Dr. Caren Helbing has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Windsor and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Western University. After postdoctoral work in cancer biology at the University of Calgary, she became a faculty member at the University of Victoria in 1999 and is a past Scholar of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Foundation.
She is currently Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology and directs a large productive research group with 150+ publications and 260+ invited presentations that investigates biomolecules to understand and promote human, animal, and environmental health using a “One Health” approach. Her internationally recognized research activities apply a broad range of cutting edge techniques including transcriptomics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and bioinformatics within three themes: 1) investigation into the molecular basis of thyroid hormone (TH) action and its disruption by environmental contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, 2) development and application of a host defense peptide (HDP) discovery platform as antibiotic alternatives to combat antimicrobial resistant pathogens, and 3) development and application of innovative minimally invasive methods including environmental DNA (eDNA) for obtaining wildlife health information as sentinels of ecosystem and human health.
She has received several awards including a NSERC University Faculty Award, the early career award for applied ecological research in 2002 from the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the UVic REACH Award for Excellence in Research Partnerships in 2021 for her contributions in the development of molecular tools for the use on amphibians and other wildlife as indicators of animal health.