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UBC Reports Apr 1, 2004

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VOLUME  50   I  NUMBER  4   I  APRIL   1,2004
2 UBC in the News
4 Sockeye Mystery
9 Super Rover
Student Refugees
12 Hand Burns
Dr. Martha Piper's speech on
March 17 in Kelowna marking
the merger of Okanagan
University College with UBC
It is an honour and a privilege for
UBC to have been asked by the government to work with the people in
this region to develop a distinctive
research-intensive university right
here in the Okanagan - a university
that will build on the achievements
of Okanagan University College and
the history of the University of
British Columbia.
There is no issue facing the B.C.
post-secondary community that is
more critical than access. Many
dedicated individuals in this
community have been working to
address this concern, and today's
announcement signals that their
voices have been heard. The establishment of UBC Okanagan will
open up 7,500 new UBC seats by
2009, right here in the fastest growing region of the province - with
continued on page 3
Students at the Okanagan campus.
Dalai Lama Brings
Message of Peace to UBC
His visit supports the launch of contemporary Tibetan
study program, by erica smishek
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws
■ from UBC on April 19.
How different would the world look today if
compassion and a consideration for all cultures
had informed the immediate response to 9/11 ?
That kind of question is at the heart of events
planned for the visit to Vancouver of His
Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama later this month,
including the launch of the new Contemporary
Tibetan Studies (CTS) program at UBC.
"We need new paradigms for policy analysis
to deal with the pressing challenges of our
time," says Pitman Potter, director of the
Institute of Asian Research (IAR), which houses
the new CTS program, and a key organizer of
the Dalai Lama's Vancouver visit.
"We hope that drawing on the principles
of compassion and cross-cultural under
standing associated with His Holiness
the Dalai Lama can facilitate building new policy approaches to some
of the problems that plague our
troubled world."
Potter says the Dalai Lama's
message of the universal need for
kindness at every level, from person-to-person relations to global
action, transcends cultural and religious
boundaries and provides an unique perspective on world peace, preservation of culture, and
protection for our increasingly imperiled planet.
His suggestions on how to apply his teachings
to daily life and to more pressing global issues
are capturing the imagination of people around
the world and present a relevant and significant
subject for study and dialogue.
"During my audience with His Holiness the
Dalai Lama in June 2002, he indicated his willingness to come to Vancouver to support the
launch of the CTS program. This was a wonderful expression of support," says Potter, also a
professor and director of Chinese Legal Studies
at UBC's Faculty of Law, who has worked tirelessly with IAR research associate Victor Chan
to develop the program and guide a diverse
organizing committee established to plan the
"The CTS program and the visit of His
Holiness reflect a commitment by the university and
the institute to build programs that are meaningful for
everyone," Potter explains.
"The themes of ideas, community, spirituality and
music that inform the visit of His Holiness are values
held dear throughout the community. The activities of
the CTS program are aimed to build upon and
strengthen these themes, for the benefit of everyone."
The CTS program will be unique in North America
for its focus on contemporary Tibet and its application
of Buddhist principles to contemporary policy issues.
"I was impressed by the importance of studying contemporary Tibet, not as an ancient culture but as a
contemporary society," says Potter.
"After considerable thought and discussion with
experts in the field, we began working on a
program design that would include research
and teaching on socio-economic, political,
cultural and religious aspects of Tibetan
societies today, and also on the ways that
principles of compassion and cross-cultural understanding associated with His
Holiness the Dalai Lama can be applied
to contemporary policy issues such as sustainable development, community building,
and peace and security."
Much of the academic work on Tibet in Canada
and elsewhere has focused on classical dimensions of
religion, language and culture. But current policies on
economic development, internal migration and religious practices are dramatically altering the way of life
for Tibetan people in China and abroad.
While many details of the CTS program will depend
on resources and financial support (IAR through the
Faculty of Graduate Studies is currently seeking $5
million to help fund the program), Potter anticipates
a graduate-level research program structured around
a chair in contemporary Tibetan studies. Teaching will
likely be offered in collaboration with the Master of
Asia Pacific Policy Studies (MAPPS) program and
participation in the individual interdisciplinary
doctoral program in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
"Research activities will follow along the lines of the
Institute's research programs on globalization,
continued on page 3 2       |      UBC      REPORTS      |      APRIL     I,     2OO4
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A Whirring Adult Brain
Millions of people have mild versions of autism, depression and
attention deficit disorder. Without a
diagnosis, these "shadow syndromes" can ruin lives.
Attention deficit disorder, for
example, is too often ignored in
impulsive, distracted adults.
"This isn't a problem that goes
away after puberty," Margaret
Weiss, director of research for the
division of child psychiatry at UBC,
told the National Post.
"And one of the great problems
we face is that once children with
ADD turn 18, they are no longer eligible for [provincial] funding for
treatment and counselling. This is a
time when they are going to university; when they have tremendous
stresses to deal with, like scheduling,
organizing themselves to study and
so on. This is a vulnerable time."
Experts say the solution lies in
focusing on people's strengths and
developing their coping strategies.
Business Fills the Gaps in
University Funding
Business leaders and corporations
are coming forward with record
donations to meet the funding
demands of Canada's post-secondary
Ike Barber and Bill Sauder,
who both made fortunes in forest
products, each gave $20 million to
UBC, where private donors have
always represented more than half
of all gifts.
The size and number of private
gifts is rising, Clark Warren, associate vice-president of development,
told the National Post.
Last year UBC raised $82.6
million, a significant gain from the
$67.8 million raised the year before.
"Fundraising is now a continuing
business and not a series of
campaigns spaced a few years
apart," he says. "It also relies heavily
on establishing relationships with
potential major donors. Major gifts
are rarely first-time things."
Some Flowers are the Bee's
UBC Zoology doctorate candidate
Risa Sargent is the first to have
come up with solid numbers to
demonstrate that flowers with their
petals arranged in one way appear
in more botanically different species
than flowers with petals in different
At the heart of her pioneering
findings lie two basic evolutionary
concepts: speciation and reproductive isolation.
"Many different insects can pollinate flowers like buttercups or roses
because they're radially symmetrical," Sargent says, meaning the
Some petal patterns allow a better chance of pollination than others.
petals are evenly spaced around the
flower centre. So, a honeybee, moth
or bumblebee can fly in from any
direction to pick up or drop off
Such specialist pollination increases the prospects of survival because
these flowers are less likely to receive
pollen from an incompatible plant or
to have their own pollen transferred
to incompatible stigma, Sargent told
the Toronto Star.
Wristwatch Sensors to Detect
Groundbreaking research being conducted at UBC on "microsensors"
means that in a few years you may
be able to buy a watch that can
detect everything from a bad smog
day to an anthrax attack.
Winnie Chu, laboratory manager
at UBC's new Centre for Health and
Environment Research, has
developed a chip that does the same
thing, reports The Vancouver Sun.
It's about only two centimetres long
and one centimetre wide.
While Chu stressed that her
research has not focused on terrorism, it could be used to identify
biological agents, like anthrax,
that some fear could be used in
a terrorist attack.
Other sensors, modified somewhat, could test water samples for
deadly bacteria like E. coli.
Long-Awaited Bill On Assisted
Human Reproduction Clears
Senate Hurdle
A Senate committee recently unanimously approved legislation banning
human cloning, rent-a-womb contracts and the sale of human sperm
and eggs.
The Assisted Human
Reproduction Act would also set
standards for embryonic stem cell
research, and create a federal agency
to oversee fertility clinics.
"At long last, eh?" UBC geneticist
Patricia Baird told CP Wire. "I'm
just delighted. I think it's really in the
best interests of Canadians that this
has gone forward."
Key elements of the legislation
were recommended in 1993 by the
Royal Commission on New
Reproductive Technologies, of which
Baird was the chair.
