Associate Scientific Director

12-McNagnyDr. Kelly McNagny

Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, and Co-Director, Biomedical Research Centre, The University of British Columbia

Associate Scientific Director and Research Co-leader, Biomarkers & Bioinformatics Enabling Platform, AllerGen NCE Inc.

Dr. Kelly McNagny, a stem cell biologist, is a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and co-director of the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

His lab studies the CD34 family of stem cell proteins and has used gene knock out studies to show that these molecules act as molecular “teflon” to make cells more invasive and facilitate chemotaxis. He has delineated the function of these molecules in a diverse set of biological processes, including 1) tissue morphogenesis, 2) vascular integrity, 3) mucosal inflammation, 4) stem cell homing and migration, and 5) tumor progression. His AllerGen research focuses on a protein called CD34 as a therapeutic target for allergic inflammation and asthma, as well as the analysis of the cellular composition of blood to predict susceptibility to allergic disease.

Dr. McNagny obtained his PhD in Cellular Immunology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990. There he worked with Dr. Max D. Cooper (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Academy of Sciences) and his research focused on cell surface proteins expressed by preB cells that regulate B cell maturation and homing.

His post-doctoral studies took him to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany where he joined Dr. Thomas Graf’s lab from 1991 to 1996. There his work focused on transcriptional control of hematopoietic stem cell maturation and cell fate. He performed some of the first studies to identify transcription factors that regulate the gene expression and differentiation of eosinophils, which are known to play a major role in allergic and asthmatic responses. In addition, he identified a number of novel hematopoietic stem cell surface proteins and began analyzing their function. He continued his studies at the EMBL as a semi-independent visiting scientist from 1996 to 1998, prior to starting his own laboratory at UBC’s Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr. McNagny has received a number of awards including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research scholarship, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior scholarship, and the 2002 Showell-Pfizer Junior Faculty Award from the American Association for Immunology. He is also an active member of the Canadian Stem Cell Network NCE.