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News and Events | Issue 4, 2019

Tony Sinclair


Reaching the public through film

“The message that ecosystems can be repaired needs to resonate with the public,” says UBC zoologist Tony Sinclair. Sinclair takes a starring turn in The Serengeti Rules, which charts the careers of four pioneering conservationists. 



Jessica Meir



Former UBC researcher set to soar to the ISI

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir is taking research inspired by her work with high-flying bar-headed geese at UBC all the way to the International Space Station. 


Blue glowing dots



Connecting the glowing dots

Russ Algar wants to shed light on a cell or two. The UBC chemist is combining materials that make targeted cells glow with smartphone technology to develop inexpensive, portable medical tests.



Polar bear


Extreme oceans: Climate change in the Arctic

How UBC oceanographers use ships, satellites and supercomputers to measure the impact of climate change and model extreme weather.

September 17






Data science projects: Myths and realities

Managing a big data project is about more than manipulating data. Annie Ying, head of Cisco’s Data Science Lab in Vancouver, discusses keys to success in data science.

September 26






A million reasons to care: The biodiversity crisis in Canada
World-class researchers, hosted by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Sarah Otto, outline recent conservation approaches that work.
October 8



Peter Smith



2019 UBC Alumni Builder Award winner 

Peter Smith (PhD ‘98) is this year’s ABA winner for his dedicated volunteerism with UBC Computer Science and his work fostering opportunities for intellectual growth for alumni.



Jeffrey Lott



UBC alumnus has bone (marrow) to pick

Former Nanaimo RCMP Superintendent Jeffrey Lott (BSc ‘73) makes six to eight trips a year transporting tissue for transplant patients. His work as a courier with the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society has been recognized with the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.




  • Philippe Tortell and Michael Murphy have been appointed heads of UBC Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Microbiology and Immunology, respectively.

  • Research in statistical ecology, probability and fisheries economics at UBC Science received a boost with the appointment of three new Canada Research Chairs.

  • UBC computer scientist and Canada 150 Research Chair Margo Seltzer received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • Biologist Leticia Avilés was elected as a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society.

  • Three UBC alumni have been appointed to the Order of Canada: Mathematician Robert Phelan Langlands (BA ‘57, MA ‘58, DSc ‘85), biochemist and winery expert Howard Timothy Lee Soon (BSc ‘74) and public health physician Perry Kendall (MSc ’83).

  • Delta school district science teacher Van Chau (BSc ‘96, Bed ‘97) received a 2019 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence.


Scanning electron microscope image



Spawn of the triffid!

A newly discovered organism is giving researchers a glimpse into a complex evolutionary tale—one where ancient ancestors of plants and algae absorbed sunlight to generate energy while also hunting for prey.



Naloxone kit




Emergency harm reduction greatly reduces overdose deaths

Harm reduction services prevented more than 3,000 overdose deaths over 20-months in BC, according to a study by the BC Centre for Disease Control and UBC. Without the services, the number of overdose deaths would be 2.5 times higher.



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