Dennis Vance

Dr. Dennis Vance, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus
Distinguished University Professor Emeritus

Ph.D, University of Pittsburgh

Office: 780-492-8286


Dennis Vance was a native of the United States but is now a Canadian citizen. He obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968 and did postdoctoral research at Harvard University with Nobel Laureate Konrad E. Bloch. In 1973, he emigrated to Canada and joined the Department of Biochemistry as Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia where he initiated his independent research career on regulation of phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis and the metabolic role of phosphatidylcholine in mammals. A complete description of his research career was published in an invited retrospective article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 2017. He is most grateful to MRC/CIHR for continuous support of his research grant from 1973-2019.

Vance, D.E. (2017) From Masochistic Enzymology to Mechanistic Physiology and Disease. J. Biol. Chem. 292, 17169-17177.

He published 260 peer-reviewed journal articles, 84 review articles, and edited 7 books. He served on numerous editorial boards culminating in his appointment as Editor-in-Chief of Biochimica Biophysica Acta, 2007-11. He supervised 26 PhD students, 38 postdoctoral fellows and 22 visiting scientists.

While at UBC, Dr. Vance was Associate Dean of Medicine, 1978-81, and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1982-86. In 1986, Professor Vance was recruited to the University of Alberta as founder and Director of the Lipid and Lipoprotein Group (renamed the Group on Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids) until 2008. The group prospered and gained an international reputation for lipid research. In 2020, the Group continues to operate at a high international level.

Dr. Vance's research contributions have been recognized and honoured by many awards:

1973 Established Investigator of the American Heart Association

1986 Heritage Medical Scientist of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research

1989 Boehringer-Mannheim Prize of the Canadian Biochemical Society

1995 Heinrich Wieland Prize, Germany (only Canadian to win this Prize)

1996 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

2003 Canada Research Chair (Tier 1)

2006 Avanti Award in Lipids, USA

2008 L.L.M. van Deenen Lecture, The Netherlands, International Conf. on Bioscience of Lipids

2009 J. Gordon Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research

Selected Publications:

The Ratio of Phosphatidylcholine to Phosphatidylethanolamine Influences Membrane Integrity and Steatohepatitis.
Li Z, Agellon LB, Allen TM, Umeda M, Jewell L, Mason A, Vance DE.
Cell Metabolism (2006) 3:321-331.

Lack of Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase Alters Plasma VLDL Phospholipids and Attenuates Atherosclerosis in Mice.
Zhao Y, Su B, Jacobs RL, Kennedy B, Francis GA, Waddington E, Brosnan JT, Vance JE, Vance DE.
Arteriosclerosis Thromb. Vasc. Biol. (2009) 29:1349-1355.

Impaired de Novo Choline Synthesis Explains Why Phosphatidylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase-deficient Mice are Protected from Diet-Induced Obesity.
Jacobs RL, Zhao Y, Koonen DPY, Sletten T, Su B, Lingrell S, Cao G, Peake DA, Kuo M-S, Proctor SD, Kennedy BP, Dyck JRB, Vance DE.
J. Biol. Chem. (2010) 285:22403-22413.

Impaired Phosphatidylcholine Biosynthesis Reduces Athersclerosis and Prevents Lipotoxic Cardiac Dysfunction in ApoE-/- Mice.
Cole LK, Dolinsky VW, Dyck JRB, Vance DE.
Circ. Res. (2011) 108:686-694.

The Membrane Lipid Phosphatidylcholine Is an Unexpected Source of Triacylglycerol in the Liver.
van der Veen JN, Lingrell S and Vance DE.
J. Biol. Chem. (2012) 287:23418-23426.

Concentration of Phosphatidylethanolamine in Mitochondria Can Modulate ATP Production and Glucose Metabolism in Mice.
van der Veen JN, Lingrell S, da Silva RP, Jacobs RL, Vance, D.E.
Diabetes (2014) 63, 2620-2630.