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UBC Reports Oct 5, 2006

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 UBC REPORTS  | OCTOBER 5, 2006 |  I
VOLUME   52   I   NUMBER   10   I   OCTOBER   5,   200
Thanksgiving Peril
Researchers Talk Turkey About Your Food Choices
This Thanksgiving, UBC food experts explore the pros and cons of organic and conventionally farmed turkeys.
Anyone who has ever feasted a little too heartily at Thanksgiving knows some ofthe
uncomfortable implications ofthe food choices we make.
But UBC researchers say the digestive perils of one too many drumsticks pale in
comparison to the consequences of the food choices consumers make in the grocery aisle.
Prof. Art Bomke of UBC's Faculty of Land and Food Systems (FLFS) says the choices we
make at the checkout relate to everything from global warming to avian flu and livestock
welfare. "There are global implications to the decisions we make with our food dollars,"
he says.
continued on page 3
Household Items May Pose Danger During Pregnancy
What do popcorn bags, frying
pans and mattresses have in
Chemicals contained in these
and other common household
items may affect maternal
thyroid function and may
lead to impaired fetal brain
development, according to PhD
candidate Glenys Webster, of
UBC's School of Occupational
and Environmental Hygiene.
Webster is leading an
investigation into the effects
of polybrominated diphenyl
ethers (PBDEs), chemicals that
are used as flame-retardants,
and perfluroinated compounds
(PFCs), used as stain or water
repellents. The chemicals
are found at low levels in all
Canadians. They leach out of
many products, can last for a
long time in both indoor and
outdoor environments, and
accumulate in both animals and
humans via dust, foods and air.
Called the Chemical, Health
and Pregnancy study (CHirP),
Webster believes it is one of
the first such studies in the
world. She is collaborating
with investigators from BC
Chemicals found in household items such as non-stick cookware and flame-retardant furnishings may affect
fetal brain development.
Women's Hospital & Health
Centre, Health Canada, and the
University of Alberta.
Animal studies have shown fetal development. A butterfly-
that certain PBDEs interfere with shaped gland in the lower front
the thyroid system, critical to part of the neck, the thyroid
controls metabolism and keeps
basic functions such as body
temperature, blood pressure and
energy levels working properly.
It is known that thyroid
disruption in early pregnancy
can result in neurological
damage in babies, but the
mechanism — including any
negative environmental factors
— is not known. Although there
are no known human health
risks from common levels of
PBDEs and PFCs, very few
studies have been conducted in
humans, says Webster, so at this
point nothing is conclusive.
She suspects the chemicals
may put additional stress on
the thyroid system. Animal and
laboratory studies have shown
that certain PBDEs can mimic
thyroid hormones and bind to a
transport protein that sends the
damaging "imposter" hormone
from the mother to the fetus,
possibly directly to the brain.
"Until recently, we didn't have
the analytical methods we need
to measure low levels of these
chemicals and study effects on
human health," says Webster,
whose previous research focused
on environmental toxicology
and looking at how chemicals
continued on page 7 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    5,    2006
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UBC fisheries expert Daniel Pauly says overfishing is causing global
fishers to target prey lower down the food chain.
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in September 2006. compiled by basil waugh
fishing boats now have to pursue
smaller prey, often lower on the
food chain.
"We are eating bait and
moving on to jellyfish and
plankton," says Pauly. 13
UBC United Way Looks
to Grow
The UBC United Way Committee
has set an aggressive target
this year, seeking to improving
campus-wide participation with
at least 100 new donors and
increasing UBC's United Way
dollars by seven per cent over
last year.
The United Way Committee
and all its volunteers weclome
Andrew Parr, Director of UBC
Food Services, as the 2006
United Way Campaign Chair.
Andrew, along with dozens of
other dedicated volunteers, will
be putting in many extra hours
this fall as they help UBC reach
its campaign goal.
