Manager of Nephrology Research, BC Renal
As the manager of nephrology research with BC Renal, Katy Vela takes on a lot of work behind the scenes to make the research magic happen. Her work involves budget negotiations, contracts, ethics submissions, logistics, strategizing, privacy concerns and so much more.
For her, all the hard work is worth it. “I like to see a project come to us for review and see it through to completion, often several years later,” Vela says, noting that she has had many opportunities to witness the successful completion of clinical trials by BC researchers during her 17 years working with the network.
“The studies all stand out in different ways, but I should mention the work we have conducted for several trials with drugs known as SGLT2 inhibitors,” she says. “The results demonstrated improved outcomes for people living with kidney disease, and a reduced risk of major renal or cardiovascular events. These were really significant findings for our population here in BC, and patients around the world.”
Vela notes that her job does come with some challenges. For example, regulatory and ethics requirements have evolved over the years, continuously being updated based on expectations around the protection of privacy and information related to study participants. This makes it harder to navigate as she and her colleagues strive to comply and adhere to all requirements that protect this valuable group of people.
Vela also oversees the nephrology research team with the Providence Health Care Research Institute, which is a large and meaningful role. “It is very rewarding to see the integrity, productivity and professionalism of the people I work with, and to know that it is because of them that we have a very successful and exemplary research office,” she says.
In particular, she highlights the dedication and commitment of the investigators with whom she works: “They are so invested in improving the lives of our patient population that it provides great motivation for me to do my small part as a way of supporting their goals. I feel very fortunate to work with such accomplished investigators.”