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UBC Reports Mar 1, 2007

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VOLUME   53   I   NUMBER   3   I   MARCH   1,   2007
Celebrating Research
Research is the heart and soul of a great university. Universities are the only institutions
where research is valued for its own sake, and where researchers have the freedom to pursue
any questions. The result is that university research has a wide-ranging and important impact
on the world, affecting everything from our understanding of culture to the prevention and
treatment of disease. Furthermore, because research at universities involves collaboration
between students and faculty, research is an important part of our teaching.
9   *
Byjohn Hepburn, Vice President, Research
UBC is one of Canada's leading research
universities, consistently ranked amongst
the top 40 universities in the world, and
we are justifiably proud of our impressive
research accomplishments: research funding
for more than 5,700 projects totalled
upwards of $485.6 million in 2005/06.
UBC ranked ninth among North
American research universities as a "patent
powerhouse" in a 2005 U.S. survey of the
life sciences conducted by The Scientist,
and was the only Canadian institution in
the survey.
In addition, UBC holds the top position
for overall Canada Foundation for
Innovation funding among the country's
research universities, and ranks second
nationally for Fellowships of the Royal
Society of Canada, Steacie Fellows and
Guggenheim Award recipients.
While we celebrate the impressive
accomplishments of individual researchers,
important research accomplishments
usually result from a team effort. In
addition to the local collaborations
amongst faculty and students at UBC, UBC
researchers work with investigators across
Canada and around the world, extending
the scope and impact of UBC research, and
ensuring that it serves the citizens of British
Columbia, Canada, and the world.
The fact is, research matters. It enriches
our lives, drives our economy, and
contributes to greater global understanding.
We are proud to have researchers spanning
all disciplines, fuelling important,
meaningful and inspirational research
that advances knowledge and informs
teaching. And we have recruited top talent
to keep that momentum going - new faculty
members, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. They form, along with our
curious and accomplished undergrads, the
next generation of researchers.
This issue of UBC Reports is published on
the eve of Celebrate Research Week. As you
will see from the stories that follow, we have
much to celebrate. I congratulate all our
investigators, thank them for their
contribution to this university and encourage
them in their pursuit of new knowledge. 13
Undergrads Jump Disciplines in the Discovery Game
By Hilary Thomson
Parties, pizza, and late-night cramming
may be common images of undergraduate
life, but for some UBC undergrads,
the picture also includes designing and
conducting original research.
Close to 60 students from all disciplines
are involved in UBC's Multidisciplinary
Undergraduate Research Program
(MURP), which also includes participation
in the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate
Research Conference (MURC), to be held
March 3.
"We want to make students' research
experience more cohesive," says Ingrid
Price, an instructor in the Faculty of
Pharmaceutical Sciences whose vision led
to both the program and the conference.
"We also want to demystify the research
process and enrich the academic
experience of our undergrads."
Developed in 2004, MURP is a non-
credit program that involves students in
research through directed studies, honours
programs, co-op placements, volunteer
work or research assistantships.
In addition to time spent on the project
itself, students spend about four to six
hours per month participating in MURP
workshops that include library research
skills, study design and scholarly writing
and presentation. In addition, there is
an optional service learning component
where students serve as mentors to
high school students enrolled in the
International Baccalaureate program at
Vancouver's Britannia Secondary School.
Approximately 130 students - MURP
students and others - will be presenting at
MURC. There will be $100 prizes for the
five top presentations in each of the oral
and poster categories, as well as for the
two top fine arts presentations.
Goldis Chami, a fourth-year double
major Arts and Science student, is
examining coping behaviours among
Rwandan genocide survivors. She
had volunteered at a medical clinic in
neighbouring Uganda in 2005 where she
encountered Rwandan refugees.
"In just 100 days groups of Hutu militia
killed between 800,000 and one million
people," says Chami of the genocide that
erupted in 1994. "Yet there is very little
information about the people who survived
this genocide."
Chami is reviewing testimonies gathered
by a psychology grad student, who is
studying other aspects of the genocide. She
is also reviewing personal accounts that
form part of a memorial website established
by non-governmental organizations that
support genocide survivors.