"We want to continue to
grow UBC's campaign this year
through increasing campus-wide
participation and awareness,"
says Parr. "We are planning to
do this through growing our
already successful special events
and presentations in some very
supportive environments. Even
though this campaign is already
one of the largest in the Lower
Mainland, our potential for
exponential growth is really
As an organization committed
to the community, the United
Way embodies the values of
community involvement and
social responsibility that Trek
2010 promotes, says Eilis
Courtney, Senior Coordinator
for UBC United Way.
For more information about
this year's campaign, contact
Kate Petrusa, Campaign
Coordinator at 604 822-8929
or united.way@ubc.ca or visit
UBC Prof. Exposes U.S.
Congress 'Misinformation'
Research by UBC political
scientist Paul Quirk has U.S.
media outlets questioning
the truthfulness of some U.S.
Congress members.
Associated Press, Washington
Post, Chicago Tribune, and the
DesMoines Register all cited
Quirk's new book Deliberative
Choices: Debating Public Policy
in Congress, which says U.S.
Congress members tell the truth
only about a quarter of the time
when debating major legislation
in the House and Senate.
Using debate transcripts,
Quirk and a Temple University
colleague found claims made
in only 11 of 43 major debates
between 1995-2000 were
largely substantiated by facts.
They characterized 16 claims as
unsubstantiated, and another
16 as an artful mix of fact and
"Dumb or dishonest?" one
editorial board wrote in response
to Quirk's findings. "Either way,
it's unsettling that Congress
apparently runs the country on
Sex is Good for Evolution: UBC
Most major Canadian dailies,
including the National Post,
Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald
and the Halifax Daily News,
reported that UBC Zoology
Prof. Sarah Otto has determined
scientifically what most people
have discovered through trial
and error - that by and large sex
is good for us.
Previous evolutionary
theories - typically based on
the assumption of an infinite
population - have failed to
find a clear role for sexual
reproduction in evolution.
In a research paper published
in the journal Nature, Otto and
a co-author from the University
of Edinburgh explain that in real
populations - which are never
infinitely large - reproduction
through sex breaks apart
harmful mutations and creates
new gene combinations, giving
species better adaptability.
Jellyfish Sandwiches?
Daniel Pauly, a UBC professor
and one of the world's
leading fisheries conservation
researchers, comments in an
article in the L.A. Times and the
Edmonton Journal on the state
of global fish stocks.
Pauly's research shows that
annual global fish catches have
been declining since the late
1980s, and the number of big
fish, such as tuna, swordfish and
cod, has dropped 90 per cent
over the last 50 years. He says
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TURKEYS continued from page 1
To those looking to prepare a
people- and planet-friendly feast
this Thanksgiving, Bomke and
FLFS graduate students Liska
Richer and Yona Sipos offer two
key questions, plus some
philosophical advice.
"There are two
simple questions
everyone should
be asking of their
food: where does
it come from, and
how was it grown?"
says Richer. "After
that, it is a matter of
choosing the products that
reflect your personal values,
which hopefully are connected to
the communities you live in."
Organic Vs. Conventionally
Farmed Turkeys
While many consider turkey
dinner the ultimate comfort
food, Bomke says there is
much about conventional
turkey farming to make people
A major concern about these
farms is the use of antibiotics
in feed, which Bomke says has
significant implications for the
health of poultry flocks and
surrounding farmlands.
"The intention is to keep
the birds healthy, but with
systematic antibiotic use
there is concern that — like
in humans — pathogens will
mutate and become resistant to
medications," says Bomke. "The
spread of avian diseases is, of
course, the big fear."
The build-up of turkey
antibiotics in manure is another
major concern with this practice,
says Bromke, who recently
initiated a research project on
the issue. "What happens when
this manure is used to grow
other crops?" How long do
antibiotics last? These questions
need to be asked."
Sipos says the desire for
non-medicated food is a chief
reason people gravitate towards
organic fare. "There are some
questions about what organic
means, but mainly people who
chose organics are motivated
by the desire to avoid things
like pesticides, antibiotics, and
Another reason, she says, is
the "ethical" question of access
to the outdoors. Organic turkeys
are much more
t   likely to be free
k  range — given
t access to
1 pastures —
I than their
which typically
ive indoors.
