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UBC Reports Jun 30, 2011

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a place of mind
June 2011
Library digitizes
Japanese maps
Prof, documents
lead poisoning
GECKO project
studies genes
Students fuel
Student leaders from
around the world are
travelling to UBC this month
to try to tackle the world's
top energy problems 6
y Basil Waugh
also inside:
Dating and intimacy
in the digital era
Are women's dreams of finding
their own Prince William or
Mr. Darcy making them susceptible
to Internet Lotharios? 8
By Lorraine Chan UBC REPORTS
Executive Director
scott macrae  scott.macrae@ubc.ca
randy schmidt randy.schmidt@ubc.ca
Design Manager
arlene cotter arlene.cotter@ubc.ca
Public Affairs Studio
ping ki chan  ping.chan@ubc.ca
amanda fetterly amanda.fetterly@ubc.ca
martin dee martin.dee@ubcca
Web Designer
tony chu tony.chu@ubcca
Communications Coordinators
heather amos heather.amos@ubc.ca
Lorraine chan  lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
glen drexhage glen.drexhage@ubcca
jody jacob jody.jacob@ubcca
brian lin  brian.Iin@ubcca
bud mortenson  bud.mortenson@ubcca
basil waugh basil.waugh@ubc.ca
pearlie davison  pearlie.davison@ubc.ca
beverly galbraith  beverly.galbraith@ubc.ca
UBC Reports is published monthly by:
The University of British Columbia
Public Affairs Office
310-6251 Cecil Green Park Road
Vancouver BC Canada V6T1Z1
Next issue: 7 July 2011
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For upcoming UBC Reports submission guidelines:
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Submit letters to:
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fa place of mind
Public Affairs Office
Highlights of UBC media coverage
in May 2011
Compiled by Heather Amos
Museum of Anthropology
wins prestigious award
The Globe and Mail, Canadian Architect,
Vancouver Sun and others reported that
UBC's Museum of Anthropology was
one of four buildings to win the Prix
du XXe Siecle Award from the Royal
Architectural Institute of Canada.
The award recognizes nationally
significant buildings and excellence in
Designed by the renowned
Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson,
the Museum of Anthropology is
known for its Pacific Northwest Coast
collections and draws more than
140,000 visitors a year.
"Having the Museum of Anthropology
recognized as one of Canada's most
significant buildings is truly an
honour," said Moya Waters, the
museum's acting director.
Interactive teaching methods
boost learning
Research from a group led by Carl
Wieman, a Nobel laureate in physics
who leads an initiative to improve
science instruction at UBC, showed
that students in an introductory
college physics course did especially
well on an exam after attending
experimental, collaborative classes. By
contrast, students who did not use the
experimental approach scored much
lower on the same exam.
The students learned more than
twice as much in the new "interactive"
classes than they did in the lectures
by a tenured professor with more than
30 years of experience, reported the
New York Times, the Economist, the
Associated Press, Postmedia News, the
Globe and Mail and others.
"[In traditional lectures], there's not
much learning, and for the learning
that does take place, the retention is
fairly bad," said Louis Deslauriers, a
postdoctoral student at UBC and the
lead author of the study, which was
published in the journal Science.
Health of older spouses
is closely tied
A new UBC study, reported in the
Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times,
Global National and others, finds that
the mental and physical health of older
couples is closely tied.
If one is depressed, the other is
more likely to be. And if one is in poor
physical health, the other's physical
and mental health are likely to be
"This study shows how important
marital relationships can be in
determining old age health," said the
lead author ofthe study, Christiane
Happy guys finish last
A new UBC study indicates there may be
some scientific truth to the stereotypes
about male and female attractiveness.
The study found that women prefer
moody looking men to agreeable,
smiling men. In contrast, men are far
more attracted to happy, smiling women,
reported the Telegraph, CBS, Reuters,
BBC, Globe and Mail, and others.
"This study finds that men and
women respond very differently to
displays of emotion, including smiles,"
said professor Jessica Tracy, who led
the study.
Election 2011
As Canada prepared for a federal
election on May 2, UBC professors
provided analysis of Canadian politics,
public opinion, campaign issues, the
political parties, their platforms and
the election results. Richard Johnston,
Allan Tupper, Michael Byers, Kevin
Milligan, Fred Cutler, Mary Liston,
Joe Cutbirth, AMS President Jeremy
McElroy and others provided expert
commentary to the Seattle Times,
Maclean's, Globe and Mail, CBC,
National Post and others.
"For the first time in years, there
is enthusiasm on the scene," said
Johnston, a political scientist and the
director ofthe Centre for the Study
of Democratic Institutions at UBC, to
CTV on election day. "It's basically
about Jack Layton and the NDP and
a reconfiguration ofthe competitive
UBC Law professor Catherine
Dauvergne, Canada Research Chair in
Migration Law, recently completed the
most comprehensive investigation of
how terrorism laws introduced following
the Sept. 11,2001, attacks have impacted
Canada's refugee system.
