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UBC Reports Nov 5, 2009

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VOL   55   I   NO   11   I   NOVEMBER   5,   200
4     Music in the DTES
5     Community service
7     Children's disorder
8     Tiny traffic lights
Prof. Stephen Chatman, an internationally renowned composer, has an encyclopedic knowledge of school fight songs.
The best part of UBC's new pep song may very well be
the shouting.
"It's pretty easy to sing along," says composer Steve
Chatman, a professor in the UBC School of Music. "You
just have to remember to shout 'hail.' "
That UBC even has a pep song - let alone a newly
recorded one - may prompt some surprise. University
fight songs are rare in Canada, where the tradition isn't
held as dear as in the United States. At UBC, an older
version of Hail UBC that's been kicking around since
the 1930s wasn't even suitable to be played over the
loudspeakers at games.
This proved troubling to UBC associate athletic
director Steve Tuckwood and former athletic director Bob
Hindmarch, who last year began asking around for a new
version of "Hail UBC."
They quickly found Chatman, a Juno-nominated
and internationally renowned composer, who has an
encyclopedic knowledge of traditional fight songs.
"We set up a meeting, and about five minutes in, Steve
said, 'You're looking for something like this?' He went
over to a piano and started playing every fight song he
knew," Tuckwood says. "He just knew them all."
And while one may think a pep song composed in 2009
would be a more modern take on the traditional format,
continued on page 3
Save the seeds, save ourselves
Native cultures and their plant seeds could be keys to
addressing crises of food, medicine and energy, coping
with climate change, and easing unprecedented rates
of species extinction, according to Tirso Gonzales,
an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies at UBC
"The dominant Westernized worldview tells us
that nature has endless resources, and so we have
unsustainable ways of living and doing agriculture in an
era of oil addiction," says Gonzales. "That worldview is
in crisis, and that's why we are looking for sustainability.
There is great potential for Indigenous peoples to make
important contributions to the world today."
A former Fulbright scholar with a PhD in sociology,
Gonzales recently served as the Latin America and
Caribbean lead author on the International Assessment
of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for
Development (IAASTD), a four-year, $ll-million project
funded by the World Bank and United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization.
Published this year, the IAASTD five-volume report
Agriculture at a Crossroads examines how science,
technology and Indigenous knowledge can be used to
reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods,
and promote development that is sustainable for the
environment, societies and economies.
continued on p.3
UBC Okanagan professor Tirso Gonzales is planning a new Indigenous Centre ofthe Americas and Pacific Rim to foster
intercultural dialogue on Indigenous cultures. 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009
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Prof. Michael Jackson authored a critical report on a federal prison plan.
Highlights of UBC media coverage in October 2009.  compiled by sean sullivan
study published in the journal
Psychological Science and covered
by international media including
the New York Times, the Times of
India and the Globe and Mail.
Watching the films of David
Lynch, director of Blue Velvet and
Eraserhead, or reading a Franz
Kafka short story, can improve
learning by compelling the brain
to make an extra effort to seek out
structure, the Globe reported.
"We rely on structure to make
sense of the world," said Steven J.
Heine, co-author of the study and
UBC professor of psychology. "If
you encounter something that you
can't relate [to other things], that
you don't know what to do with
it, this sort of puts you off your
game and you need to search for a
reference point again to again find
some structure."
Prison plan slammed
UBC Law Prof. Michael Jackson
made a national splash with a
report that slams the federal
government's plan to "toughen"
Canada's prison system.
The report, co-authored with
a former director of the John
Howard Society of Canada, argues
the government is ignoring "more
than a century of correctional and
legal history, empirical research
and the recommendations of
inquiries and royal commissions"
in its blueprint to overhaul federal
The study attacks the Harper
government for adopting an
amateur and "alarming" document
that ignores human rights, gives
the false impression that crime is
rising, and provides no costs for
flawed policies that would flood
penitentiaries with more inmates,
reported Canwest News Service.
"With no public review or
consultation, the plethora of
recommendations - some good
, some trivial, but many with
draconian implications for the
protection of human rights, public
safety and the public purse, are
being presented as the future of
federal corrections in Canada, "
Jackson and Steward wrote.
The Canadian Press, CBC, the
Vancouver Sun and the Edmonton
Sun also reported on the study. 13
Canadians uncover cancer map
The possibility of using a patient's
genetic information to create
personalized therapies to battle
cancer is one step closer to reality
after UBC and other Canadian
scientists decoded, for the first
time, the entire genome of a
patient's metastatic breast cancer,
reported the Globe and Mail.
The newspaper called it "a
landmark achievement that sheds
light on how cancer develops and
provides new insights into how to
fight it."
"I'm excited by the
possibilities," said Samuel
Aparicio, Canada research chair
in molecular oncology, the Nan
and Lorraine Robertson chair of
breast-cancer research at UBC,
and one of the lead scientists
involved with the study.
