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UBC Reports Jun 3, 2010

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THE    UNIVERSITY   OF   BRITISH   COLUMBIA        VOLUME   57    NO   06        JUNE   3,    2010 WWW.UBC.CA
a place of mind
Chicken embryos illuminate
cleft palate problems
Helping students chew over
their food sources
Mario and Guitar Hero
kids together
Safety vs privacy: prof seeks balance
From police surveillance to Facebook, UBC Law Prof. Ben Goold studies where to
draw the line between privacy and safety,     by basil waugh    page 4
Is this water safe to drink?
UBC researchers Debbie Roberts (/efO and Mina Hoorfar have constructed a device to detect pathogens in water in real time.
patent a device to detect water-borne
pathogens in real time - a technology
that currently doesn't exist, and one
that could potentially help prevent
human illness caused from dangerous
organisms that can infiltrate treated
water systems.
"Currently, plant operators can't
actually detect a pathogen in water
on location at treatment facilities,"
says Debbie Roberts, principal
co-investigator and Associate Director
ofthe School of Engineering at UBC's
Okanagan campus. "They send samples
away to labs for testing, and quite often
that doesn't happen until after people
have started to get sick.
"The fact is, if I wanted to find out
what is in my water to determine at
that very moment if it is safe to drink,
I couldn't do it. So I want to develop the
technology that can."
The device is a portable, box-like
system called a capture cell that
passes a stream of treated water over
a series of plates that contain capture
molecules, such as antibodies. The
capture molecules have an ability to
bind to pathogens present in the water.
Once the sample is collected, the
plates are removed and dipped into a
solution that contains signal molecules -
known as micro retro-reflectors - that
also contain an antibody. The result is
an organism between two molecules,
one of which has a reflector on it. This
is then put into a detector and light is
shone on it. If any light bounces back,
the sample contains a pathogen. If no
light bounces back, it is a clean sample.
The micro retro-reflector
technology was developed by
colleagues of Roberts at the University
of Houston, although they didn't have
a practical application for it at the time.
"The technology was really all there,
it just needed to be brought together.
The biggest challenge was developing
the actual capture device or sample
cell," says Roberts.
Mina Hoorfar, Assistant Professor
of Engineering at UBC's Okanagan
campus and co-investigator in the
project, was able to use her knowledge
in fluid mechanics to put the last piece
in the puzzle.
"And now," says Roberts, "we are
confident we have a prototype that
will help us show proof of concept, so
we can secure funding and move the
project forward."
Roberts expects the capture cell will
have important practical applications
for developing countries, as well as
developed countries. With this in
mind, researchers are working to make
the capture cell a fairly inexpensive
continued on page 8 2 UBC    REPORTS    ■    JUNE    3,    2010
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Research by UBC's Harvey Richer suggests that several large chunks of the Milky Way formed at the same time,
roughly between 11 billion and 12 billion years ago.
Preliminary research led by Harvey
Richer at UBC strikes a blow against the
prevailing theory of galaxy formation
His research, which was reported in
Science News and Discovery News,
suggests that several large chunks of
the Milky Way galaxy formed at the
same time.
Richer and his colleagues are
examining 47 Tucanae, a dense, elderly
grouping of more than a million Milky
Way stars with two Hubble Space
Telescope cameras. The analysis reveals
that 47 Tucanae formed between
11 billion and J2 billion years ago.
"This is not a young cluster. That's
definitive," Richer said. But he cautioned
that both the analysis and observations
of 47 Tucanae are ongoing, so the
precise age determination is still "very
Matthew Farrer was appointed UBC's
first Canada Excellence Research Chair,
receiving a grant of $JO-million over
seven years
Farrer studies neurodegenerative
disorders, with a focus on molecular
genetics and modelling of movement
disorders such as Parkinson's disease
The Globe and Mail, CBC, the
National post and Maclean's reported
on the J9 inaugural chairholders
appointed to J3 universities across
Canada in a $200-million internationa
recruitment drive that signals Canada's
commitment to big science
The Globe and Mail, CTV, Global TV,
CBC, The Vancouver Sun and the Times
Colonist reported on the opening of
UBC's Beaty Biodiversity Centre, which
will bring together some of the world's
eading researchers.
The centrepiece of the new facility
is the awe-inspiring 25-metre-long
skeleton of a blue whale that was
washed ashore on Prince Edward Island
in 1987
"The Beaty Biodiversity Centre
exemplifies UBC's goal to engage and
inspire," said UBC President Stephen
Toope. "The curiosity and reflection
inspired by the museum's public
programs will have enormous impact on
our understanding of our complex and
interconnected world."
