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Medical breakthroughs of tomorrow are crafted today at Burnaby research centre

Amgen BC senior scientist Desiree Lim is committed to mentoring the next generation of medical innovators
Desiree Lim, senior scientist at Amgen BC.

On any given day, Desiree Lim is a master of jigsaw puzzles, a renowned design expert, a world-class inventor and beacon of hope for the most inquisitive young minds across Canada.

As a senior scientist with Amgen British Columbia, Lim is building the future from the ground up by creating what she calls “beautiful molecules” that stand to better the human experience.

Lim works alongside her colleagues in Amgen’s Discovery Protein Science Group, crafting and cloning DNA and molecules that make medicines used to treat oncology, immuno-oncology, inflammation, and metabolic diseases.

Lim believes that anyone can make a difference, which is what she intends to do through her work with Amgen BC. “If you could do something with your time, your talent, your energy to contribute to the greater good and to create to help people's lives, you might not be Superman, you may not be a Nobel Prize winner, but in your little way you contribute to that.”

Amgen BC is helping to build a local biotech and life science community in the province, while simultaneously advancing world-class Canadian research.

Lim and other scientists at the Amgen site in Burnaby work at the forefront of interdisciplinary research in the realms of immunology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology to discover and develop pioneering medical treatments.

This field of crucial, life-changing work aligns seamlessly with the province’s recently launched BC Life Sciences strategy, which will position B.C. as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing, and as a leading centre for commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.

Desiree Lim, senior scientist at Amgen BC. Photo provided by Amgen BC

Announced last year, the BC Life Sciences strategy represents something of a full-circle moment for Lim: she’s been with Amgen for close to 25 years, has contributed to discoveries across multiple areas, and has watched the Amgen community grow. One of the areas of growth that Lim recognizes is in visibility and representation within the industry. 

“If you are a minority, it's more challenging in a male-dominated field, but I can see that it's changing already compared to when I first started,” Lim says.

Now she feels a sense of duty to pay the successes she has experienced forward by mentoring the next generation.

Lim is involved with numerous mentorship initiatives aimed at nurturing the talents of the next generation of scientists through in-house co-op programs, outreach visits to local schools and the Future Science Leaders partnership with Science World.

“We're trying to inspire the future science leaders in the industry, get them to see what it's like,” Lim says. “I didn't have that when I was growing up and I wish I had these opportunities, so I'm trying to inspire my mentees and the kids that I am teaching.”

The Future Science Leaders afterschool program inspires high school kids in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) field to consider a career in S.T.E.A.M.

“Some of the things that these kids are taking on already, it's like, ‘Oh my goodness, I feel like they're smarter than me,’” Lim proudly recalls. “I think the next generation just gets better and better.”

Discover more about Desiree Lim and her work at Amgen BC, visit

And to learn more about other People of Amgen BC, read the profile stories on Timin Hadi and Chris Murawsky