Chami will also compare the coping
behaviours of Rwandans with those of
Holocaust survivors, an area of expertise
ar her supervisor, Psychology Prof. Peter
Suedfeld. Behavioural comparisons will be
made according to gender and age groups.
"If we can figure out how coping can
work for these people, we'll be better able
to help them, to offer interventions and
support," says Suedfeld.
Laura McMillan is a fourth-year
human kinetics student who is exploring
connections between the desire to appear
perfect, confidence in athletic ability,
satisfaction with body image and exercise
dependence. She's interested in cases where
a strong desire for physical activity can
lead to mental distress and physical injury.
^Bbe will use questionnaires to measure
the variables among more than 200 female
university students.
"We think that exercise dependence
is more likely to be a consequence of
these variables rather than simply a route
continued on page 5 2     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     MARCH     I,    2007
A Week to Celebrate Research
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Youth Culture & Identity: Challenging
Current Stereotypes - an interactive display
session and panel presentation by Faculty of
Education experts Shelley Hymel, Deirdre Kelly,
and Michelle Stack who will look at youth
subcultures, identities and emotional/social
development. March 5, 6-10 p.m. @ UBC
Robson Square
Eat your words - UBC Okanagan Psychology
Asst. Prof. Michael Woodworth offers a
linguistic profile of psychopathic and non-
psychopathic homicide offenders' accounts of
their crimes.
March 5, 2:30- 3 p.m. @ UBC Okanagan Arts
The State ofthe Media on Climate Change
- a panel discussion on climate change and
the role of the media. Panelists include Hadi
Dowlatabadi, Professor - Liu Institute for
Global Studies and the Institute for Resources,
Environment and Sustainability; Chris Mooney,
Washington correspondent for Seed Magazine;
Ross Gelbspan, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor
and author; Bill Blakemore, ABC National
news correspondent on global warming; Kirk
LaPointe, managing editor of the Vancouver
Sun; Jim Hoggan, founder of DeSmogBlog.com,
and moderator Stephen J. Ward, director of the
UBC School of Journalism. March 6, 6-8 p.m.
@ UBC Robson Square
Perceptions of Africa: A Dialogue - three
evenings of reflection on themes of Africa, AIDS,
and representation of Africa by the West. The
dialogue is presented with the exhibition,
The Village is Tilting: Dancing AIDS in Malawi.
Visit www.moa.ubc.ca for admission fees.
March 8 to 10, 7-9 p.m. @ UBC Museum of
Anthropology - 6393 NW Marine Dr.
An Evening with a Nobel Laureate - A Nobel
laureate with a passion for science education,
UBC Prof. Carl Wieman joined UBC in January,
2007 to lead the Carl Wieman Science Education
Initiative to reshape science education at UBC.
March 9, 7:30-9:30 p.m. @ UBC Robson Square
Wine Library Open House - Visit and tour the
UBC Wine Library, part of the
Wine Research Centre at UBC. The centre
provides feedback to B.C. wineries to improve
wine production.
March 9, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. @ UBC Point Grey,
Food, Nutrition & Health Bldg.,
2205 East Mall, Room 10
The Heart of Diabetes - Join CKNW's Dr. Art
Hister's House Calls live from a public forum
and province-wide webcast where researchers
present what's new in the fight against diabetes
and its cardiovascular complications.
March 10, 9-1 la.m. @ UBC Life Sciences
Centre, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Theatre 2
A complete listing of events can be found at www.research.ubc.ca/CRW
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The first two elections are crucial for shaping the habits of new voters, say UBC political scientists.
Competition Drives Poll Results
By Lorraine Chan
Did an entire generation of
Canadians learn not to vote?
A study by UBC political
scientists would say yes.
Alienation, Indifference,
Competitiveness and Turnout:
Evidence from Canada, 1988-
2004 looks at voting patterns
within Canadian federal ridings
over a decade and a half,
especially among 18-26 year-olds.
The authors suggest that
a massive decline in turnout
was directly linked to a
massive decline in political
competitiveness. And when
competitiveness increases so will
voter turnout, they argue, as was
the case during Canada's most
recent federal election in 2006.
