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UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Reports Mar 3, 2005

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VOLUME  51   I  NUMBER  3   I  MARCH  3,2005
2 UBC in the News
3 College Days 4 New Life Sciences Institute 9 Celebrate Research
12 Defence in Depth
Implantable Medical Devices Promise Better Life
Tiny gadgets could spare diabetes patients the pain of pricking fingers, by brian lin
A UBC mechanical engineer is embarking
on a multi-disciplinary project that could
spare diabetes patients from ever pricking
their fingers again.
For decades, diabetes patients have
been drawing small amounts of blood
regularly in order to monitor their
glucose level, a procedure that is often
painful and can be particularly tough on
children or the elderly.
Now Mu Chiao, an assistant professor
in the Faculty of Applied Science and
Canada Research Chair in MicroElectro-
Mechanical Systems (MEMS), has set his
sights on creating a tiny, implantable
device that could be used to monitor
chemical levels such as glucose in
diabetes patients or deliver regular
doses of medication such as hormones
from inside the body.
At no larger than 2 millimetres, these
tiny chips would come fully equipped
with highly sensitive screening and
distribution mechanisms, and their own
Prof. Mu Chiao is working with a wide
range of scientists to develop biosensors
and monitoring devices.
power source, all wrapped in material
that prevents rejection by the body.
In fact, some of them would be so
inconspicuous that they could be left
in the body once they've accomplished
their missions.
Originally from the southern Taiwanese
port city of Tainan, Chiao was trained in
the Sensor and Actuator Center at
University of California, Berkeley, a
hotbed for MEMS  and nano-technology
One of the hottest areas of mechanical
engineering, MEMS technology has been
used to make sensing devices that control
airbag deployment in cars and switching
devices in optical telecommunications
For Mu, however, bio-medical
applications of MEMS have a stronger
" I want to make a positive impact on
people's daily lives," says Chiao, whose
research could mean fewer physician
visits and a better quality of life for
patients with chronic diseases.
Chiao has already pioneered a tech-
con tin ued on page 8
Saving the Serengeti
Anthony Sinclair's 40-year study of animal populations in African parks has
helped define biodiversity science, by Hilary Thomson
As past director
of UBC's
Research Centre,
Anthony Sinclair
helped shape the
vision for the new
Beaty Biodiversity
Research Centre
announced on January 31 under current
director Prof. Dolph Schluter, Canada
Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology.
It all started with dung beetles.
As a child in Africa, UBC zoologist
Anthony Sinclair admired and collected the
humble insect, marking the start of a career
that has spanned four decades, three continents and earned Sinclair membership in
the Royal Society of London, an academy
of the world's most eminent researchers.
A world expert in ecosystem dynamics,
biodiversity and conservation biology,
Sinclair has conducted experiments in areas
ranging from Australia and New Zealand
to the Yukon, but most of his work has
focused on the Serengeti region of
Tanzania, in eastern Africa. His latest
work, recently published in Science, concerns population dynamics of Serengeti
Born and raised in Zambia, Sinclair's
earliest memories revolve around time
spent as an intrepid investigator of bugs,
birds and mammals. He
soon learned to mix caution with curiosity, however, after meeting a leopard
during a night-time foray at
age eight.
Educated in Tanzania and fluent in Swahili, Sinclair was sent to
secondary school in England - at
that time a three-day plane journey
away. He originally studied to be an engineer but by his own admission was
an indifferent student.
All that changed when he
decided to follow his heart
and become a biologist.
" It was just like pushing a button," says the
61-year-old. "I roared      £
ahead." e
An apt descrip- <
tion, indeed. After 0
earning a PhD at °
Oxford University,
Sinclair has conducted
40 years of landmark
research that has helped define
biodiversity science and made him one
of the world's
most-cited investigators in
the field of environment
and ecology.
But to hear
Sinclair tell it, his
has mostly
•*£ A
History handed him his first lucky break
in 1890 when Italians brought a cattle disease called rinderpest to Africa during the
colonization of Ethiopia. African cattle
had no immunity to the disease and ultimately 95 per cent of the continent's
population was wiped out.
Authorities tried to combat the
spread of the disease by
killing infected animals.
They couldn't kill animals in the protected
30,000 sq. kms. of
Serengeti Park,
and thus
born Sinclair's living
He started research in Serengeti in
1965, while still an undergraduate. The
rinderpest outbreak and its effect on
Africa's ecosystem created a large-scale
natural experiment for him to test his
theories of fluctuations in animal populations. He has used the area to create
an ecological baseline by measuring natural changes in biodiversity within the
park and comparing this data to human-
induced changes seen outside the area.
He spent a decade focused on African
buffalo and wildebeest, monitoring their
resurgence after rinderpest was wiped
out. The wildebeest population increased
six-fold in about a 15-year period and
Sinclair recalls standing on hilltops
seeing nothing but the black hides of
wildebeest for 30 miles in any direction.
"The changes in wildebeest population in Serengeti changed everything -
vegetation, food supply for predators
and for humans," says Sinclair.
"This natural experiment
proved that everything is
■   linked and that all living
things are connected in an
ecosystem, a concept that is
well understood now but
was just emerging
when I
researchers were busy
unraveling many mysteries in the
region, but their work was unconnected.
