Marco Marra, one of fifteen new members of the Order of British Columbia
Recipients of the Order of British Columbia have been selected by an independent advisory committee from public nominations. The 2010 Advisory Committee consists of: The Honourable Lance S.G. Finch (Chair), Chief Justice of British Columbia; The Honourable Bill Barisoff, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and MLA for Penticton; Dr. Roger H. Barnsley, Interim President, Thompson Rivers University; Chief Harry Nyce, President, Union of British Columbia Municipalities; Lorne Brownsey, Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat; and, Dolores Kirkwood, O.B.C., and Dr. Ray Markham, O.B.C. (previous recipients of the Order).
The Order of B.C. investiture ceremony was held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria on Oct. 21, 2010. Since the Order was first introduced in 1989, 287 people have received the honour.
Marco Marra is a world leader in the field of genomics. Canadian-born and educated, with a PhD from Simon Fraser University, Dr. Marra trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Washington University Genome Sequence Center, one of the top two sequencing centres in the world.
When Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith set out in 1998 to establish the Genome Science Centre (GSC) in Vancouver, Dr. Marra was appointed to head the Mapping and Sequencing division. He later became GSC director leading more than 200 staff and an annual grant funding level averaging more than $20 million per year.
The GSC attained two historic achievements during his tenure. Dr. Marra and his team succeeded in becoming the first to map the human genome, and the centre was first in the world to sequence the SARS virus in 2004, putting Canada on the world map in the genome era. He has overseen an increasing level of collaboration through joint projects, research support, recruitment, and science and clinical practice.
Dr. Marra has received numerous honours recognizing his outstanding scientific contributions and leadership including the 2010 Genome BC Award of Scientific Excellence and the Royal Society of Canada Fellowship.