Events at UBC Sauder

In Sight: A conversation with Dr. Julia Levy


In Sight: A conversation with Dr. Julia Levy

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Microbiologist, immunologist, educator and entrepreneur

Dr. Julia Levy is one of Canada’s most renowned scientists. Her research and discoveries in the lab led her to co-found one of Canada’s most successful biotechnology companies – QLT Inc. From scientist to entrepreneur (at a time when very few women were either), Dr. Levy became CEO of QLT when the first medical treatment for macular degeneration – Visudyne – was discovered. Under Dr. Levy’s leadership, the development of Visudyne was used to successfully treat millions of patients around the world and boosted QLT to a billion-dollar company. In recent years, Julia has been actively engaged via UBC Sauder and Creative Destruction Lab Vancouver in mentoring many new life science start-ups. As testament to the sustained value of her commitment and practical help in nurturing scientist entrepreneurs, Julia was recently announced as CDL-Vancouver’s Fellow of the year: mentor amongst mentors.

Join us for an engaging discussion with Dr. Levy as she recounts her incredible story of commercializing scientific discoveries, while leading with courage and resilience, balancing family responsibilities, and responding to the all-consuming demands of growing a technology start-up.

Event details:

Thursday, December 3 2020
12:30 - 1:30pm (PST)
Watch recording

In Sight: My Life in Science and Biotech

In Sight is a memoir about how a love of science and discovery drove Julia Levy, a celebrated scholar and biotech CEO, to work her way through gender bias in order to achieve academic and professional recognition.

Purchase a copy using our event promo code LEVY2020 and receive a $5 discount.

An introduction to Dr. Levy

Julia Levy

Dr. Julia Levy

Founder and Director Emerita, QLT Inc.

Dr. Julia Levy is the Founder and Director Emerita of QLT Inc. Under her leadership, QLT recorded the strongest period of growth in company history and earned a reputation for achieving milestones, including FDA approval for Visudyne® therapy to treat age-related blindness in April 2000. She served in several key senior posts at QLT including Director since 1983, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President as well as President and CEO from 1995 to February 2002. In December 2006, Dr. Levy retired from the Board of Directors and became a Director Emerita. She was actively involved in QLT’s Scientific Advisory Board until January 2008 when she retired from QLT entirely. Dr. Levy remains actively involved in mentoring and investing in early stage life sciences ventures and serves as an advisor to several academic and non-profit programs.

Dr. Levy received a BSc (Honours) in immunology and bacteriology from the University of British Columbia and received a PhD in experimental pathology from the University of London in 1958 that was followed by post-doctoral research in immunology at University College London. Thereafter, Dr. Levy returned to the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor where she was promoted to a full Professor in 1974. In 1986 Dr. Levy was awarded an industrial professorship from the Medical Research Council of Canada, which allowed her to maintain her academic position at the University of British Columbia while taking up a position as Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Quadra Logic Technologies (now QLT Inc.). In 1999 Dr. Levy retired with Professor Emerita status from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Levy has received seven honorary doctorates from Canadian universities. Two chairs have been named in honour of Dr. Levy at Johns Hopkins University and the University of British Columbia departments of ophthalmology.

Dr. Levy was named a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada in 1980, Pacific Canada Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 and an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2001. She has received the Future of Vision Award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Helen Keller Award for Contributions to Vision and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Columbia Biotechnology Association. The Chemical Institute of Canada awards the Julia Levy Award for successful commercialization of innovation in the field of biomedical science and engineering.