"In fact, I never thought I
would see in my professional
lifetime that it would become
possible to routinely sequence
genomes in the way that we're
now doing."
The findings were also heralded
by Reuters, AFP, Associated
Press, the Los Angeles Times, The
Canadian Press and Canwest
News Service.
Golden Mean turns heads
Author and UBC Creative
Writing instructor Annabel Lyon
has earned three major award
nominations for her debut novel,
The Golden Mean.
The Golden Mean is a
fictionalized story of Aristotle's
childhood up to the time when
he became a tutor to the boy
who would become Alexander
the Great, notes Canwest News
The novel is a nominee for
the Governor General's prize for
fiction, made the longlist for the
$50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize
and is a finalist for the $25,000
Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
Lyon, a UBC alumna, was
interviewed by the Globe and
Mail, The Canadian Press, the
Vancouver Sun and CBC.
Engineering student nets
Discovery spot
Fourth-year UBC engineering
student Aaron Coret was featured
on the Discovery Channel's
Daily Planet for the snowboard
Landing Pad he co-invented with
UBC alumnus Stephen Slen.
In 2005, Coret's freestyle career
came to a dramatic halt when he
had a bad landing and became a
quadriplegic. In the Daily Planet
feature, he is on Blackcomb
Mountain in Whistler testing the
latest prototype of the Landing
Pad, a giant vinyl pillow that
allows freestylers to land hard
and continue safely downhill to
reduce big injuries.
"It's like the best day of the
year," Coret said.
Lynch goes to your brain
Surrealism may be good for
the brain, according to a UBC
Executive Director Scott Macrae scott.macrae@ubc.ca
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EMAIL:    public, affai rs@ u bc. ca N EW PEP SONG continued from cover page
UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009     |     3
Chatman's done the opposite.
His new take on Hail UBC is
a throwback to the pomp and
bluster of the early 1900s, when
such pep songs were in their
"The pep song or fight song
tradition goes back even to the
1890s," says Chatman. "Most
of these pep songs, and there
are some really good ones, were
written around 1900 or 1910.
The traditional ones, like the
University of Notre Dame's, they
were all written early. There is
a certain style that's unique to
those times."
The former Hail UBC was
written in 1931 by Arts student,
for the Performing Arts, retains
only the title of the original 1931
The song was recorded by the
UBC Wind Ensemble, directed by
Robert Taylor, produced by Karen
Wilson and engineered by David
Simpson. One short version
was recorded with a full wind
ensemble, including piccolo, oboe,
clarinets, trumpets, trombones,
baritone, horns, tuba, saxophones
and percussion. The other, with
combined band and 100 voices
of the UBC Opera Chorus is
by director Nancy Hermiston,
the UBC Singers, and director
Graeme Langageris longer and
intended for ceremonies.
"It's supposed to be inspirational,
so the team can feel good
hearing it after they score."
trumpet player and band leader
Harold King. Chatman calls it
"more of a swing tune" than a
rousing fight song.
"It's fine, but it's not really a
pep song," Chatman says. "It's
kind of a tune you'd do with a
jazz combo."
"We needed something that
can inspire spirit and pride at
athletic events and throughout
the UBC community," Tuckwood
says. "Something like that gets
ingrained in people's heads
and builds a lasting legacy and
The new version, recorded in
September at the Chan Centre
The version that will get the
most use is the 20-second-long
"stinger," to be played after the
UBC Thunderbirds score a goal.
"It's supposed to be
inspirational, so the team can feel
good hearing it after they score,"
Chatman says.
"And hopefully the other team
will feel bad," he adds with a
laugh. "Of course, the more UBC
scores, the faster the song will
catch on."
Chatman's interest in the
sub-genre of university pep
songs stems from his visits to
football games at the University
of Wisconsin as a child. At
Prof. Chatman wants "Hail UB C" to help spur our teams to victory.
the University of Michigan,
where he did graduate studies,
he remembers cheering along
with UMich's iconic song, "The
That song was reportedly called
the "best fight song of all time"
by composer John Philip Sousa.
The new "Hail UBC" made
one of its first appearances at
a recent women's hockey game
that the Thunderbirds won 4-1.
"By the fourth goal, people in
the stands were singing along,"
says Tuckwood. "It's infectious."
"I wanted to have a song that
was traditional enough that
wouldn't go out of style. The
only modern part about this one
is when it was composed and
recorded." 13
SAVE THE SEEDS continued from cover page
The report points out a range
of environmental impacts from
agricultural practices around the
world today, noting:
■ Approximately 1.5 billion
people are directly affected by
land degradation
■ Deforestation is proceeding at
13 million hectares per year
■ Over half of the world's
grasslands are degraded
■ Depletion of marine
resources is so severe that some
commercial fish species are now
threatened globally
Gonzales is focusing his
"Indigenous culture is an
undervalued, diminished and
marginalized reservoir of
knowledge," says Gonzales, citing
colonization and a still-prevalent
colonial mentality as major
influences around the world. "We
can't be entrenched in our own
way of viewing the world - we
need an intercultural dialogue."