22.3 million eligible Canadians.
At 60.5 per cent, this was
the worst electorate response
to a national election since
Confederation in 1867.
"Some of that damage has
been repaired," says Bittner,
pointing out that 65 per cent of
registered voters turned up at
the polls during the 2006 federal
The study co-authors are
recent UBC PhD grad Scott
Matthews, now a political
science professor at Queen's
University, and Richard
Johnston, who left UBC as
political science department head
to direct election studies at the
University of Pennsylvania.
They found that between 1988
and 2000, the decline among
vote in the 1990s were exposed
to a political world in which
competition was weak, in which
the local result was commonly
a foregone conclusion. Only in
2004 was some of that damage
The researchers found that
British Columbia exhibited
bigger shifts, with voter turnout
falling below the national
average and then bouncing well
above it.
"Much of the B.C. pattern
reflects the fortunes of the NDP,
which collapsed in 1993 and
recovered in 2004," explains
She adds Canadians didn't
see real change until the 2004
election. "The party system
became more competitive
"We're saying it's not that simple. There's no quick fix,"
she says. "Parties aren't going to convince a young person
to vote through commercials with rappers on stage."
"The first couple of elections
are crucial for shaping the habits
of new voters," says Amanda
Bittner, a UBC doctoral candidate
in the Dept. of Political Science.
"The evidence suggests that
people who start out in a noncompetitive political environment
don't ever become regular voters."
The study investigates the
widespread and steep falloff in
voter turnout, charting the years
before and after one of the most
dramatic federal elections in
Canada's history. In 1993, the
Liberals defeated Kim Campbell's
Progressive Conservative (PC)
government, which lost all but
two of its 151 seats. Until 2003
when the Conservative Party
of Canada rose from the ashes
of the PC and Reform parties,
no effective opposition had
challenged the Liberals.
Bittner says the frustration
of Canadians translated into
a fragmented popular vote.
She compares the 1988 federal
election, which drew 75 per cent
of registered voters, to the 2000
national election, which saw 61
per cent turnout.
The 2004 federal race had an
even lower voter turnout with
about 13.5 million from a total of
middle-aged voters - the median
age being 50 years old - was
about two percentage points. In
comparison, voter turnout in the
youngest age groups dropped by
about 20 points.
"Put another way," says
Bittner, "a voter coming of age in
1988 was about 20 percentage
points less likely than a 50-year-
old to claim they have voted.
In 2000, the gap was almost 40
points. This is a huge shift in
only a short period of time."
Bittner adds, "Our models
predict that even once things
become more competitive, a
lag occurs because those who
have already been socialized as
non-voters don't just suddenly
start voting. Basically, the cause
is structural, and the cure is also
structural - but it may never
fix the damage that was done
for the '90s generation of non-
The research incorporated
other variables such as the
voters' education, income, gender
and marital status.
"For a long time there
was never any real sense that
the Liberals would lose an
election," says Bittner. "Voters
who began coming of age to
with the Reform and PC party
merging. That caused something
new to happen. Voter levels
haven't dropped further. They've
leveled off."
Bittner and her colleagues
suggest that if politicians are
seeking to win the hearts and
minds of young voters, true
competition is a strong draw.
She says political theory often
attributes the low turnout among
young people to culture, "that
unlike older generations, they
don't feel a sense of duty."
"We're saying it's not that
simple. There's no quick fix,"
she says. "Parties aren't going
to convince a young person to
vote through commercials with
rappers on stage."
The researchers argue that
a cultural explanation doesn't
account for a huge drop in
turnout over the past 10 years.
"The massive decline is so large
a shift and it just happens to
coincide with a shift in the party
system," says Bittner.
The study has received funding
from the Social Sciences and
Humanities Social Sciences
Council of Canada. 13
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Water Probe Optimizes Treatment Plants
By Brian Lin
Pierre Berube doesn't think
twice about drinking water
straight from the tap and shuns
consumer water filters and bottled
water as "gimmicks."