Sinclair suggested they consolidate their
knowledge and has edited three books -
Serengeti, published in 1979, Serengeti II
in 1995 and Serengeti III, soon to be
continued on page 9 I      UBC      REPORTS       |      MARCH      3,      2OO5
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Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in February 2005. compiled by brian lin
First Prescribed-Heroin
Project Begins
Vancouver has opened North
America's first safe heroin-
injection site, a pilot project
which, it claims, will curb disease and deaths among
The North American Opiate
Medication Initiative
(NAOMI), a two-year
$8 Million study funded by
the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research, will also
take place in Montreal and
Toronto and enrol a total of
470 "treatment-resistant"
addicts, reports The
By keeping hardcore addicts
from committing crimes to
fund their habits, it is hoped
that they will leave drugs
behind and lead a more productive life. UBC HIV/AIDS
researcher and the project's
lead investigator, Martin
Schechter says that in similar
studies done in Europe, the
participants   "reduced their
use of street drugs, their
health improved, the level of
employment went up and the
levels of criminality fell drastically. "
This Little Piggy Hurts
In a feature story on animal
welfare in The Independent,
UBC agricultural sciences
professor Dan Weary argues
that conventional husbandry
methods should be rethought
on the basis of the animals'
For example, Weary
suggests that pigs should be
injected with hormones that
neutralise the sex hormones -
"immunocastration" - instead
of being painfully castrated.
National Study Reports
Drug Reactions
At least seven children's
hospitals will participate in
an $8.4-million nationwide
project to report adverse
reactions to drugs in children,
ranging from rashes to
drug-induced hepatitis.
Researchers will also collect
DNA and blood samples,
searching for genetic markers
that could explain why a drug
is safe for one child but not
Associate Prof. Larry Frank has found people who live in sprawling
suburbs are less likely to be physically active.
"Instead of passively waiting, we're hiring people to go
out and find (adverse drug
reactions), catalogue them, put
them in a central registry and
share them among hospitals to
see if there are any patterns,"
co-principal investigator Dr.
Bruce Carleton of UBC's
Centre for Healthcare
Innovation and Improvement
told The National Post.
Urnbanites Healthier than
Suburban Counterparts
UBC professor Larry Frank
recently spoke to CTV's
Canada AM about his research
on urban sprawl and public
"We found that the people
who live in the most walkable
parts of the Atlanta region,
who have shops and services
near to where they live . . . are
2.4 times more likely to meet
the US Surgeon-General's recommendation and the Heart
and Stroke's recommendation
of 30 minutes of moderate
activity per day than
people who live in the more
sprawling parts of the same
"Non-leisure-time physical
activity is a better way to
guarantee that we will add up
and collectively become more
physically active, or less likely
to be sedentary," he said.
Let Them Stay Up and
Watch TV
Television programs designed to
be entertaining, intelligent and
educational can open a "cognitive window" and have a profound effect on formative
young minds.
Studies have shown that television has the ability to stimulate both sides of the brain,
making it easier to retain and
understand information.
"There is no question about
that any more. The research is
in," UBC psychologist Tannis
MacBeth told The Globe and
Mail. "Programs intended to be
educational have positive
effects on the children who
watch them." □
EMAIL: public.affairs@ubc.ca
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Randy Schmidt randy.schmidt@ubc.ca
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Sharmini Thiagarajah sharmini@exchange.ubc.ca
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Martin Dee martin.dee@ubc.ca
Brenda Austin brenda.austin@ubc.ca
Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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randy.schmidt@ubc.ca or call UBC.NEWS (604.822.6397) UBC      REPORTS       |      MARCH      3,     2OO5      |      3
College Days, College Nights
UBC students were in front of and behind the cameras for this view into student life
The title of this documentary
alone should draw you in.
Over the course of the 2003-
04 academic year, eight UBC
film department students followed the joys and disappointments of 16 UBC undergraduates.
The entire 6-hour film aired
in three parts March 1, 2 and 3,
on the Documentary Channel.
Now, CBC plans a shortened
version to air in the fall.
The documentary revealed
emotional discord between
student and immigrant parents;
the party scene; the stress of
exams; romance; relationships
with faculty; student achievements, and the struggle and
defeat of those far from home.
The lynch pin of the whole
project was John Zaritsky, a
well-known journalist and film
producer whose documentaries
have aired on PBS, CBC and
BBC. He became film production adjunct professor in the
UBC Department of Theatre,
Film and Creative Writing for
this project.
Zaritsky broached the idea
for this documentary at the
2000 Sundance Film Festival
house. She followed the roller
coaster life of Sheila, the captain
of the UBC women's basketball
team, attending championship
games with her and learning
how to get a genuine story by
working hard at keeping a good
on the loss of his girl friend.
There were other tense
incidents in the film and in the
lives of the cast. But, overall,
most felt they were doing the
right thing at the right time at
university, according to Alyson
A year in the life of... UBC film students at work on the documentary.
"Crew members were expected to observe closely the lives of
their subjects, stay involved and
bring ideas to weekly film
department sessions," Chan
Drysdale, a film department
faculty member responsible
for organizing the internship
documentary production course,
which she co-taught with
'Crew members were expected to observe closely the lives of their subjects,
stay involved and bring ideas to weekly film department sessions."
with Corus Entertainment, editors for the Documentary
Channel, carried in Vancouver
on Shaw's digital cable service.
He wanted to know what it was
like to be a college student in
the new millennium.
His company, Point Grey
Pictures, did the preliminary
cast interviews for College
Days, College Nights of about
70 volunteers from the UBC
undergraduate student body
who responded to campus
"About half were eliminated
in the first interview. The other
half went on camera with a
professional crew so we could
gauge their reactions. We wanted a balance of gender, cultural
background, university year and
study course."
The crew members were
fourth-year film production students and they interned with
Point Grey Pictures for six UBC
"They were fairly green to
begin with, but knowledgeable
in camera technology, easy to
train and quick to learn, and
were shooting up to professional standards at the end of the
semester," Zaritsky said.