"[The legislation] is going to help
protect the health and safety of literally thousands of Canadians who use
infertility treatments every year," said
Baird. □
Director, Public Affairs
Scott Macrae  scott.macrae@ubc.ca
Paul Patterson  paul.patterson@ubc.ca
Design Director
Chris Dahl  chris.dahl@ubc.ca
Sharmini Thiagarajah  sharmini@exchange.ubc.ca
Cristina Calboreanu  mccalbor@exchange.ubc.ca
Michelle Cook michelle.cook@ubc.ca
Brian Lin  brian.lin@ubc.ca
Erica Smishek erica.smishek@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson  hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Cristina Calboreanu  mccalbor@exchange.ubc.ca
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UBC Okanagan
continued from page 1
900 new university seats being made available as soon as
September 2005. And, the first UBC degrees will be
granted in May 2006, with all students graduating from
that day forward receiving University of British
Columbia degrees - full stop - one university, one degree.
Clearly, this new campus will be the source of talent and
people power for years to come - providing opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students.
To assist in this endeavour, we are also
pleased to announce today the creation of
1,000 new student residence spaces to meet
the housing and social needs of students
studying here. In addition, our UBC student
financial assistance policy, backed by our
$650 million endowment, will ensure that
no qualified domestic student will be denied
access to UBC Okanagan on the basis of
financial need. And, we will work collaboratively with the new college and its regional
campuses to offer university credit courses
and an integrated college transfer program.
But there is more to today's announcement than new opportunities for students.
UBC Okanagan will be a research intensive
university - one that will bring the research
strengths of UBC to the Okanagan.
Whether it be our international ranking, our
annual research funding of over $377 million per year, or our ability to spin off companies into the economy, UBC Okanagan will be an economic driver - helping to diversify the economy and
enhance the quality of life for all British Columbians.
What took UBC nearly 100 years to achieve in research
excellence will be immediately available for the region.
Today's announcement also brings our commitment to
work with the community and OUC students, faculty
and staff to build a distinctive campus with programs
and research that meet the Okanagan's needs. To that
end, we are grateful that Brad Bennett has agreed to
chair the UBC Okanagan Advisory Council and to serve
as a member of UBC's Board of Governors. We know
his leadership, insight, and support will be critical in
building this great campus and aligning its goals to the
aspirations of the region.
On October 28, 1922, almost 1,200 students participated in UBC's historic Great Trek, the march and
demonstration that persuaded the provincial government
of the day to go forward with its plans to build the first
great campus of UBC in the Lower Mainland. Today,
almost 82 years later, we are responding to the call of the
people to this government to build the second great
UBC President Martha Piper and Brian Sullivan, Vice President,
Students meet with OUC students March 17.
campus of UBC, right here in the Okanagan. It is in the
spirit of the Great Trek that we celebrate today's
announcement, and pledge to honour the efforts of
those who have gone before us.
The Great Trek of the 21st century: One great university, Two great campuses. I know you will all join me in
doing everything we can to make this vision a reality.
Thank you.
Martha C. Piper
Message of Peace to UBC
continued from
cross-cultural dispute resolution,
and religion and public policy,"
Potter says. "We look forward
to cooperation with other
departments at UBC."
He predicts the program will
prove to be a valuable resource
for policy makers as well as
non-government organizations,
researchers, educators, students
and the media throughout the
As the leading research
authority for the study of Asia in
Canada, the IAR builds knowledge for the benefit of Canada
and the world through intensive
programs of research and graduate-level teaching that combine
policy relevance with local
knowledge. Potter says the CTS
program will complement existing activities at UBC focused on
Asia and will draw new communities of interest to the university.
The new program will be
officially launched during Tibet
in the Contemporary World, a
two-day academic conference that
unites distinguished international
scholars from North America,
Europe and Asia with junior
scholars and graduate students
April 19 and 20 at UBC.
The Dalai Lama will open the
conference with a keynote address
April 19 following the conferral
of honorary Doctors of Law
degrees by UBC on His Holiness,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
former president of the Czech
Republic Vaclav Havel and 2003
Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin
Ebadi. The four will also join
Rabbi Schacter-Shalomi,
Dr. Jo-ann Archibald and moderator Bishop Michael Ingham for
Balancing the Mind with
Educating the Heart, a roundtable
dialogue focused on the Dalai
Lama's teaching and its application in today's world, at the Chan
Centre of the Performing Arts at
UBC on April 20.
Potter says the impact of this
profound exchange between world
leaders at UBC in April will be felt
for years to come. The IAR is
planning policy dialogue sessions
to further examine the topics of
peace and security, community
building, and sustainable development raised at the roundtable
dialogue and to build on the
community linkages that have
been established.
Potter also foresees the capacity
to develop new programs based
on the awareness that UBC and
the community have worked
successfully to put together an
historic event for the public good.
For more information on the
Contemporary Tibetan Studies
program, visit www.iar.ubc.ca/
Tibet/ or contact Carla Banford
in the Faculty of Graduate Studies
at 604.822.0631.
For more information on the
Visit to Vancouver by His Holiness
the 14th Dalai Lama, visit
www.dalailamavancouver.org. □
Editors Note: At press time,
organizers were advised that
Vaclav Havel is unable to come
to Canada because of health
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REPORTS       |      APRI
The Mystery ofthe Disappearing Sockeye Salmon
Something fishy is going
on in the Fraser River
and UBC scientists are
on the case
Fraser River sockeye salmon have
been acting strangely of late. Their
odd behavior has experts puzzled -
and worried - because millions of the
fish are dying before they reach their
spawning grounds. It's a mystery that
could spell the end of the river's
salmon fishery, but UBC and SFU scientists studying the phenomenon
think they are close to solving the case
of the disappearing fish.
In a project funded by the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada with support from
the Pacific Salmon Commission and
Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
researchers have been examining why
some late-run sockeye are migrating
up the Fraser more than a month
ahead of schedule. Normally, the
salmon migrate down the coast of
British Columbia and mill about in
the Strait of Georgia for several weeks
before heading up river in late
"In 1995, we started noticing a
large group had started to change
their behaviour in terms of when they
returned," says Scott Hinch, the
forestry sciences professor leading the
investigation. "This wouldn't have
been a big problem except that they
UBC researchers have pieced together the clues to explain why millions of late-run sockeye are dying.
than a year ago, have been pushed to
the point of collapse.
At first, the researchers were at a
loss to explain either the early migration or the high mortality. They formulated several hypotheses before
identifying a prime suspect in the high
mortality rates: Parvicapsula, a natu-
ered a key piece of evidence. While
surgically inserting small radio transmitters into a test group of late-run
sockeye, researchers noticed that the
early arrivals bled profusely during
the short operation.
"We'd not seen anything like it
before when we've inserted transmit-
the river ahead of schedule.
The UBC team had several theories but it was colleagues from the
Institute of Ocean Sciences on
Vancouver Island who revealed the
clues which may crack the case.
Researchers from the Institute told
them that recent CTD (conductivity
longer they are in higher temperature
water, the more damage the parasite
does until, eventually, the sockeyes'
kidneys malfunction.
"Any one of these factors alone
probably doesn't kill them outright,"
says Hinch. "It's the combination of
all these things that we think causes
Since 1996, close to four million late-run sockeye in total have died during their upstream migration.
seemed to be dying in really high
numbers. We didn't realize how high
until the phenomenon continued for
the next few years."
"What we saw was fish entering
the river four to six weeks earlier than
usual and those early migrants died
before spawning - up to 95 per cent
of the total run in some years. The
mortality rate for sockeye arriving on
schedule is about 10 per cent."
This has had catastrophic effects on
the fishery and fish conservation,
Hinch adds. Since 1996, close to four
million late-run sockeye in total have
died during their upstream migration.
In 2002, the fishery lost more than
$70 million. Some small stocks, like
the Cultus Lake sockeye which were
emergency listed endangered more
ral kidney parasite that latches onto
fish at the mouth of the Fraser.