One of only a handful of
Civil Engineering professors
specializing in drinking water
treatment in Canada, Berube
has now developed a tiny tool
that could see the rest of us as
confident of the purity of tap
water as he is. He is working with
the City of Kamloops to test his
"We're very lucky here in the
Lower Mainland because our
water comes from small, well
protected watersheds fed by
snow-melt and rain," says Berube.
"In other municipalities such
as Kamloops, it is impossible to
completely protect the water since
it often comes from rivers that can
be hundreds of kilometres long
and as a result, there are more
opportunities for impurities such
as pathogens to be introduced into
the water."
"In those cases, treatment using
conventional sand filtration may
fall short, with a large amount of
impurities quite literally falling
through the cracks."
In the past decade, membrane-
based water filtration systems
have become the predominant
technology to replace sand-based
systems. They cost about the same
to install and require a lot less
Pierre Berube is working to ensure affordable and cleaner drinking water for all.
space - a unit capable of treating
water for 5,000 residents is
about the size of a large closet.
They can also be much cheaper
to operate over the long run.
The leading technology in
membrane-based systems was
developed in Canada by a
company called Zenon (which
has since been acquired by GE).
Dubbed the ZeeWeed®, it is
capable of filtering out up to
99.999 per cent of impurities,
as opposed to 99.9 per cent for
sand filtration systems.
Despite these obvious
advantages, membrane-based
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systems remain out of reach,
especially for small municipalities
that can't afford a sand-based
system in the first place. Now
Berube and his team of undergrad
and graduate students have
developed a microprobe that
could make membrane systems
cheaper to operate, and in turn
make it possible for smaller
communities to provide more
affordable and cleaner drinking
The membrane-based systems
consist of thousands of polymer-
coated fibres - hollow tubes 2m
in length and about the girth
of cooked spaghetti - vertically
submerged in large tanks of water
and fixed to the bottom. As source
water flows through the tank,
suction is applied to the top of
the fibres, forcing water to enter
through tiny pores on the fibres'
surface, leaving impurities behind.
Meanwhile, air is pumped into
the bottom of the tank and as the
bubbles rise, they cling to the fibres1
surfaces and the shearing force
scrapes off the gunk, so to speak.
"Aeration alone is 30-40 per
cent of the operating cost and
optimizing it could mean hundreds
of thousands of dollars in
savings for communities
such as Kamloops that use
membrane treatment," says
And that's where the
microprobes come in. Made
of platinum and embedded in
Teflon-coated fibres identical to
their polymer counterparts in size,
the microprobes serve as stealthy
detectives, collecting valuable data
to back up current hypotheses on
the complex interaction between
air bubbles, water flow and even
the bumps-and-grinds among the
fibres themselves.
"Up to now, optimizing
the system involved a lot of
expensive trials and errors," says
Berube. "Since we could only
measure how pure the water
was coming out of the other
end, we had no idea which part
of the process - the bubble size,
flow path or fibre denseness, for
example - was contributing to
better filtration."
In fact, preliminary data
suggests the fibres "clean
themselves" more effectively
simply by bumping into each
other. "If this is true, we may
be able to replace the aeration
system with an inexpensive
mechanical device that promotes
fibre contact and achieve the
same outcome" says Berube,
who is working with Zenon and
the city of Kamloops to use the
microprobes to monitor a full-
scale system this summer. 13
Biely, McDowell, Somerset and Black Awards Announced
School of Library, Archival and Information Studies professor Luciana Duranti has been awarded the
Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize, and Prof. Jorg Bohlmann of the Michael Smith Laboratories and
Departments of Forest Science and Botany has received the Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence
in Research.
Prof. Keith Maillard from the Dept. of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing receives this year's
Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Creative Arts. The Sam
Black Award for Education and Development in the Visual and Creative Arts goes to School of Music
professor Michael Tenzer.
