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[ Building Biotech-Creating Opportunities in the BC Bioeconomy ]


Building Biotech 2018 Thursday, Sept 27, 6:00pm Coast Coal Harbour Hotel View Event Details (


[ Genome BC Poster Competition 2018 ]


Upcoming: Thursday, May 24th, 2018 UBC's Pharmaceutical Sciences-Atrium Event details here ( )...


[ Networking Night ]


Upcoming: Tuesday, July 26th, 2017 6:30-9:00 pm, Steamworks Brewpub View Event Details (


[ Annual General Meeting 2017 ]


Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 5:30-7:00 pm, at BC Cancer Research Centre, Dorothy Lam Boardroom, 1st floor View Event Details (


[ SBN Soiree 2017 ]


Wednesday June 7th, 2017 6:00pm-9:00 pm, at TELUS World of Science View Event Details (


[ Research Exchange & Poster Competition 2017 ]


Research Exchange & Poster Competition 2017 Thursday, May 25th, 2017 8:30am-4:00 pm, at UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building Main Foyer, 2405 Wesbrook Mall View Event D..


[ Networking Night ]


Upcoming: Thursday, April 20th, 2017 6:30PM - 9:00PM Central City Brewpub (Central City Shopping Centre, 13450 102 Ave) View Event Details (


[ Career Connect - CDRD ]


Upcoming: Tuesday, March 7 2017 1:30PM - 5:00PM; 2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver View Event Details (


[ Biotech Expo 2017 ]


Upcoming: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 5:30PM - 9:00PM Jack Poole Hall at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Center (6163 University Blvd) Event details here (


Critical Skills for Success -
Government Jobs


Interested in a government coop or job? Then come to SBN’s Critical Skills for Success Workshop- Government Jobs to learn more about different career paths and the hiring process for government jobs. This government panel discussion will feature more than 5 speakers from Health Canada who will discuss different career pathways and give students guidance for government job applications. Students will also have the chance to ask questions and network with the speakers and other fellow students. This is a great opportunity to gain more understanding of government jobs and network with government mentors.

Update: Simon's slides are now available below.

Critical Skills for Success - Government Jobs - Slides Critical Skills for Success - Government Jobs - Slides (316 KB)

Time and Location

Date: Tuesday April 15th, 2014
Time: 3:30 - 5:00pm
Location: British Columbia Institute of Technology, 3700 Willingdon Ave. Burnaby, Townsquare Conference Room D

BCIT Burnaby Campus Map BCIT Burnaby Campus Map (825 KB)

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Simon Cowell is the project leader for the Health Canada (HC) allergens group in the Western Region Lab. The group performs studies and develop methods to screen foods using LC-MS, ELISA and PCR based technologies to identify contaminants in food such as wheat in gluten free flour and beer or peanuts in chocolate bars. These projects are conducted primarily in collaboration with Ottawa based scientists in the Health Products and Foods Branch of Health Canada but work is also coordinated with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency other HC Labs in other regions as well as with other departments and academics in the BC region.

Simon has experience working in academia and industry in the UK and Germany prior to coming to Canada to undertake his Graduate training.  He completed an MSc in Microbiology,  UVic 2006, then moved to the biology department to do his PhD in molecular toxicology, studying the interaction of environmental contaminants with steroid hormone receptors. His first Post-Doc was with the Vancouver Prostate Centre (at Vancouver General) working with Dr. Emma Guns investigating the efficacy of natural health products in prostate cancer therapy and he then did an NSERC supported Industrial Post-Doc at QLT in the dermatology group of the preclinical development section.  In 2007, Simon joined Health Canada and appreciates every day what a privilege it is to now be in the Canadian Public Service.

Alex Montgomery is a Microbiology Analyst with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  Alex has a bachelors degree in Biology, and spent 9 years working for a private laboratory prior to joining the agency in 2009.  His main experience lies in the microbiological analysis of food, water, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical, and environmental samples.  Alex has years of experience working with the local companies that produce the aforementioned products and has been active with the British Columbia Food Protection Association.


