- Department of Microbiology and Immunology
- Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER), Scientific Director (2008-2016)
- Team Leader, NCE IC-IMPACTS Grant in Next Generation Molecular Diagnostics for Emerging Viral Diseases (2014-2017)
Team Leader, CIHR Team Grant in Functional Infectomics of Influenza A Virus (2008-2011)
Founder and Scientific Advisor, Rising Stars of Research (2008-2010)
Lead, 4 COVID-19 discovery grants
Science Advisor, The Canadian COVID-19 Therapeutic Task Force
- Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation
Major Research Goal: Since 1999, my lab has been leading a major research initiative funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to discover novel broad-spectrum antiviral agents directed at human enveloped viruses of great concern in Canada and worldwide, including hepatitis C virus, influenza A virus, and dengue virus.
Background: It is now well established that hijacking of host-cell biosynthetic pathways by human enveloped viruses is a shared molecular event essential for the viral life cycle. The next frontier is identifying the specific and common critical host-cell pathways that are hijacked by those pathogenic human viruses of great concern around the world. This will enable development of global antiviral strategies that will catalyze the creation of therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action that target critical host components that are essential to infection and disease. Developing novel host-directed therapeutic agents will have a dramatic impact globally by providing desperately needed broad-spectrum therapeutics against drug-resistant viruses that are continuously eroding the therapeutic armamentarium, leaving fewer or no alternative antiviral agents available.
Objectives: The research programs of my laboratory are based on my breakthroughs in the field of broad-based antiviral therapeutics (Senior, K., 2000. Early steps towards a broad-based antiviral drug. The Lancet 355: 729). My lab is exploring in detail how our novel therapeutic approaches can combat human viral infections using our recently identified protein-based inhibitors directed at those host-cell proteases and viral proteases that are essential for the virus life cycle. I am now expanding the scope of my research to include our newly discovered marine natural products, natural broad-spectrum antiviral peptides, and therapeutic microRNAs. My team is developing and applying novel efficacious broad-based antiviral agents against important human enveloped viruses of major public health concern in Canada and around the world [e.g., hepatitis C virus (HCV), West Nile virus (WNV), dengue virus (DNV), HIV-1, and influenza A virus (InfA)]. My research programs are supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and infrastructure funds from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF).
Impact: The results of my research programs have allowed my team (i) to generate new antiviral agents for dissecting the biological functions of viral and host-cell enzymes necessary for the virus replication and life cycle, (ii) to define the biological impact of new classes of antiviral agents on viral infection and disease, (iii) to discover new exosome-associated biomarkers for viral diseases, and (iv) to provide insights into new therapeutic avenues for treating and diagnosing important viral diseases such as hepatitis C, epidemic viral encephalitis, AIDS, and infectious respiratory diseases.
-> Hijacking of host cell pathways by human enveloped viruses and discovery of novel indirect-acting antiviral agents (IAAs)
-> Discovery of novel direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) targeting virally encoded proteases
-> Exosomal MicroRNAs: Discovery of new master regulators of viral infection and blood-based diagnostic biomarkers of human viral diseases
-> Next generation molecular diagnostics for emerging viral diseases
Dr. Jean's New Antiviral Research Programs at the State-of-the-Art Research Facility FINDER (Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research)
With the recent establishment of FINDER at UBC, one of the most important facilities of its kind in the world, I have expanded my antiviral research program towards the discovery of broad-spectrum antivirals directed at emerging and re-emerging viruses of concern in Canada and around the world (e.g., West Nile virus, highly pathogenic H5/H7 influenza A viruses, and HIV-1). Funded by CFI and BCKDF infrastructure grants and under my directorship, FINDER is equipping Canadian and international research collaborators with state-of-the-art resources that allow them to apply the cutting-edge tools of genomics, proteomics, and imaging (i.e., infectomics) to the study of host-pathogen interactions and discovery of novel antimicrobial agents and biomarkers.
