Sarah McLeod

work experience

Sarah McLeod has a strong background in Life Sciences research in the areas of immunology and cancer research. During her Ph.D. work at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Sarah pioneered the investigation of a protein, Rap1, in immune cells known as B cells in the lab of her supervisor, Dr. Michael Gold. She demonstrated Rap1 activation in B cells and then investigated the function of Rap1, showing that Rap1 activation is required for B cell adhesion and migration. 

From 2004 to 2007 Sarah did post-doctoral training at UBC with Dr. Calvin Roskelley. She extended her work with Rap1 to investigate its role in cancer cell invasion and metastasis. In 2008, Sarah took up a one year research associate position in the lab of Dr. Michel Roberge at UBC where she pursued her interest in tumour progression by working on the development of high throughput screens for cancer cell invasion inhibitors.

In 2009 Sarah came to the BCIT Department of Biotechnology as an Instructor and Applied Researcher. She currently teaches an Introductory Microbiology course and an Immunology and Virology course to the BCIT-UBC B.Sc. Honours in Biotechnology students. Sarah is also actively involved in the development of research projects with colleagues in the Biotechnology Department and in the greater BCIT community as well as initiating collaborations with local Biotechnology companies.


Sarah obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology from UBC in 2004.


During her PhD and post-doctoral work, Sarah was an author on multiple research papers in the fields of immunology and cancer research:

Freeman, S.A., S.J. McLeod, J. Dukowski, P. Austin, C.C.Y. Lee, B. Millen-Martin, P. Kubes, D.M. McCafferty, M.R. Gold and C.D. Roskelley. 2010. Preventing the activation or cycling of the Rap1 GTPase alters adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics and blocks metastatic melanoma cell extravasation into the lungs. Cancer Res. 70: 4590-4601. 

McLeod, S.J., A.J. Shum, R.L. Lee, F. Takei and M.R. Gold. 2004. The Rap GTPases regulate integrin-mediated adhesion, cell spreading, actin polymerization and Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation in B lymphocytes.  J. Biol. Chem. 279: 12009-12019.

McLeod, S.J., A.H.Y Li, R.L. Lee, A.E. Burgess and M.R. Gold. 2002.The Rap GTPases regulate B cell migration toward the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (CXCL12): Potential role for Rap2 in promoting B cell migration. Journal of Immunology. 169: 1365-1371.

McLeod, SJ., R.J. Ingham, J.L. Bos, T. Kurosaki and M.R. Gold. 1998. Activation of the Rap1 GTPase by the B cell antigen receptor. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 29218-29223.

At BCIT, Sarah is a co-investigator, together with her Department of Biotechnology colleague Joan Shellard and Paula Brown, Director of the Integrated Biosciences Research Cluster (IBRC), on a CFI infrastructure grant for the establishment of the Integrated Molecular Biology Laboratory (IMBL) for the study of the safety and biological activity of Natural Health Products. As part of IMBL, Sarah is actively involved in the initiation of research projects focused on studying the biological activity of Natural Health Products. Sarah is also involved in a biotechnology research project investigating the role of the tumour microenvironment in promoting tumour progression and has recently been working to develop gene editing techniques for use in the BCIT Biotechnology Lab.


Sarah has a keen interest in encouraging students to pursue a career in life sciences research and the biotechnology industry. She has co-mentored high school students on a science fair project and supervised 2 biotechnology students for 4 month co-op work terms on research projects within the Department of Biotechnology. She is also actively involved as a mentor in the Student Biotechnology Network in Vancouver.