Since Parvicapsula hitches a ride on
all salmon heading up river - early or
otherwise - the researchers weren't
sure why it only seemed to be having
an adverse affect on the fish migrating
ahead of schedule. What they did
know was that the water temperature
in the river is several degrees higher in
mid-August than in late September
when late-run sockeye normally come
in from the ocean. Hinch's team suspected that the higher river temperatures were affecting the speed of the
parasite's infection and the early
migrants' kidney functions, which
play a vital role in helping fish to
adjust from salt to fresh water.
Then, by accident, the team discov-
ters, nor had we anticipated it," says
Hinch. "Blood samples from these
fish also showed that the early
migrants had poor clotting ability
and abnormally high levels of ions.
There was clear physiological evidence that the kidneys were malfunctioning and this may be the cause of
the high mortality. What it also
means is that fish could be bleeding
to death during their migration if
they get any small nick or cut, which
can be common."
This still didn't explain why
sockeye were starting their long
journey up the Fraser so early.
Although Parvicapsula was doing a
lot of damage to the early migrants
in the river, it didn't appear to be
responsible for driving them into
temperature depth) surveys of the
Strait along with some historical data
they dug up, shows low salinity
pockets in some coastal areas that
weren't there before.
Piecing the evidence together, the
UBC team determined that some
late-run sockeye might be hitting
these low salinity pockets of water in
the Strait. Thinking that they are in
fresh water, the salmon prematurely
activate their kidneys and ozmoregu-
latory systems - the function they
use to adjust to fresh water - and
head straight into the Fraser River
instead of milling.
Once in the river, they pick up the
parasite earlier than normal. The
higher water temperatures limit their
ability to fight off the infection. The
them to die. Early migrants probably
get two thirds of the way to their
spawning grounds, but many just
don't make it. The early fish that do
reach the spawning grounds seem to
die before spawning."
Hinch says the team is still a long
way from closing the investigation.
They still have several hypotheses to
examine over the next few summers
but the theory, if proven correct,
leaves Hinch cautiously hopeful for
the future of the Fraser River sockeye.
"Over the last couple of years,
there seems to be a segment of the
late-run sockeye that are acting normal and now that we understand a
bit more of the problem, I'm somewhat relieved and optimistic for these
fish," Hinch says. □
Coyotes Prey on Children
Public unaware of the risk, by Hilary Thomson
Cat-killer, cartoon character or funny-
looking dog - perceptions of the coyote
may vary but one thing is certain - a
hungry coyote sees a small child as just
another menu item.
Fourth-year medical student Dennis
Boparai was part of a team of undergraduate researchers that recently
explored coyote attacks on kids in the
Lower Mainland.
"Most Vancouverites like the area's
mix of nature and urban living but
there is a trade-off," he says. "Coyotes
have learned to co-habit with us in the
city as their natural territory is reduced
and their presence represents a risk to
About 2,000 coyotes live in the
Lower Mainland In addition to plentiful sources of food, city environments
provide coyotes safety from natural
predators such as bears, cougars or
Most coyote attacks involve children
up to seven years old. Some cases are
shocking - bold, daylight grabs such as
an incident where a coyote bit and
tried to drag off a baby while the
mother was gardening only a few feet
away. Another incident involved an 18-
month-old boy who was playing near
a soccer field when a coyote bit him
above the eye, requiring seven stitches.
A coyote stalked and charged a three-
year-old boy near an elementary
school. Adults were nearby in both
Boparai and the research team
found that public awareness was low
concerning coyote behaviour and risks
of attack. In particular, warnings are
necessary to ensure people don't feed
coyotes or attract them by leaving pet
food or garbage in the open.
Boparai presented the team's findings to an international wilderness
medicine conference in Whistler, B.C.
and to an international urban health
conference in New York City. In addition, the study is due to be published in
the journal of Wilderness Medicine.
Boparai is interested in coyote bites
not only because he hopes to specialize
in plastic surgery but also because he
feels doctors need to examine public
health issues surrounding trauma and
alert people to risks.
"There's always a social backdrop to
Urban coyotes live up to their bad
medical issues - that's an area that
interests me and where I would like to
make some impact," says the 25-year-
The project was supervised by
Nicholas Carr, head, UBC division of
plastic surgery and Wendy Cannon,
research co-ordinator □
Undergraduate Students
Conduct Research Too
If you thought graduate students were the only ones on campus
doing all the hard-hitting research, think again. This year's
Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference showcased
90 projects conducted by undergraduates.
Topics ranged from a study of anorexia nervosa in Victorian
England to a look at pediatric injuries in modern-day Pakistan.
Awards were given for the best research presentations, and a full
list of winners can be found at http:/Avww.research.ubc.ca/stu-
dents/conf-upcoming.htm .
Here's a quick peek at some of the other subjects undergraduates
tackled this year.
> Magic Mushrooms
If you go out in the woods today, you may be in for a big surprise.
Integrated Sciences student Jana Sebelova drew on her interest in
ethnobotany and a love of mushroom hunting cultivated while
growing up in the Czech Republic for her exploration of the antibiotic potential of some of B.C.'s estimated 10,000 mushroom and
fungi species. Sebelova collected samples of almost 200 Pacific
Northwest mushrooms to get a better understanding of the prevalence of antibiotic compounds in local fungi, and their distribution
across fungal genera. The results astounded her. Almost 20 per cent
of the 195 species sampled showed some antimicrobial activities.
continued on page io IC      REPORTS      |      APRI
2 0 04      I      5
A proposal is being considered to revise Policy #83 "Travel and Related Expenses" and its accompanying Procedures. The draft revisions were presented to the Board of
Governors for information and review on March 18, 2004.  They were prepared by the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Travel Policy Review of 18 members, drawing from a
broad cross-section of the University community, and are now being presented to the campus community for public comments.  The members of the committee that formulated
the proposed policy and procedures were:
Stan Hamilton, Commerce & Business Administration
Jon Shapiro, Education
Sian Echard, English
Bernard Ter Stege, Financial Services
Natasha Malloff, Human Resources
Suzanne Dunn, Internal Audit
Johann Boulter, Internal Audit
Marcia Lang, Office of the Vice-President Research
Sue Cutts, Orthopaedics
David Balzarini, Physics and Astronomy
Reny Kahlon, President's Office
Connie Fabro, Supply Management
David Rankin, Supply Management
John Welch, Treasury
Gayle Smith, Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost
Debbie Harvie, Bookstore
Sharon Wu, Finance Accounts Payable
Mark Crosbie, Office of the University Counsel
Policy #83 and its accompanying procedures were last revised in November 2000. The proposed revisions remove operational details from the Policy
document to simplify and reduce potential contradiction, and include changes to keep the Procedures document current with the electronic expense
and reimbursement processes now available for travel.
Feedback may be submitted by email to the Office of the University Counsel at university.counsel@ubc.ca.
All feedback should be submitted by 3:00 pm on Friday, April 16, 2004.
Subject to feedback from this public consultation process, it is expected that these proposed documents will be submitted to the Board of Governors
with a request for final approval at its regularly scheduled meeting in May of 2004.
POLICY #83 I Travel and Related Expenses
Approved: November 2000
Revised: May 2004 (Anticipated)
Vice-President, Administration and Finance
Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Travel is a necessary component in the gathering and dissemination of information
and knowledge.  The purpose of this policy is to facilitate travel in support of the
University's mission while maintaining controls for accountability.
This policy applies to travel expenses paid from all University administered funds,
including those from grants and contracts.
The University will reimburse the cost of authorized travel expenses incurred by
members of faculty and staff and, in special cases, students or other persons,
provided that:
• the traveller was travelling on University business, or in support of the
University's mission; and
• the traveller had advance authority to incur travel expenses
(for example, through recognition of travel in a grant budget); and
• the expenses are reasonable, appropriately documented, and comply
with University policies and procedures, or the policies and procedures
of a granting agency or funding contract; and
• the expenses are approved for reimbursement by at least one
administrative level higher than the person claiming reimbursement.
Travel supported by research grants or contracts must comply with University
policies and procedures unless specifically indicated otherwise by the funding
organization in which case the policies and procedures of the funding organization
must be followed.