Based on 11 years of national refugee
decisions (1998-2008), the findings
suggest that Canada is anything but
'soft on terrorism," as some media
and politicians have recently claimed,
Dauvergne says.
"Canada, like most Western countries,
has not yet struck an acceptable
balance between security and asylum,"
says Dauvergne. She says Canada is
putting the lives of legitimate refugees
in danger and is at risk of breaking
international human rights laws out of
unfounded fears of terrorism.
According to Dauvergne, Canada's
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 Terrorism and Canada's refugee system
Catherine Dauvergne says fears that Canada's refugee system
is a back door for terrorists are grossly exaggerated
By Basil Waugh
Catherine Dauvergne (left) and Asha Kaushal (right) study how terrorism fears after 9/11 have impacted Canada's refugee system
definition of terrorism has ranked
among the broadest in the world since
9/11, making Canada among the hardest
countries in the West for refugees to
enter. Her study found that Canadian
courts rejected refuge claimants for
police or military service in another
nation, living in the same geographic
area as terrorist organizations or
simply attending one political rally, for
"Our definition of terrorism has
expanded to the point that many of
the refugees we refuse for terrorism
concerns have never participated in
violence, political crimes or terrorist
organizations, says Dauvergne, who
investigated nearly 800 refugee cases.
Despite this wider net, the study
finds that refugee exclusions from
Canada remain relatively rare. Ofthe
approximately 2,500 annual refugee
claims, the average number of refugees
barred entry to Canada has increased
from 50 claimants before 2001 to less
than 90.
Dauvergne says the modest numbers
fly in the face of claims that Canada's
refugee system is at high risk for
terrorism. "Every time a boat of
refugees arrives, there seems to be this
popular notion that Canada's refugee
system is a haven for terrorists," she
says. "Our findings suggest there is no
evidence to support that claim."
"Our laws make it easier than ever to
exclude people for terrorism concerns,
but the numbers show our broadened
criteria simply do not apply to the
overwhelming majority of refugees
seeking asylum in Canada," says
Dauvergne, who conducted the study
with PhD candidate Asha Kaushal.
However, while the rise in rejections
may seem modest, Dauvergne says
there are human lives at stake. She
says the findings suggest Canada is
failing in its responsibilities - outlined
by international refugee law and
international human rights law - to
protect refugees who face persecution
in their former countries.
"When we send refugees back home,
we put them at great risk for
persecution, imprisonment and
even death," she says, noting that an
estimated several hundred of people
have died in the past year while seeking
asylum in countries and around the
"As a society committed to human
rights and social justice, it is important
that we get this balance between
security and asylum right," says
Dauvergne, who characterizes
her findings as call for "a renewed
discussion for thoughtful standards
about who may be considered a
terrorist, for what acts, and in what
Dauvergne says refugee claimants
face greater scrutiny - before and after
acceptance - than people in most other
immigration categories, including
student visas and work permits. They
also consent to have their actions
monitored by government agencies for
the duration of what can be a very long
claim period.
The countries with the most refugee
claimants barred from Canada during
the data period include China (51),
followed by Colombia, Pakistan, Lebanon,
Mexico, Sri Lanka, Peru and Cuba. •
Learn more about UBC's Faculty of Law
at: www.law.ubc.ca. Library digitizes rare Japanese maps
A new online cultural resource is a reflection of UBC's strong ties
and support for a devastated country
By Glenn Drexhage
Shirin Eshghi (left) and Katherine Kalsbeek (right) of UBC tibrary peer over one of the vibrant Tokugawa maps
With the largest Asian studies
program in Canada, partnerships with
Japanese universities, and campus
treasures like the Nitobe Gardens,
UBC has strong ties with Japan and is
the home of many Japanese scholars
and resources. One rare cultural
collection can now be celebrated
In 2010, the Library completed the
third and final phase of a multi-year
project, led by its Digital Initiatives
Unit, that involved the digitization
of hundreds of rare maps dating to
Japan's Tokugawa, or Edo, period
Work on the project began in 2005.
Much ofthe material, which dates from
about 1650 to 1850, was acquired from
collector George H. Beans decades ago.
The set of works, one ofthe largest
of its kind outside of Japan, specializes
in private and travel-related maps and
guides (including maps of Yokohama,
Vancouver's sister city). It has attracted
students and scholars in Asian Studies,
architecture, literature and language,
history, religious studies and art history.
The latter part ofthe project focused
on the digitization of nearly 100 atlases,
along with 16 huge maps. The entire
effort is online in English and Japanese
at http://digitalcollections.library.
ubc.ca/tokugawa (click on the browse
button to peruse the pieces).
The result is a comprehensive
collection that can be accessed by
students and researchers from UBC and
beyond. Katherine Kalsbeek, a reference
librarian at the Library's Rare Books
and Special Collections division, notes
that many researchers interested in
the Tokugawa collection aren't based
in Canada. Now, they no longer need
to make in-person visits to the Point
Grey campus if they want to examine
the material. "We have received a lot
of positive feedback from the UBC
community and from researchers
throughout the world," she says.
