Scientific Founders

DDr. Max Cynader is the former Director of the Brain Research Centre and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia (UBC), as well as Professor of Ophthalmology. In addition, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Brain Development at UBC. He is also a Member of the Order of Canada (CM), Member of the Order of British Columbia (OBC), Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), Fellow of The Canadian Academy for Health Sciences (FCAHS), and a Principal Investigator in Canada’s Network of Excellence in Stroke. In 2014, Dr. Cynader became a Laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.  Dr. Cynader obtained his B.Sc. at McGill University in 1967, and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. Following postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute, Dr. Cynader held positions at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and had been Director of the Brain Research Centre at UBC from 1999 to 2014.

In addition to his academic successes, Dr. Cynader has made important contributions to technology development, and to the commercialization of research results.  He is one of the scientific founders of NeuroVir, a Vancouver-based biotechnology company which has developed gene therapy products to treat brain diseases.  This company, which grew to over 60 employees, was eventually sold to a German biotechnology company, which took the NeuroVir technology into phase II clinical trials.  He is also the co-founder of Wavemakers Research, a software company which has developed new and proprietary noise reducing technology.  Wavemakers grew to over 35 employees, and its technology was in widespread use in over 20% of the world car market.  He continues to play a mentoring/angel role in our technology community.



Dr Wang - Copy

Dr. Yu Tian Wang is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia and the holder of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon Chair in Stroke Research. He has also been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Scholar (2001-2011) and a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of Royal Society of Canada since 2006. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for regulating the function and intracellular trafficking of neurotransmitter receptors critical for brain functions, such as learning, memory and cognition, and investigating the manner by which these mechanisms may be altered in central nervous disease processes. His goal is to be able to treat central nervous disorders such as stroke, epilepsy and drug addiction by designing new therapeutics which specifically target these receptors and their pathways.

Dr. Wang has more than 10 years’ experience in biotech industry and company management. Dr. Wang is a co-founder of NoNO Inc, a peptide therapeutics company with a peptide drug currently in phase 3 clinical trials.



Dr. William Jia was an associate professor at Dept of Surgery in UBC. Dr. Jia is a molecular neuroscientist and virologist. He was the first in Canada, and among the first scientists in the world, to develop and employ the herpes simplex virus to treat brain cancer. The genetically engineered virus has selectively destroyed malignant brain cancer in animal models with a competent immune system. His findings have shown that herpes virus can overcome the resistance from the host immune system and reach the tumor cells to selectively destroy the tumor. Dr. Jia’s extensive expertise in developing genetically engineered proteins and viral delivery methodology makes him an essential member of our team.

Dr. Jia is experienced in patent drug development and high-tech company management. He was the founder and CSO of several companies, including Panagin Pharmaceuticals, Pepmetric Biotech Inc and Virogin Biotech. He is also the chief scientific advisor of Shanghai Innovative Research Centre of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with broad relationships in Chinese pharmaceutical and biotech industries.