Mike Rae, one of Zaritsky's
interns, lived in a house rented
by Point Grey Pictures for four
of the volunteer cast. This
meant he could be part of their
lives for parties, exams, family
issues and so on.
"The experience changed my
life," said Rae as he followed
Leila, a first-year nursing student, Spencer, a political science
student, who ran for Alma
Mater Society Vice-President,
and Jamie, a fluently bilingual
French and English international relations student.
Another cast member,
Melody Chan, was assigned to
the fourth member of the
said. The knowledge, expertise
and connections she made led to
subsequent contract work on 10
feature films.
Zaritsky's not surprised.
"Melody, yes, she was a great
shooter," he said. "And Mike is
now my teaching assistant in a
new course this year with a
documentary called Couples."
" I have respect for all these
students. They're more serious
and hard working and more
competent than I was as a student, although they are less
politically committed and motivated than my generation."
Cast members each kept a
video diary they could use at any
time. This was often the truest
record of their emotions.
Zaritsky remembered a vignette
of compelling honesty that
touched on the universal experience of rejection. A student
recorded his thoughts and feelings at 3 o'clock in the morning
"And for the student crew,"
she added, "this was a unique
experience. Until now it was
unheard of for students to leave
university with six hours of
on-screen professional credits
to their name. This was a big
accomplishment." □
UBC Film Studies
1990 UBC film production
alumnus Reginald Harkema
has been nominated for
a 2005 Genie Award for
Best Achievement in Editing
for the feature film
"Childstar," directed by Don
McKellar. The Genie Awards
will air on City TV
Vancouver at 8 p.m. on
Monday, March 21.
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Three Teams:
Three Visions
April 1-10, 2005
Come see the future of UBC
Aerial view of University Boulevard
University of British Columbia 1825 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2
Tel: 604.822.2759 Fax: 604.822.6689
Opening Night (April 1): 5:30-8pm
Monday - Friday, 10am-7pm
Saturday - Sunday, 12-5pm
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, professor emeriti and
university residents can vote at the exhibit or on-line.
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m Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners (Santa Monica)
Hughes Condon Marler: Architects (Vancouver)
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For more information about the competition
and the campus community poll, please visit:
www.universitytown.ubc.ca IC      REPORTS      |       MARCH      3,      2OO5      |      5
Senior Appointments
The University of British
Columbia Board of Governors
welcomes four new elected
members. Andrew Irvine, a
professor and deputy head in
the Department of Philosophy
at UBC, and Belle Dale-Wills,
the associate director of UBC
Facilities Services, have been
appointed for three-year terms
beginning February 1, 2005.
Tim Louman-Gardiner, a first-
year Faculty of Law student,
and Quinn Omori, a fourth-
year International Relations
student, have been appointed
for one-year terms beginning
April 1, 2005.
The Board of Governors has
approved the appointment of
Prof. David Dolphin, a finalist
for this year's Gerhard
Herzberg Canada Gold Medal
for Science and Engineering,
as Acting Vice-President,
Research, effective February 1,
2005. The Board has also
approved the re-appointment
of Mr. Terry Sumner as Vice-
President, Administration and
Finance for a six-year period,
effective June 1, 2005.
Dolphin, who also serves as
Vice-President, Technology
and Development, with global
bio-pharmaceutical company
QLT Inc. and who is known
for his role in the development
of drugs treating macular
degeneration, will fill the
Vice-President, Research position held by departing Indira
Samarasekera, who will
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become the President of the
University of Alberta on
July 1, 2005.
Sumner continues in his role
as Vice-President,
Administration and Finance,
which he has held since 1996.
With his leadership in administration and finance, UBC has
greatly improved its financial
position over the past decade
and is investing heavily in
campus development and new
programming. □
Tsunami Response Challege Nets
$230,170 in First Six Weeks
As of February, the UBC website recorded
$87,445 in gifts from the UBC community to
relief agencies in response to the $2 Million
Tsunami Challenge. A further $7,025 was committed through payroll deductions.
Events and student-led initiatives, ranging
from theatre gate sales to charity concerts and
organized runs, have raised a further $122,587.
The campaign goal for funds raised for relief
agencies is $1 million.
In addition, $13,113 has been raised for the
UBC Global Services Learning Endowment,
which will support UBC students, as global citi
zens, in their efforts to build a better world in
areas around the globe wherever help is needed.
UBC will match gifts to this endowment fund to
a maximum of $1 million.
"People have been enormously generous in
giving for immediate relief in the disaster
areas," said Piper. "Long-term needs remain a
high priority and many in our community want
to express their sense of global solidarity in a
continuing drive to reach our relief fund goals."
Record your gifts on the UBC accredited contribution form found at www.ubc.ca/tsunami,
and help us track campaign progress. □
Join the UBC Two Million Dollar
Tsunami Challenge
Join students, faculty, staff and alumni who
have committed to contributing $2 million
to provide short- and long-term assistance to
South Asian survivors ofthe tsunami disaster.
Here's how:
1. Support your favourite relief agency.
Continue to contribute to the eight major
Canadian agencies collecting funds for
immediate disaster relief, either directly
or via payroll deductions. Our goal for this
effort is $1 million.
2. Help establish a Global Service Learning
Endowment. This fund will support UBC
students, as global citizens, in efforts to
build a better world in areas where help
is needed around the globe. UBC will
match gifts to the endowment to a
maximum of $1 million.
And make sure you record your gifts on
the UBC accredited contribution form on
our campaign website to help us track our
progress, www.ubc.ca/tsunami
What's the Big Idea?
It's Trek 2010, UBC's new strategic plan.
It's a path forward for our university that's been two
years in the making.
It's the next step of our Trek journey. From the Trek
2000 vision published in 1998, a host of changes
have materialized. We have a Downtown campus.