As employees of a public institution which aims to use its resources as effectively
as possible, members of faculty and staff must exercise care in incurring travel
expenses. It is the responsibility of the traveller to make the most economical
travel arrangements possible, consistent with the purposes of the trip.
Travellers must ensure that they have adequate insurance for the travel
Travellers may retain for personal use any loyalty program points
(for example - frequent flyer points) accumulated from University travel.
The restrictions in this policy and its procedures have university-wide
application; however, individual faculties and departments may implement
procedures which are more restrictive.
A standing Travel Policy Review Committee sponsored by the Vice-President
Administrative and Finance will review and recommend changes to the
Procedures as necessary.
Approved: November 2000
Revised: May 2004 (Anticipated)
Pursuant to Policy #1, "Procedures may be amended by the President, provided
the new procedures conform to the approved policy.  Such amendments are
reported at the next meeting of the Board of Governors and are incorporated in
the next publication of the UBC Policy and Procedure Handbook." 6     I
IC      REPORTS      |      APRI
Claim Approval
Written approval from one administrative level higher than the traveller is required
for any payments under this policy including:
• reimbursements to travellers;
• travel advances;
• travel settlement claims; and
• payments to a third party.
The traveller and the individual who approves payment must ensure that claims for
expenses are in accordance with this policy and these procedures.
Expense Claim Forms
Claims for reimbursement of travel expenses must be submitted on a Financial
Services Travel Requisition Form.  Claims must have:
• a clear statement of the purpose and the duration of the trip;
• clearly detailed expenses supported by the dated receipts required by this policy;
• the original signature of the traveller certifying that all information is correct;
• written approval from one administrative level higher than the traveller.
Travel Claims should be submitted within thirty (30) working days of the traveller's
Original Itemized Dated Receipts are required to support a claim. Travel agency
invoices, cancelled cheques, credit card statements or "paid" notices, photocopies
and carbon copies are not acceptable.  The following are the only exceptions to this
• Meals &c Incidentals
Credit card vouchers for gasoline and meals may also be submitted except when
the claim is charged to a research fund.
• Airline Tickets
Paper airline tickets must be accompanied by the travel agency invoice.
In the case of electronic tickets, submission of a copy of the itinerary/receipt is
acceptable.   (Invoice or itinerary/receipt must show ticket number, breakdown
of cost and form of payment).
• Conference Registrations
Submission of a copy of a receipt showing the cost and payment or a copy of the
registration showing the cost accompanied by a credit card statement showing
payment is acceptable.
• Minor Unreceiptable Items
Minor expenses that are impossible or difficult to receipt may be approved at the
discretion of the individual approving the traveller's claim.  Examples of such
items would include subway fares or gratuities.
• Missing Receipts
When a travel expense receipt is missing and a duplicate cannot be obtained, the
traveller must submit the following memorandum on their department's letterhead
to the Department of Financial Services.  The memorandum must be accompanied
with the appropriate Travel Requisition Form and must be signed by the traveller
and one administrative level higher.
To: Financial Services, Travel Claims
Re: Lost/Missing Receipt
I, [full name of traveller] certify that the following receipts in the amount of
[indicate amount and currency] [describe the missing ticket, hotel bill, etc. in
detail] are missing and cannot be replaced. These authorized travel expenses were
incurred by me on [date] and are reimbursable through the university's account
number [quote appropriate SpeedChart and account code]. The associated TR # is
 I certify that I have not and will not claim reimbursement for these expenses
from any other source.
Signature of Traveller:
Signature of Supervisor:
Site - Stamping of Receipts
In circumstances where travel expenses are made well in advance of the trip and
payment is required before the trip is completed, or when expenses are partially
covered by another organization and the traveller requires the original receipt for
submission to that organization, the receipt, upon request, will be "site-stamped"
indicating the amount to be reimbursed by the University. The receipt will be
returned to the traveller so a claim for the balance may be made.
Site-stamps are applied to original receipts which travellers need to retain.
A photocopy of the site-stamped receipt is submitted with the expense claim to
obtain reimbursement. Site-stamping can be done by the Department of Financial
Services. In addition, faculties, departments and schools may obtain site-stamps
from the Requisition Processing Section of Financial Services.
The University contracts with two travel agencies that provide full service to
university travellers.  These agencies are familiar with all of the University's
specially negotiated rates (air, hotel and car) which result in savings to the
traveller and the University.
Faculties and departments may require travellers to use these agencies when
booking travel arrangements on university business.
Third parties who are authorized to travel at the university's expense for such
purposes as employment interviews, external reviews, and distinguished lectures,
are encouraged to book arrangements for transportation and accommodation
through one of the university's contracted travel agencies, in order to obtain
maximum benefit for the traveller at minimum cost to the University.
The contact information for these agencies is noted below:
BTI Canada
#310, 1090 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 3V7
Tel: 604-331-1576 or 1-800-575-1576
Fax: 604-681-1590
Web site: www.bticanada.ca
E-mail: utswest@bticanada.ca
North South Travel & Tours
3702 W 10th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V6R 2G4
Tel: 604-736-7662 or 1-800-665-1882
Fax: 604-736-6513
Web site: www.nstravel.bc.ca
E-mail: ubc@nstravel.bc.ca
Air travel at a fare class higher than economy
Travellers claiming for the cost of air travel in a class of travel higher than economy
must obtain the approval of their respective Dean or Vice President.  This must be
provided on a one-time basis on the expense claim form itself or on a continuing
basis for a particular individual by memo to Financial Services.
Where a grant or contract explicitly provides for a class of travel higher than
economy, written approval from Research and Trust Accounting or a copy of the
contract showing approval must be submitted with the expense claim form.
Tickets purchased using loyalty program points
Travellers are not expected to use points from loyalty programs for University
travel.  Should they choose to do so, they shall not claim reimbursement for the
'equivalent' cost of the airline ticket.  The University will reimburse the cost of
taxes and surcharges actually paid by the traveller.   Receipts are required.
Private Automobile
Travel by private vehicle may be necessary to save time and/or costs.
Reimbursement for costs are made to the driver only and are calculated by
applying the mileage (kilometer) rate to the actual driving distance while on
university business, by the most direct route (the amount claimed not to exceed
full economy airfare).  The applicable mileage rate is set by the Vice President
Finance and Administration based on the recommendation of the University's
Treasury Department and is currently $0.36 per kilometer.
Car Rental
Travellers may wish to rent an automobile to save time or reduce costs.
Reimbursable expenses include the rental fee for non-luxury model cars, the
km/mileage charge by the car rental agency, gasoline charges and insurance
coverage when applicable. The University has Canada-wide and international
discounts with certain car rental companies as follows:
Within B.C.
Travellers on university business have access to the Government of BC provincial
rates.  This rate should be requested when booking the vehicle.
Outside B.C. (Canada & the U.S.)
University rates have been negotiated with the following companies.
Quote the ID# to obtain the rate:
Budget Auto Canada
Enterprise Rent A Car
The university's contracted travel agencies can provide more information on the
car rental companies, their rates and any special packages that are available.
Please refer to the Travel Web site at www.travel.ubc.ca for details.
Travellers who rent vehicles are responsible to ensure that they have obtained
adequate insurance.  Please refer to the Insurance section of these procedures
for more information.
Other Transportation
Reasonable expenditures for taxis and public transportation to and from airports,
railway stations, between appointments, hotel locations and meeting places are
reimbursable, including reasonable gratuities for service. IC      REPORTS      |      APRI
2 0 04      I      7
Meals/Per Diems
Travellers may be reimbursed for the cost of meals either by submitting receipts for
actual meal costs or by claiming meal per diems.  In the event a per diem is claimed,
no receipts are required.  Travellers may claim a meal per diem for an entire day
or partial day.  Where a per diem is claimed no additional amount may be claimed
for the same meals.  Per diems may only be claimed where meals have actually
been consumed.  Per Diems cannot be claimed where meals are already included
in conference fees.
Per Diems are set by the Vice President, Administration and Finance based on the
recommendation from UBC Supply Management.
