Spot Light

Meet Nevan J. Krogan BSc’97, MSc’99 a molecular biologist 
and professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco.

In layperson’s terms, how would you describe your research?
In my lab, we build what I call disease-agnostic maps of the cell. That teaches 
us the fundamental biology of cells and also allows us to study many different diseases that change the human cell through mutations or due to an infection 
(for example with the coronavirus). 
 Cell maps ultimately help us find new 
ways to treat diseases and develop 
new drugs.
What attracted you to science in the 
first place?
I remember very vividly watching Frankenstein. Seeing a scientist at work turned out to have a huge influence on 
me—the freedom to pursue research, explore your curiosity, dive deeply into 
a question that interests you and work 
hard on this question until it’s solved fascinated and enticed me to become 
a scientist myself!
How would you characterize the time you spent at the University of Regina?
I loved it! It’s the place where I started my research career. I will never forget the great mentors I had, who taught me how to do great science.
What do you miss most about Regina?
The people and their generosity—not that people in San Francisco aren’t nice and generous. One thing I don’t miss about Regina is the weather. But then there is hockey. And Canadian beer—my favourite is Molson Dry!
Are we on the cusp of an effective COVID-19 vaccine?
I am very hopeful that we will have 
a number of good options for treatments and vaccines by 2021, thanks to the joint efforts of so many great minds. The speed of discovery has been so incredibly fast. Just take the work of the QBI Coronavirus Research Group that I lead—we were able 
to complete studies that usually take us years in a matter of months.
During the course of your career 
(15 years), how far has science progressed as far as cellular and molecular pharmacology goes
It’s mind-boggling how many advances have been made during this time, and how many opportunities this has opened up.
What is your motivation to support women in science?
My family instilled the value and importance of equality in me. I grew up in a big family of five, with three older sisters, and my parents always supported all of our education equally. My dad taught me that girls can do anything boys can, and I saw 
it every day in learning from my older sisters and my mom.
Are you confident that we will someday have such a complete understanding of our cellular makeup that we will have the ability to cure such diseases as cancer 
and Parkinson’s?
Yes. As a scientist, I am an optimist— 
it’s the possibility of positive change that drives me. Especially now that we see how fast science can and does move when we collaborate and explore new ways to approach our world’s problems, I believe anything is possible.