Read more on Dr. Jean's Research Programs: Article Published in Synergy: The Journal of UBC Science
Research and Discovery (2012-2013)
UBC Media Release – Jean Lab/Discovery News
March 29, 2012
Michael Smith Foundation of Health Research (MSFHR) Media Release
January 16, 2012
UBC Media Release – Jean Lab/Discovery News
January 5, 2012
FINDER – News and Views
Dr. Jean’s Illustration — Interaction of HIV-1 virions with host cell during the HIV life cycle.
Clinical Chemistry (Volume 59, Number 8, August 2013)
CIHR Peer Review Committees
Member of the CIHR Virology and Viral Pathogenesis Committee
Member of the CIHR Pandemic Preparedness Committee
Comments from MICB 306 and MICB 406 students (2009-2014)
MICB 306 students (2014) – Dr. Jean, Instructor
(2014) “Speaking to Dr. Jean about virology was fascinating, he was constantly trying to inspire us to continue into virology research, and he seemed to genuinely care that we were learning and interested, going insofar as to set up a special lecture with a world leader in EBOLA research”
(2014) “Dr. Jean did prove to be an inspirational professor and really instilled a passion for the course material in class”
(2014) “Dr. Jean's strengths as a lecturer are that he is incredibly knowledgeable in the field of virology and cares deeply for student learning”
(2014) “Dr. Jean inspired students to be more than researchers, but also human beings who have opinions and are capable of thinking critically. Thank you for a different perspective!”
MICB 306 students (2013) – Dr. Jean, Instructor
(2013) “Dr. Jean is an allstar: He inspires interest in virology and shows a deep caring for his students and their learning. Thanks Dr. Jean”.
(2013) “Dr. Jean is a wonderful prof who truly wants his students to do well. He is a great presenter and has a lot of passion for his research”.
(2013) “Dr. Jean is an excellent instructor who displays his passion and interest in the course material during the lectures”.
MICB 406 students (2009-2014) – Dr. Jean, Instructor
(2014) “I really enjoyed Dr. Jean’s teaching style. It is very refreshing to have an instructor that is sincerely invested in student learning and dedicated to inspiring and motivating each person in the class”
(2013) “Dr. Jean is one of the most passionate professors at UBC, who makes students' learning experience one that would be remembered for a life-time. With UBC being a research-based university, I did not expect to meet professors such as Dr. Jean who truly cares for his students, demonstrates passion for the research he does, and inspire us to go beyond our potential. UBC is highly privileged to have a scientist who not only makes a difference in the scientific community but also in the future generation.”
(2012) “Dr. Jean is a very effective teacher. I loved this course. Dr. Jean communicated very clearly what he wanted us to learn and he helped us to his best abilities to acquire this knowledge. Thank you Dr. Jean for a class full of quality and inspiration.”
(2011) “Dr. Jean really helped me grow as a microbiologist student and took me to another level in understanding research in virology. It has been a pleasure listening to his lectures and one can see his passion for research.”
(2010) “Dr. Jean is very inspiring and encouraging. This course influenced my future career path in a positive way; it opened up my perspective and interest in molecular virology. Just loved this course!”
(2009) “I was taught to be self-driven, manage time wisely, present effectively, and to exercise original thinking at the frontier in the field of virology. I will take the lessons learned in this class into the future as a graduate student.”
UBC Science Achievement Award (2010).
Fisher Scientific Award recipient (2003) [Canadian Society of Microbiologists (CSM)].
CIHR/Health Canada Research Initiative on Hepatitis C New Investigator Award (2000-2005)
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career UBC Award (2000-2001)
Postdoctoral Fellow: If you are interested in working on our projects as a postdoctoral fellow, please send your CV and the names of three references to Dr. François Jean via email.
Graduate Student Program: Graduate students can enter the Jean Lab via the Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology Program.
Co-op Student Program: We usually have one or two Co-op students in the lab each year. If you are interested, contact Dr. François Jean via email.
Summer Research Opportunities: We usually have one or two summer students in the lab each year. If you are interested, contact Dr. François Jean via email.
Founder and scientific advisor of Rising Stars of Research, National Undergraduate Science Research Poster Competition, (2008-2010).