Travel within Canada
per day
Breakfast $10.70
Lunch $10.45
Dinner $29.35
Total = $50.50 / day (Cdn.)
[amounts include GST & gratuities]
Travel within United States and other countries
per day
Breakfast $10.70 (US)
Lunch $10.45 (US)
Dinner $29.35 (US)
Total = $50.50 / day (US)
Where a research funding agency has a per diem limit that is lower than the
university's, the traveller may claim the higher amount from the University but
will only charge the research PG account with the lower rate.
Gestures of Appreciation
Travellers may be reimbursed for modest gestures of appreciation for
individuals who have provided accommodations or other reimbursable items
to the traveller.  Original receipts must be submitted to claim this expense.
Reimbursement of this item may not be approved if the person approving the
traveller's claim determines the gesture of appreciation was inappropriate.
Other Reimbursable Travel Expenses
Examples of reimbursable expenses include:
• Voice and data communications charges to stay in touch with university
responsibilities and to allow the traveller to stay in reasonable contact with
their immediate family;
• Expenses for baggage handling and storage;
• The cost of necessary clerical services;
• Necessary business laundry and valet expenses;
• Reasonable gratuities;
• Overnight dependent care expenses when unpaid alternatives are not available
(supported by receipts and social insurance numbers);
• Expenses for obtaining visas and travel papers;
• Accommodation for extra night(s) and meals if by staying over a Saturday night
there is a net savings in total expenses;
• Exchange rate expenses, claimed by submission of a photocopy of the charge card
statement listing rates charged by reimbursable item or of a receipt for foreign
currency purchased in a bank or equivalent institution.
Expenses That Are Not Reimbursable
• Interest charges on outstanding charge card balances;
• Loss or damage to personal possessions;
• Parking and traffic fines;
• Personal expenses including kennel fees, travel, accident and life insurance costs,
movies, mini-bar charges;
• Expenses of family members unless pre-authorized as University business;
• Expenses for failure to cancel transportation or hotel reservations;
• Passport expenses;
• Excess personal baggage.
Combining University Travel With Personal Travel
Travellers may combine university travel and personal travel with the approval
of their administrative head of unit.  Prior to travellers scheduling indirect routes
(interrupting business portions of a trip for personal travel or visa versa), the
administrative head and the traveller must agree on a fair allocation of expenses
for the trip.  In no event will the university's portion of expenses exceed what
would have been charged had the personal travel interruption not occurred.
Corporate Travel Card
Faculty or staff may apply, upon approval of their administrative head
of unit, to the Department of Supply Management for a UBC/American Express
corporate travel card.  These "individual" corporate travel cards are for the cardholder's own business related expenses and are accepted as a method of payment
by most airlines, car rental companies and hotel chains.  They reduce the need to
use personal funds pending reimbursement.  Cardholders claim reimbursement
from the university and are responsible for payment to the travel card company.
Financial responsibility for charges, including delinquency charges, interest charges,
is that of the individual cardholder.
Departmental Travel Card
Administrative heads of units may apply for a "Departmental" corporate travel
card, designed for travel expenses of travellers in the unit not eligible for their own
"Individual" corporate charge card and/or for institutional expenses on behalf of
the department as a whole.  The Departmental card is usually established in the
name of the administrative head of unit.   Expenses incurred on the "Departmental"
card can be paid directly by Financial Services to the travel card company, through
a Requisition for Payment, supported by original documentation and approvals
required by the policy.  For example if the expenses are incurred in the name of the
cardholder, approval must be one administrative level higher.
Personal Credit Cards
A traveller's personal credit card may be used to pay for travel expenses.  However
the University does not reimburse personal credit card service charges, delinquency
assessments, interest, annual fees, or any other charges associated with personal
credit cards.  These are the sole
responsibility of the cardholder.
Travel Advance
While travellers are encouraged to use personal or corporate charge cards whenever
possible, a travel advance for persons holding signing authority on an account may
be obtained by submitting a Travel Advance form, signed by the traveller and
approved by one administrative level higher, to the Department of Financial
Services.  Under normal circumstances travel advances will not be made more than
ten (10) business days prior to the start of the trip.  When the trip is finished, the
traveller must complete a Travel Settlement Claim form.  The Travel Settlement
Claim form requires written approval from one administrative level higher.
It must be completed within thirty (30) days of the end of the trip, and forwarded
to the Department of Financial Services.  In the event a Travel Settlement
is not received by the Department of Financial Services within 60 days
at the end of a trip the Department of Financial Services may charge the outstanding travel advance to the Department which approved it.  Subsequent travel
advances will not be made to a traveller if a previous advance has not been settled.
A travel advance approved by a department head or equivalent may be provided to
a university student for a field trip or conference.  Under these circumstances, the
department head is responsible for settling the advance.
Summary of Relevant Considerations
Travellers should ensure that they have adequate insurance before leaving
on a trip. Without adequate insurance a traveller or their family could be
exposed to significant personal liability or loss.
The information in this section is meant to serve as a general guideline only as
there are exceptions which may apply to an individual traveller.  Descriptions of
insurance policies are for information only and are subject to the terms of the
policies themselves.  Any specific questions regarding insurance should be directed
to the Risk and Insurance Section of the University's Treasury Department.
Questions regarding medical or accident benefits should be directed to the Benefits
Administration section of the University's Department of Human Resources.
The following is a list of the types of insurance and issues a traveller should
consider prior to a trip:
Medical Insurance
The Province of British Columbia has a Medical Services Plan and the University
offers additional extended medical insurance to eligible faculty and staff.
Membership in these plans is not automatic and it is the responsibility of the
traveller to ensure they have adequate medical coverage for themselves and their
families.  This is particularly important when traveling outside of Canada.
Accident Insurance
A traveller's loss of income or disability resulting from injuries sustained while
traveling on University business is generally eligible for Workers' Compensation
Board benefits.  The University also offers life, disability and accidental death or
dismemberment insurance plans.  Membership in these plans (other than Workers'
Compensation) may not be automatic and may be subject to a waiting period for
new employees.
Vehicle Insurance
Private Vehicles:  The University does not insure private vehicles.  If using a private
vehicle for business purposes (for example driving to a meeting off campus) the
traveller should confirm that he or she has the appropriate class of business
insurance from their insurance company.
Rental Vehicles:  The University does not maintain automotive vehicle rental
insurance.  Travellers must ensure that adequate insurance is in place for all drivers
either by purchasing a policy from the University's Treasury Department, by renting
the vehicle using a credit card with an insurance option, or by purchasing a policy
from the rental agency.
Property Insurance
The University insures the University's property, including property located off
campus.  The University does not insure the personal property of the traveller.
Liability Insurance
The University will generally insure travellers against third party liability
(other than that resulting from automobile accidents) while the travellers are REPORTS      |      APR
conducting University business.  An example of this coverage would be to provide
insurance covering allegations that a traveller negligently injured another person
or their property.
Personal Activities
Members should be aware that insurance coverage provided by the University
(for example - Liability Insurance) only applies when the
traveller is conducting University business.  Vacation periods before, during and
after University business are not covered.  In addition, family members and traveling companions are not covered under University insurance
policies unless expressly stated otherwise.
Vehicle Insurance
Private Vehicle Insurance Coverage
Maintaining the appropriate insurance coverage on private vehicles used for
University business is the responsibility of the traveller.  An insurance agent should
be consulted if there are any questions.  Some travellers may be eligible for partial
premium reimbursement regarding the difference between the "to and from work"
rating and the "business" rating.  Administrative heads of unit designate who is eligible to receive this reimbursement.
Travellers must ensure that they have the appropriate license to drive a vehicle
while on university business.
The University will reimburse a traveller for their deductible portion of loss
(up to $300.00) if:
a) the loss resulted from the use of a vehicle on university business, and
b) the loss results from a claim on their comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive coverage generally covers claims for all perils other than those
insured by collision coverage (discussed below) examples of losses insured
under comprehensive coverage include fire, theft, hail or vandalism.
Any costs incurred by a traveller as the result of a claim on their collision coverage
are not reimbursable by the University and are the responsibility of the traveller.