Winners ofthe UBC Killam
Research Prizes are:
Junior Arts Category
Siwan Anderson, Economics
Fei Xu, Psychology
Senior Arts Category
Joshua Mostow, Asian Studies
Michael Peters, Economics
Mark Schaller, Psychology
Junior Science Category
Liisa Galea, Psychology
Robert Schober, Electrical &
Computer Engineering
Senior Science Category
Brian MacVicar, Psychiatry
Dave McClung, Geography
Julio Montaner, Medicine
2006 UBC Killam Faculty Research
Fellowships go to:
Junior Fellows
Jinhua Chen, Asian Studies
Jo-Anne Dillabough, Educational Studies
Rachel Fernandez, Microbiology & Immunology
Marcel Franz, Physics & Astronomy
Steven Heine, Psychology
Karon MacLean, Computer Science
Cynthia Nicol, Curriculum Studies
Diane S. Srivastava, Zoology
Senior Fellows
Lawrence Mcintosh, Biochemistry
& Molecular Biology & Chemistry
Leonie Sandercock, Community
& Regional Planning
The Biely and McDowell awards are named for former distinguished UBC researchers: Prof.
Emeritus Charles McDowell who headed UBC's chemistry department for 26 years, and Jacob Biely, an
international poultry scientist and UBC faculty member from 1935-68.
The Black and Somerset awards pay tribute to two illustrious figures in fine arts at UBC. Sam Black's
41-year association with the university began in 1958 as a professor of fine arts and art education.
Dorothy Somerset became director of the UBC Players' Club in 1934 and served as first artistic
administrative head of the Fredric Wood Theatre until her retirement in 1965. UBC    REPORTS     |     MARCH
2007     I    s
UB C men's volleyball team members Jared Krause, international student Christoph Eichbaum and coach Richard Schick (right to left) spiked their way through Asia and the U.S. en route to
March's CIS national championships.
UBC's Wide World of Sports
By Basil Waugh
The UBC men's volleyball squad took
a couple of major detours on the way to
the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)
national championship in Hamilton,
Ontario from March 2-4.
No, there were no missed flights or
wrong exits on the Trans-Canada Highway.
However, twice this season, the team left
the hypercompetitive CIS Canada West
- which boasts five of the country's six top
men's volleyball teams - for the chance to
spike, block and serve to professional and
varsity teams in Korea and Hawaii.
With a roster that includes international
students Christoph Eichbaum of Schwerin,
Germany, and William Liu of Dalian,
China, the members of UBC's men's
volleyball are poster boys for UBC's
commitment to an international varsity
experience - one that includes international
recruiting, exchanges, international
coaching credentials and interaction with
high-calibre national team players and
Heading to the CIS nationals for the first
time in 18 years, they have also become
spokespersons for the benefits of this
international approach.
"These trips were so important for us
as a team," says Eichbaum, who arrived
at UBC on an exchange with Berlin's
Humbold University just weeks before the
Korea trip.
Having played professional volleyball
in France and Germany, and in more than
60 matches for Germany's national junior
team, Eichbaum brings a resume of high-
level international experience and is one of
the team's scoring leaders.
"That first trip allowed us to get to know
each other as a team, and the second trip
really gave us the confidence that we can
really play with top competitors," Eichbaum
says of a Christmas trip in which UBC
swept NCAA volleyball
powerhouse University of
In addition to his travels
with the team, third-year
setter Jared Krause spent
two months training in
Korea this summer thanks to another
long-standing exchange relationship with
Sung Kyun Kwan University (SKKU). He
says these experiences have helped his
understanding not only of his sport, but also
of other cultures.
"The Korea trip really opened my eyes
to different playing styles and strategies,
says Krause. "Koreans are sort of known as
expert defenders and that side of my game
definitely improved while I was there."
Krause says the highlights from the team's
recent travels include visiting the border
between North and South Korea, scooting
through the cliffs and beaches of Hawaii
on mopeds, and the "rock star" treatment
around the island after the team's televised
victories over the University of Hawaii.
In addition to supporting international
tours, exchanges and tournaments, UBC
places equal emphasis on coaching as the
only Canadian university to hire full-time
assistant coaches for sports other than
football. Most UBC coaches come with
international experience, including the
Olympics (swimming, women's basketball,
track and field), national teams (volleyball,
field hockey) and the World University
Games (baseball, basketball and golf).
"We want UBC to be a
pipeline to great international
experiences," says UBC men's
volleyball head coach Richard
Schick, 2005 CIS Coach of the
Year, who attributes international
experience as a key element of the five
national titles he has won as a volleyball
player and coach.