Christina Laffin, an assistant
professor in UBC's Department of
Asian Studies, says the Tokugawa
collection deserves greater attention
from the scholarly community. "I know
of numerous researchers who have
utilized the maps and who are excited at
being able to access it online," she notes.
A few samples are poignant today.
One item, an account of earthquakes in
a chapbook-sized publication, features
bold images of a catfish and a dragon
(both are associated with quakes in
Japanese lore). Meanwhile, a large,
rectangular panel boasts a vibrant and
colourful take on foreigners, beginning
with elaborately dressed Japanese
figures, and encompassing subjects
in European dress along with esoteric
characters such as giants and cannibals.
A scroll, bound in a fragile wooden box
and bordered in gold leaf, unfurls to
display shipping routes stretching from
Kobe to Nagasaki.
The collection's accessibility also
presents teaching opportunities.
"Because the maps and atlases are now
digitized, there is the potential for the
items to be used as classroom texts,
regardless ofthe size ofthe class," says
Shirin Eshghi, Japanese language
librarian at UBC's Asian Library.
Gideon Fujiwara, a PhD student
in Asian Studies at UBC, has toured
the collection as a teaching assistant
with Asia 101 students. "This visit was
probably my best TA experience to date.
The digitization of this collection is
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 fantastic!" he says. "Students in Asian
Studies have a lot to be proud of in our
department...and this Beans Collection
of Tokugawa maps is definitely another
jewel that can enrich our learning
The collaborative project, which
involved various UBC Library units,
received financial support from the
Department of Asian Studies. Students
from UBC's School of Library, Archival
and Information Studies, and a student
intern from Japan's University of
Tsukuba, also assisted with the effort. •
Tokugawa Terms
refers to old documents
are cursive, running characters
is liter ary Chinese used within Japan
are variant kana (Japanese syllabary)
is a formal letter-writing style
Definitions adapted from the
Shogakkan Puroguresshibu Ei-Wa Chujiten
(Shogakukan Progressive English-
Japanese Dictionary).
Two vibrant selections (right) from
UBC tibrary's exceptional Tokugawa
maps collection.
One item, an account of earthquakes
in a chapbook-sized publication, features
bold images of a catfish and a dragon.
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Call for Submissions
The achievements of UBC's students, faculty, staff,
and alumni are celebrated in an online
Annual Review: www.annualreview.ubc.ca.
UBC Public Affairs is seeking stories from summer
2010 to fall 2011, around the following topics:
Members of the UBC community who have been
the catalyst for a significant improvement.
UBC's international scope and connections.
Stories of individuals who exemplify the UBC Brand.
Major milestones including teaching awards
and grants, research awards and news, facility
construction and openings.
Please send your submissions by June 15,2011
to Bonnie Vockeroth bonnie.vockerothrffiubc.ca.
Your Conference
Planning Partner at UBC
Hosting a conference at UBC? We can make it easy.
We offer full management and registration services and have experienced
and knowledgeable staff. Let us help you customize a program to suit your
needs and budget.
With UBC's unique venues and state-of-the-art facilities, your meeting
at UBC will no doubt be a memorable success!
T 604 822 1060
E conferences@housing.ubc.ca
T 250 807 8050
E conferences.ubco@ubc.ca
West Coast Suites
Deluxe Hotel Suites, West Coast Style
Contemporary, beautifully appointed, limited service deluxe hotel
suite for visitors and business travelers to Vancouver.
• Centrally located on campus
• Fully-equipped kitchen and complimentary wireless internet
• Ideal for short or long term stays
• Available year round
Students fuel
By Basil Waugh
Conferences &
T 604 822 1000
E reservations@housing.ubc.ca
Student leaders from around the world
are travelling to UBC this month to try
to tackle the world's top energy
Their destination: the International
Student Energy Summit (ISES), where
400 students from 35 countries,
environmental scientists and energy
industry leaders will explore practical
solutions for a more sustainable planet.
The three-day event, headlined
by Nobel Prize-recipient Rajendra
Pachauri, Chair ofthe U.N.
International Panel on Climate Change
and India's Tata Energy Research
Institute (TERI), will run from June 9-11
on UBC's Vancouver campus.
"Nearly 85 per cent ofthe world's
energy supply comes from fossil fuels,
which produce pollution and climate
change - it's unsustainable," says Rosie
Pidcock, a graduating Sauder School
of Business student who is co-leading
a team of 30 student organizers.
"ISES will focus on global energy
sustainability and how students and
society can accelerate the transition to
a low-carbon society."
Pidcock, who has a passion for green
business, hopes ISES will shatter
expectations of what a student-led
environmental conference looks
like. For example, the students have
assembled an advisoryboard of major
energy leaders, including Randy Gossen
ofthe World Petroleum Council, and
attracted more than $300,000 in
sponsorships to support housing and
travel bursaries for participants in need.