Note that a collision deductible will only be assessed by an insurer if a traveller is
deemed to be at fault for an accident.   Collision coverage insures against loss
caused by collisions with other vehicles, objects or terrain (i.e. car accidents).   Costs
not reimbursed by the University include the policy deductible, and costs resulting
from the loss of a safe-driver's discount.
Loss of personal effects from a vehicle is not insured by the University.
Decisions on appropriate third party liability and collision/comprehensive
deductibles for personal vehicles rests with the traveller.  The University does not
assume the employee's liability for non-insured damages (for example - excess
damages over the traveller's policy limits), to vehicles or other property, or loss-of-
use costs while the owner's automobile is undergoing repairs.
Rental Vehicle Insurance
Travellers must ensure they have adequate insurance for rental vehicles.
If the rental vehicle is to be operated by individuals other than the primary driver,
all secondary drivers must be listed with the rental company at the time of the
Third Party Liability
Rental companies provide third-party liability insurance (this insures for claims
against the driver by another person) as part of the basic rental rate for the vehicle.
Additional excess third party liability coverage is carried by the University for rental
vehicles to protect both the driver (while on university business) and the University.
Collision Damage Waiver
Although car rental companies do not provide full collision and comprehensive
insurance as part of the basic rental rate, they do offer the renter the option of
purchasing the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) for an additional fee.
This insures against physical damage to the rented vehicle.  Purchasing from the car
rental agency is the most expensive manner of obtaining this insurance, and travellers are encouraged to investigate the alternate options discussed below.
CDW Coverage Options
University travellers have two (2) alternate options for rental vehicle collision and
comprehensive insurance coverage:
Option #1: UBC American Express Corporate Card
Drivers using the UBC American Express corporate card for payment receive CDW
coverage on most vehicles for periods not exceeding 31 days.  The cardholder must
be present at the time of rental and must remain the principal driver of the vehicle
throughout the coverage period.  Coverage is available for secondary drivers provided they are listed on the rental agreement.  Vehicles not covered by American
Express include expensive or exotic automobiles, trucks, off-road vehicles, recreational vehicles, campers, trailer and certain vans.
The responsibility for knowing if credit card insurance is adequate is the traveller's.
In the event of accident, American Express must be contacted within 48 hours.
Please refer to American Express directly for further CDW insurance information
and/or exclusions by calling cardholder assistance at 1-800-243-0198.
Option #2: Rental Vehicle Policy
The second option for vehicle rentals is the university's self-insured blanket Rental
Vehicle Policy which is offered for a fee by the University Treasury Department.  It
applies to rentals anywhere in North America.  This policy covers any motor vehicles used for business purposes, but excludes vehicles rented for delivery purposes
or for carrying passengers in a bus with a seating capacity of sixteen or more.
The cost of the Rental Vehicle Policy is on a per vehicle per day basis and there are
collision and comprehensive deductibles.  Coverage must be arranged in advance of
the trip through the Risk and Insurance Management section of the Treasury
Coverage cost is $5/vehicle/day, and the deductibles are $300 (collision) and $100
(comprehensive).  The minimum premium transaction is $20.
Insurance on UBC and Personal Property-Insurance on University and
Personal Property
The University maintains insurance on any property owned by the university,
whether it is in transit or on campus.
The University does not insure the personal property of travellers.
Accident/Health/Life Insurance-Accident/Health/Life Insurance
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they have adequate insurance for
themselves and family members.  Medical and accident plans at the University
are not mandatory and the traveller should not assume that they are enrolled.
Part time employees, contractors, students and recently hired employees are not
normally eligible for these plans and should ensure that they have obtained
adequate coverage elsewhere.
Accident Insurance - Workers' Compensation Board
University members of faculty and staff who are injured while performing university
business away from their normal place of work may be eligible for WCB benefits.
Please contact the University Department of Health Safety & Environment at (604)
822-2029 regarding any potential claim.
Accident / Illness Insurance (MSP & EHB)
Provided a traveller is enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) of British
Columbia (which is not automatic), the plan will reimburse medically required
services at the amount it would cost had the services been performed in British
The university's Extended Health Benefits (EHB) plan will cover 100% of eligible
emergency medical expenses to a maximum of one million dollars ($1,000,000.00)
for member registration on the plan.
Life Insurance (and Accidental Death or Dismemberment Coverage)
The University offers basic group life insurance to eligible full-time university
faculty and staff members as part of their basic employee benefit plan (contact
your Service Representative in the Department of Financial Services for details).
An additional $100,000 of Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment
insurance is available to members who are traveling on university business.
This insurance is applicable from the time a member leaves his/her place of
residence to commence University business away from the normal place of work.
Coverage continues until the cessation of travel performed on behalf of the
Accidental death or dismemberment insurance for the public transportation section
of the trip (for example - while traveling on an airline) is available to university
travellers in the amount of $500,000.00 when travelling on tickets purchased with
the UBC /American Express Corporate Card. iC      REPORTS      |      APRI
2004     I    9
Building a Better
Mars Rover
UBC Computer scientist works on giving robots the
brains to fend for themselves, by Michelle cook
When NASA bounced a pair of
robots onto Mars earlier this year to
explore the red planet and look for
evidence of water, Nando de Freitas
took more than a passing interest in
how the two rovers, dubbed Spirit
and Opportunity, would manage
their missions.
The UBC computer scientist is
part of a team of researchers work-
right - if our heart is beating too fast,
for example," de Freitas explains.
"A robot by itself should know,
without having to communicate with
Earth, 'okay, my wheel isn't working;
I should replace it.' We're not at that
point yet but that's where we want to
be - to really get robots aware for
their internal state."
Judging from the work de Freitas
A robot by itself should know, without
having to communicate with Earth, 'okay,
my wheel isn't working; I should replace it.'
ing with NASA to design the
"brains" of the next generation of
rovers that will follow Spirit and
Opportunity into space. The team's
goal is to develop a more
autonomous robot able to fend for
itself 170 million kilometres from its
creators on Earth.
The two rovers currently exploring Mars have some autonomy but,
for the most part, their activities are
controlled via basic instructions sent
daily from mission control.
"We want rovers to handle the
more mundane tasks of monitoring
their own "health" and navigating
the rough Mars terrain so that scientists back on Earth can focus on the
smaller amount of information [the
robot is sending back] related to scientific questions about the planet,"
says de Freitas.
"We're really only interested in a
certain amount of information from
the rovers such as 'did you see an
alien?'" he adds with a laugh.
To do this, de Freitas has been
exploring how to give a rover the
ability to learn to do things such as
recognize when something is wrong
with it and then fix itself.
"As humans, we know our bodies. We know how we feel. We also
know when something doesn't feel
has been conducting in UBC's Lab
for Computational Intelligence, it
may not be too long before the kind
of touchy-feely rover he envisions is
brought to life. His research team has
already created a robot that can differentiate between various surfaces -
carpet, grass, tile - that it travels over
and diagnose whether its wheel is
stuck. The results of the team's
research will be published this month
by the Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
While it may all sound a bit
Frankenstein-ish, the process doesn't
require knowledge of anatomy so
much as a mastery of algorithms -
Monte Carlo algorithms to be exact.
Developed by an employee of the
Guinness beer company in the 1700s
and, more infamously, used to build
the atom bomb, de Freitas says
Monte Carlo algorithms are particularly suited to the task of programming an autonomous robot to
learn. Algorithms are a set of
mathematical rules. De Freitas
compares them to cookbook recipes.
They give a robot a formula with
parameters that is also flexible
enough to allow for variations and
substitutions in information and a
margin of error.
With this, de Freitas and other
Nando de Freitas says next generation of rovers will be more robust and in
scientists are developing a robot that
can recognize and then fix any
number of potential problems on
a space mission. By loading the
robot with data and then simulating
as many scenarios as they can
beforehand, they "teach" it to
become familiar with when it's
functioning properly and when
it's not.