Born and raised in Peru,
Gonzales is related to the
Aymara people, who have a rich
As an academic with close
ties to what he calls Indigenous
"cultures of the seed," Gonzales
is keenly aware of the contrasts
between science and Indigenous
knowledge, and he's eager to help
these disparate worldviews strike
up a dialogue, not collide.
Last December, Gonzales
began a pilot research project
collaborating with Peruvian
Andean-Amazonian Indigenous
peoples' local organizations. The
project is supported by UBC's
"In Andean agriculture you take care ofthe roots,
tubers and grains with love, care and nurturance."
■ The demand for water for
agriculture has led to serious
depletion of surface water
■ Half of the world's wetlands
are estimated to have been lost
during the last century
Of an estimated 525 million
farms worldwide, 404 million
have fewer than two hectares
of land, the report says,
advising that using local and
Indigenous knowledge - as well
as advanced sciences across
a broad field of disciplines -
would benefit these small-scale
agricultural producers.
Achieving this will require
a new kind of communication
that spans the gulf between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous
cultures - and that's where
cultural tradition of rituals and
sustainable life spanning more
than 10,000 years. He says the
Aymara and Quechua peoples of
Peru, for example, have amassed
vast experience and knowledge
living in harmony with nature.
Their Andean worldview holds
that everything is alive - the
seeds, the soil, mountains - and
everything has its own culture
and deserves respect.
"In Andean agriculture you
take care of the roots, tubers
and grains with love, care and
nurturance. Life is nurtured as a
whole," he says. "Food comes by
default, but not because you are
really concerned with producing
food, but because your concern
is with procuring balance and
harmony. That is the spirit of
Martha Piper Research Fund
and emphasizes interdisciplinary,
intercultural dialogue and
exchange, as well as gathering
data and mapping of agricultural
local knowledge and lore.
Gonzales envisions a new
Indigenous Centre of the
Americas and Pacific Rim
to promote and endorse the
Indigenous peoples' agenda as
expressed in the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples.
He says the centre would work
to strengthen dialogue within and
between cultures, and provide
for training, exchange, education,
and dissemination of information
and research outcomes for key
stakeholders such as Indigenous
peoples, governments, the private
sector, and civil society at large.
"Where the seed goes,
where genetic material goes,
it goes with culture, place and
language," he says. "We need
society, policy makers and
institutions to be flexible enough
to respond to the challenge.
If not, we will continue to
exclude people in large numbers
from being who they are and
from contributing to enriching
sustainable, place-based agri-
The IAASTD reports
Agriculture at a Crossroads
are available from www.
agassessment.org or www.
islandpress.org/iaastd. 13
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Making beautiful music
in the
Downtown Eastside
UBC students and some of Vancouver's homeless are composing music for gamelan - an orchestra of traditional
Indonesian instruments - in a unique music course.
A UBC music researcher
is teaching the world's first
university course on musical
expressions in a Canadian inner
The class will help more than
30 UBC music students to learn
about music in Vancouver's
Downtown Eastside and to
showcase the musical talents of
neighbourhood residents.
Heart of the City:
Introduction to Applied
Ethnomusicology is taught by
house and homeless - will
pair with students for singing
lessons, a First Nations song
workshop and the creation
and performance of original
music for gamelan, a traditional
Indonesian orchestra of
specially-tuned xylophones,
gongs and chimes. A showcase
of neighbourhood singers and
songwriters supported by UBC
students in an orchestra, choir
and production team will be
another highlight.
The fourth-year seminar
is being offered by the UBC
contexts to explore how music
works towards solving social
The Downtown Eastside
Music Theatre Showcase will
feature 30 songs created in and
around the neighbourhood.
Nineteen UBC students will
serve in the orchestra, choir and
stage crew for residents, who
will star as lead performers.
Students will also document
the performance with a film
crew, interview participants
and research the transformative
effects that music can have on
"Music can build trust, self-esteem and a positive sense
of community. For some, it is a tool for emotional,
psychological and physical survival."
Klisala Harrison, a postdoctoral
teaching and research fellow in
UBC's School of Music who has
researched inner city music in
the area and around Canada for
the past nine years.
"Music plays an important
role in regenerating
socioeconomically depressed
urban areas," says Harrison,
34. "It can build trust, self-
esteem and a positive sense
of community. For some,
it is a tool for emotional,
psychological and physical
Downtown Eastside residents
- including some hard-to-
School of Music and the
UBC Learning Exchange in
partnership with the Faculty
of Arts' First Nations Studies
Program. It is one of a growing
number of classes incorporating
Community Service Learning, a
form of experiential education
that combines classroom
learning with volunteer work to
achieve community goals.
