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$2M supports new research chair in genetic diagnostics named for BC founder


Vancouver, BC – LifeLabs says it is investing $2 million to help endow a research chair in human health genetic diagnostics in British Columbia. LifeLabs has formed a partnership with Genome BC to assist it in establishing this high profile research position.

Genome BC, which will contribute an additional $250,000 to the chair through its Research Leadership Awards program, will administer the LifeLabs endowment under the auspices of the Genome BC Foundation. Founded in 2000, Genome BC is a research organization that invests in and manages large-scale genomics and proteomic research projects.

The Chair in Genetic Diagnostics will be named for Dr Donald B Rix to honour one of the founders and former owners of MDS Metro Laboratory Services (recently renamed LifeLabs), the largest community medical laboratory in BC. Among his many business and community service interests, Dr Rix is a founding director of Genome BC and served as its board chair for four years.

“We are delighted to name this research chair for Don in recognition of his many years of exemplary and entrepreneurial leadership in British Columbia’s biotechnology and medical research sectors,” commented Sue Paish, vice chair of the BC Board of LifeLabs. Dr Rix is chair of the BC Board of LifeLabs.

“This research chair will inspire British Columbia’s global leadership in human health genetic research,” said Dr Alan Winter, president and chief executive officer of Genome BC. “The LifeLabs investment is exciting news for us, scientists involved in health research, and the health system as a whole.”

Genome BC and LifeLabs are conducting a review of potential opportunities to establish this important investment to ensure it can maximize valuable academic research expertise in human health genetic diagnostics. Income from the endowment capital will be used to support the activities of the chair, such as salary, benefits and research expenses. LifeLabs and Genome BC expect to have further details on the selection process in the coming weeks.