Bomke says shopping
organically does come with a
tradeoff, however. "The cost to
the consumer tends to be higher,
mainly because organic farms
lack the scale and efficiencies
of conventional farms. So there
is a price to shopping this
way — although it will vary
from grocery store to farmers'
The Food Miles Factor
In most major Canadian cities,
Richer says, shoppers will
find traditional Thanksgiving
fixings from both local and
international sources. "In
Vancouver, you can find Fraser
Valley vegetables from less than
150 km away, side-by-side with
goods from Idaho, California,
Mexico — places that are 1,000,
2,500 km away."
Her advice in this situation
is simple: "Go local." She says
locally grown food is fresher
than imports, better for the
local economy, and — with less
distance to travel — has the
major environmental advantage
of reduced fuel use and thus
fewer global warming-causing
Richer says most North
Americans would be shocked to
learn that the average products'
food miles — the total distance
from farm to plate — is now
between 2,500 and 4,000
kilometres, according to the
World Watch Institute, a 25
percent increase from 1980.
Reversing this trend requires
a "top-down, bottom-up
approach," says Sipos. "On one
hand, governments and local
producers must do a better job
to communicate the benefits of
buying locally. But people also
need to make it a priority to
know where their food is from,
which means reading signs and
labels, and if they are not clear,
asking clerks."
Back Yard Successes
Sipos names the growing 100-
Mile Diet movement, where
participants live on food and
drink from within 100 miles
of their home, as evidence that
Canadians are thinking more
about eating locally. The diet's
co-creator, Vancouverite James
MacKinnon, recently came to
UBC to share his experiences
with Sipos and her fellow FLFS
Bomke and Richer also
applaud the UBC Food System
Project as an example of an
institutional commitment to
sustainable food decisions.
Now in its sixth year, the
initiative brings together UBC
students, faculty, and staff to
brainstorm ways of increasing
the sustainability of UBC's food
system, from production to
waste management.
Richer says that during the
project, UBC Food Services has
introduced free-range eggs, local
UBC Farm organic salad greens
and herbs, and most recently fair
trade coffee; the Alma Mater
Society has introduced an ethical
purchasing policy and purchases
UBC farm products whenever
possible; and UBC Waste
Management has implemented
a Get Caught Composting
Campaign, where volunteers
stake out campus compost
bins and reward people caught
composting regularly.
Another major opportunity
to spread the word about eating
locally and organically is the
UBC Sustainability Fair on
Oct. 18, says Richer. Hosted by
faculty, staff, students, and other
organizations, she says the event
will help to raise awareness
and participation in campus
sustainability initiatives. 13
Join us for an evening of illumination,,.
Celebrate the achievements of outstanding alumni in our community
Experience UBC's new award winning research facility, the Life Sciences Centre
Meet new UBC president, Professor Stephen Toope
Help raise funds for student scholarships
2350 Health Sciences Mall, UBC Campus
5:30 PM-9:30 PM
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TICKETS: $150, table of ten $1,500     Early bird by October 6: $135, table of ten $1,350
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UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research
MUR Program
MURP is a voluntary, non-credit program
designed to support undergraduate students
in research. In order to participate, you must
be working on an original research project
under the guidance of a faculty supervisor
during the regularly scheduled academic
year. The research may be a directed studies,
honours thesis, workstudy, co-op or volunteer
Through focused workshops on library research;
hypothesis and research question development;
study design; and scholarly writing and presentation, you will learn more about how to conduct
Additional benefits include developing a
continuing relationship with a faculty member, having the opportunity to present your
work at UBC's annual Multidisciplinary
Undergraduate Research Conference, and
enhancing your professional and academic
Applications are due by October 10th, 2006.
The orientation session for registered MURP
students will take place on October 19th, 2006,
from 4:30 to 6:30pm.
www. murp.ubc.ca
info.murp® ubc.ca
MUR Conference
March 2007
Location: SUB Ballroom
Make your project count for more than just
a grade... present it at the next Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference and make it count toward your future.
The Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference celebrates the contributions of undergraduate research at UBC. It
provides an opportunity for students from
across campus to present a research project
they have been working on while engaging in scholarly debate amongst each other.
Participation in the conference is on a voluntary
basis. It is open to all undergraduates interested
in presenting their research. Presentations and
posters will be judged by a panel of graduate
students, and prizes will be presented at the end
ofthe conference.
MURC - Where Great Minds Meet.
Sonja Embree, Coordinator
Office   of   the   Vice   President   Research   ~   Rm.    101,   6190   Agronomy   Road
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Researchers Sniff Out Causes of Wine Aroma Defects
Is there wine on the table this Thanksgiving?
Winemakers agonize over their vintages, patiently
tending them along the path to perfection. Now they
are enlisting the help of science to bolster their craft.
Chemistry researchers at UBC
Okanagan - in the heart of B.C.'s
wine country - have embarked
on North America's first large-
scale examination of how
contaminants such as unwanted
yeasts and forest fire smoke can
affect the aroma of wines.
Each year about 98 per cent
of British Columbia's 17,000
tonnes of wine grapes are
grown in the sunny, vineyard-
rich Okanagan Valley. With
more than 60 wineries taking
advantage of such abundance,
the region is an ideal place to
study issues that affect grape and
wine production.
"Certainly the 2003 season
with the Okanagan Mountain
Park fire provided ample
opportunity for additional
'seasoning' of the grapes,"
says Nigel Eggers, Associate
Professor of Chemistry with
the Irving K. Barber School of
Arts and Sciences. "Forest fires
are known to produce phenols
and guaiacols from the burning
of lignins in trees, and these
chemicals can impart a smokey,
burnt smell to nearby fruit."
Eggers and post-doctoral
research fellow Sierra Rayne
have synthesized versions of
the compounds known to
occur in smoke. Along with
some innovative lab and field-
based 'burning' experiments
on fir, pine, and other native
Okanagan trees and grasses,
they are using new instruments
continued on page 7
UBC Okanagan researchers Sierra Rayne, left, and Nigel Eggers sampled from oak barrels at 10 Okanagan
Valley wineries this summer as part of their research into yeast and smoke-induced wine aromas. 4     I     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    5,    2006
A high-class dummy has moved
into the School of Nursing and
he's proving to be Mr. Popularity.
He is SimMan™, a life-sized
computerized patient simulator
that breathes, talks, and has a
pulse and blood pressure. School
of Nursing Asst. Prof. Bernie
Garrett spearheaded efforts to
purchase two of the $50,000
simulators, now dubbed Gordon
and Harry.
"Our goal is to improve the
student experience so they are
better prepared for practice,"
says Garrett, who joined the
School of Nursing in 2003 and
has a research background in
educational technology. "The
mannequin also allows for
consistency in the instruction
and a standardized learning
There is growing interest
in using high-fidelity teaching
mannequins, says Garrett, who
believes the School of Nursing is
at the forefront among Canadian
schools for interactive learning
The mannequin is almost
creepy in its lifelike qualities: it
can moan, wheeze and simulate
vomiting; has interchangeable
Third-year Nursing student, Kelvin Bei, checks vital signs on a computerized patient simulator.
male and female genitalia
for catheterization training;
an airway system that can
mimic complications such as
tongue swelling or spasm of
the larynx; and pliable skin
for injection practice. It can
describe its symptoms through
pre-programmed vocalizations or
instructors can record their own
An entire multi-faceted clinical
scenario can be programmed
into the simulator, and it is
lifelike enough to respond to
physical cues. For example, the
mannequin can stop breathing or
exhibit a weak pulse - with vital
signs displayed on an adjacent
computer monitor. When
students resuscitate the patient,
the mannequin starts breathing
normally, pulse gets stronger and
improvements are displayed on
the monitor.
The simulator can also be
programmed to reproduce
emergency conditions - such
as anaphylactic shock or a
punctured lung - that students
may not have encountered
working with real patients.
Videotaping students' work and
being able to precisely reproduce
teaching scenarios allows
instructors and students to better
analyze and improve skill levels.