Harrison says the student
projects are examples of
applied ethnomusicology, an
approach to music scholarship
guided by principles of social
responsibility that works within
and beyond typical academic
communities under stress.
The singing and gamelan
projects, which will include
public performances, will
occur at Vancouver's Carnegie
Community Centre and
Interurban Gallery between
Nov. 28 and Dec. 1.
UBC School of Music:
UBC Learning Exchange:
Dr. Klisala Harrison:
facultylklisala-harrison.html 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009     |    5
During and around the 2010 Games, UB C student Anushka Samarawickrama will join as many as 1,000 UB C Learning Exchange community service learners and volunteers in Downtown
Eastside schools and other Vancouver non-profits.
UBC student Anushka
Samarawickrama is looking
forward to the 2010 spring break
so she can hang out with some
special friends.
But you won't find them
dancing in any Fort Lauderdale
conga lines this Olympic year.
She and her buds are reuniting
in the same place their unique
relationship started one year
ago: an elementary school on
Vancouver's Eastside.
Samarawickrama's pals are
the kids, teachers and fellow
UBC students that she met
last year during a powerful
volunteer experience at Franklin
Elementary. Together they played
dodgeball, made fruit smoothies,
jumped rope and did fun math
problems in a school-wide effort
to improve nutrition, fitness and
learning skills.
They connected through
the UBC Learning Exchange,
which has been putting UBC
student volunteers into schools
and non-profit organizations
in the Downtown Eastside and
other Vancouver inner city
neighborhoods since 1999.
True to the program's name,
Samarawickrama says the lessons
went both ways.
"Seeing up close the impact I
had on these young people really
moved me," says the second-
year arts student, who worked
with seven boys in various
grades. "There was so much
that I learned, especially about
the adversity some people face
every day. It was a really new
environment for me, but I had a
lot of fun. It actually really reenergized me for school."
This year, UBC's annual reading
break for Vancouver campus
students has been extended to
two weeks - from February 15
to 26 - to help accommodate the
concurrent 2010 Winter Games.
Many projects will have
Olympic themes to help connect
UBC has helped to pioneer in
Canada, combines classroom
learning with volunteer work to
achieve community goals.
Already home to the nation's
largest university spring break
CSL initiative, UBC is planning
for a record turnout in 2010.
As many as 1,000 students,
faculty and staff are expected
to participate in more than 50
projects in Vancouver schools
and non-profit organizations
because of the challenges of
inner city life, they can't always
pursue them," says Steve Agabob,
principal of Mount Pleasant
Elementary School, a five-year
UBC Reading Week partner.
"Our students really connect
with the UBC students and they
produce awesome work together.
University suddenly seems like
an attainable goal for them. It's a
match made in heaven for us."
The UBC Learning Exchange's
"I learned so much, especially about the adversity some
people face every day. It really re-energized me."
children with the Games. For
example, UBC students and
Britannia Elementary School
youth are planning Olympic-
themed math stations. Other
non-2010-themed projects will
expand a UBC-built YMCA
rooftop garden that provides
fresh fruit and vegetables to
women and children in the
Downtown Eastside and create
wellness programs at Vancouver's
Downtown Community Court.
"Although the Olympics create
challenges - there is intense
competition for volunteers
and transportation will be
more difficult - the extended
reading break is an exceptional
opportunity for students to engage
in community service learning,"
says Margo Fryer, director of the
UBC Learning Exchange.
Community service learning
(CSL), an educational approach
between January and March.
"Every year, we hear how
transformative these reading
week projects are - for students
and residents alike," says Fryer.
"Participants are challenged
to think more deeply about
important community issues
and gain important leadership
skills. It is a learning experience
we want as many students as
possible to have."
According to National Survey
of Student Engagement founder
George Kuk, CSL is one of the
top things universities can do
to get undergraduate students
more engaged in their learning.
Research also suggests CSL has
positive effects on teamwork,
academic performance, civic
engagement and interpersonal
"All my students have
passions and interests, but
growth is part of a university-
wide commitment to develop
CSL programs that engage 10
per cent of UBC students every
year by 2014.
$1.4 million of HSBC Bank
Canada's recent $2.17 million gift
to UBC supports UBC Learning
Exchange programs where
students volunteer in literacy,
math and science projects in
Eastside elementary schools.
School-based volunteer teams
will be led by UBC staff and senior
students as well as employees
from SAP Canada (formerly
Business Objects), which has also
provided financial support for the
Reading Week projects.
The Learning Exchange
receives support from a variety
of UBC partners, including
Student Development, Human
Resources and External, Legal,
and Community Relations.