"We have to explain to it, this is
what it feels like to have a broken
wheel so that it learns all the possible internal states and when you let
it go, if anything happens, it knows
what's happening and what to do,"
he says.
De Freitas is also trying to
improve a rover's ability to see.
Better vision would enable it to better self-navigate and carry out other
small tasks on its own. The Spirit
and Opportunity rovers are
equipped with sensors and a set of
nine cameras each. These capture
the spectacular panoramic pictures
they've been sending back to Earth,
but the rovers can't yet process the
images they're seeing and decide
where to go by themselves.
The main challenge to overcome is
understanding how human vision
works, de Freitas says, and to be able
to model mathematically everything
that goes into visual recognition -
colour, texture, shape - so a robot can
understand what they're seeing.
"Think of all the things that are the
colour blue," he explains. "How do
you distinguish between the blue of
the sky and of the ocean? Humans
bring context to what they see; robots
don't. There's a lot of uncertainty
and you have to bring in context
for them."
Again, the Monte Carlo algorithms
are particularly suited for teaching a
robot how to sift through massive
amounts of data in order to build a
probalistic model to represent the
world around them. This enables
them to learn how to recognize
objects, find patterns in what they're
seeing, match images to words, and
label things.
De Freitas says the algorithms allow
robots to simulate possible scenarios
before they make a decision on what
action to take. This mental decision
process is constructed so that the
number of mistakes is reduced or
completely eliminated.
So how smart will the next crew
of rovers be?
"They will be more robust robots
able to fix themselves and able to
operate for much longer times,"
de Freitas says. "That's important
when you consider the cost of these
missions. They're extremely expensive
and it would be nice if you could
just drop rovers off and you knew
they would be able to move and do
all sorts of things without having to
contact us all the time." □
Plant-based Hormone Offers New Hope for Hot Flushes
UBC study tests safer replacement for estrogen, by Hilary Thomson
Imagine that your heart starts pounding, your skin temperature suddenly
spikes and you break out in a sweat
that wakes you up at night and forces
you to fling off clothing during the
Now imagine these embarrassing
and sometimes debilitating personal
heat waves persisting for years.
This is the world of night sweats
and hot flushes - the characteristic
mid-life change experienced by about
75 per cent of women in peri-
menopause and the early years after
menopause. In the first study of its
kind, UBC researchers are testing a
manufactured hormone that might
provide safe and effective relief for
tens of thousands of women troubled
by these symptoms.
Christine Hitchcock, a researcher
at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and
Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), is
testing the effectiveness of
Prometrium®, the commercial name
for a plant-based manufactured hormone that is chemically identical to
the progesterone produced by the
body. Approximately 60 women will
use a placebo or Prometrium® for
four months to determine if the drug
can control hot flushes as well as
improve blood vessel function and
help prevent heart attack.
Betty-anne Dempsey is a participant in the trial. The 51-year-old had
been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for hot flushes that were
leaving her sleep-deprived. She
stopped using HRT because of a family history of heart disease and had
tried herbal remedies without success.
"I got involved with the study
because I want some relief but I also
want to make sure I'm well," she
says. "Participating in the study gives
me more insight into my own
Until recently, hot flushes were
treated with estrogen. Many women
stopped estrogen therapy, however,
after the results of the Women's
Health Initiative Study announced in
July 2002 that estrogen with low dose
progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) increased risk of pulmonary
embolism, heart attack, stroke and
breast cancer.
"The importance of safe and effective therapy becomes even more clear
as the dust settles from the trials of
menopausal hormone therapy. Early
studies suggested that progestins were
effective in hot flush control but this is
the first study to test natural oral progesterone for these symptoms," says
principal investigator Jerilyn C. Prior, a
professor of endocrinology who is scientific director of CeMCOR, a part of
UBC's Dept. of Medicine and the
Vancouver Coastal Health Research
Institute (VCHRI).
Orchestrating Excellence
604-822-2018 2071 West Mall, Vancouver, BC www.ubccaterini
In addition to learning about the
drug's effect on hot flushes,
Hitchcock and Prior will examine its
effects on cholesterol, blood pressure,
blood sugar and weight gain. They
are particularly interested in blood
vessel function and will use a forearm
blood flow test that can predict risk
of cardiovascular disease. Participants
will also keep a daily menopause
diary to record the incidence and
severity of flushes and sweats as well
as other experiences such as insomnia, depression and fluid retention.
"We want to be able to give
women a choice and a more targeted
therapy for hot flushes. Also, this
study will provide important information about the effects of progesterone alone on cardiovascular
health," says Hitchcock.
Scientists do not know the exact
mechanism of hot flushes. They
believe that flushes originate in the
hypothalamus - the area of the brain
that integrates stressors. Somehow,
the body registers that its core temperature is too hot. It produces the
flushes to get hot blood away from
the core and move it to the skin's surface to cool down.
continued on page 10 io    I
iC      REPORTS      |      APRI
In 1951, UBC frosh week was chock full of fun times.
The highlight of frosh week was the Frosh Ball held in the
armouries. Here President Norman MacKenize crowns one
lucky co-ed, Alex Gorden, frosh queen. Other freshmen,
who missed out on the crown, were able to line up to shake
hands with the president and receive his wishes for a
successful stay at UBC. □
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Research Too
continued from page 4
"It blows my mind to even think
of all the amazing fungi out
there that just might produce the
next great antibiotic," Sebelova
» Hippy Hippy Shake
Metal and materials engineering
students Trevor Pearce, Leon
Chow, Frankie Wong and Shawn
Wu constructed an analytical
model of a prosthetic hip joint
to try and to predict the life
span of an implant based on the
materials used to make it and
the patient's level of activity,
weight and other factors. The
team's foray into the field of biomedical engineering found that
an implant's life span is affected
by these factors and they're recommending that an interdisciplinary database of material and
patient data be constructed for
use in future studies on retrieved
» The Case of Kimberly
Kat Kinch was just learning
about the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms when
Kimberly Rogers died in
Sudbury in 2001. Rogers was
eight months pregnant and
under the terms of her sentence
for welfare fraud, confined to
her apartment in a heat wave.
Her death sparked nationwide
media coverage. Kinch, now a
third-year Law student, documented Rogers case from her
sentence to her inquest and analyzed it for specific human
rights violations.
She found that, despite strong
evidence that banning people
convicted of welfare fraud from
receiving future benefits regardless of the need was a harmful
policy, the policy remained in
effect in Ontario until there was
a change of government. In
B.C., similar regulations were
put in place even after Kimberly
Rogers died, with no consideration of Charter rights to life,
security of the person and
»I say, could you please
pass the salt?
It's well known that the
Victorian era was a period of
extravagant entertaining for the
upper-middle and high classes of
England but few have analysed
the social role that elaborate
Victorian food rituals played.
Through an examination of the
work of Isabella Beeton, the
era's brightest culinary star, history student Ginnie Mathers
explored the complex social
purpose of the Victorian dinner
She found that the highly
refined food rituals of the late
1800s created a civilized and
sophisticated identity for upper
class Victorians designed to
counterbalance the primal and
physical characteristics of food
consumption. The complicated
system of dining manners, rules
and menus masked basic human
instincts and passions, and
differentiated them from the
savage act of "eating" carried
out by the lower classes. □
New Hope for
Hot Flushes
continued from page 51
The average age of onset for
hot flushes is 48. They can be
triggered by warm environments, hot or spicy food, alcohol, caffeine or stress. An individual flush usually lasts from a
few seconds to 30 minutes or
an hour and may happen a few
times a day or once a week.
The phenomenon can continue
for four to nine years surrounding the time of the last menstrual cycle.
Men who have been castrated because of testicular cancer
or those receiving hormone
therapy for prostate cancer may
also experience flushes and
For more information on hot
flushes, visit the CeMCOR
website at www.cemcor.ubc.ca.
To leam more about the trial,
click on 'get involved'. The
study has been initiated by
researchers and is not sponsored by a drug company.