A Caribbean lake of liquid asphalt,
the home of a unique mix of
microorganisms, may provide clues to
how life could survive in hydrocarbon
akes on Saturn's moon Titan, as was
reported by Fox News, Science News,
Discover Magazine and CBC
Steven Hallam, of UBC, and his
colleagues analyzed samples from
several different parts of Pitch Lake on
the island of Trinidad. They found each
gram of sticky black goo in Pitch Lake
can harbor up to jo million microbes that
feed on the hydrocarbons and pump out
methane and metals.
"Every single sample that we
looked at, the bacterial community was
different," says Hallam. ■
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Email: public.affairs@ubc.ca JUNE    3,    2010    ■    UBC    REPORTS
Dr. Joy Richman cuts a window the size of a postage stamp into the eggshell to observe face and limb development.
pictured below: A 13-day chicken embryo whose skull and leg show extra beak parts and extra toes (indicated by arrows) produced by the introduction of a foreign gene.
Chicken embryos illuminate
cleft palate problems
"~»_     kfet.
K    1
^^S^   *
For Dr. Joy Richman eggs offer
an untold wealth of information about
human development.
A pediatric dentist and
development biologist, Richman
studies chicken embryos, focusing on
the intricately patterned facial bones
and limbs.
"The embryonic faces of vertebrates
including humans, mice and chickens
are very similar," says Prof. Richman
who teaches in the Faculty of Dentistry.
Her lab investigates the molecules
that tell the initially indistinct cells
in the embryo to form recognizable
structures such as the skeleton of the
jaw or hand. By tweaking molecules at
an early stage it is possible to duplicate
structures or transform one part ofthe
embryo into another. Richman's study
on embryo patterning was recently
awarded more than $900,000 from
the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR).
She explains that face development
for all mammalian embryos begins
with discrete buds of tissues - called
prominences - that surround the
primitive oral cavity. These grow
together to form the face.
Currently, one in 700 babies is born
with a cleft lip or palate. For a variety
of genetic and environmental reasons,
the separate areas of the face do not
join together as they would normally,
resulting in a cleft.
Many times, facial defects
are accompanied by limb or digit
abnormalities, both of which require
multiple surgeries, often followed
by expensive dental or orthopedic
Given the intricacies of human
embryos and the serious consequences
of anomalies, Richman says it is
important to study a model organism
that mirrors human development yet
can be accessed during embryonic
"The chicken embryo is ideal to
unravel these mysteries."
acid, a vitamin A derivative and a
protein linked to bone formation.
By inserting tiny beads containing these
molecules into the early chicken embryo,
Richman found that the cheek bones
were replaced with bones that normally
are found in the centre of the face,
essentially duplicating the upper beaks.
The experiment on beak duplication
also led Richman to her current work
which is to investigate the genes that
make the centre of the face. Out of
hundreds of genes involved in this
process, one in particular caught
her attention.
"This gene piqued my interest
because it makes a protein that is
secreted outside the cell and as such
understand what is happening in the
stage between the genes changing and
the first signs of the skeleton appearing."
Findings to date support her
theory about the importance of an
brchestrator." Richman discovered
that the protein was strongly turned
on in during the chicken embryo's
beak development. She also found that
placing the gene for this protein into
the embryo caused it to grow an extra
beak and also to duplicate digits of
the limb.
"We now want to manipulate the
levels of this protein in the early
chicken embryo to determine its roles
in shaping the skeleton of the limbs
and face."
"Our work will shed light on inherited birth defects
that affect the skeleton including cleft lip, jaw size and
shape abnormalities and disturbances in the bones of
the hands and feet."
To view what is happening in
the chicken embryo, Richman cuts a
window the size of a postage stamp
into the eggshell. When researchers
place the egg under the microscope,
they can see the beating red heart,
the face and limbs.
In work leading up to the
CIHR grant, Richman traced jaw
development to the presence of retinoic
could play a pivotal role," says Richman.
"It may act as an "orchestrator" directing
nearby cells into required patterns."
She says the majority of studies on
face development seek to unlock the
secrets within the cell, looking at which
gene levels are up or down. However,
far fewer people are looking at what is
happening outside the cells.
"It seems to me that we also need to
Study results will aid those yet
unborn, says Richman. "Our work will
shed light on inherited birth defects
that affect the skeleton including cleft
lip, jaw size and shape abnormalities
and disturbances in the bones of
the hands and feet.
