David Granville

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UBC

Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, viDA Therapeutics Inc.

Director, GEM Facility, St. Paul's Hospital/UBC

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, SFU

Biography

Dr. David Granville graduated from SFU (B.Sc., Biological Sciences) in 1995. He was also involved in the SFU Co-op Education program, providing an introduction to biotechnology and ultimately inspiring him to pursue biomedical research as a career. In 1995, he was hired by QLT, Inc. While at QLT, he completed his Ph.D. and was promoted to Scientist. His R&D studies at QLT (1994-2001) supported the approval of Visudyne® as the first treatment for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. In 1999 Visudyne® was approved by the FDA resulting in the largest ophthalmic product release in history. Dr. Granville’s research is cited on the drug label for Visudyne®.  In 2001, Dr. Granville relocated to the Scripps Research Institute (San Diego, CA) where he discovered a novel therapeutic target for cardiovascular disease that led to the formation of Radical Therapeutix. Dr. Granville has received numerous awards including a Canada Research Chair, Canada Top 40 Under 40™ Award, Business in Vancouver Top Forty Under 40, Canadian Association of Pathology Junior Scientist Award, 2006 UBC Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, 2007 SFU Outstanding Alumni Award for Academic Achievement,  and was a runner-up for the American Heart Association Katz Basic Science Prize. His research is now focused on conditions associated with aging and chronic inflammation. Discoveries arising from this work have led to the incorporation of viDA Therapeutics; Dr. Granville is a Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of viDA. Dr. Granville is presently a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC, Director of the GEM Facility at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital, and an Adjunct Professor in the dept of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry at SFU.

Questions

Why did you choose to go to SFU?

I chose SFU because of the reputation, location, and the co-op education program that could provide me with degree-relevant work experience. They also had a rugby club!

Who was your favorite SFU professor and why?

I had many great professors so it is difficult to narrow it down to just one!

Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?

Studying, of course, in the library – is that the building with books across from the pub? ;0)

Do you have a favourite snow memory?

Driving past all the fancy rear wheel drive BMW’s stuck in the snow banks in my old, beat up Honda Civic.

How have you used your SFU degree in your career?

I would have never been able to get my first job at QLT if it were not for the B.Sc. and Co-op experience at SFU. The people I met during this time have had, and still do have, a great impact on my career.

What is your favourite memory from your time at SFU?

I have many great memories from the years that I played on the rugby team, social events and eventually meeting/studying on the beach/graduating with my future wife (pictured left), who was also completing a B.Sc. in biology at the time.

If you could give advice to students what would you tell them?

Get involved in extracurricular activities/sports/clubs and don’t be afraid to meet new people. Do not spend all of your time cooped up by yourself studying or glued to your computer. I’ve sadly seen far too many promising, productive students lured into the addiction of social networking, which ultimately instilled an unrealistic expectation in life for instant gratification, drained their time and work ethic, and ultimately reduced their goals and ambitions. Work hard, do not be afraid to try new things and to fail, get out and meet people face-to-face, and enjoy the real world!

What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?

This is a difficult one to answer as it is a great university that is continually growing and evolving. All the changes that have been made since I left have been great. If anything, I would say keep the culture of SFU that places a strong emphasis on academics, sports and extracurricular activities. The SFU Pipe Band is pretty cool too!