UBC will soon open its doors in the Okanagan.
There have been improvements in student financial
assistance, co-op and grad student opportunities.
There have been major classroom renovations.
Research funding has trebled.
Now it's time to set new goals.
March 10
11 a.m - 1 p.m.
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
Martha Piper will lay out a vision to guide UBC
for the next five years.
Trek 2010 has some very big ideas to get our minds
around. And we've got three of our community's
best strategic thinkers to help us.
♦ Peter Boothroyd, Professor in Community and
Regional Planning, will talk on Global Citizenship
♦ Dr. Margo Fryer, Director ofthe UBC Learning
Exchange, will talk on Civil Society
♦ Dr. John Robinson, ofthe Sustainable
Development Research Institute, will talk on
March 10. The Chan. 11 a.m.
REPORTS      |      MARCH      3,      2OO5
The New UBC Life Sciences Institute
Home to Eight Research Groups, by Hilary Thomson
An international hub for inter
disciplinary, basic biological
research will open next week
in one of UBC's newest - and
largest - buildings.
The Life Sciences Institute
(LSI) will occupy more than
25,000 sq. metres and four
floors of the Life Sciences
Centre (LSC), a $134-million
facility opened in November
"The institute offers an
exceptional interdisciplinary
environment to propel biological research at UBC to the forefront of innovative science,"
says David Dolphin, UBC acting vice-president, Research.
The LSI will house eight
interdisciplinary research
groups comprising investigators
from faculties that include
Medicine, Science, Dentistry,
Applied Science,
Pharmaceutical Sciences and
"The strength and uniqueness
of the institute is the integration of disciplines to form
research teams," says Alison
Buchan, associate dean,
Research, Faculty of Medicine
and LSI co-director. "In fact, a
condition of LSI membership is
collaboration with other
A major thrust of work at
the LSI is rapid translation of
new knowledge into improved
health care and new economic
ventures, adds zoology
professor Hugh Brock, LSI
The eight research groups,
include the following (also, see
companion article on the
Centre for Blood Research):
Leader: Prof. Bill Mohn
Microbiology and Immunology
The group will study how bacteria adapt and respond to their
environment, looking mainly at
how networks of genetic regulation and protein interactions
function. Group members will
examine microbial diseases
such as whooping cough and
Campylobacter, a type of food
poisoning caused by bacteria
found in raw poultry, as well as
various aspects of antibiotics.
Leader: Assoc. Prof. Ed Moore
Cellular and Physiological
A key focus of the cardiovascular research group how the
heart generates, maintains and
regulates electrical activity.
Researchers will look at the
function of proteins that play a
vital role in heart rhythm and
protect against potentially
lethal uneven heartbeat. Group
investigators will develop drugs
that target these proteins, in
association with Cardiome laboratories.
Leader: Assoc. Prof. Vanessa
The group, the largest in the
LSI, brings together more than
37 researchers to study the
basic mechanisms of cell development that will improve
understanding of human development function and disease.
The group will help develop
new therapies for illnesses such
as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis
and Alzheimer's disease. In
addition, the group will focus
on new cancer treatment strategies involving cell structure and
regulation of cell growth.
Leader: Prof. Chris Mcintosh
Assistant Head, Cellular and
Physiological Sciences
The group will look at both
Type I and Type II diabetes and
the gut hormones that regulate
insulin production and protect
insulin-releasing cells from
damage. Researchers will also
look at directly boosting blood
insulin levels by converting gut
cells into meal-sensitive insulin
"bioreactors", to eliminate the
need for insulin replacement by
needle injection. The group will
also collaborate with islet
transplant expert Dr. Garth
Warnock at the Ike Barber
Human Islet Transplant
Leader: Professor Emeritus
Julian Davies
Microbiology and Immunology
The group studies cancer,
microbial infections, antifungal
and antibiotic drugs, and drug
delivery systems, and are working to discover new proteins
that will serve as effective drug
targets. Researchers are developing a new cancer drug developed form a marine sponge
extract. Scientists in the group
have well-established links with
researchers in Canada, the
United States and Europe.
Leader: Prof. Carolyn Brown
Medical Genetics
The group - which includes
collaborators from the
National Cancer Institute and
a Vancouver-based biotechnology company - will study how
genetic defects lead to diseases
such as cancer and how cells
know what genes to express
and what type of cells to
become. Researchers will also
examine development disorders
and mental illnesses such as
depression, schizophrenia and
Leaders: Assoc. Prof. Mike
Gold, Prof. Pauline Johnson
Microbiology and Immunology
The group will focus on how
the immune system develops
and works to protect the body
from disease. Working at the
cellular level, researchers will
examine molecular mechanisms
that help combat infection,
research that will contribute to
development of vaccines for
emerging diseases and existing
infections such as SARS, West
Nile virus, influenza and
For more information on the
LSI, visit http://www.lsi.ubc.ca/
Centre for Blood Research
Attracts Top Investigators
Research chairs are part of director Ross MacGillivary's multi-disciplinary blood research team.
A key member of the new Life
Sciences Institute is the Centre
for Blood Research (CBR), a
multidisciplinary facility that is
unique in the world.
"No other research centre
brings together biomedical,
clinical and social scientists
with ethicists, dentists and
engineers," says Ross
MacGillivray, a biochemist and
director of CBR.
Through a more than $15
million grant from the Canada
Foundation for Innovation
(CFI), the centre pulls together
14 principal investigators who
had previously been working in
seven buildings scattered across
campus with 19 other UBC
researchers. Together with
staff, students and trainees, a
total of 120 CBR members will
occupy 3,000 sq. metres of
research space on the fourth
floor of the LSC.