Learn more and sign-up for
a Reading Week 2010 CSL
school project at: www.ubc.ca/
readingweekprojects. _\
Get involved in the UBC Winter Games Volunteer Program
Help welcome the world to campus by becoming part ofthe UBC Winter Games Volunteer Program.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff can volunteer with anyone of a number of positions both off and on
campus, including Campus Tours, the Learning Exchange Reading Week Program, Library Ambassadors or
with the Province of British Columbia at the BC Pavilion or the 2010 Commerce Centre.
Groups with volunteer positions to be filled can post opportunities under the UBC Winter Games
Volunteer Program profile on the Career Services CareersOnline website.
To learn more information on how to find or post volunteer opportunities, go to ubc.ca/2010.
Once again the University is recognizing excellence in teaching through
the awarding of prizes to faculty members. Up to six (6) prize winners
will be selected in the Faculty of Arts for 2010.
Eligibility: Eligibility is open to faculty who have three or more years
of teaching at UBC.The three years include 2009 - 2010.
Criteria: The awards will recognize distinguished teaching at all levels;
introductory, advanced, graduate courses, graduate supervision, and any
combination of levels.
Nomination Process:  Members of faculty, students, or alumni may
suggest candidates to the Head ofthe Department, the Director ofthe
School, or Chair of the Program in which the nominee teaches.These
suggestions should be in writing and signed by one or more students,
alumni or faculty, and they should include a very brief statement of the
basis for the nomination.You may write a letter of nomination or pick up
a form from the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts in Buchanan C105C.
Deadline: 4:00 p.m. on January I 1, 2010. Submit nominations to the
Department, School or Program Office in which the nominee teaches.
Winners will be announced in the Spring, and they will be identified
during Spring convocation in May.
For further information about these awards contact either your Department,
School or Program office, or Dr. Dominic Mclver Lopes, Associate Dean of
Arts at (604) 822-6703. 6     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009
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December 9      11 :00am S. 1 :30pm
Celebrate the holiday season with
friends, family and colleagues.
A UBC Holiday Tradition complete with a Victorian
Feast of Roast Turkey, Herefordshire Roast Pork,
Neeps & Plum Pudding.
Early Bird Reservations:
Reserve before November 6 and
receive a complimentary glass of wine
Reservations and event catering booking: 604.S22.201 S
For more information visit
www. catering, ubc. ca
Swirls Christmas Bakeshop
begins November 1 7th.
Take home a UBC tradition this holiday season.
Festive GiftPacks, Pecan Nut Bars, UBC Whipped
Shortbread, Gingerbread Cookies, ourTraditional
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Do you remember an inspiring teacher from your past?
Why not recognize that teacher with a nomination for a:
The University is again recognizing excellence in teaching through the awarding of teaching
prizes to faculty members. Three prize winners from the Faculty of Applied Science will be
selected for 2010.
ELIGIBILITY: Open to full-time tenure-track faculty or a sessional lecturer with at least half-
time teaching in Architecture, Engineering or Nursing who have five or more years of
teaching experience at UBC.
CRITERIA: Sustained teaching accomplishments at all levels at UBC, focusing on faculty
members who have demonstrated that they are able to motivate students and are
responsive to students' intellectual needs, or have developed innovative course materials
for laboratory or classroom delivery.
NOMINATION PROCESS: Students, alumni or faculty members may nominate candidates.
Student nomination letters should include at least five student signatures. Letters of
nomination and supporting documents should be sent directly to:
Dean's Office, Faculty of Applied Science
The University of British Columbia
5000-2332 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC,V6T1Z4
Attention: Laura Vigorito
NOMINATION DEADLINE: November 30, 2009
For further information, please contact the Dean's Office, Faculty of Applied Science
(Laura Vigorito, e-mail lvigorito@apsc.ubc.ca; tel: 604-822-6776), your
Department or School office, or the Killam Teaching Prize Committee Chair,
Cynthia Girling.
Straightening feet
and building bridges
Clinical Prof. Dr. Shafique Pirani has dedicated himself to improving treatment of clubfoot in Uganc
Acting Communications Manager,
Faculty of Medicine
Fourteen thousand kilometres
separate the UBC Faculty of
Medicine from Uganda. Dr.
Shafique Pirani is trying to
bridge that gap.
A clinical professor in the
Department of Orthopedics,
Pirani first returned to the
country of his youth a decade
ago and has made 20 subsequent
It involves gently manipulating a
baby's foot, placing a cast on it,
and then repeating the process
over several weeks, the flexible
cartilage is molded into the
proper position and stays put as
it becomes bone.
Pirani, an orthopedic surgeon
at Royal Columbian Hospital
in New Westminster, has helped
make the Ponseti method the
mainstream treatment for
clubfoot in North America.
But he has been even more
Funded in part by the Canadian
International Development
Agency (CIDA), Pirani, Professor
Richard Mathias, of UBC's School
of Population and Public Health,
and Edward Naddumba, Head
of the Department of Orthopedic
Surgery at Uganda's Makerere
University, have worked to
create a network of 30 clinics
throughout the country staffed
by "orthopedic officers." He is
aiming to add f 0 more before the
CIDA grant expires next year.