She adds, "Our results may also
one day help to improve healing after
injuries to the skeleton." ■ UBC    REPORTS    ■    JUNE    3,    2010
Safety vs privacy: prof seeks balance
a young man leaving his apartment.
Undercover police officers snap photos
of him from an unmarked car.
He boards public transit and
security operators use an infrared scanner to scour his body for
suspicious packages. At work, his
employer uses spyware to record what
websites he visits and for how long.
He buys a book from his
favorite online store and is surprised
by how accurate its "personal
recommendations" are.
According to Ben Goold, a
new UBC professor who studies
surveillance technology, civil liberties
and law, these scenarios raise a number
of concerns.
"The question is how we balance
society's legitimate interest in security
with a commitment to individual
privacy rights," says Goold, who left
Oxford University to join UBC's
Faculty of Law in January.
The 40-year-old has been on the
front lines of this controversial debate
for more than 15 years, having lived
in the UK at the inception of closed-
circuit television (CCTV) and New
York for 9/11, and the subsequent
crackdown on travel and civil liberties.
"Other countries need not follow
the example of Britain's CCTV
and America's Patriot Act," says
Goold, who has helped numerous
government agencies in Europe think
through public safety and privacy
issues, including Britain's House of
Lords inquiry into surveillance and
data collection, the UK Identity and
Passport Service, and the European
Forum for Urban Safety. "The benefit
of hindsight allows us to make more
informed decisions."
Before considering surveillance
technologies, Goold says there must be
a clear understanding of their costs and
benefits. And according to Goold, who
teaches courses on privacy, security
and law, one important cost that is
often over looked is the damage to
public trust.
"Surveillance technologies have the
potential to seriously undermine the
relationships between individuals and
the state," says Goold. "In the UK we
have seen CCTV cameras transform
busy and vibrant city streets into
says. "CCTV can help deter crimes
committed by people in rational states,
like shoplifting and car theft, but not
spur of the moment violent crimes or
other offences committed due to the
influence of drugs or alcohol."
Paralympics Winter Games. While
most ofthe 1,000 CCTV cameras that
were installed for the operation have
since been decommissioned, questions
remain on how the City of Vancouver
will use the remaining 14 cameras.
'CCTV can help deter crimes committed by people
in rational states, like shoplifting and car theft, but not
spur of the moment violent crimes."
heavily monitored spaces in which
young people and visible minorities are
likely to be the main focus of attention.
You need to ask, would adding police
officers be more effective from a cost
and community safety perspective,
given the actual risk?"
Understanding surveillance
technologies and their limitations is
also key, says Goold, whose books
include CCTV and Policing and
Security and Human Rights. "Reducing
violent crime is often used to justify
CCTV, but cameras are not always
particularly effective at that," he
Since arriving at UBC, Goold has
heard many debates that previously
raged in the UK and the US heating up
in Canada. Online, social networking
websites like Facebook have been
pilloried for not adequately protecting
personal information, and according
to civil liberties groups like the Public
Space Network, proposed changes to
the B.C. School Act may be opening
the doors to CCTV-style cameras in
B.C. high schools.
There is also still fallout from
Canada's largest-ever domestic security
operation, the 2010 Olympics and
Goold says institutions need to
determine exactly how surveillance
technologies will be used before they
are employed, not after. "Ifyou don't
take the time to get things right from
the beginning, that's when problems
occur, such as overzealous policing,
violations of individual privacy, and the
loss of sensitive personal data."
For more information on Goold and
UBC's Faculty of Law, visit lawubc.ca. ■
Two studies point way for stroke research
Post-doctoral fellow Sean Meehan and PhD student Jodi Edwards have uncovered new information about quality of life after a stroke and how the brain responds to new challenges.
More Canadians are surviving
severe stroke, but they are also
experiencing poorer quality of life,
according to a study published last
month in the journal Stroke by UBC
PhD student Jodi Edwards.
Meanwhile, Edwards' lab mate,
post-doctoral fellow Sean Meehan,
has found that when learning a new
movement post-stroke, the brain
uses the prefrontal cortex - an area
typically associated with cognition -
to compensate for damage to motor
regions of the brain. His study was
published this April by the journal
Human Brain Mapping.
The studies underscore the
urgent need to develop rehabilitation
strategies to help those who have
survived stroke and point the way to
do just that, says Lara Boyd, Canada
Research Chair in Neurobiology of
Motor Learning and supervisor to both
Edwards and Meehan.