"The range of
allows us to
do a comprehensive
job -
to look
at every-    ^W
thing from
science to social
factors that influence blood
donation," says
=   MacGillivray. "The
= best part is being able
i to interact with
- colleagues every day."
i The long-term goal of the
CBR is to create new knowledge that will help make
Canada a donor-free society by
Canadian Blood Services
(CBS) estimates that only 3.5
per cent of eligible Canadians
donate blood. With an aging
boomer population and
increasing numbers of cancer,
transplantation and hip
replacement surgeries, the need
for donated or artificial blood
and blood products is becoming critical.
The CBR was created in
response to recommendations
of the Krever commission that
investigated Canada's tainted
blood scandal of the '80s and
'90s where patients were given
blood products that were
unknowingly contaminated
with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
C. A major factor in the crisis,
says MacGillivray, was the
shortage of blood scientists
to respond to ermerging threats
to Canada's blood supply
program. That's why the
CBR mandate includes
a training program to
help build Canada's
.   expertise.
The centre has
proven a magnet
^for outstanding
Chairs are
associated with
the centre and
MacGillivray - who himself
continued on page 11 UBC      REPORTS      |      MARCH      3 ,      2OO5      |      7
Celebrate Research:
A Week-Long Focus on UBC Ingenuity
Killer spores, the aging brain
and e-commerce hazards are
some of the topics to be
explored in Celebrate Research
Week March 5-12 at UBC's
Point Grey and UBC Robson
Square campuses and partner
hospital sites.
"This is a chance to showcase our outstanding research
and investigators, many of
whom are world leaders in
their field," says David
Dolphin, UBC acting vice-
president, Research. "And it's
an opportunity to share with
the public, who funds much
of our research, the results
of their investment."
Ingenuity: Seeing the World
Through New Eyes is the
theme of this year's series.
"Many of the great discover-
History Prof. Diane Newell (upper left) and Asst. Prof, of Botany Patrick Keeling well be honoured at the March 10 Celebrate Research Gala.
smokes. The scientists will offer
tips on detection, measurement
and protection.
• Fraud and discrimination in
online communications is the
topic for UBC Sauder School of
Business professors Paul
Chwelos and Marc-David
social interactions are all
known to be predictive of successful aging.
• Breakthroughs in transplantation will be discussed by a
panel of researchers from
Vancouver Coastal Health
Research Institute, Providence
"Many ofthe great discoveries in all areas of research have been
made by standing back as it were and looking at things from
different perspectives. It's these kind of stories that we want to
highlight in this year's program."
ies in all areas of research have
been made by standing back
as it were and looking at things
from different perspectives. It's
these kind of stories that we
want to highlight in this year's
program," says Sid Katz,
executive director, community
affairs and Celebrate Research
• Ever wondered where you
picked up that cough?   Or why
you just can't hear as well as
you could? The many hidden
health hazards in our environment, workplaces and homes
will be revealed by scientists at
UBC's Centre for Health &
Environment Research and the
School of Occupational and
Environmental Hygiene in a
presentation to take place Wed.
March 9 at 8 p.m. at UBC
Robson Square.
Karen Bartlett will discuss
her work in tracking a deadly
fungus found on Vancouver
Island trees, Murray Hodgson
will look at designing noise out
of classrooms and Kay Teschke
talks about risks associated
with theatrical fogs and
Seidel in a discussion to take
place at UBC Robson Square
on Tuesday, March 8 at 5:30
An expert in electronic marketplaces, Chwelos will offer
suggestions on how to spot
fraudulent practices in online
purchasing. Seidel will discuss
the role of e-mail in reputation
management and offer a survival guide for telecommuters
on how to protect their reputation and handle issues related
to discrimination.
• Max Cynader, director of the
Brain Research Centre at UBC
will discuss the aging brain in a
presentation on Sat. March 12
at 8:15 p.m. at the Woodward
Instructional Resources Centre
at UBC.
Fears of cognitive loss are
widespread among older people. Cynader will discuss evidence showing it's possible to
ward off age-related memory
and cognitive loss by doing
some very simple things.
Activities as diverse as reading
mystery stories, doing crossword puzzles, and frequent
Health Care and B.C.
Transplant Society, in a presentation at St. Paul's Hospital lecture theatre March 8 at 7 p.m.
Celebrate Research Week also
includes daily noon-hour sessions at UBC Robson Square in
subjects ranging from psychology to art history and offered by
the Faculty of Arts.   Prof.
Michael Byers of the Liu
Institute for Global Issues kicks
off the series with a presentation of The Laws of War, U.S.
A highlight of the week is the
March 10 Celebrate Research
Gala, where UBC honours its
outstanding investigators. The
accomplishments of more than
200 UBC research award winners will be celebrated with
video vignettes and performances by members of the UBC
School of Music.
For a complete listing of
Celebrate Research Week
events, visit
www.research.ubc.ca and click
on the information box. For
free tickets to the gala, contact
kally.basra@ubc.ca □
seeing the world through new eyes
For a full week, UBC will host a series of free public forums, symposia,
research days and exhibits to highlight and celebrate the outstanding
research continually underway at the university.
Everyday there is a new subject to munch on during your lunch
hour. With topics ranging from war to theatre to visual art to
stress and your immune system, each day will be a new discovery.
MARCH 7    The Laws of War, U.S. Style
MARCH 8    Mouse-clicking Breaks Mao's Tradition
MARCH 9    Hamlet's Mirror
MARCH 10 Visual Art with Xiong Gu
MARCH 11   How Stress Affects Your Immune System
UBC Robson Square
MARCH 5 8:15 pm
Education for Development: Can Technology Help?