CeMCOR distributes information directly to women
about changes through the life
cycle, from adolescence to
VCHRI is a joint venture
between UBC and Vancouver
Coastal Health that promotes
development of new researchers
and research activity. □
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2 0 0 4      I
Ethiopian Student Finds Refuge at UBC
One of the lucky few with a new lease on life, by cristina calboreanu
Retiring Within 5 Years?
Masresha Arefaine is a 23-year-old
arts student from Ethiopia planning
to study International Relations with
a focus on African studies. There
would be nothing unusual about his
story if it weren't for the fact that
only months ago he was living in a
refugee camp in northwestern Kenya.
One of the oldest and largest
refugee camps in the world, Kakuma
is currently home to about 90,000
refugees, and 800 more arrive every
month. Approximately 70 per cent of
them are southern Sudanese, and the
balance come from Somalia,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi,
Liberia, Democratic Republic of
Congo and Uganda.
Kakuma lies in desert land that
can barely support the local population, much less a high concentration
of refugees. Violence and malnutrition are endemic, remembers
Arefaine. Food, water and firewood
are in short supply and conflicts over
scarce resources erupt periodically
between the refugees and the local
Turkana population. Moreover,
Kenyan law restricts refugees from
employment in the formal sector,
which makes them fully dependent
on the assistance provided by the
international community.
"I was a second-year university
student in Ethiopia, but I couldn't
study while I was in the refugee
camp in Kenya," explains Arefaine.
"I couldn't afford an education.
There are some income generation
and vocational training programs in
Kakuma, but they are very limited.
Hundreds of refugees attempt to register for courses that can accommodate only 50 people.   Few will find
jobs after completing the course."
Arefaine was one of the lucky
ones. The former University of Addis
Ababa student came to Canada last
September thanks to a sponsorship
from the Student Refugee Program of
the World University Service of
Canada (WUSC). He is one of eight
student refugees currently enrolled at
"Being involved with WUSC
changed my life," says Arefaine. "I
got a chance to continue my education and live a new life."
WUSC is a network of individuals
and post-secondary institutions
working on more than 50 campuses
across Canada to foster human
development and global understanding through education and training.
Their Student Refugee Program provides a chance for student refugees
whose education has been interrupted
by civil war or persecution to continue their post-secondary studies in
Created in 1978, the program
operates under a special agreement
with the Government of Canada and
allows approximately 40 student
refugees to enter Canada every year
to study under permanent resident
status, which makes WUSC Canada's
largest non-faith based private spon-
rl       Z'
Arts student Masresha Arefaine and
WUSC volunteer Pascaline Nsekera.
son The student refugees have to
meet the permanent residency
requirements of the Government of
Canada and the admission criteria set
by Canadian universities. Priority is
given to refugees who are discriminated against or whose physical security is at risk. There are more than
500 applicants every year, but fewer
than 50 make it to Canada.
Founded in 1947, the UBC local
committee is one of the longest established and most active branches of
WUSC and the recipient of the 2003
Local Committee Award for its
involvement in development activities, both at home and overseas.
The student refugee sponsorship
program was established at UBC in
1981. It is funded through an Alma
Mater Society annual levy of $1 per
student and an annual contribution
from the UBC Faculty Association.
The UBC administration provides
tuition waivers covering the entire
amount of the sponsored students'
tuition fees for the duration of their
studies at UBC. The local committee,
made up of student volunteers assisted by a faculty advisor, works to
arrange admission, housing and
course registration for the student
refugees before their arrival, and
provides personal support throughout the year.
"You need time to adjust, you
need mentors, and WUSC-UBC provides that," says Arefaine. "The
local committee is like a family."
"One person cannot help a student by themselves," explains
Pascaline Nsekera, who arrived in
Canada in 1997 as a WUSC-spon-
sored student refugee from Burundi.
She is continuing her involvement
with WUSC as a volunteer. "Even
before the student comes, we have a
co-ordinator and we have a support
system around the person. From our
experience, we have a good understanding of what a student refugee
needs, and we assign these various
task to different volunteers, so the
students know who to talk to if they
have certain kinds of problems."
Having this support network
helps the student refugees cope with
linguistic and cultural obstacles that
can make integration into Canadian
society extremely challenging.
"Everything is different," explains
Mohammad Elyas, a WUSC-spon-
sored UBC mathematics student
who came to Canada from
Afghanistan in 1998. "Language,
the whole culture, the outlook, the
perspective people have on life. You
need time to adjust."
This adjustment process can be
long and painful, and most students
need some time to find their place in
Canadian society.
Nsekera had been enrolled in an
undergraduate environmental chemistry program in her home country
and continued her studies in earth
and ocean sciences at UBC. Having
found herself increasingly concerned
with social issues, she now works in
the UBC School of Social Work &
Family Studies.
"When you have to leave your
country because there's been a war,
and you manage to escape and come
to Canada, it's very difficult and
confusing," she says. "Eventually
you find your priorities changing,
and it may take a while to find your
For Arefaine, that process is still
ongoing. "It is really difficult at the
beginning, adjusting to the culture
and the living conditions in
Canada," he says. "It's like a computer - you must erase everything
and download a new program." □
Refugee Program Creates Global Citizens
From its inception, the WUSC Student Refugee
Program has changed the lives of more than 700
student refugees by providing opportunities for
them to resume their studies and live a secure and
prosperous life, but its influence goes even further.
"We talk about the sponsored students and how
their lives have changed, but our lives change as
well," says Syma Khan, chair of WUSC-UBC. "You
learn about these issues in class or you see them on
the news, but to actually meet someone who has
lived through political instability and who has lived
in the refugee camps and to be able to interact with
them on a personal level and to become friends is
really amazing and really enlightening."
"The partnership with university campuses is
what makes the student refugee program unique.
Students and university leadership across Canada
are leveraging more than $1 million every year to
make the program possible," says Barbara Levine,
director of Canadian Programs and Partnerships at
the WUSC office in Ottawa. "This program helps
activate the human and intellectual resources of the
university, especially the capacity and commitment
of Canadian students, and it also goes towards
helping Canada meet its international obligations in
terms of refugee resettlement."
A recent impact study of participants in the
program between 1978 and 2000 found that
both sponsored students and volunteers with the
local committees have significantly higher rates
of civic participation and leadership, including
volunteering, membership in civic organizations,
and political participation, than the average
Canadian citizen. For Levine, that means that the
program is achieving its goals.
"We do not see the student refugee program as
an end in itself," she explains. "It has always been
about creating opportunities for people to understand their responsibilities as global citizens. It's
about creating active citizens who understand that
their obligations go beyond their immediate family
and local community."
With UBC placing a high emphasis on promoting
global awareness and citizenship, Levine sees inspiring opportunities for WUSC to work with the UBC
"We're very excited about the initiatives that
UBC has taken around global citizenship, and we
look forward to working together," says Levine.
"There are real challenges for universities in terms
of what internationalization means, because it's
about transforming our institutions and transforming ourselves to be better, more engaged citizens of
the world." □
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New Treatment for
Hand Burns
Vacuum replaces cream, by Hilary Thomson
A third-year medical student
has conducted the first
Vancouver study of the effectiveness of vacuum therapy for
acute hand burns.
The therapy, called vacuum
assisted closure method
(V.A.C.®), replaces traditional
anti-infective creams by using
a device that applies negative
pressure - or suction - to the
wound to remove pus, other
fluids and dead cells while
promoting healing.
Student researcher Brain Kai
compared the method with the
traditional treatment as part
of a multicentre North
American trial.
"The results seen in our first
patient were very promising,"
says the 25-year-old.
"The patient had less redness,
numbness and scarring than
his other hand that was
treated with medicinal
Kai says the hardest part of
the project was explaining the
trial concept and procedures
to the patient and reassuring
him that the treatment was
safe even though it had never
been attempted on hand
Kai presented his research
to residents in UBC's division
of plastic surgery and hopes
to enroll more patients in the
The project was supervised
by Dr. Peter Lennox and
research co-ordinator Wendy
Cannon. □
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The Alma Mater Society Conferences & Catering
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