"And not just while they're here," Schick
adds. "We want to help our athletes achieve
their goals after university, whether it's the
Olympics, national teams, pro teams - even
outside of sport."
Schick says former UBC varsity stars, who
include more than 214 Olympians, can be a
rich resource for current athletes. With the
2007 nationals approaching, Schick recently
brought members of UBC's championship
volleyball teams from the 1980s together to
give today's Thunderbirds insights on the
experience and life in general.
"These guys can tell you a lot about
what it feels like to win the highest prize in
Canadian university sports, the connections
they made through sport and some ideas for
how to make the transition from university
to what comes next," said Schick.
In addition to emotional support
from their predecessors, UBC's ability to
support its athletes through additional
coaching, international experience and full
scholarships, is made possible through a
strong commitment to fundraising.
The TELUS Millennium Scholarship
Breakfast on Feb. 27 is one of the best
examples of athletic fundraising at UBC.
Having raised $4.6 million in eight
years, the annual event is the single-most
successful fundraiser ever staged by a
university athletics department in Canada.
UBC Athletics is closing in on the
University of Toronto for the most national
championships in the 46-year history
of CIS and its antecedent, the Canadian
Interuniversity Athletic Union. Prior to the
2007 CIS national championships, in which
UBC volleyball, basketball and swimming
teams will compete throughout March,
UBC has 68 titles and U of T has 72. H
For more on the UBC global athletic experience, including team tours,
international student athletes and T-Birds who've competed abroad for
Canada, visit www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/sports/international.
UNDERGRADSJUMP continued from page 1
to achieve physical perfection," says
McMillan, who has just received research
ethics approval to start the project.
Fourth-year psychology major Pralle
Kriengwatana is studying hormonal
influences on song sparrows.
A veteran of two previous research
projects, Kriengwatana is looking
at effects of melatonin on territorial
aggression and hormone levels in wild
song sparrows.
Male song sparrows are territorially
aggressive year-round. During their
winter, or non-breeding, season aggression
is regulated by the hormone estradiol.
However, gonadal production of estradiol is
low during this season.
So where does the aggression come from?
Kriengwatana hypothesizes that
melatonin, a hormone whose production is
inhibited by light and increased in darkness,
is implicated in converting a steroid
hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone
into testosterone and then estradiol.
Kriengwatana, who is planning a career
in research, says she appreciates the
opportunity to go into more depth on a
"Also, the idea that this work could be
contributing to scientific literature is very
motivating and exciting. The best part,
though, is that the process of research
is never-ending; by answering questions
posed in this project, I discover even more
questions that are equally fascinating."
Findings from the study will contribute
to understanding about the neural basis
underlying song sparrows' aggressive
behaviour as well as the brain's ability
to synthesize its own hormones. It may
also have implications for the effect of
melatonin - an over-the-counter substance
- in humans, says Kriengwatana's
supervisor, Asst. Prof. Kiran Soma.
For more information on the
undergraduate research program visit www.
murp.ubc.ca; for conference information
visit www.research.ubc.ca/murc. 13 6     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     MARCH     I,    2007
Faculty of Education Timepiece
:"'s hA r~      :"•• f~ I     F~ Vs T~: A T f~
\/r~ A !"::"••     !.! T TI  i     5  5 «•"• |
••     ••••     •   •   ••«•      ••• • • •      • •      ••••• •     •    •••      I
The Faculty of Education celebrates its 50th Anniversary
during the gala weekend of events March 30 - April 01, 2007.