UBC - IRC Building, Lecture Hall 2
MARCH 7 7:30 pm
New Ways of Living & Learning in a Global World
Robson Square Theatre
MARCH 8 7:30 pm
An Evening of Archaeology Experts
Robson Square HSBC Hall
MARCH 9 5:00 pm
Activate Ingenuity in UBC Life Sciences
Robson Square C680
MARCH 11 7:30 pm
From Monkey Bars to Monkey Business,
Building Better Outdoor Playgrounds
Robson Square Theatre
MARCH 12 8:15 pm
UBC excellence in research lecture
The Aging Brain
UBC - IRC Building, Lecture Hall 2
For more information on these and many more events,
caii 604 822 5675 or go to www.research.ubc.ca I      UBC      REPORTS       |      MARCH      3,     2OO5
Implantable Medical Devices
continued from page 1
nique called post-packaging
frequency tuning, which uses
pulsed laser emissions to tune
the frequency of micro-devices
after they've been assembled and
sealed. "The process allows
more precise manipulation of
the devices while preventing
damaging the parts during
To that end, and with funding
from Canada Research Chairs
Program, Canada Foundation
for Innovation and the Natural
Sciences and Engineering
Research Council, Chiao has
rounded up top researchers in
pharmaceutics, nanotechnology
and physics at UBC. But work-
At no larger than 2 millimetres, these tiny chips
would come fully equipped with highly sensitive
screening and distribution mechanisms, and
their own power source...
assembly," says Mu. But that's
just a piece of the puzzle.
"There are some big challenges that have kept microscale
medical devices from being a
viable product on the market,"
says Chiao, "We need to come
up with a long-lasting and
reliable power source and safe
packaging that allows the right
kind of chemicals to go through,
to enable screening."
ing among such a wide range
of disciplines poses its own
"People in different fields
often speak different languages
- technically," says Chiao. "But
everyone working on this
project shares a passion for
creating something that will
greatly improve people's lives,
and that makes the hard work
worthwhile." □
p A niO   UBC Public Affairs has opened both a radio and TV studio on campus where you can conduct live interviews with local, national and international
media outlets.To learn more about being a UBC expert, call us at 604.822.2064 and visit our web site at www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/experts/signup IC      REPORTS      |       MARCH      3,      2OO5      |      9
Saving the Serengeti
continued from page 1
submitted to his publisher.
Sinclair spent 10 years in the Serengeti.
In addition to his wildebeest studies, he
also looked at how the region's grassland
changed to woodland because of ecosystem dynamics. Bushfires usually controlled
growth of trees but wildebeest grazing had
virtually eliminated fuel for the fires.
Tree-munching elephants had also
regulated tree growth, although extensive
ivory poaching meant young trees could
When the political situation in Tanzania
endangered his research - his team and
materials were attacked by bandits, forcing
a re-launch of the project - and became
uncomfortable for his family, Sinclair
moved in 1973 with his wife and two
young daughters to Darwin, Australia,
to conduct studies on Australian buffalo.
But fortune foisted another career
Biodiversity Research Centre from 1996
to 2002 and helped shape the vision for a
new interdisciplinary research centre,
now under the leadership of Prof. Dolph
Schluter. With major funding from the
Canada Foundation for Innovation and a
recent $8 million donation from
Vancouver mining entrepreneur Ross
Beaty, the centre that started as a dream
in 1992 is expected to open in 2007.
After focusing on the large mammals of
the Serengeti for decades, Sinclair is now
turning his attention to the region's smaller mammals, birds, butterflies and plants.
"We don't yet know all the habitats in
Serengeti," he says. "I want to describe
the biodiversity in these different habitats
and look at some of the geographical
areas of the ecosystem that are still
largely undescribed."
And what about plans for 2009, when
Sinclair has conducted 40 years of landmark research that
has ... made him one of the world's most-cited investigators
in the field of environment and ecology.
development on the young researcher
when, on Christmas Day, 1974, a fierce
cyclone hit Darwin. It destroyed 95 per
cent of the city and devastated Sinclair's
research project. While helping evacuate
residents, he spent a night huddled in a
tent where, by candlelight, he scribbled his
application for a job at UBC.
While at UBC, Sinclair has continued his
work in the Serengeti, studied the Yukon's
snowshoe hare and the Vancouver Island
marmot, one of the most endangered
mammals in the world.
He also served as director of UBC's
it's time to retire?
"I want to write a book that will put
the whole Serengeti story together," says
Sinclair. "And I plan to move back to
Tanzania for a few months each year -
I've got a spot picked out by Lake
Victoria where I plan to build a house
and spend my time just watching nature."
For more information on the
Biodiversity Research Centre, visit
ases/2005/mr-05-013.html □
Once retired, Sinclair plans to write a comprehensive book on the Serengeti.
Vice-President, Research
The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) invites applications and nominations
for the position of Vice-President, Research.
UBC aspires to enhance its research capacity, strengthen its research
performance, promote its research findings to the wider community, and
become the leading research university in Canada and one of the leading
research universities in the world. The role of Vice-President, Research is central
to the implementation of Trek 2010, UBC's strategic vision for the future.
