fulfilling its mandate to become a key resource for microbiome researchers throughout Vancouver.

Andy Sham, Ph.D.
Project Manager

Dr. Andy Sham is the project manager for the Gut4Health Microbiome Core facility. Dr. Sham grew up in Vancouver, where he attended the University of British Columbia (BSc in Cell Biology and PhD in Experimental Medicine). His PhD research focused on bacterial pathogens and the interplay between bacteria and host at the gut lining to maintain intestinal health. He continued his research training as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School where he studied how small molecules resolve inflammation in the lungs. After returning to Vancouver from Boston, he worked as a research scientist with a local biotech company where he led their research team in developing new drugs for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Sham is responsible for conceiving and developing projects as well as the general operations for the core. 

Alana Schick, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Dr. Alana Schick, came to Vancouver from the University of Calgary where she worked as a bioinformatician for the International Microbiome Centre. Previously she had obtained her PhD from the University of Ottawa on the genomics of diversification in microbial populations and her MSc from the University of British Columbia on evolutionary dynamics in E. coli. Alana brings an evolutionary and ecological approach to the study of microbial diversity. Using a wide range of computational platforms, she is adept at working with next generation sequence data and metabolomic datasets. Most of her work is in the statistical computing language R, but she is competent with an array of other Unix based and scripting approaches. Alana brings expertise in evolutionary modelling to interpreting sequence data and experience in microbiology as well as design and execution of microbial evolution experiments.

Genelle Healey, Ph.D. 

Dr. Genelle Healey is a Microbiome Scientist and Consultant for the Gut4Health Microbiome Core facility. Dr. Healey undertook her PhD in Nutritional Science at Massey University in New Zealand. The focus of her PhD was to establish the influence of habitual dietary fiber intake on gut microbiota response to a prebiotic intervention. Prior to commencing her PhD, she worked as a registered clinical Dietitian for 4 years primarily caring for patients with renal or gastrointestinal disease, as well as patients pre- and post-surgery – which provided her with valuable clinical experience. In 2017 Dr. Healey moved to Vancouver to pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship with Drs Bruce Vallance and Kevan Jacobson at the University of British Columbia. Her postdoctoral research aims to determine the immune and gut microbiome modulating capacity, as well as therapeutic efficacy of a prebiotic-containing exclusive enteral nutrition strategy in a pre-clinical model of inflammatory bowel disease and in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Travis De Wolfe, Ph.D

Dr. Travis De Wolfe is a microbiome and bioinformatics scientist with Gut4Health and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research funded Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital. His research interests include inflammatory bowel diseases, Clostridioides difficile infection, host-microbe interactions, and ecology of the gut microbiome. Dr. De Wolfe completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Food Science at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he studied the impact of probiotics on the gut microbiota in a novel mouse model of C. difficile infection. After graduating, he was awarded a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Traineeship through the Department of Biomedical Informatics to work on optimizing high-throughput workflows for microbiome library preparation and bioinformatic analysis. With his expertise, Dr. De Wolfe provides laboratory and computational support for projects of the Gut4Health Microbiome Core.

Catherine Chan, Ph.D. 
Research Technician

Dr. Cathy Chan obtained her PhD from the University of Calgary where she studied membrane protein biochemistry of microbial systems. She continued her post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia studying bacterial secretion systems and membrane proteomics. This was followed by a second fellowship studying anti-inflammation signalling pathways in mice as she wanted to learn more about animal models and immune systems. After an extended maternity leave with her amazing daughter, she joined a biotech company developing novel antibody-based therapeutics to combat animal gastrointestinal diseases. Her expertise in biochemistry and microbial systems is a valuable addition to the continued development in the at Gut4Health. 

Larissa Celiberto, Ph.D., M.Sc.
Consultant-Microbiome Research

Dr. Larissa Celiberto is a Microbiome Research Consultant for the Gut4Health Microbiome Core. Originally from Brazil, Dr. Celiberto moved to Vancouver in 2016 to pursue her Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the Sao Paulo State University. Her background includes a BSc in Nutrition and a MSc in Food and Nutrition where she investigated the role of several probiotic bacteria in animal models of intestinal inflammation. Dr. Celiberto is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Vallance lab and her project explores the relationship between the mucus overlying the intestinal epithelial cells and the gut microbiome. As a consultant for the Gut4Health team, Dr. Celiberto is involved in equipment purchase, microbiome analysis training and support as well as experiments and clinical trials with dietary compounds and probiotic bacteria

Soomin Lee
Research Assistant

Ms. Soomin Lee is a co-op student at the Gut4Health Microbiome Core facility. Soomin is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia studying microbiology and immunology.  She is currently assisting with various research projects related to nutrition and its relationship with the human gut microbiome.