A multidisciplinary team focused on stem cells, control of normal development and mechanisms underlying cancer initiation and progression.

The Terry Fox Laboratory (TFL) is a multidisciplinary team focused on stem cells, control of normal development and mechanisms underlying cancer initiation/progression. The goal of TFL is to make novel discoveries in the biology underlying normal development and cancer initiation/progression. The group has longstanding expertise in mammalian systems with focus on normal hematopoiesis/leukemia/lymphoma, normal and malignant mammary tissues, and lineage specification in the gut, but also more recently acquired expertise in yeast genetics. Experimental approaches include genetically engineered mouse models, patient xenograft models, in vitro cell based assays, highly dimension single cell phenotyping, molecular biology/biochemistry, DNA regulation, transcriptomics, epigenetics, and DNA repair. We are currently composed of 16 Scientists overseeing approximately 50 graduate students, 35 post-doctoral fellows, and 60 additional highly qualified technical and support personnel. Together this team deploys cutting edge research strategies to tackle fundamental problems in cancer biology. We believe that excellence in training helps foster excellence in research and supporting outstanding PhD, MD and postdoctoral scientists is critical to the innovative environment in the TFL.

Our Research

Basic Research

TFL’s focus on fundamental biological mechanisms has led to ground-breaking new insights in many areas. Our work is shedding new light on the development of the hematopoietic system, mammary gland, heart and liver. Our researchers are uncovering new types of immune cells that control our responses to allergens and inflammation and are studying how diet might influence cancer risk. We are also deploying world-first technologies to understand normal mechanisms of faithful genome regulation, replication, repair and transmission.

Translational Research

The TFL is the administrative and intellectual home of the Leukemia and Myeloma research Program (LaMP). This program is a BC Cancer Foundation sponsored research initiative that brings together basic scientists, clinical researchers, and treating physicians, to solve pressing clinically oriented research problems in blood cancers. LaMP researchers and clinicians aim to understand the causes of leukemia and myeloma, and design more effective, less toxic therapies based on the latest research findings. 

Technology Development

The TFL strives to link novel biological insights to cancer biology. Our researchers are developing innovative models of human cancer using mouse models and de novo transformation of normal human cells. These models enable new ways to study chronic myeloid leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, breast cancer, and other diseases. We are also developing world-leading ways to automate the analysis of flow cytometry data and to analyze telomere length and the position of genome rearrangements in single cells. The development and sharing of new models and methods is a critical component of our ongoing success as a world-class research unit.

Our History

The Terry Fox Laboratory was established in 1981 as a joint undertaking between the British Columbia Cancer Agency, the University of British Columbia and the B.C. Cancer Foundation with a $1M award made by the province of BC as a contribution to the original run by Terry Fox, with the additional research support of a competitive Terry Fox Program Project grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute of Canada that has been continuously maintained ever since.

Terry Fox Lab, 1982
Terry Fox laboratory, 1982

Dr. Allen Eaves (third in the front row) was the first Director and held that position for 25 years expanding its faculty to the internationally recognized group with a unique and close relationship with the Leukemia/Stem Cell Transplant Program of British Columbia and the Division of Hematology of the University of British Columbia. The Terry Fox Laboratory now comprises a faculty of 11 Scientists dedicated to many aspects of cancer research with a total staff of over 150 individuals including 85 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in 44,000 square feet of modern wet and dry laboratory and office space in the BC Cancer Research Centre. The Terry Fox Laboratory has many interactions with other research groups and institutions in Vancouver, across Canada and internationally. Particular assets include ready access to an enormous variety of normal and malignant human tissue that continues to be accrued on a daily basis for fundamental as well as translational and clinical studies. These provide novel opportunities for training and the rapid exchange of ideas between bench and bedside activities. Terry Fox Laboratory faculty have also spun off a number of successful companies and continue to generate novel intellectual property through patents and commercialization opportunities.

To learn more about our history, please refer to Stewart Jackson's book “From Dough to DNA”.

Our Funders and Partners

We would like to thank you and acknowledge all academic and industrial sponsors who have funded or are funding research in the Terry Fox Laboratory. 

Click the + icon at the right to see a list of our past and current sponsors.


BC Cancer Foundation





Genome BC

Genome Canada




Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leukemia & LYmphoma Society of Canada


National Institutes of Health Research



StecmCell Technology

Terry Fox Foundation



Additional Sponsors

  • CDMRP Department of Defense
  • Lymphoma Foundation of Canada
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Novartis
  • Pfizer
  • More to come...
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