While pairing oil sands executives
with environmentalists is arguably akin
to throwing cats in a bag, Pidcock says it
is essential for real progress. "If we are
going to have a meaningful conversa-
"Business has real
power to create
positive change."
tion about energy, you need to engage
all stakeholders, especially government
and energy companies, because they
hold the key to progress in many ways,"
she says. "Business has real power to
create positive change."
The event, which is sponsored by
the UBC Sustainability Initiative, will
focus on three areas: technology and
innovation, markets and regulation,
and global energy dynamics. Shying
away from controversy won't be on the
agenda, says Pidcock, noting there will
be a debate on Enbridge Corporation's
contentious proposed Northern
Gateway Pipeline for B.C. and Alberta.
Enbridge President John Carruthers
is among the group of individuals
who have been asked to review the
case that delegates will debate. The
case will provide delegates with a
base of knowledge to analyze the
environmental, business and technological aspects ofthe multi-billion dollar
project, which seeks to bring Canadian
oil to foreign markets, but faces
environmental and land claim concerns
from local First Nations and other
groups, Pidcock says.
Delegates will also design model
low-carbon communities and focus
their expertise and passion on the
world's 10 most-pressing "unsolvable"
energy problems, as voted by delegates
using social media, including Twitter
and Facebook, in the days leading
up to the conference. At the end of
the conference, all delegates - from
students to CEOs - will pledge to
address a specific energy issue in their
"We are proud to support student-
driven initiatives like ISES that help
accelerate the adoption of more
sustainable practices both on and
off campus," says Alberto Cayuela,
Associate Director, UBC Sustainable
Initiative, and ISES advisoryboard
member. "We are deeply impressed by
the team's passion and commitment
to create this innovative energy
conference that is organized by
students, for students."
Pidcock credits the inaugural
ISES conference - which featured
former Mexican President Vicente
Fox in Calgary in 2009 - for igniting
her passion for green business. She
returned to UBC and helped to
create the Sauder School of Business'
specialization in sustainability for
undergraduate students.
"That conference really inspired
students, myself included, to take
action on sustainability," says Pidcock,
who recently discussed offshore drilling
issues with former U.S. president
Bill Clinton at an international
sustainability conference in San Diego.
"We are working hard to ensure this
year's edition has the same effect."
Pidcock is looking forward to meeting
green business innovators from other
universities. At the top of her list are
Harvard graduates Jessica Matthews
and Julia Silverman, the creators of
sOccket, a soccer ball that generates
clean electricity to power appliances,
including LED lamps, water sterilization devices and mini refrigerators.
"People ask me what a student
conference can do in just three days,"
Pidcock says. "I say we have a Nobel
Prize winner, we have students who
represent Nobel winners of tomorrow,
and we're going to spend three days
trying to tackle pressing global energy
problems. And you know what? I like
our chances." •
Learn more about ISES 2011
at: www.studentenergy.org
and follow on Twitter astudentenergy
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 Tipping point:
How CIRS will transform
building water use
By Lynn Warburton
Strolling by UBC's Centre for Interactive
Research on Sustainability (CIRS), most
passers-by probably won't be aware
that there is a 90m well nearby that
penetrates straight through rock and
clay to the aquifer below.
But they will notice a simple, yet
intriguing water feature, a tipping
bucket. It's fascinating to watch as water
trickles in, but this decorative feature will
also play a big role as part ofthe living
laboratory. The tipping bucket represents
the a combination of engineering and
architecture that manages storm-water
run-off, and is part of what makes CIRS a
restorative building. The tipping bucket,
about as big a chair, does much more than
collect and pour a stream of water. It's the
final destination in the CIRS waste water
treatment system before water that can't
be used is restored to the aquifer.
It's role is to measure the flow of rain
water the building collects but doesn't use.
"Storm water run-off is a growing issue in
construction. Recharging the aquifer with
what we cannot use is critical at CIRS,"
say Alberto Cayuela, Associate Director.
Only about 10 per cent of all water
collected is made potable. Water is
collected as it flows and irrigates the green
roof and passes through landscaped areas.
The excess, unusable water isn't wasted
down sewers. It's diverted into the tipping
bucket. Water collects in it till it's full and
then tips, restoring it to the aquifer at sea
level hundreds of feet below UBC.
"How long it takes to collect depends
on our consumption and the amount of
rainfall. It's an important subject to
study," says John Robinson, Executive
Director. "All liquid leaving the building
will be better than rain when it arrived,
net-positive in yet another way,"
he says. •
A chair-sized "tipping bucket" (above)
is part of a unique water treatment
system that will help to make CIRS
North America's greenest building.
For more on water management
at CIRS, visit: www.sustain.ubc.ca Infection Rates
Rising Numbers
Between 1999 and 2008, Canada saw
increased rates of reported chlamydia
and gonorrhoea cases among females,
especially those 25 years of age and over.
For chlamydia, the greatest rate
increases were seen in the 30 to 39
(157 per cent) and 40 to 59 year age
groups (134 per cent). These same
age groups also saw the greatest rate
increases in gonorrhea (288 per cent
and 211 per cent respectively).