For further event and registration details,
please visit www.educ.ubc.ca/anniversary
or call 604-827-5553
Installation of Musqueam Artwork and Arts Festival
Friday, March 30th 2007 • 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Scarfe 100, 2125 Main Mall, UBC • Everyone welcome
Reunion/Recognition Event
Alumni and Emeriti Reunion and Donor
Recognition Event and luncheon
Saturday, March 31st 2007 • 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Scarfe foyer, 2125 Main Mall, UBC
Public Forum
"The World We Have, The World We Want -
Education for an Enduring Future"
Saturday, March 31st 2007 • 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Scarfe 100, 2125 Main Mall, UBC • Everyone welcome
Gala Dinner
A reunion celebration for faculty, emeriti and staff
Saturday, March 31st 2007 • 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
SAGE Bistro, 6331 Crescent Road, UBC, Vancouver, BC
Run/Walk for Education
10/5K Run and 2K Walk for Education
Sunday, April 1st 2007 • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
UBC campus and Pacific Spirit Park • Everyone welcome
13 Faculty of Education   ..•nr)1
By Clare Ford, Communications and Special
Projects Coordinator, Faculty of Education
The Faculty of Education's first 50 years
When UBC established the Faculty of
Education in 1956, it came as part of a broader
Canadian and North American trend to prepare
all public school teachers at a university. Now
marking its 50th anniversary, the Faculty
celebrates the role this institution has played in
shaping the past and present of education, both
on the local stage and globally.
Over the past half-century, the Faculty has
won world-wide recognition for leadership
in teaching, pedagogy, research and service to
communities at large. It operates scholarly and
service projects across the country and around
the world, through all sectors of society. Its
activities are not limited to schools and school
boards, but encompass adult learning centres,
counselling centres, prisons, hospitals, clinics,
preschools, community centres, Indigenous
territories and work places from corporate
settings to industrial plants to farms.
The 50th Anniversary affirms the Faculty's
commitment to innovation, diversity and social
justice. The Faculty extends an open invitation
to help celebrate this important milestone at its
Opening Ceremony, Public Forum and 10/5k
Run and 2k Walk during its Gala weekend
Friday, March 30th - Sunday April 1st 2007.
For further event and registration details, visit
The homes may be very large,
but the care and attention
is microscopic.
The Robert Ledingham Collection is a limited edition of 10 exquisitely styled
homes at Stirling House on the grounds of UBC in the coveted Chancellor
Place community. Not only are they generously proportioned, but also they
have been meticulously styled by Robert Ledingham - perhaps the most highly
regarded interior designer in Canada. They reflect a refined, understated
elegance that is Mr. Ledingham's trademark.
Visit or call today for this rare opportunity.
3 bedroom, 1,983 square foot homes from $1.15 million
www.stirlinghouseliving.ca 604 228 8100
1716 Theology Mall, (at Chancellor Blvd) Vancouver
2007     I     7
Bugging Bugs the Natural Way
By Brian Lin, with files from
Jennifer Honeybourn
UBC Entomology and Toxicology
Prof. Murray Isman has helped
develop a new line of organic
pesticides set to hit the shelves
at Wal-Mart across the U.S. this
Marketed under the brand
EcoSMART® by a Nashville,
Tennessee-based botanicals
company of the same name, the
line of consumer home and garden
products features a specific blend
of plant oils that bugs pests but
are harmless to humans.
"EcoSMART had come up
with a product that killed insects
but they didn't understand how
or why it was working," says
Isman, who was approached
by the company to assist with
its basic research and product
Isman, who is also Dean of
UBC's Faculty of Land and Food
Systems, found that the patented
concoction of common essential
oils such as rosemary, clove, thyme
and peppermint targets a key
receptor for a neurotransmitter
called octopamine, which is found
in all invertebrates, including
insects, but not in mammals.
Murray Isman has helped develop a natural pesticide effective both in homes and in the field.
Octopamine regulates an
insect's heart rate, movement
and metabolism and interrupting
its function can produce a
total breakdown of the insect's
nervous system. "Basically it has
a calming effect on the insect,
like its own supply of Valium.
Blocking octopamine causes
hyperactivity and quickly leads
to death of the insect," says Isman.
The product effectively kills
ants, cockroaches, dust mites,
flies, wasps, hornets and other
common pests including pets
fleas. Isman's lab has also found
it effective against a wide range of
agricultural pests.
Natural pesticides are gaining
popularity in the marketplace
with the increase of awareness
surrounding toxic chemicals in
consumer products. Wal-Mart,
the largest retailer in the world,
recently announced that it's
phasing out products containing
any of 20 toxic chemicals over
the next two years.