"Jodi's study tells us that quality of
life after stroke has decreased in the
past decade. A potential reason for
this decline is that while we're good
at rehabilitating patients who have
suffered mild and moderately severe
strokes, we have very little to offer the
increasing number of Canadians who
have survived a severe stroke," says
Boyd, an assistant professor in the UBC
Department of Physical Therapy. "But
Sean's study is pointing to ways to make
a major impact in post-stroke care."
Edwards sourced data from public
health surveys published by Statistics
Canada between 1996 and 2005 - a
decade that saw many significant
advances in early acute stroke
intervention - and analyzed stroke
survivors' self-assessment in eight
quality-of-life attributes.
"Despite improvements in medical
intervention, quality of life actually
declined for Canadians who had
suffered a stroke," says Edwards, a
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
(CIHR) and Michael Smith Doctoral
Scholar from the School of Population
and Public Health and the Brain
Behaviour Laboratory. "And the
two areas of impairment that most
impacted quality of life were motor and
cognitive functions - which is in line
with the most commonly identified
residual deficits of severe strokes."
"On the one hand, the findings
are understandably discouraging for
those who work with stroke patients
on a daily basis," says Edwards, who
works closely with stroke neurologists
and physical therapists at Vancouver
General Hospital and will present her
findings at the upcoming Canadian
Stroke Congress in Quebec City.
"On the other hand, we've now
identified two domains where we could
make the most impact in devising
rehabilitation strategies and potentially
improve quality of life."
Just a few feet from Edwards'
desk, Meehan, a CIHR and Michael
Smith post-doctoral fellow, studied
functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) images from both healthy
and post-stroke individuals and saw
the remarkable way the brain rallied
around a new challenge.
When performing a joystick
tracking exercise, healthy participants
demonstrated increased activity in the
premotor cortex - an area typically
associated with planning and learning
In contrast, Meehan discovered
that after stroke, people showed
increased activity in a region of the
brain associated with cognition, the
the prefrontal cortex, rather than the
premotor areas.
"This shows us that the post-stroke
brain can still learn motor skills, but
that it's using a different network to
compensate for the damage," says
Meehan, whose study is the first to
show the role of the prefrontal cortex
in post-stroke motor learning. "This
new information on how the brain
compensates for damage suggests two
potential strategies for rehabilitation:
We could work on restoring the
original brain function before the
stroke occurred, or by promoting this
new pathway."
"The convergence of these findings
from seemingly very divergent areas of
research is telling us that the brain isn't
working in compartments - each area
taking charge of certain functions that
may be irrevocably damaged by injury
or disease," says Boyd, a member of the
Brain Research Centre. "Rather, the
different domains of the brain are interrelated and may work together to take
on new challenges.
"This insight will go a long way
to helping us devise rehabilitation
strategies that will make the greatest
positive impact." ■
lhe Brain Research Centre
comprises more than 200 investigators
with multidisciplinary expertise in
neuroscience research ranging from the
test tube, to the bedside, to industrial
spin-offs. The Centre is a partnership
of UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health
Research Institute. For more information,
visit www. brain, ubc. ca. JUNE    3,    2010    ■    UBC    REPORTS 5
UBC has been able to improve some of its own food systems thanks to hands-on
teaching and learning about sustainability issues.
In 2006, the Faculty of Land and Food Systemsv' Alejandro Rojas and Assoc.
Prof. Art Bomke introduced the UBC Food Security Project. The first initiative
of its kind at a Canadian university, the UBC Food Security Project clarified
sustainability principles and connected students with major stakeholders -
the departments and people who manage the food, the campus farm and the
waste at UBC.
As part of their curriculum, students analyzed aspects of UBC's food system
and came up with recommendations, many of which have been implemented
into operations. For example, UBC purchases, whenever possible, eggs and
poultry from local producers, fair trade and organic coffee and seafood that
meets Ocean Wise sustainability standards.
For more information about The UBC Food Security Project, visit:
For more information about UBC Food Services' sustainability initiatives,
Planting school food gardens and orchards number among the ideas that Alejandro Rojas, a UBC food security researcher, is bringing to Vancouver's K-12 schools.
Helping students chew over their food sources
Rather than bite intoahamor
peanut butter sandwich, Vancouver
students could soon be tucking into
a lunch they had a hand in growing
or preparing.
