New BCKDF funding supports innovation, healthier lives

October 19, 2023

In the latest round of BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) awards, the Government of BC is providing $2.5 million to support infrastructure for 16 research projects at five universities.

BCKDF helps the economy by improving productivity and competitiveness, a key objective of the StrongerBC Economic Plan. Other benefits include potential commercialization, spinoffs, patents, improved environmental management, and discoveries that directly affect the health and well-being of people in B.C. By investing in research infrastructure projects, the B.C. government is continuing to support post-secondary institutions to move toward an innovative, sustainable and inclusive future.

A total of seven projects led by UBC researchers were awarded a combined $1.5 million in funding.

The funding includes research infrastructure at the Loucks Pain Management Pharmacogenomics (PMP) lab. The lab aims to help guide clinical decision-making for pain management, improve patient outcomes at the BC Children’s Hospital and lessen the burden of pain for children in B.C.

The goal of the project is to develop ways, from genetic discoveries to predictive genetic testing strategies, to help children.

“Providing adequate pain treatment for vulnerable B.C. children, such as those with cancer, is critical,” said Catrina Loucks, assistant professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. “To do this, we need to understand why some children are unable to get pain relief, while others are dangerously sensitive to painkillers. By investigating each child’s genetics, our work can empower children and families to help choose the best pain medications for them, which is especially important for young children who cannot articulate their level of pain.”

Read the announcement

UBC-Led Projects

UBC Vancouver
  • Tamara Cohen (Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
    Nutrition and Eating Behaviour Laboratory
  • Allison Man (Physics and Astronomy)
    Infrastructure for advancing galaxy evolution research with the James Webb Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory
  • Catrina Loucks (Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics / BC Children's Hospital Research Institute)
    The Loucks Pain Management Pharmacogenomics (PMP) Lab
  • Joy Richman (Faculty of Dentistry)
    Multimodal slide scanning for dental research
  • Thomas Velenosi (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences)
    Pharmacometabolomic for precision cancer treatment
UBC Okanagan
  • Alyse Kiesser (School of Engineering)
    Applied Microbial Systems Ecology: an integrated approach to stable bioprocesses
  • Lisa Tobber (School of Engineering)
    Multi-Axial Subassemblage Test System (MAST) to develop resilient and sustainable high-rise buildings


The BCKDF empowers UBC faculty and researchers to push the boundaries of research and find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Today’s investment in research infrastructure is a testament to the wide-ranging research potential across UBC campuses. Be it advancements in pediatric pain management or unveiling the mysteries of our cosmos, UBC’s dedication to research continues to enhance the lives of British Columbians. We’re deeply appreciative of the B.C. government’s support in fostering an environment where knowledge thrives.

Deborah Buszard, interim president and vice-chancellor, University of British Columbia