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Megan Levings, BSc '93
Professor: Department of Surgery and School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia
Award: Academic Achievement
Dr. Megan Levings is a world-class immunologist who has been with UBC’s Department of Surgery since 2003 when she was recruited as a Canada Research Chair in Transplantation. In 2011 she joined the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute where she now heads the Childhood Diseases Research Theme. Exemplifying academic leadership, mentorship and research excellence, Megan’s contributions to biomedical research—specifically, her work on the development and application of regulatory immune cell therapies—have been recognized internationally, putting Canada on the map in the field of human immunology.
Megan’s scientific career started with summer research positions in a fruit fly genetics lab at Simon Fraser University. She then proceeded onto graduate training in the genetics program at UBC, studying cytokine receptors and signalling pathways. In 1999, she traveled to Milan for her postdoctoral training and was among the first groups in the world to show that a special kind of white blood cell, known as a T regulatory cell, could be used as a cellular therapy to stop harmful immune responses.
Today, Megan continues this line of research at UBC, leading a vibrant group of trainees and staff who are researching immune tolerance and how to use T regulatory cells to replace conventional immunosuppression in the context of autoimmune diseases and organ transplantation. She has won numerous awards, including the Canadian Society for Immunology Investigator Award and the YWCA Woman of Distinction, Science, Research & Technology. She is also currently chairing the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies Centers' of Excellence.