The D. Harold Copp Lecture

The D. Harold Copp Lecture is a UBC Faculty of Medicine sponsored lectureship that arose in November 1996 through donations from the Medical Research Council of Canada and the Wolfe and Gita Churg Foundation. Named after the late Doctor D. Harold Copp, the Copp Lecture is hosted each year by the Faculty of Medicine and speakers are nominated by members of the faculty, and selected by the Copp Lecture committee.

Doctor D. Harold Copp, originally a student of the University of Toronto, earned his honours in medicine and the Faculty’s Gold medal in 1939. From there he went to Berkeley, to finish a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of California. In 1950, he came back to Canada when he was invited to become the first Head of the Department of Physiology at UBC’s newly founded Faculty of Medicine. From there he spent 30 years focused on researching hormones. In 1961, he discovered the hormone calcitonin, as it was involved in the regulation of the tone of calcim in body fluids. In 1969, he expanded upon his research when he took a team out to isolate, sequence and finally sythesize salmon calcitonin in the short span of three months. This salmon hormone was far more effective for human therapy than any found in pig or human thyroids. This eventually lead to calcitonin being used in the treatment of osteoporosis, Paget’s disease and for it to even be used as analgesic. By 1991, calcitonin exceeded $1 billion US in sales the world over, and was only exceeded in terms of sales by insulin. He eventually retired in May of 1980 and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for his outstanding medical contributions. However, before Doctor Copp’s retirement, his research curved towards comparing calcium regulation in lower vertebrates. This led to he and his colleagues isolating a calcium inhibiting hormone which he originally named teleocalcin, but was eventually renamed to stanniocalcin.

Doctor D. Harold Copp’s achievements were recognized many times throughout his life, receiving the Gairdner Award in 1967, the Flavelle Medal in 1972 and the Jacob Biely Research Prize in 1971. On top of all this, the Dr. Harold Copp Lectureship was announced in 1966 by the then president of the Medical Research Council, Doctor Henry Friesen, with an initial contribution of $25,000 that was matched by the Wolfe and Gita Churg Foundation.

The D. Harold Copp Lectureship Citation

Upcoming Lecture:

Lecture Recordings


Past Lectures

2021 | 17th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Linda Partridge

Aging: a Gut Feeling

Linda Partridge, Ph.D - Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, Germany

Highlights from the lecture

2022 | 16th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Vishva M. Dixit

Why So Many Ways to Die? The Non-Cannonical Inflammasome Pathway

Vishva M. Dixit, M.D. - Genentech, Inc., San Francisco, USA

Highlights from the lecture

2019 | 15th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Gökhan S. Hotamişligil

Metabolic Biology of the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Health and Disease

Gökhan S. Hotamişligil, M.D., Ph.D - Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, MA, USA

2018 | 14th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Nahum Sonenberg

Translational control of cancer and brain diseases via the mRNA cap-binding protein, eIF4E

Nahum Sonenberg, M.D. - Gilman Cheney Chair in Biochemistry, Dept. of Biochemistry, Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Center, McGill University

Highlights from the lecture

2017 | 13th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Thomas Südhof

Towards a molecular logic of synaptic connections: Neurexins and their ligands

Thomas Südhof, M.D., Ph.D - Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA

Highlights from the lecture

2016 | 12th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Nancy C. Andreasen

The Creative Brain

Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D - Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, IA, USA

2015 | 11th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Peter Walter

Unfolded Protein Response in Health and Disease

Peter Walter, Ph.D - Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, MA, USA

2014 | 10th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Kai Simons

Cell Membranes: Subcompartmentalization Driven by Phase Separation

Kai Simons, M.D. - Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany

2013 | 9th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Marc W. Kirschner

On Being the Right Cell Size

Marc W. Kirschner, Ph.D - Professor and Founding Chair, Dept. of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, MA, USA

2012 | 8th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Freda Miller

Stem cells: building and rebuilding the nervous system

Freda Miller, Ph.D - Professor, Dept. of Molecular Genetics; Sr Scientist, Dept. Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, University of Toronto

2011 | 7th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Robert Tjian

Core transcription factors, embryonic stem cells and differentiation

Robert Tjian, Ph.D - President, Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley, CA, USA

2010 | 6th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Elaine Fuchs

Stem cells in tissue morphogenesis and cancer

Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D - Professor, The Rockefeller University, NY, USA

2008 | 5th D. Harold Copp Lecture | John D. Scott

Cell signaling in Space and Time

John D. Scott, M.D., M.Sc. - Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine, WA, USA

2006 | 4th D. Harold Copp Lecture | Ronald M. Evans

Nuclear Receptors: Metabolic Engineering and the Dawn of Synthetic Physiology

Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D - Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Research, CA, USA

2005 | 3rd D. Harold Copp Lecture | Kenneth Clemetson

Platelet receptors in the critical equilibrium between bleeding and thrombosis

Kenneth Clemetson, Ph.D - Professor, Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

2004 | 2nd D. Harold Copp Lecture | Josef Penninger

Bones, evolution and T-cells

Josef Penninger, M.D. - Professor, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria

1999 | 1st D. Harold Copp Lecture | Salvador Moncada

The discovery and biological relevance of the L-arginine:nitric oxide pathway

Salvador Moncada, M.D., Ph.D - Professor, The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, U.K.