By gently manipulating a baby's foot,
placing a cast on it. . . the flexible cartilage is molded into
the proper position and stays put as it becomes bone.
trips, trying to rid the east
African nation of clubfoot, a
birth defect in which one or
both feet are turned inward and
He has been working not as a
practitioner, but as a proselytizer
of the Ponseti method, a nonsurgical way of curing clubfoot.
Originated by U.S. orthopedic
specialist, the late Dr. Ignacio
Ponseti, the method is the "gold
standard" for clubfoot treatment.
determined to see it taken up in
Uganda, where the limitations
and pain imposed by clubfoot
are critical (the main means of
transportation is walking, while
farming and manual labour
are the main occupations.)
Moreover, because the treatment
doesn't have to be performed by
physicians, it's the best hope for
eradicating the condition in a
country with so few orthopedic
Dr. Shafique Pirani, far right, has traveled back and forth to Uganda
over the past decade in his quest to cure clubfoot.
Pirani estimates that about
40 per cent of Ugandan babies
born with clubfoot are now
being treated in one of those
clinics. Many of the other 60 per
cent, Pirani suspects, are babies
not born in hospitals so the
Ugandan Ministry of Health has
undertaken a public awareness
campaign using posters, brochures
and radio spots in various
languages. (To listen to the spots
in English and Luganda, go to
mag/club foot.htm.)
"Because of the Ponseti
treatment, children born in
Uganda with clubfeet now have
a good chance to grow up with
normally functioning feet, freeing
them from a lifetime of pain and
suffering," Pirani says.
Pirani has received a $100,000
gift from an anonymous donor to
expand training within Uganda,
and to replicate the project in
other countries. Governments
in Bangladesh, Mali, Nepal and
the Indian state of Karnataka,
have expressed interest, and he
has already taken his message to
Brazil and Malawi.
The Ponseti International
Association estimates that
clubfoot occurs in 150,000-
200,000 babies each year
worldwide. 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009     |     7
When Johnny can count by
twos, but can't tie shoes
Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), a poorly known children's disorder, affects up to six per cent of
children aged five to 11.
They may be labeled clumsy or
lazy, but children who struggle
to perform simple motor tasks
may actually be unable to fully
use key regions of the brain,
according to research by a UBC
graduate student.
Jill Zwicker, a PhD candidate
in Rehabilitation Sciences,
has conducted one of the
first neuroimaging studies
exploring motor performance
of children with developmental
coordination disorder (DCD),
a motor learning disability seen
in schoolchildren and shared by
actor Daniel Radcliffe of Harry
Potter fame.
Six per cent of children aged
five to f f have identified DCD
says Zwicker, who began her
doctoral studies in January
Zwicker compared motor
performance and brain
activation patterns of seven
children with DCD. Using
functional magnetic resonance
imaging (fMRI), the students
completed a computerized
tracing task. Over a two-week
period, the eight to f 2-year-
olds used a joystick like a pen
to trace a computer image of a
flower in five separate sessions,
both in and out of the fMRI
scanner. Accuracy and speed
were measured each time and
fMRI charted brain activity. A
control group completed the
same tasks.
Although there were few
20 years' experience and also
the mother of a f 2-year-old
boy with DCD. Her son was
diagnosed f 8 months ago.
"My 'battle' to have him
tested and then be given support
has been an ongoing struggle
since he was six years old,"
she says. "You have to be the
greatest advocate for your
child . . . push to get testing,
a diagnosis and the school
support these children are
entitled to."
Comments from family and
friends suggesting her son is
lazy, messy or slow by choice
have been frustrating and
devastating, she adds.
As a teacher she says the
greatest challenge has been not
even knowing until recently
DCD interferes with activities such as handwriting, tying
shoes and handling a knife and fork. It is not a minor
disorder yet it remains under-identified, says Zwicker.
- a higher prevalence than
attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD). The
conditions are related; about
half of children with DCD also
have ADHD and vice-versa.
About 30 per cent of children
with DCD also have a speech/
language disorder or learning
DCD interferes with activities
such as handwriting, tying shoes
and handling a knife and fork.
It is not a minor disorder yet it
remains under- identified, says
The term DCD has been
recognized since f 994 but is not
well-known among teachers,
parents or physicians, says
Zwicker. Its cause is unknown
but researchers are investigating
a genetic link. Zwicker has
worked for 20 years as a school-
based occupational therapist
and has helped identify and
assist students who have the
"These children are not able
to meet their potential. That's
what put me on this mission,"
participants in the study
(started in June 2008 and to
be completed in early 20f 0)
the neuroimaging results are
statistically significant. Children
with DCD do not seem to use
their attentional and error
detection brain regions to the
same degree as typical children.