Established in 1908, The University of British Columbia is a publicly supported,
comprehensive university that now comprises two major campuses, one
situated in Vancouver—including sites at Point Grey and four affiliated teaching
hospitals—and the other in the Okanagan. At UBC Vancouver the current
student population, including graduate students, is over 42,000; there are
2,000 faculty members (over 700 of whom were recruited since the year
2000) and 5,500 non-academic staff. The recently-established UBC
Okanagan campus currently has about 200 faculty members and 3,000
undergraduate students. This new campus is expanding rapidly, with over
200 new faculty and 4,500 more students (including 500 graduate students)
to be added over the next five years. Construction of additional laboratory
and classroom space is underway, and plans for a dedicated research building
are being drawn up. UBC's annual budget is $1.4 billion. The University
attracts about $350 million annually in research funding, and has produced
115 spin-off companies over the past 20 years, more than any other university
in Canada. For information on UBC and Trek 2010, please visit:
The University of British Columbia engages in the search for new knowledge in
activities ranging from clinical medicine and laboratory science to artistic
performance and literary criticism to technology transfer and social policy
development. Research is at the heart of what UBC does from teaching undergraduates to extending the frontiers of knowledge and contributing to the
Janet Wright & Associates Inc.
Senior-level recruitment for the public and not-for-pro
cultural and economic development of British Columbia and Canada.
Thanks to the quality of its research, UBC has been ranked among the top
50 universities in the world over the past two years.
The Vice-President, Research, who reports to the President, will provide
leadership in the development and administration of research and in the
promotion of interdisciplinary research programs at both UBC Vancouver and
UBC Okanagan. The Vice-President, Research will be an articulate, credible
advocate for the full range of the University's research, and will establish and
maintain effective liaison with external funding agencies, business, industry,
government, and the broader community. The successful candidate will have
an outstanding record of scholarship and demonstrated academic leadership,
with superior administrative, communications, and interpersonal skills. He
or she will have extensive experience in promoting research and an understanding of the financial, legal, ethical, and social implications of research
for the wider community. The Vice-President, Research is a member of the
University's senior management team, which works together to increase
UBC's national and international reputation, and to establish research links
around the world.
The appointment will ideally commence on July 1, 2005. Applications or
nominations for this position, indicating the qualifications on the basis of
which the individual merits consideration, should be sent to the address below.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity.
The University encourages all qualified persons to apply.
Janet Wright & Associates Inc.
21 Bedford Road, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario  M5R 2J9
Fax: 416-923-8311
www.jwasearch.com IO       I      UBC      REPORTS      |      MARCH      3,      2OO5
Architecture Grades
Prototype Home
Earns Praise
Architecture firm Metis Design
Build aims to use common
sense in house design and
building, making simple
changes that are economic for
owners, environmentally astute
and socially integrated.
Its partners design and build
homes themselves, saying the
interaction between the design-
parable homes.
"Our name says it all," says
Erick Villagomez, a graduate
of the UBC School of
Architecture who runs the firm
with partner Jerin Dunsmoor
and teaches in the UBC
Environmental Design
"Metis is a Greek work that
the SmarfSpace Home Launch
and Detached Dwelling
Forum, the event received rave
reviews from municipalities,
the David Suzuki Foundation
and financial institutions.
"Much thought went into this project which has a minimal ecological
footprint but with a better quality of finish, higher standard of comfort
and 30 percent lower cost per square foot."
er and builder is essential to
implement their ecological
principles. In this way, the firm
provides a sustainable, alternative form of housing that costs
less per square foot than corn-
Metis Design-Build is
holding an open house
for its prototype home
at 213 66 A St. in
Tsawwassen on March 12.
indicates a wide array of practical skills and acquired knowledge developing in response to
a constantly changing natural
and human environment," says
Villagomez, who is also a consultant with the Design Center
for Sustainabilities.
Metis Design-Build recently
launched the prototype of a
home that incorporates their
principles in Delta, B.C. Called
"In this house, we used a
narrow footprint and careful
placement on site to maximize
use of the lot space as well as
the natural water, sun and
wind paths," says Villagomez.
By placing windows in the
living area of the house on the
second level, above the bedrooms, they used passive solar
design, bringing light to where
continued on page 11
Eric Villagomez (above) graduated from the School of Architecture
in 2003 and works as a consultant for UBC's Design Centre for
INTRODUCING ARGYLL HOUSE EAST - with wide-open views
of the Pacific Ocean, Coastal Islands and Coast Mountains, surrounded
by countless cultural, social and outdoor opportunities. Literally steps
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penthouses and cityhomes built to the highest standards. All this, and
it's in the established neighbourhood of West Point Grey on the grounds
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MGIONAl »A*K REPORTS      |       MARCH      3,      2OO5      |
Retiring Within 5 Years?
FairvieW  "Shacks"    BY CHRIS HIVES, University Archives
UBC first opened its doors on September 30,
1915 on the Fairview campus which was
part of the current Vancouver General
Hospital site. The outbreak of World War I
halted construction of the University's Point
Grey campus and the University held classes
in a complex of buildings "affectionately"
referred to as the Fairview "shacks" and, as
enrolment at the University grew, in church
basements, tents and private homes nearby.
Although the facilities proved to be inadequate the University would spend its first
decade at this overcrowded site before
moving to its new Point Grey homein 1925. □
Home Earns
continued from page 10
it is needed most and capitalizing on solar heat gain in the
winter. A deck off the living
area, above the garage,
allowed privacy as well as
interaction with the street and
To save the owner extra
cost, Metis simplified the
design and construction of the
house, using affordable detailing and a compact layout. An
appealing extra was the interior space that has one central
"wet wall" structure with no
load-bearing walls to make
future design changes easy as
the family's needs change.
The finishes are non-toxic
throughout, and a permeable
driveway allows rainwater to
drain into the earth, two
features, among others, that
please Jose Etchevery, Research
and Policy Analyst of the
Climate Change Program for
the David Suzuki Foundation.
"Much thought went into
this project which has a
minimal ecological footprint
but with a better quality of
finish, higher standard of comfort and 30 percent lower cost
per square foot" he said.