"For consumers, these natural
ingredients have a long history
of safety based on their use
as flavourings in foods and
beverages and as fragrances in
cosmetics," says Isman. "We also
suggested the company market
the product for agricultural
purposes since they're nontoxic to fish - they breakdown
naturally within 24 hours in
water - and therefore can be
used around waterways."
In the U.S., certain natural
pesticides can bypass costly
and lengthy Environmental
Protection Agency registration
and approval procedures because
the ingredients are exempt.
In Canada, all pest-control
products, including those made
of natural ingredients, must be
approved by Health Canada.
Isman is conducting further tests,
which he hopes will support the
product's registration in Canada
to be used on greenhouse
EcoSMART has also been
licensed to Sergeant's, a leading
pet care company based in
Omaha, Nebraska.
"It's rewarding to see my
research produce something
people can and actually want to
use," says Isman. 13
Real Life Texts for
Real Life Reasons
By Lorraine Chan
Receipts, bills, bus schedules,
maps and birthday cards - these
humble, everyday objects can
actually open doors for those who
are struggling to read and write.
That's the overwhelming
evidence that Victoria Purcell-
Gates has found in her research
on helping communities overcome
cycles of low literacy or illiteracy.
Purcell-Gates heads Cultural
Practices of Literacy Study
(CPLS), an international research
team with projects in Canada,
the U.S., Costa Rica, Bolivia,
Malaysia and Africa.
Their findings underscore
the power of authentic literacy
instruction, or "using real life
texts that are read or written
for real life reasons," says
Purcell-Gates, a professor in
the Faculty of Education and
Canada Research Chair in Early
Victoria Purcell-Gates hopes to steer literacy instruction toward new models: from the eyes of learners.
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SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC
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Childhood Literacy.
One of the overarching goals
for CPLS is to understand how
schools can better serve children
who are from marginalized
communities and what changes
need to be made to existing
curriculum and educational policy.
Purcell-Gates says the starting
point for any literacy instruction is
to see the world through the eyes
of learners - what they experience
and what makes sense to them.
CPLS researchers are looking
at the most effective language and
literacy practices and instruction
for such diverse cultural and
social groups as Sudanese
immigrant families in the U.S. and
Nicaraguan immigrants living in
Costa Rica.
In a pilot project with the Costa
Rica's Ministry of Education,
CPLS is helping teachers deliver
curriculum that's more culturally
responsive to the Nicaraguan
"For Nicaraguan families,
one of the most common forms
of textual use would be signage
that advertise foods or products
they're selling from their homes,"
explains Purcell-Gates. "We
suggested that teachers could have
the children creating and reading
different signs for the classroom
or cafeteria, or make up 'store
signs' during play.
In Purcell-Gates' view, literacy
studies and curriculum worldwide
are often designed from a middle
class perspective. "There's lots
of effort that goes into trying to
make children from other cultures
- whether that's socio-economic,
religious, ethnicity or country
of origin - fit this middle class
A case in point, says Purcell-
Gates, is the emphasis many
schools place on parents reading
to their children. "There's no solid
data to support this claim that
kids will do better if they have
storybook time at home. Lots of
cultures don't read storybooks
to kids and those children do
well in school." She adds, "More
than anything, this idea reflects a
cultural practise that's owned by
people who run schools."
In her study of migrant farm
workers, a largely Spanish-
speaking population in Michigan,
Purcell-Gates spent time in the
homes of workers observing and
interviewing families about their
literacy practices. In the classroom,
she saw that many children in the
program did not easily understand
the notion of books or stories.
"It was very hard to keep the
pre-school children engaged.
Storybooks meant little to them.
In the pre-school classrooms, the
books were used as toys, building
blocks, hats."
However, they responded to
print that was familiar in the
context of their homes such as
letters from family members in
Mexico, birthday cards, legal or
work-related papers. These and
other CPLS observations will be
used to inform the curriculum at
Migrant Head Start, a federally
funded program in the U.S. that
provides daycare and literacy
instruction for migrant workers'
To learn more about Cultural
Practices of Literary Studies, visit:
http://educ.ubc.ca/research/cpls 13 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     MARCH     I,    2007
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