Out of a total of 82,929 reported cases
of chlaymdia in 2008, 66 per cent of
these were female. For gonorrhoea,
females accounted for 44 per cent of
the 12,723 reported cases.
Prior to 1999, females represented
12 per cent of all positive HIV tests in
Canada. By the end of 2006, this figure
had risen to 28 per cent.
Dating and intimacy
in the digital era
By Lorraine Chan
Cindy Masaro will look at the reasons why women in older age groups are not practicing safe sex
Are women's dreams of finding their
own Prince William or Mr. Darcy
making them susceptible to Internet
For her doctoral thesis, School of
Nursing PhD candidate Cindy Masaro is
investigating how social forces within a
digital era are shaping women's sexual
behaviour and risk-taking during dating
and early intimate encounters.
Masaro says her findings will help to
make public health interventions more
effective. To date, education campaigns
on condom use and safe sex have
focused mainly on teens and twenty-
somethings. But over the past decade,
rates of transmitted infections (STIs)
and HIV have steadily increased among
Canadian women aged 30 to 60.
(See sidebar for details).
"There's very little research on adult
women's sexual behaviour," says
"Very quickly there
can be exchanges of
highly intimate
Masaro. "Existing studies indicate that
many women are not using condoms,
but the reasons they are not engaging in
safer sexual behaviour are not known."
She says one possible factor
could be the sped-up nature of
hookups in today's online dating
world. "Researchers have shown that
computer-mediated communication
accelerates development of a sense of
trust and closeness. Very quickly there
can be exchanges of highly intimate
Another influence maybe the
traditional scripts and romantic
narratives that underpin gender roles,
observes Masaro.
"Women frequently watch films or
read books about finding that one true
love, the person who will transform
their lives. They may be tempted to
put on the blinkers when a potential
partner appears to fit that bill."
When something bad happens -
such as a diagnosis of chlamydia -
women can feel quite devastated, says
Masaro who works part time as a
nurse-clinician at a Vancouver
STI/HIV clinic.
"They believed the guy to be clean and
For her study, Masaro will
compare how face-to-face
encounters and computer-mediated
communication - from texting to
online dating - influence women's
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 decisions. Through an online
survey, Masaro will gather data on
variables such as: type and frequency
of communications; time to sexual
intimacy; trust; sexual self-disclosure;
discussions about safer sex; women's
motivations for having sex; feelings of
pressure to have sex; and sexual risk
"Little attention has been paid to
adult women's sexuality and STI or HIV
behaviours as they are assumed to be at
low risk."
Masaro says, "For many adults in
older age groups, condom use may
be associated more with pregnancy
prevention than the dangers of STIs or
HIV, especially if prior to dating, they
had been in a long-term relationship."
In fact, recent Canadian statistics
show that significantly fewer women
aged 25 to 49 report condom use at last
intercourse compared to those aged
15 to 24.
Masaro says that health interventions
and campaign messaging must consider
the broader cultural and social contexts.
For instance, health campaigns often
place the onus on women to negotiate
condom use.
"Some women may lack the power
to negotiate condom use. A woman
might refrain from using condoms
in an effort to please her partner and
develop intimacy. Others may find that
condoms hamper their sexual pleasure
or enjoyment." •
To learn more about the research
or take part in the study,
visit: www.datingconfidential.ca
Prof. Hugo De Burgos was interested in how people talk about their illness
Prof, documents
lead poisoning
in El Salvador
By Jody Jacob
A woman looks at the camera and says,
"Only death awaits us here."
She is a resident of Sitio del Nino,
El Salvador, where thousands of tons
of lead from a decade of industrial
operations found their way into the
community's water, food, soil and air.
The disastrous result of this poisoning
is the subject of The Site of Lead, a new
ethnographic documentary film by Prof.
Hugo De Burgos at UBC's Okanagan
De Burgos, who has a PhD in medical
anthropology, created the 40-minute
film to document Sitio del Nino's
experience of lead contamination
from a car battery factory operating in
the community since 1997. Although
the factory closed in 2007, residents
are still struggling to remove more
than 32,000 tons of lead slag and
to decontaminate their natural
environment and people.
"I went to Sitio del Nino in 2009 with
the aim of making a documentary on
people's narratives of trauma - how
they talk about trauma in a non-clinical,
non-pathologized fashion, which
is something that often helps them
build character and makes them more
resilient," says De Burgos. "But I ended
up focusing on more immediate and
recent trauma - the lead contamination, which was causing all kinds of
trauma, not only physiological but
The World Health Organization
claims that more than 10 micrograms of
lead per decilitre of blood in a person
poses a serious health risk. In Sitio del
Nino, however, some people have more
than 50 micrograms. The average child
in the community has 32 micrograms of
lead in the blood, a level that can affect
the neurological system, liver, bones,
and also cause anemia.
"I was interested in both the politics
of this lead contamination and
the subjective experience of being
contaminated by lead - how the people
in the community talk about their
illness," says De Burgos.