UBC researcher Alejandro Rojas
is launching The Think&EatGreen@
School Project which aims to connect
Vancouver K-12 students to food and
sustainability issues while helping
schools lighten their ecological
footprint and reduce greenhouse gas
The Think&EatGreen@School
Project is a five-year interdisciplinary
study that explores innovative ways
to teach students about the impact of
individual food choices on the planet's
limited land and water resources.
"We're looking at ways in which
the school system can contribute
to reconnecting people, food and
the environment," says Rojas. "In an
age where most kids think of meal
preparation as nuking a pizza pop in
the microwave, we want to get them
thinking of food as a powerful social
and ecological connector and as a
means to protect rather than deplete
the environment."
LFS professors Art Bomke, Gwen
Chapman, Andrew Riseman and Brent
Skura, and UBC Farm Project Manager
Mark Bomford are co-investigators on
the study, along with Assoc. Prof. Jolie
Mayer-Smith, Dept. of Curriculum and
Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education
and Wendy Mendes from the School
for Community and Regional Planning.
As principal investigator, Rojas
recently received a $1 million grant from
the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada, specifically
a Strategic Research Grant from the
Community-University Research
Alliance (CURA) for Canadian
Environmental Issues program.
UBC's partners include the
Vancouver School Board, Vancouver
Coastal Health, Vancouver Food Policy
Council and numerous non-profit
organizations working on food and
environmental advocacy.
The study will investigate: the
nutritional, ecological, social and
economic practices of school food
programs; the impact of on-site
food production; the influence of
curriculum and school physical
design on student learning about the
relationships between food security,
sustainability and climate change; and
the impact of creating a sustainable
school food system on the ecological
and carbon footprint of a school.
"One of our exciting ideas is to
expose students to meal planning
and preparations with local, seasonal
ingredients that have a low-carbon
footprint," says Rojas. "We're also
looking at planting school food
Coordinator Will Valley, Project
Manager Elena Orrego and Project
Community Liaison Brent Mansfield.
The Think&EatGreen@School Project
will also fund graduate students and
bring entire classes of undergrads
to contribute and gain experiential
teaching and learning skills. School-
specific projects could range from
preparing the soil for a new "backyard"
garden to improving the cafeteria menu.
"If we succeed, at the end of the five
years, the Vancouver School Board
recent provincial legislation in B.C.
requires all public institutions to be
carbon neutral by 2012.
"This is a very exciting opportunity
for students, teachers, parents and
administrators to help develop models
of best practice and policies that other
school districts can use," says Kevin
Millsip, Sustainability Coordinator,
Vancouver School Board.
The Vancouver School District
currently serves 56,000 students in
the K-12 levels, more than 3,000 adult
"If we succeed, at the end of the five years, the Vancouver
School Board could be one of the most advanced
metropolitan school districts in North America in regards
to food garden practice."
gardens and orchards so students can
get some hands-on learning about the
growing and harvesting of food."
The research team anticipates
working closely with about 12 elementary and secondary schools each
year over five years. Helping them
ensure smooth logistics are Project
could be one of the most advanced
metropolitan school districts in North
America in regards to food garden
practice and supportive policies and
innovative pedagogy," says Rojas.
As well, the initiative tackles
institutional models of change for
decreasing carbon emissions given that
education students and about 40,000
continuing education students in
108 schools.
"What we hope students will
come away with is this simple fact -
stewarding the planet involves small
and large steps that we must take
together," says Millsip. ■ UBC    REPORTS    ■    JUNE    3,    2010
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Sauder student Thato Makgolane is bringing a group of UBC students, faculty and alumni to his hometown of Phalaborwa,
South Africa to run an MBA-style workshop.
Building a bridge
with South Africa
Since fourth-year Sauder School of
Business student Thato Makgolane left
his hometown of Phalaborwa in South
Africa, five years ago for school, he has
been trying to find ways to give back
to his community.
Thato Makgolane
"Growing up in Phalaborwa I had
lots of mentors and people supporting
me, and I felt a responsibility to give
back" said Makgolane. "I've been
In exchange, the students are working
in some of these businesses and will
learn about doing business outside
of Canada.
"We like to say we're building a
bridge," says Kroeker. "The knowledge
travels in both directions."
Makgolane stresses this to his peers:
"you're not going to give, and you're not
going to aid. You're going to share, and
you're going to learn."
The students have adopted this
mindset, and named the project the
Arc Initiative, with the arc symbolizing
the bridge and the two-way flow
of knowledge.
Even developing the program for
the Business Leadership Workshop
involves sharing knowledge. The group
has asked their community partner, the
Palabora Foundation, to help develop
workshop topics.
