October 16, 2008 11:00 ET

Top Canadian Biotechnology Teacher: Albert Chang From Vancouver Receives Award for Teaching Excellence in Life Sciences

Third annual BIOTECanada-Biogen Idec Awards honour teaching excellence in life sciences

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 16, 2008) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwire.

Vancouver teacher Albert Chang, from David Thompson Secondary School, was presented the first place prize in the third annual BIOTECanada-Biogen Idec Teaching Excellence Award in front of a roomful of students and industry leaders, today at the BC Cancer Agency. Chang was judged by a panel of industry experts to be the top educator in a secondary school level biotechnology program. He receives $5000 to be shared with his school. Chang was recognised for the depth of his teaching program, which combines scientific theory and practice with the history of biotechnology, patent law basics, and media analysis, and for his significant mentorship of his students outside the classroom.

"Biotechnology is changing British Columbia's society and economy in fundamental ways." said Peter Brenders, President and CEO of BIOTECanada. "Through their commitment and passion to teaching the latest biotechnology science, teachers like Albert Chang are ensuring the next generation of BC students can understand and take advantage of these changes."

"Our business was founded on innovation. Building scientific knowledge in British Columbia is crucial to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs, and the work these teachers do builds that foundation," said Richard Francis, President and CEO of Biogen Idec Canada Inc. "Biogen Idec is extremely proud to recognize the contribution of Albert Chang in raising the bar in scientific understanding among BC students."

Presented annually during National Biotechnology Week, the BIOTECanada-Biogen Idec Teaching Excellence Awards honour three educators who have demonstrated excellence and leadership within their schools in teaching biotechnology. The program awards a total of $10,000 annually to the 3 winning teachers and their respective schools. The two other winners, Robert Adamson, from Winnipeg and Lawrence McGillivary, from Moncton will formally receive their awards later this month.


Albert Chang, from David Thompson Secondary School teaches grade 11 and 12 students biology in a course that includes the history of biotechnology, conducts hands-on genetic labs including DNA extraction, antibiotic production, gene therapy, patent law basics and even computerized DNA analysis.

Robert Adamson, Program Director for Science Partnerships at Fort Richmond Collegiate, has taken his biotechnology course division-wide in Manitoba. His course focuses on teaching youth about the benefits and issues around emerging health technologies, and the use of biotechnology in agriculture, including its impacts on the environment and on improving the human condition and includes international biotechnology exchange placements in Germany and Australia.

Lawrence McGillivary, Science and Technology Department Head at Moncton High School, has taught biotechnology as part of his curriculum for 9 years. Mr. McGillivary also created a lab-based course to give students hands-on learning in innovative ways, such as a "CSI" crime scene activity featuring DNA fingerprinting.


Biogen Idec creates new standards of care in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is a global leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative therapies. Patients in more than 90 countries benefit from Biogen Idec's significant products that address diseases such as lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the company, please visit


BIOTECanada is dedicated to the sustainable commercial development of biotechnology innovation in Canada. It is the national industry-funded association with over 230 members representing the broad spectrum of biotech constituents including emerging and established companies in the health, industrial, and agricultural sectors, as well as academic and research institutions and other related organizations.


The BIOTECanada - Biogen Idec Teaching Excellence Awards are a unique national program dedicated to promoting and recognizing teaching of biotechnology at the secondary school level in Canada. It includes three annual cash awards, one for $5,000 and two for $2,500. The cash award would be divided equally between the winning teacher and his/her school. The school can use their portion to purchase scientific equipment or resource materials.

Contact Information