December 8, 2021

Toronto, ON and New York, NY — December 8, 2021 – Breakthrough T1D Canada, the largest Canadian charitable funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, and the UBC Faculty of Medicine are proud to announce the establishment of Canada’s first Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence in T1D research at the University of British Columbia.

Exclusively focused on research to cure T1D, the Centre is a key pillar of Breakthrough T1D Canada’s $100M Campaign to Accelerate that launched earlier this year, and is among only five such Centres worldwide. A $10M fundraising campaign is currently underway to support the Centre, and with more than fifty percent already raised, an ambitious research program has begun.

Breakthrough T1D Centres of Excellence – Established to Fuel Discovery

Breakthrough T1D Centres of Excellence provide a research funding model that fosters highly dynamic and nimble work to drive discovery with maximum speed. In contrast to conventional research granting mechanisms, a Centre of Excellence adopts a highly collaborative approach that brings together a large team of experts from diverse fields and recruits new talent to accelerate T1D advances. This allows researchers to drive multiple projects in parallel, pivot quickly to the most promising research, yet remain focused on a unified goal of a cure for T1D.

This model is extremely cost-effective because it leverages and streamlines existing research facilities and talent. By removing the capital costs of developing a new physical space, the Centre of Excellence model ensures that philanthropic investment is directed to research rather than overhead. In line with its cure-focused global research strategy, Breakthrough T1D maintains a 360-degree view of the work at all its Centres to prioritize the science that holds the most promise for the T1D community.

The Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence at UBC

The Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence at UBC is rooted in collaboration, uniting the expertise of world-leading UBC researchers and partnerships with industry, health care, government and academia for a singular purpose: curing T1D. The Centre will foster rapid progress and efficient translation of discoveries in the lab to clinical solutions for Canadians living with T1D.

The goal of the Centre’s research team is to bring two or more new solutions to cure or slow the progression of T1D to the clinical testing stage within just five years. Five research leads and more than 35 other researchers, trainees, technical staff and collaborators will be involved in driving the Centre’s research projects.

Breakthrough T1D would like to acknowledge our campaign co-chairs Rob Fiorvento and Dan Miller, as well as our campaign cabinet members Kim Lucas, Mary Jane Devine and Michelle Tice, for their leadership and vision.

We would also like to recognize and thank several donors who have made leadership gifts that brought the Centre to reality: Joseph and Rosalie Segal, Wendy Benyk and Ray Maher, Jim Pattison, and the WB Family Foundation.

For more information about the Breakthrough T1D Center of Excellence program visit,



Dave Prowten, President and CEO Breakthrough T1D Canada:

“The Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence is a unique model that will develop and define new ways of moving research forward and will cultivate future leaders in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. We are extremely excited to partner with this exceptional team because they bring multi-faceted expertise to accelerate the integrated study of the immune system and beta cells and their complex interactions – which we are confident will fuel the path towards a cure.”

Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President of Health, UBC:

“Launching Canada’s first Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine is a meaningful opportunity for collaboration that will accelerate discovery and innovation toward a cure for type 1 diabetes. Our shared vision to prioritize team science will speed up the development of accessible immune therapies that alleviate dependence on insulin and ultimately improve health outcomes for patients with type 1 diabetes.”

Dr. Bruce Verchere, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Professor, Faculty of Medicine UBC and Director, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics and Irving K Barber Chair in Diabetes Research:

“The Breakthrough T1D Centre of Excellence at UBC will transform T1D research in Canada, sparking new collaborations, removing barriers, and accelerating progress toward a cure. I am tremendously proud to be working alongside my Centre co-leads; Drs. James Johnson, Megan Levings, Francis Lynn and Breakthrough T1D’s Dr. Sarah Linklater, to put an end to T1D within our sights.”

About Breakthrough T1D International

JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, Breakthrough T1D has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@JDRF), Facebook (@myjdrf), and Instagram (@jdrfhq).

About Breakthrough T1D Canada

Breakthrough T1D is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our goal is to raise funds to support the most advanced international T1D research and progressively remove the impact of this disease from people’s lives – until we achieve a world without it. Breakthrough T1D collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D. For more information, please visit

About UBC’s Faculty of Medicine

Ranked among the world’s top medical schools with the fifth-largest MD enrollment in North America, the UBC Faculty of Medicine is a leader in both the science and the practice of medicine. Guided by our vision—to transform health for everyone—our faculty members, learners, staff and alumni are accelerating discovery and creating pathways to better health for communities at home and around the world. Through collaboration with our partners, we strive to meet the demands of today and tomorrow, bringing real and lasting hope to people everywhere. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @UBCmedicine.