De Burgos filmed for three months
with a small crew of colleagues and
"People in the community wanted
to tell the story not only to the El
Salvadorian population but to the
international community," he says.
"The film examines structural
violence - a form of violence based
on the systemic ways in which a
given social structure or institution
harms people by preventing them
from meeting their basic needs,"
says De Burgos. He notes that in
medical anthropology, the term
"macro-parasite" describes how
societies can be organized in such a
way that human sickness and death is
the result.
"Inequality and social power put some
people at risk for being ill - that is
exactly what happened in Sitio del Nino.
The people were contaminated by lead
not because lead particles naturally
liked these people, but because their
position in the El Salvadorian society
made them more vulnerable."
De Burgos says his film highlights
how organized community action can
exercise enough political pressure
to fight a corporation, and brings
awareness about how humans organize
society and how this structure can be
detrimental to some of its members.
"The way we structure our society
can prevent some humans from
developing their full human potential,
and sometimes make them sick or kill
them," he says. "This is very difficult
to detect because one ofthe main
characteristics of structural violence is
that it is difficult to see, but by creating
awareness we can start changing our
society for the common good and not
only for the benefit of a few." •
The Site of Lead can be viewed online
at: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/cssejV
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UBC Farm Market
The adventurous buy garlic scapes or
Jerusalem artichokes. Others stick to
staples like organic eggs, peas, chard
and kale. The UBC Farm Market on UBC
Vancouver's South Campus has become
a popular destination for Saturday
shoppers who like their produce locally
grown and organic - not to mention
great tasting.
Difficult to believe then that UBC Farm
Market began as a class project at the
Faculty of Land and Food Systems. In
2001, Rosy Smit and Barb de Cook,
third-year agriculture science students,
received approval from the Faculty and
their profs to develop a small market
garden at UBC Farm. They succeeded.
Over the years, the garden-scale
project has grown to the production-
scale operation it is today. As a working
farm that integrates teaching and
research, UBC's Centre for Sustainable
Food Systems now hosts upwards of 60
courses and dozens of research projects.
UBC Farm produces more than 250
varieties of vegetables, berries, herbs,
fruits, flowers, eggs, honey, and
agroforestry products through its
24-hectare mosaic of cultivated fields,
orchards, pasture for cattle and chickens,
apiaries, teaching gardens, and forest
Mark Bomford, director of the Centre
for Sustainable Food Systems, notes that,
"Last year, sales were 30 times higher
than what they were in 2001 when Barb
and Rosy started the first on-farm
UBC Farm Market Hours
The UBC Farm Market runs
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
from June to October.
UBC Farm Market Campus Days
Market sales on campus
take place in front of the
UBC Bookstore on Wednesdays,
from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, visit:
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UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 Helping island farmers get to market
By Lorraine Chan
Kim Lucas (left) and Keely Johnston (right) loved the hands-on learning in their third-year "Land, Food and Community" course
Martin Dee Photograph
Artisan cheeses from Salt Spring Island
and Hornby Island jams sell like
hotcakes at farmers' markets.
But what are the challenges and
opportunities for B.C. Gulf Island
farmers and food producers to get their
goods to market?
To find out, six undergraduates from
the Faculty of Land and Food Systems
(LFS) explored the nuts and bolts of
local food distribution as part of their
community service learning project.
The student team focused on 13 Gulf
Islands between B.C.'s mainland and
Vancouver Island, along with Cortes
and Quadra Island.
The project turned out to be a major
highlight of their third-year "Land,
Food and Community" course, say
team members Victoria Elliot, Amanda
Hunter, Keely Johnston, Kim Lucas,
Catherine Montes and Brianna Stewart.
"Combining hands-on learning
with research was an amazing
experience," says Hunter, a nutritional
sciences major. "It gave me abetter
understanding of food marketing and I
feel like I have an insider's view."
To gather data, the students sent out
surveys to more than 100 farmers this
past winter. They received a response
rate of 30 per cent. Results showed
that most ofthe farmers on B.C.'s
Gulf Islands see a need for better food
Currently, the farmers sell their
products mostly at the farm gate,
followed by local farmers' markets and
retail outlets. Their most commercially
successful products are vegetables, fruit,
eggs and bottled products such as jams
and pickles, along with meat products
and hay.
"A major theme was the desire to
expand upon cooperative transport and
food distribution networks through
collective efforts," says Lucas, a
third-year dietetics student.
For example, 79 per cent of survey
respondents expressed a strong
interest in a growers association or
co-operatives. Other recommendations
include a transport system with central
distribution points and warehouses,
and a small-scale box program which
requires consumers to pay the farmer
a set price in the spring in exchange for
a weekly box of produce through the
"Farmers are looking to sell their
products more effectively, especially
at off-island markets," says Lucas.
"However, they face major logistical
barriers such as cost, marketing, time,
regulations and ferry prices."