Also, Zwicker found that
kids with DCD traced more
quickly but with less accuracy
than the control group whose
performance showed the reverse
She has interviewed children
to determine how these
coordination challenges have
affected their lives.
A f 0-year-old boy said, "it's
a bit hard for me [basketball].
Nobody usually passes to me . . .
It's like I'm left out of the game
Another child "thinks [he's] a
loser" because he is unable to do
things other kids can do easily.
This nine-year-old boy cannot
tie his shoes or ride a bike.
Vicky Liakouras is an early
primary schoolteacher with
that the disorder existed or how
prevalent it is. She says more
workshops are needed where
teachers are made aware of
DCD and how necessary it is to
directly address the disorder.
When a teacher observes
a child regularly having
difficulty with motor skills,
it is recommended that they
meet with parents to discuss
the child's performance at
school and at home. Following
an examination by the family
doctor to rule out causes other
than DCD, a referral to an
occupational therapist can yield
strategies for school and home.
It was previously believed that
children "grew out oP'DCD,
but it is now known that it
persists into adulthood. Because
children are often marginalized
by peers and criticized by
parents and teachers, they
can develop mental health,
social and physical problems
as teens and adults. These may
include anxiety and avoidance
of recreational activities or
jobs that require good motor
pplication Deadlines
JANUARY 29, 2010
2010-2011 Early Career Scholars
The Early Career Scholars Program
is for full-time UBC faculty who are
in the professorial ranks and at the
early stage of their academic careers
at UBC. The Institute will appoint up
to fourteen untenured Assistant and
recently tenured Associate Professors.
Assistant Professors within two years
of their appointment as Assistant
Professor at UBC and Associate
Professors within two years of tenure
and promotion at UBC are eligible.
MARCH 1,2010
Exploratory Workshop Grant
Exploratory Workshops provide funding
for bringing together researchers
from different disciplines at UBC with
distinguished external experts to, for
example, work jointly toward assessing
the research possibilities in a new area.
Typically, Exploratory Workshops will
take place over a period of several
days and have a mix of open and
closed sessions. The amount of the
award is up to $20,000. Beginning
March 1, 2010, the Institute will hold
only a single competition each year.
For more information, please visit our
website at www.pwias.ubc.ca or call
us at (604) 822-4782.
performance. They may also
have health issues such as
"Doctors need to know
these children are different at a
neurobiological level and that
DCD is a legitimate disorder,"
says Zwicker. She hopes if more
is known about what the brain
is doing, it will lead to better
and earlier interventions.
These can include
individualized and repeated
teaching of targeted motor skills
needed for typical childhood
activities, such as riding a bike
or using a keyboard. Effects
of DCD on daily life can be
minimized through such practice
and through problem-solving
strategies to help the child
generalize motor skills from
one task to another. In addition,
encouraging physical activities
that incorporate a repeated
sequence of movement s, such as
swimming or cycling, can help
prevent secondary problems
of lack of fitness and social
Zwicker presented her
findings at an international
conference this summer and
drew considerable attention
from DCD researchers.
Following graduation next year
she will start post-doctoral
work at Vancouver's  Child and
Family Research Institute where
she will analyze neuroimaging
data of pre-term infants and
link these findings with motor
outcomes at age 18 months to
determine their risk for DCD.
Zwicker's doctoral committee
members are Asst. Prof. Lara
Boyd and Prof. Emerita Susan
Harris of UBC's Dept. of
Physical Therapy and Assoc.
Prof. Cheryl Missiuna of
McMaster University's School
of Rehabilitation Science and
the Director of CanChild,
Centre for Childhood Disability
For more information on
DCD, visit CanChild at www.
canchild.ca/en/. 13 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     NOVEMBER    5,    2009
Students build tiny E.coli 'traffic light'
A team of UBC undergrads will see
how their new biosensor technology
stacks up against international
rivals during UBC's first-ever
participation in the International
Genetically Engineered Machines
(iGEM) competition, held at
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) this month.
iGEM, launched at MIT in 2003,
is widely recognized as the leading
undergraduate learning opportunity
in synthetic or engineered biology.
Projects have ranged from banana-
and wintergreen-fragranced
bacteria to an arsenic biosensor.
This year, more than 100 teams
from 20 countries will participate,
including 10 teams from Canadian
"We were a glaring exception
among Canadian universities
because we had never participated in this premier
competition," says Eric Lagally, an assistant professor
of chemical and biological engineering who founded the
team and is its faculty advisor. "When we announced
plans to enter iGEM, it tapped into a lot of latent
The team was made up of [then] first- to fifth-year
students in disciplines that include microbiology and
immunology, chemical and biological engineering, and
computer science.  iGEM organizers give competitors a
kit of genetic material that can be inserted into E. coli, a
well-studied model organism for operating and designing
genetic circuits.
After more than 6,000 hours of research work over the
summer, the team has produced the E.coli Traffic Light, a
biosensor signaling mechanism operating in E.coli  (still
being tested at time of publication).