Teaming up with the Foundation -
a local NGO that is already plugged-in
and established in the community - is
South Africa will complete a six-week
co-op placement in a local business.
They will intern in tourism or food
production businesses that the Palabora
Foundation connects them with.
The students are also running a
business competition for emerging
business leaders in Phalaborwa. They
are raising $10,000 in SEED money
which will be awarded to two business
When Makgolane and Kroeker
started planning this project in
February they felt Sauder needed
more social enterprise and community
outreach opportunities for students.
They turned to UBC's Go Global office
which facilitates international learning
opportunities for students.
Go Global works with faculty and
community to integrate the learning
and service goals within programs to
ensure there is a sustained capacity
for the community. They also work
with the students to get them prepared
Makgolane stresses this to his peers: "you're not going
to give, and you're not going to aid. You're going to share,
and you're going to learn."
looking for ways and opportunities to
connect my experiences at UBC and
Sauder with my town."
After a failed attempt to bring the
One Laptop per Child program to his
hometown, Makgolane was inspired
by conversations with UBC accounting
Professor Jeff Kroeker to try something
out again this summer.
Makgolane and Kroeker have put
their ideas together and are developing
a pilot project that they hope could
provide an alternative to the heavily
criticized aid model currently used
in Africa - where Western nations
continuously give money and resources.
This July, Makgolane, Kroeker,
students, faculty and alumni from
Sauder and members of the Vancouver
business community are traveling to
Phalaborwa, on the north-eastern side
of South Africa, to give it a whirl.
They are taking their skills and
knowledge to the town and will
be holding a four-day MBA style
workshop for members of the
Phalaborwa business community.
an essential component of Kroeker's
new model.
"When we leave South Africa, the
project isn't over. We want to keep
talking with our partners and we
want students and alumni to return,"
says Kroeker. "The key to making it
sustainable is to have this partnership
with the Foundation."
"If this project succeeds, it could be
applied around the world. It has a great
deal of potential," says Michael Bae, a
fourth-year Sauder student and the
team coordinator for the Arc Initiative.
Kroeker is hoping this pilot project
can be fine-tuned so he can bring it
to Ethiopia next year where he has
been developing relationships with
local NGO's. The focus and content
of the workshop will be continually
refined; however, he is certain that the
Sauder students will get a lot from the
experience. They are the ones who
will be trying to apply their skills in a
new environment, "travelling across
the bridge!"
The five students traveling to
before they go abroad, and help them
reflect on their work once they come
back to Canada.
The Arc Initiative will be one of
11 International Service Learning
programs heading out this summer.
In total, Go Global has 56 students
going to seven countries between
May and August.
Team coordinator Bae applied to
the Arc Initiative through Go Global
because he knew it was an opportunity
to broaden his business skills and
"Collaboration is how international
business is happening all over the
world. I'm interested in doing business
on a global level once I graduate."
Kroeker isn't surprised. He says
there's been a significant shift in what
students want out of their careers. This
generation wants to excel in their jobs,
collaborate on an international level
and participate in community outreach
all at once.
"I'm constantly inspired by students
who don't see barriers," he says. ■ JUNE    3,    2010    ■    UBC    REPORTS
UBC Sport Camps offers more than 100 athletic, artistic and
leadership programs
There are about 7,000 registrants every
Soccer and adventure camps are the most po.
Not all camps focus on athletics, including: Uniquely You (for girls);
Junior Leadership Camp (for aspiring coaches and camp planners), and;
Arcade Bunker (for youth who love video games).
*   New camps this year: track and field, skateboard and BMX, golf,
ultimate Frisbee and rugby
•   For more information, visit: www.ubccamps.ca
* Academic departments and units across campus offer other
summer camps, as well.
Mario and Guitar Hero bring kids together
Twelve-year-old Cartier
Assadbeigi will be a year younger than
most of her peers when she starts high
school this fall. She's also over 5' 8" tall,
reads three books at once, and likes
to watch old horror movies and post
reviews on YouTube.
"Cartier is very mature for her age,
but she's not sporty and she doesn't
mingle very well," says her mother
April. Like all parents, April wants
her daughter to be happy, and to find
people she can connect with.
Last year, Cartier and April
discovered Arcade Bunker, a one-week
video game camp for youth aged nine
through 16 offered by UBC Sport
Camps. Campers race Mario Carts,
Arcade Bunker who don't necessarily fit
into other programs we offer."