Megan Willems is a Regional Pesticide Officer with the Pesticide Compliance Program of Health Canada. She has spent 4 years with the pesticide compliance program, starting as an Inspector in 2010. Megan has a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Agriculture and Food and Resource Economics from the University of British Columbia. She has worked as an integrated pest management consultant with potato farmers in the Lower Mainland, starting as a field scout in university and transitioning into a full time supervisor upon graduation. Megan has also worked as a research technician for soil scientists in university and entomologists at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. She also helps farm berry crops with her family.  


Dr. Carl Alleyne is a Regional Environmental Assessment Coordinator with Health Canada. He manages the Department's responsibilities as a Federal Authority under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) for major development projects in BC, such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline, the Trans Mountain Expansion project, mineral mines. His main responsibilities include coordinating his Department’s technical advice to other federal and provincial Government Agencies on the human health impacts of projects and participating in aboriginal consultation discussions with First Nations regarding their health concerns about project impacts. The work involves conducting in-depth critical scientific reviews of human health risk assessments of biophysical impacts, including air quality, water quality, country foods, acoustics and EMF, for projects under environmental assessment review.

At Health Canada, Dr. Alleyne has also been a Manager and laboratory specialist for a chemical analytical laboratory that investigated the presence of chemical contaminants, such as environmental chemicals, veterinary drug residues, and pesticides, in foods. Before joining the Government service, he worked as a consultant and research and development scientist, specializing in environmental impacts of industrial processes, such as those used in the wood products and pulp & paper industries, and as an industrial hygienist concerned with health and safety issues in the workplace. Dr. Alleyne obtained his Doctorate degree in bio-organic chemistry, his Masters and undergraduate degrees in chemistry from the University of British Columbia. He has post-graduate training in environmental toxicology, medical sciences, and human health risk assessment.


Richard Smith is a food inspector, a food chemistry specialist and  a product safety officer. He grew up in North Vancouver in the 1950's, and graduated in 1978 with a BSc in Food Science from UBC. Before working for the government, Richard held summer jobs in the wilderness of BC and at Labatt's Brewery. Then, he worked as an industrial chemical salesman for 3 years, followed by 10 years in the dairy industry manufacturing sector as quality assurance and production foreman .In summary, Robert have had 7 different jobs with 4 employers in 35 years and have held entry and intermediate level jobs including management.


Caroline Friday is a chemistry analyst at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the Burnaby Laboratory. She graduated in 2003 with a Diploma of Technology in Chemical Sciences from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). During her post-secondary studies, Caroline won a competition to spend the summer term working on a student-led project testing ground water samples in the Nanaimo area and she has also spent an 8-month long co-op term working as a lab technician in what was then the fish chemistry lab for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). After graduation, she spent 4 years working in the field of biotechnology as the Quality Assurance Officer for a small Vancouver-based contract research lab.

She returned to the CFIA in 2007 where she worked in the fish lab again for nearly a year before transferring to the food chemistry lab with a focus on allergens testing, which has been her main focus now for the past 6 years. She is currently the primary analyst for allergens testing in Western Canada and participates in completion of new evaluations and validations of the test kits used for analysis of allergens in food.  In addition to testing and validation, Caroline also serves as a quality assurance representative for the chemistry section. Caroline is also currently enrolled in a joint major program for Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at SFU, where she intends to complete her B.Sc. for further career opportunities and advancement.


Dave Graham is the laboratory director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Burnaby Laboratory. He graduated in 1982 with a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria and received an MSC in Food Science from the University of Manitoba in 1994.

Dave started working in what was then a Department of Fisheries and Oceans lab in Victoria in 1980 as a summer student helping out with red tide monitoring samples.  The lab that he is now the Director of still tests these samples some 30 years later.  After working with the DFO lab for two summers, Dave was able to get a short term contract technician in Victoria and while he was there, he was offered a full time indeterminate job in Vancouver. Dave then worked as microbiologist and then lab supervisor and moved to the CFIA as a lab manager when this agency was formed in 1997.  He was appointed the position of Lab Director of the consolidated CFIA Burnaby Laboratory in 2000 and have been in this position ever since, where he is now the senior local manager with responsibility for the financial, physical, and human resources of this lab of approximately 40 people.



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Non-member: $10
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