Traffic Light is a whole-cell biosensor - a machine built
inside a single living
cell - that measures
concentrations of
substances at finer
levels than previously
available. Students
manipulated DNA and
RNA in E. coli cells to
detect levels of a sugar
added to the medium
used to grow the cell.
The technique causes
the cell to fluoresce
green in response to
a low level of sugar, amber for a medium level and red
for highest levels of sugar. Research problems included
triggering the cell to fluoresce at the correct level and
getting the non-relevant colours to stop fluorescing so the
appropriate one would be clearly visible.
Lagally believes the work has the potential to be
broadly significant - the research is entered in the
iGEM category of "potentially fundamental advance."
Applications for the technology include detecting heavy
metals for environmental analysis or finding the earliest
signs of cancer or other disease.
The team was formed with a UBC Teaching and
Learning Enhancement Fund grant of $36,800. Lagally
and co-advisor Joanne Fox, an instructor in the Advanced
Molecular Biology Laboratory in the Michael Smith
Laboratories, held a first meeting in October 2008
to determine level of interest - 40 students showed
up. The ensuing selection process looked at academic
UBC students are developing a technique that causes cells to fluoresce with different colours in response to different sugar levels.
calibre, research skills and student
"Students are hungry for real-
world applications of research
where they can get real results,"
says Lagally, also a member of
the Michael Smith Laboratories.
"They're eager to tackle a problem
that has no immediate solution."
"There were a few times when we
were having a lot of trouble getting
things working that I had the urge
to roll up my sleeves and dive in,"
says Paul Jaschke, graduate student
advisor to the group." But I'm glad
I didn't - the students wouldn't
have learned as much as they did
if somebody else figured it out for
Jaschke says the iGEM team
experience is similar to grad school
but with a twist: students had an
opportunity to design and manage
their project from the ground up,
which many grad students don't get to do.
Team member Amelia Hardjasa doubts there is another
venue open to undergraduates that is as encouraging and
supportive of self-directed work and organization.
"iGEM has definitely been a better introduction to the
research world than anything else I've undertaken," says
Hardjasa, a sixth-year student pursuing a double degree
in microbiology and classics. "One thing it's certainly
shown me is that research is not easy, but it is incredibly
rewarding and I don't think I'd ever be able to cut it out
of my life completely."
Fellow team member Eric Ma, a fourth-year integrated
sciences student, says the best part of the international
competition is the opportunity to exchange ideas with the
best and most motivated individuals worldwide.
"Going through this has told me I'm ready for a PhD,
hopefully in an applied field relating to cancer treatment
and diagnostics," says Ma, who initiated and ran a
weekly Journal Club series
through UBC's iGEM
Club, created by the team.
project has been
supported by Integrated
DNA Technologies,
an international DNA
synthesis company, and by
the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research through
a training program
administered by BC
Transplant Society. 13
New focus for the UBC United Way campaign
If United Way organizers have their way, the UBC
campus will be rife with pyjamas, bathrobes and slippers
on Nov. 13.
That's the date of the UBC Community United Way
campaign's officially sanctioned PJ Day, which gives all
members of the campus community an opportunity to
wear their favourite lounging clothes to campus.
The one catch: You have to buy a cute United Way
button, available at the UBC Bookstore, Koerner Library
and some food service outlets.
The PJ Day is one of many new components of the
university's annual campaign for the United Way, which
this year made a number of changes to better reflect the
values of the university community.
Gone are the mass mail-outs, the flyers and the paper
donation forms. In an effort to curb paper waste, the
campaign has launched the online United Way @ Work,
which allows employees to donate through a web portal.
"We used almost 45,000 sheets of paper in last year's
campaign," says campaign chair Lynn Newman, assistant
dean, students, in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.
"This year, we've cut it down to about 1,500."
Staff members who would prefer a paper form can still
contact organizers to request one.
The oversized thermometer is also absent, as increasing
participation - not achieving a dollar figure - is one of this
year's campaign goals.
Given the campus's reach, that involvement is essential.
"The United Way is second only to the provincial
government as the largest provider of social services in
the Lower Mainland, and UBC's campaign is the largest
in the area," Newman says. "The campus community's
involvement can mean a world of difference to those in
And there are ample ways to participate. Faculty, staff
and students can organize an event among friends and
colleagues, or join in one of the many bake sales, raffles,
and 50/50 draws taking place across campus. Among the
top prizes is a one-year campus parking pass.
For the first time, a group of philanthropists will match
any new individual donation (as long as it is over $20),
or an individual donation that is increased by 15 per cent
from the year previously.
All employees who donate will be put into a draw for
the grand prize: two tickets to anywhere Air Canada flies in
North America (excluding Hawaii).
Watch UBC Events for upcoming events, and visit the
campaign website for news, videos and more information:
www.unitedway.ubc.ca. 13


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