With child obesity rates ballooning,
a video game camp may seem like
a step in the wrong direction. But
Cupido says UBC Sport Camps, which
has about 7,000 registrants every
summer, is there to get children out of
the house and actively participating in
a variety of activities with their peers.
"If their strength is in that field, let
them develop that," says April. "I don't
think the games are the problem. If a
parent sits their kid down in front of
a television or video game and doesn't
pay any attention to them, that's
the problem."
And, because the camp is only a
half-day, many campers spend their
mornings playing football or tennis at
Arcade Bunker was new last year,
and Cartier was one of 23 campers
who gave it a try. It's back this year, and
campers get the added bonus of touring
Electronic Arts' (EA) Burnaby facility.
EA is one of the largest and most
successful video game development
companies in the world, known for
games like FIFA Soccer and Need For
Speed. The campers will be trying out
some of the cool technologies and
fun facilities that EA employees use
every day.
"Electronic Arts is participating
in the camp to inspire youth who are
passionate about video games so that
they are aware of the amazing career
opportunities available in this industry,"
says Jackie Copland, senior manager
of Talent Acquisition for EA.
Campers race Mario Carts, compete in a Battle of
the Bands with Guitar Hero, and participate in outdoor
activities between gaming sessions.
compete in a Battle of the Bands with
Guitar Hero, and participate in outdoor
activities between gaming sessions.
For Cartier, who started gaming at
age four when Pokemon came out, it
was a perfect fit.
"She got to meet like-minded people,"
says April. "There were people Cartier
could play with and give her social
Arcade Bunker emerged from
this idea of creating an environment
where children who aren't your typical
campers, can go to socialize and excel
in something they love.
"We want to have something for
everybody," says Kyle Cupido, manager
of UBC Sport Camps. "Kids come to
some of the other programs offered
by UBC Sport Camps.
Arcade Bunker isn't the only camp
that isn't all about sports. Uniquely
You is a camp that helps teach girls
about healthy lifestyles to improve their
social and emotional well-being. Junior
Leadership Camp gets young adults
involved in the coaching and planning
of camps, and provides workshops on
coaching and teaching.
This year UBC Sport Camps has
added programs in ultimate Frisbee,
track and field, skateboard and BMX
and golf. There are also the longstanding
favourites, soccer and adventure camps,
where campers kayak, rock climb and
bike all over the Lower Mainland.
Inspiring youth and supporting
personal development are just part of
the reason UBC puts on summer camps.
Most ofthe camp staff and counselors
are UBC students and athletes.
"It really is a leadership and learning
opportunity for UBC students," says
Cupido. "Our instructors are positive
role models for the campers."
"The more exposure youth have to
university life, the more likely they
are to attend an institution of higher
learning." ■
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rroup	 8 UBC    REPORTS    ■    JUNE    3,    2010
The economics and politics of the HST
UBC economist Kevin Milligan says competitive retailers will pass tax savings from HST onto consumers.
Fight HST has benefitted from ex-premier Bill Vander Zalm's recognizability, UBC political scientist Fred Cutler says.
The endgame is approaching in
the dramatic tax war that has raged
since B.C. announced plans to scrap
the PST in favor of a Harmonized
Sales Tax (HST).
The anti-HST campaign, Fight HST,
led by former Premier Bill Vander
Zalm, has until July 5 to collect the
signatures of 10 per cent voters of each
ofthe province's 85 electoral ridings.
If successful, they could trigger a
referendum on the tax or even attempt
to recall MLAs. If they fail, HST is
scheduled to become law on July 1.
The rhetoric is flying, fast and
furious. HST advocates call it
Prof. Kevin Milligan,
UBC Department of Economics
What is being proposed?
The Province hopes to amalgamate the
7-per-cent PST and 5-per-cent federal
GST, creating a 12-per-cent HST.
How are the HST and PST different?
The HST is a value added tax,
which means it is imposed on final
consumption of goods and services.
The PST is a retail sales tax, which
can be charged on goods at different
stages of production. This cascading'
of hidden taxes can lead to very high
effective tax rates for some goods, and
inconsistencies. Few jurisdictions
What are the benefits of HST?
First, it levels the playing field among
businesses, whether they are producing
goods or providing services. Second,
HST reduces administrative costs for
both business and government. Third,
it makes the tax more transparent as
it is visible on final purchases, rather
than partially embedded in prices, as
it is with the PST. Finally, enabling
firms to take credits for taxes they pay
on capital inputs provides stronger
incentive for new investment.