As part of their project, the student
team also helped Don and Shanti
McDougall, owners of Mayne Island's
Deacon Vale Farm, look further into
their dream of starting a local store. The
couple aim to sell their own and other
farmers' produce as well as grocery
items and products such as chutneys
and jams.
Applying theory to real-life situations
was invaluable, says Stewart, who's in
the applied biology program. "We got to
have conversations with people actually
involved in the food system, outside
ofthe university context. This project
made me realize that I have a passion
for the marketing side of food." •
11 UBC
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UBC Medical students Baljeet Brar (left) and Nancy Yao (right) are working with refugees upon their arrival to B.C,
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 Med students
serve refugees
New arrivals are helping UBC students
understand patient needs
By Brian Lin
For first-year medical student Baljeet
Brar, an unexpected lesson in practising
medicine came from an unlikely source
— new Canadians who have sought
refuge in B.C.
For the past six months, Brar has been
assisting nurses at Vancouver's Bridge
Clinic with Iranian refugee families who
have arrived in the Lower Mainland via
"Even though many of the
patients don't speak English, and we
communicate via a translator, I am
amazed at how well we can express
ourselves through gestures and facial
expressions — and how much rapport
we can build that way," says Brar.
"I have learned so much about the art
of medical history-taking. I have learned
how to let the patients express what is
important to them. I'm also better able
to rephrase questions using simpler
Each year, B.C. becomes the new
home of approximately 2,000 refugees.
"Few refugees speak
English, some may
be suffering from
stress disorder and
other psychological
The Bridge Clinic is one of their first
stops. Here, after an initial screening,
the newcomers are offered preventative
and primary health care through the
clinic. But due to the high costs of living,
many refugees move on to other parts
of B.C. and may not return beyond their
first appointment.
"Few refugees speak English, some
maybe suffering from post-traumatic
stress disorder and other psychological
conditions, and family physicians can
be reluctant to take on refugees as new
patients," says second-year medical
student Nancy Yao. "I felt that if more
medical students have experience
interacting with refugees and gain a
better understanding ofthe dynamics
and issues around caring for them, they
would be more willing to take them on
as patients when they become family
Last year, Yao founded the History
Taking Project with New Refugee
Families at UBC after learning about
programs in Ontario and Newfoundland
that sends medical students to observe
initial care of refugees. She approached
nurses at the Bridge Clinic and soon
began shadowing them — and taking on
patients herself.
"My first intake was with a family of
five," Yao recalls. "The father was Iraqi
and the mother was East Indian. They
had moved from Iraq to India and then
to Canada, but only the eldest son spoke
a little English."
"I was struck by how dramatically
their environments had changed and
yet they were eager to start school,
to get on with life and move forward
together as a family," says Yao.
"It taught me how resilient people
can be when faced with unfathomable
An immigrant from China by way of
Finland, Yao is no stranger to adapting
to new environments and negotiating
cultural differences. While there are
similarities, Yao says providing care to
refugees takes on added dimensions
from those of immigrants.
"You place higher emphasis on basic
needs — food and nutrition, for example
- as well as issues that may be unique to
this population — infectious diseases,
psychological disorders and dental
hygiene," she says.
"I'll never forget how excited some
kids got over the prospect of having
their own free toothbrushes," she
recalls. "For some of them, this was
symbolic of the better life they were
hopefully about to embark on in this
new country."
The Bridge Clinic currently only
has capacity to take on two students
at a time, once a week, but Yao is
working with two other clinics in Metro
Vancouver in hopes of expanding
medical student participation. Until
then, Yao and Brar are developing
training material for their peers so they
can share their knowledge and insight.
"It's been amazing to meet some of
the refugees who have lived through
such difficult circumstances, but yet
are ready to start fresh with hope," says
"The experience has been invaluable,"
says Yao. "And I have no doubt it will
make me a better doctor and a better
person." •
Martin Dee Photograph
13 Turning your
genes on and off
Researchers of the GECKO Project lead the first study
of how life experiences shape who we are
By Heather Amos
Tom Boyce and the team of GECKO Project researchers take their lab on the road, visting families across the Lower Mainland to learn how life experiences affect our DNA
By decoding our DNA, the Human
Genome Project was supposed to give
us a tool to explain who we are as
individuals. We thought our genetic
code could tell us everything: where we
came from, what we looked like and our
susceptibility to diseases.
The project didn't quite live up to our
expectations. It succeeded in unraveling
three billion pieces of DNA and it found
that humans have 23,000 genes, but
those genes are far more complicated
than we thought.
"Each gene has its own dimmer
switch, like a light bulb dimmer,
to regulate the amount of protein
produced from it," says Michael
Kobor, an assistant professor in the
Department of Medical Genetics at
UBC and with the Centre for Molecular
Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT).
"Genes can be turned all the way on or
all the way off, or can be set anywhere in
Research has shown that genes
get turned on or dimmed down in
part because of a chemical reaction
called methylation, where groups of
carbon and hydrogen atoms are added
to the DNA within a person's cells.
