​​​​Board of Directors


​​Michael J. A. Walker

President and Head of Biology


Michael Walker received training in pharmacology at the University of London UK which include a period of drug discovery at Pfizer Ltd. UK.  He also received a PhD from London after initial studies in Hong Kong.  His main interest has always been in the discovery of drugs (whether naturally occurring or not) and in the process of drug discovery itself.  His commitment has always had an academic base and in addition to 43 years at UBC has contributed to universities around the world.  However, a love of drug discovery has meant a commitment over the last 25 years to drug discovery, the founding of biotech companies, and leading searches for new drugs.  Altogether, he has been the founder or co-founder of 8 different drug discovery companies, both private and public.  Public companies include Cardiome Pharma (TSX:COM) in Canada and Verona Pharma Ltd in London (AIM:VRP), UK.  Private companies were founded principally for drug discovery purposes, but also include a contract research organization (Pneumolabs UK Ltd.).   In addition, he has been a director of other companies the most recent being IOMet which recently was acquired by a large pharma company.  Such activity has not impeded his academic research activities that have resulted in many publications, conference presentations, etc.  His driving force has always been drug discovery.  Most recently this has led to the recent foundation of Cannevert Therapeutics Ltd.; a company designed to create, and inact, a coherent and rational attempt to insert strict scientific rigour into the rational and proper therapeutic use of cannabis and its constituent cannabinoid molecules, as opposed to uses based upon anecdotes, presumptions and profit-seeking.  

Bernard A. MacLeod

Senior Clinical Scientist


An active UBC Emeritus Professor with a long career as an anesthesiologist at Vancouver General Hospital, Dr. MacLeod co-founded several companies and was a scientific advisor and director of Nortran Pharmaceuticals, later Cardiome Pharma Corp. (TSX: COM).  He brings 30 years of experience as an anesthesiologist and specialist in preclinical pharmacology and drug development at the University of British Columbia.


Richard A. Wall

Principal Chemist


A UBC Emeritus Professor who is an expert in the chemical aspects of drug effects on the body. He was originally trained with honors in chemistry at the University of California and received a Ph.D. degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. His interest in natural products and drugs grew in subsequent years as a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Wall was instrumental in the scientific foundation of Cardiome Pharma. He presently consults on the legal aspects of drug use and particularly on medicinal chemistry; he has more than 70 scientific papers and authorship of 20 patents on analytical and medicinal chemistry.


Lui Franciosi

Director

Dr. Franciosi has more than 20 years conducting pharmaceutical and medical device studies in academia and industry.  Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Verona Pharma plc, a London UK company on the London Stock Exchange AIM. Prior to this work, he completed his post-doctoral research in COPD progression modelling at the Clinical Pharmacology & Discovery Medicine Unit, GlaxoSmithKline, UK and the Leiden/Amsterdam Centre for Drug Research, The Netherlands.  He was also a clinical trial manager & monitor with the public company Nortran Pharmaceuticals (now Cardiome Pharma) to investigate novel antiarrhythmics and peripheral analgesics. He has investigated a novel wound management system at Aero-therapeutic Wound Management, Canada. Based on these experiences, he obtained his Doctorate and Masters degrees at The University of British Columbia, and pursued business studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He is currently an adjunct professor in the UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics.



Associate Scientists


Ernest Puil
Pharmacology Consultant

An active Professor Emeritus at UBC with 35 years of competence and international reputation in CNS pharmacology. Dr. Puil is co-holder of patents on analgesic therapy and on EEG techniques for predicting effects of medication in anesthesia and epilepsy.  He is also CEO of TherExcell Pharma Inc. and has served as a director of public companies. In his laboratory with graduate students, he currently investigates the mechanisms of action of analgesics in the brain.

Thomas Stokes
Chemistry Consultant

An expert chemist with extensive corporate experience, primarily in implementing biological methodologies for enhancing yields in traditional industries. Dr. Stokes is chief medicinal chemist at Therexcell Pharma Inc. and a consultant for Biofine International Inc., a company which specializes in the custom synthesis of chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry. He is an ethnopharmacologist with a background in chemical synthesis, particularly the use of enzymes in the synthesis of chiral chemicals.



​Laboratory Management


​Andrew Hegle
Senior Scientist

A UBC Adjunct Professor who received his Ph.D. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology  from the University of Michigan. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at UBC, and has a strong background in experimental electrophysiology, pharmacology and biochemistry, with special emphasis on the molecular mechanisms that regulate ionotropic membrane receptors. Dr. Hegle has corporate experience developing high-throughput analytical chemistry systems for pharmaceutical applications, and recently helped to establish the UBC Department of Pharmacology's first analytical laboratory for cannabinoid research.

Ricardo Rivera-Acevedo
Senior Scientist

A UBC Adjunct Professor who received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico - Cayey. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from UBC, designing novel pharmacological approaches to pain control and chronic pain management techniques using experimental ionotropic cannabinoid receptor antagonists. As a UBC postdoctoral fellow he studied cardiac pharmacology and pathophysiology, before joining the Department of Pharmacology in 2014 where he established the department's first analytical laboratory for cannabinoid research.




Cannevert Therapeutics