The drawbacks?
I can't think of an argument in favour
of a retail sales tax like the PST over a
value-added tax such as the HST.
"Some people are very skeptical about the claim that
businesses will pass on their tax savings to consumers."
a "simpler, fairer, more transparent
tax," which will reduce costs for
employers and help them to expand
their businesses and pay higher wages.
Opponents say consumers will lose
big as many services previously exempt
from the PST will now be taxed,
including restaurants and real
estate sales.
To help navigate the controversy,
UBC Reports asked two UBC
professors watching the HST issue
closely to explain what's at stake,
economically and politically.
still use retail sales taxes like the PST
because of inefficiencies like this.
Does the HST make economic sense?
Replacing a retail sales tax like the
PST with a value added tax like the
HST is advisable, generally. Several
provinces have harmonized their PST
with the federal GST. Investment has
grown, consumer prices fell slightly,
and economic activity has continued
to expand.
I believe the fears being voiced by HST
opponents are inconsistent with what
has occurred in other regions.
What's a common HST misconception?
Some people are very skeptical about
the claim that businesses will pass
on their tax savings to consumers.
But that is what happened in France
and Atlantic Canada. Not because
companies are being nice, but because
they are competing for your business.
Evidence suggests if B.C. consumers
are careful with their retail dollars and
insist on good deals from businesses,
more savings will be passed on.
If passed, who are HST winners
and losers?
Firms that make goods with many
levels of production will win because
they currently must embed much of
the PST they pay in the prices they
charge customers. Companies that
provide mostly services will lose their
tax-favoured status and face the same
taxes as goods-producers.
Prof. Fred Cutler,
UBC Department of Political Science
How have British Columbian's
responded to the HST?
We are seeing general aversion to this
new and renamed tax from a coalition
of small-government and low-income
groups - but also from service-
providers whose products will be the
object of a sudden tax increase. They
worry about the reduction in demand
for their services.
How does this compare to other
tax backlashes?
The reaction in public opinion has
been typical of reaction in Canada
and elsewhere to new taxes. Although
the HST is mostly a restructuring of
tax collection, it does add slightly to
a citizen's overall tax burden, though
this may well be offset by lower prices
for some goods. It is especially obvious
because it's a new acronym for a tax
consumers will pay on just about
everything they buy.
Is B.C.'s anti-HST campaign unique?
What is different than in other places
in Canada that have implemented the
HST is that B.C. has legislation that
makes public initiatives possible. That
means people and groups who object
strongly to the HST have more of an
incentive to organize a campaign to
channel and lead public opinion.
What's Bill Vander Zalm's role?
The recognizability ofthe former
premier is important. Some people
take notice of what he says, and the
media reports it, so more people are
likely to engage with the issue than in a
province without an initiative process.
Will Fight HST succeed?
I think it's unlikely to succeed.
They can probably get the required
signatures and we might well see a
referendum on this initiative draft bill.
But to be successful in a referendum,
they need "yes" votes from 50 per
cent of registered voters in two-thirds
of B.C.'s ridings - and anyone who
doesn't vote is essentially counted as
a "no" vote. I think the initiative will
have trouble overcoming this built-in
What will be the political impact of
the HST in B.C.?
I think the bar is set too high for the
anti-HST campaign to succeed, but if it
does, the NDP will very likely win the
next provincial election. ■
REAL-TIME PATHOGEN DETECTOR  continued from cover
portable device with reusable pieces.
Potentially, it could function as a
water-quality detection device after a
natural disaster such as an earthquake
or tsunami.
To make the detection system a
practical tool for developing countries,
some tweaking is necessary to address
concerns related to temperature
stability and potential lack of power
sources. However, Roberts believes
once the basic concept is proven, the
device can be manipulated to serve
a number of objectives.
"For example, take the earthquake
in Haiti," says Roberts. "This device
could determine fairly quickly, in real
time, what water sources contain the
least amount of pathogens, or hopefully
be clean and thus suitable for drinking
with the least amount of treatment."
And although the prototype
focuses specifically on detecting the
microscopic water-borne parasite
Cryptosporidium, the capture cell could
eventually contain an array of plates
and capture molecules that are able to
detect any organism, or even chemical,
for which a capture molecule exists.
"We are working to detect
Cryptosporidium right now because
it is a well-known pathogen that
has a history of causing sickness in
communities, and because there is
a current technology using these
antibodies, so we know they are
commercially available and accepted by
regulatory agencies," says Roberts. ■


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