Research has also shown that a person's
life experiences play a role in DNA
methylation, but no one knows how
specific experiences shape our DNA and
who we are as individuals.
UBC researchers are working on
the first project to understand this
connection. The Gene Expression
Collaborative for Kids Only or GECKO
Project is one of a series of studies led
by Kobor and Tom Boyce, a professor in
the Human Early Learning Partnership
(HELP) and Department of Paediatrics,
that involve researchers across campus
"We're trying to find out how environmental
and social experiences literally get under
your skin and stick with you for a long time.
and from universities around the world.
The GECKO project focuses on
children between the ages of seven
and 11. According to Boyce, 15-20
percent of children in any population
is responsible for more than half of
childhood illnesses and more than
half of paediatric health care use.
These children are more susceptible
to injuries and common illnesses like
colds but also more susceptible to major
behavioural problems and mental
health issues later in life. Other children
will have none of these problems.
"We're trying to understand why there
is such great unevenness in children's
illness experiences," says Boyce. "The
differences among children's life
experiences and risks for physical and
mental health problems are the basis for
this study."
The GECKO team is recruiting
400 children from across the Lower
Mainland for the study. The researchers
drive their GECKO van, or mobile
lab, to a child's house to collect a DNA
sample and conduct a series of tests to
measure how a child responds to stress,
their brain activity and development.
Meanwhile, the child's parents are
interviewed for information about the
child's life experiences and the family's
UBC Reports The University of British Columbia   June 2011 outtakes
Reflections on academic life
A close encounter with a prince
By Brian Lin
Prince Charles (far left) with Rod Fujita (left) of the Environmental Defense Fund, California
and UBC Researchers Rashid Sumaila (centre) and Daniel Pauly (right).
What is it like to have one of the most famous people in the world not only know
your work, but cite it in front ofthe movers and shakers in your field?
UBC fisheries economist Rashid Sumaila knows that feeling first-hand after
Charles, the Prince of Wales, mentioned his research on harmful government
fisheries subsidies at a meeting with about 60 representatives from the United
Nation, the World Bank, academia and the private sector.
Sumaila was joined by fellow UBC fisheries professor Daniel Pauly and
economics professor emeritus Gordon Munro at a March 2010 workshop hosted by
Prince Charles at St. James Palace. They were among only eight academics invited
to provide feedback on Prince Charles's efforts to protect the world's oceans through
the Prince's Charities' International Sustainability Unit (ISU).
Over one and a half days, the participants reviewed the ISU's Draft Consultative
Document, provided feedback and explored opportunities for collaboration across
sectors. The Prince then met with subgroups and gave closing remarks.
"In his closing remarks he mentioned our subsidies work, saying:
Tt's really unfortunate that the world is paying $16 billion of bad subsidies a year
to overfish, and in the process losing out on $50 billion annually in potential
economic benefits,'" recalls Sumaila.
"Then he called us out! He said: 'Scientists in this very room made this estimate.'"
Then came the close encounter.
socioeconomic status.
Socioeconomic status is the single
most powerful predictor of health, says
Boyce. It's also known that stress and
socioeconomic status are closely related
and that children who experience more
mental and biological illness have more
problems with stress. These problems
often last a lifetime and will hinder
academic achievement and acquisition
of cognitive skills.
"We're trying to find out how
environmental and social experiences
literally get under your skin and stick
with you for a long time," says Kobor.
When the DNA is collected, it is sent
to Kobor's lab for analysis. GECKO is
one of six projects that are part of a
"constellation of studies" and Kobor's
lab is at the centre of it all.
Kobor's team is assessing the amount
of DNA methylation at 480,000
different sites on each person's DNA.
When the project was launched about
four years ago, the technology was still
developing and the lab had planned to
look at only 1,500 sites.
"The technology is much more
advanced now," says Kobor. "With
480,000 different sites, we're covering
nearly all human genes."
The benefit of looking at so many sites
is that the researchers don't single out
any specific genes to study; they'll let
the data tell them what is important.
"We're studying children's
vulnerability at a deeper level than ever
before," says Boyce. "We want to know
why some children experience so much
in the way of affliction and illness, so
that ultimately we can develop new
interventions." •
To learn more visit:
"Tell me," the Prince pressed,
"which countries are causing the biggest
problems? If you tell me, we'll invite them
to the Palace and we'll have a chat."
During subgroup discussions, Prince Charles remarked to Sumaila, Pauly and
Munro: "You guys are doing the subsidies work. This is really good material."
"Tell me," the Prince pressed, "which countries are causing the biggest problems?
Ifyou tell me, we'll invite them to the Palace and we'll have a chat."
Sumaila is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with royalty.
He attended a similar event with Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2008.
But if he had to pick favourites, Sumaila says, the British prince wins out for
doing his homework.
"Both of them care a lot about the environment," says Sumaila.
"In terms of depth of knowledge, Prince Charles clearly came out ahead.
"He was quite humble, really open to learn and share his knowledge.
I saw in him a great champion in helping humanity avert further depletion
of ocean fish resources." •
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