"This is a paradigm shift in
this country." □
Centre for Blood Research
Attracts Top Investigators
continued from page 6
is a world expert in blood clotting proteins - feels that the
CBR will be an excellent
recruitment tool to attract top
scientists, like Mark Scott.
Coming to UBC from Albany
Medical School in the U.S.,
Scott looks at immunocamou-
flage. The process uses a compound to mask antigens in
blood cells, platelets, and other
blood components so the body
doesn't "see" the blood cells as
being foreign. The process
would allow patients to accept
cells of more than one blood
type, greatly expanding available supply.
Other research areas include
improving storage time and
quality of donated blood as
well as creating artificial blood
components, such as albumin
that is used to treat surgical
and burn patients.
Research and training at the
CBR are part of a network
involving blood scientists from
other Canadian universities as
well as the Puget Sound Blood
Center. Support within the centre comes from the CFI, the
B.C. Knowledge Development
Fund, Canadian Blood
Services, Bayer Inc., the
Canadian Institutes of Health
Research, the Michael Smith
Foundation for Health
Research, and UBC.
For more information on the
CBR, visit www.cbr.ubc.ca. For
information on blood supply
and blood research, visit
www.bloodservices.ca. □
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www.mediagroup.ubc.ca 12      |      UBC      REPORTS      |      MARCH      3,     2OO5
William Aiello is fascinated with the management of complexity - defence in depth - that involves cryptography system security and traffic analysis.
Defence in Depth
UBC's new head of computer science talks about the battle for your computer, by brenda Austin
The profile of a virus writer or
hacker is young, male, intelligent and equipped with the
one luxury people in full-time
employment never have - time.
He uses that time to reverse
engineer software and zero in
on the inevitable vulnerabilities.
Lining up against the hackers are researchers like
William Aiello, the newly
appointed head of the UBC
Department of Computer
type of software so there is a
monoculture in which viruses
and worms spread rapidly.
"When someone unleashes a
piece of code - which is what
every virus is - this causes a
domino effect which might
begin with an overload of network traffic and end in widespread denial of network service. This becomes a huge issue,
wreaking havoc," says Aiello.
In one aspect of Aiello's
research, he grapples with how
"defence in depth"   - the
management of complexity
that evolves from cryptography research, system security,
and traffic analysis.
Cryptography has been
around in some form or other
as long as humans have.
Current cryptography
research centres on the use of
codes and limiting access to
authorized persons.
The second area, system
security, focuses on how dif-
"It is the initial engineering ofthe computers...and the manufacturers'
focus on features and functions instead of invulnerability, which provide
the virus writer his opportunities."
Science. He focuses on new
ways to increase computer
security from the three most
common large-scale threats:
viruses, worms and denial-of-
service attacks.
Aiello holds a PhD in
applied mathematics from the
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and comes to UBC
from AT&T Research Labs in
New Jersey, where he was the
Director of Network Security
"It is the initial engineering
of the computers with areas of
weakness, and the manufacturers' focus on features and
functions instead of invulnerability, which provide the virus
writer his opportunities," says
That is one piece of the puzzle. The other is the fact that
many people share the same
to defend against these large-
scale attacks.
But, to develop software
secure against every conceivable attack is not possible.
Threats emerge on various
fronts, not only from the virus
writer but from hackers who
can break into computers one
by one, and spammers who
drop a piece of software into a
single computer system that
then hosts a larger-scale
"If you want to secure a
complicated network you have
to seek solutions from many
different areas, not just the
software. You may see something that went wrong on a
large network, but finding the
root cause can be very difficult," says Aiello.
This leads Aiello into his
main area of interest called
ferent applications in a computer interact via the rules
each computer uses. Firewalls
and routing devices are two
familiar examples.
The final area is traffic
analysis, monitoring the system to spot abnormal activity.
Akin to the canary in the coal
mining era, the monitor prevents damage escalating, but
in the case of computers, also
analyses the root cause.
Given the propensity for
damage and the inherent
opportunities, how big is the
criminal element researchers
battle? This is not an area
Aiello focuses on, but he says
there is a complex underground economy among hackers, spammers and organized
crime where the currencies of
the realm are access to hacked
machine, attack tips, bragging
rights and money.
So, what's the mindset of a
hacker? Aiello recalls an
extremely bright colleague
whose mind worked in a way
he believes the minds of hackers must work. His colleague
was able to make connections
between areas of computer
vulnerability in a way that
made everyone glad he was
legitimately employed on
"their" side.
"The good news is we've
made progress in our defences
and as science progresses we
can turn more mathematical
theories into engineering artifacts," Aiello says.
"Computer science cuts
across many disciplines such as
mathematics, engineering, commerce and general sciences,"
Aiello adds. "Luckily, one of
the department's strengths is
interdisciplinary research, and
my hope is we not only provide the computer tools and
network security, but the intellectual concepts as well in a
way that enables us to continue to grow as an intellectual
leader within the university
community." □
Department Gains New Facilities
Newly arrived from AT&T Research Labs in New Jersey,
Computer Science department head William Aiello has
assumed leadership of 55 faculty members, 185 graduate
students, approximately 900 undergraduates and 40 staff.
Known for its focus on interdisciplinary programs and
research strength in areas such as computational intelligence
and graphics, the department has welcomed the addition
of new lecture and classroom space at the recently completed
Dempster Pavilion.
A second facility to be shared with the Institute for
Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS)
and named the ICICS/CS building, will provide additional
administrative and lab space and strengthen ties among
researchers in areas ranging from engineering and computing
to psychology and medicine.
In the past two years, the department's top programming
team has captured first place at the International Collegiate
Programming Contest (Pacific Northwest Division), beating
traditional powerhouse teams from Stanford and Berkeley
and is headed to Shanghai in April to compete in the
World Finals. □


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