In addition, teaching sessions can
be filmed and streamed to the
Internet for further review, and
instructors can employ problem-
based learning strategies using
patient simulation.
"This is a powerful learning
tool because it is so dynamic
and interactive," says Garrett.
"What students learn from the
mannequin stays with them - it's
an immersive experience."
Previously, students have
practiced using immobile, rigid
mannequins and instructors
would describe patients'
responses to their actions or
what the students should hear
through their stethoscopes or feel
when taking a pulse.
"You can watch patients
suffering from pneumonia,
arrhythmia or cardiac arrest on
TV, or listen to your professor
lecture in class, but the
opportunity to practice my skills
on a "patient" exhibiting those
symptoms is valuable and rare,"
says third-year Nursing student
Jenny Szeto.
Despite his popularity,
SimMan™ will not replace
actual clinical experience, says
"Even though simulations
boost skills and confidence,
students have to work with
real patients to experience the
unpredictability of dealing with
a person, their reaction to care,
the input of family members or
unforeseen crises," he says.
Garrett will be evaluating the
simulators this year with both
undergraduate and graduate
students. 13
Stirling House is the newest addition to Chancellor Place on
the grounds of UBC - and there are few better places to live. It's
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Open Daily Noon - 5pm (Except Fridays)
BUILDING    THE    EXTRAORDINARY UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    5,    2006     |    5
Jo-Anne Dillabough handed out disposable cameras and asked students to document their neighborhood — an inner-city housing project.
Ginas," "Thugs" and "Gangstas":
Two-Year Study of Vancouver, Toronto Youth Subcultures
Everyone at this inner-city
Toronto high school knows them
as the "Gangstas" for their taste
in baggy trousers, rap music,
chains and tattoos - distinct
from "Ginos," who prefer tight
clothes, dance music and hair gel.
Over on Vancouver's Eastside,
a similar but different scene
plays out at a high school
where one of the main groups is
sometimes called the "Hardcore
Asians." Despite their name,
the members nonetheless allow
some non-Asians to join their
ranks and have a reputation for
defending kids against racist
"These kids are creating these
identities and groups as a way
to survive," says Assoc. Prof. Jo-
Anne Dillabough in the Faculty
of Education.
She observes that subcultures
are present in all economic
classes, but the conflict and
tensions are more substantially
felt among youth living in lower-
income neighborhoods.
"Some girls feel pressure to
take on an identity of toughness
to accrue power because they
feel they don't have any. In some
cases, if a young person takes on
a 'gangsta' persona, it may be for
reasons concerning the need for
race and class protection."
A sociologist, Dillabough
studies the impact of
globalization on youth
subcultures. Her recently
published paper, "Ginas,"
"Thugs," and "Gangstas":
Young People's Struggles to
Become Somebody in Working-
Class Urban Canada, details the
2001-03 ethnographic findings
of her research with Grade 9 and
10 students in Vancouver and
Dillabough has won further
funding from Canada's Social
Sciences and Humanities
Research Council to expand
her study to include inner-city
schools in Melbourne, Australia
and Hackney, London's poorest
"The more educators can
respect and understand why
these youth subcultures and
social rituals exist, the more
they're likely to make school
relevant and meaningful to
young people's lives."
Dillabough says when
she interviewed the Toronto
students, few were certain
they would see high school
graduation. "That's worrisome
because a few generations ago,
in an industrial labour market,
these young people would have
very likely found labouring jobs
or would have had more secure
employment options."
She says there's an urgent
need for post-industrial societies
like Canada to provide viable
education and support to young
people who are buffeted by the
forces of a globalized economy
that favours the middle class,
particularly knowledge-based
By gaining an inside view of
these subcultures, Dillabough
says teachers and policy makers
can tackle the streaming that
occurs now where certain
students or even entire schools
get labelled low- or non-
achieving. As well, she says it's
vital to address the forms of peer
conflict students face in urban
inner-city schools around flash
points of race, class, sexuality,
gender and global change.
"One way to reduce tensions
among youth subcultures is
by providing students a means
to incorporate their lived
experiences in our strategies to
engage them," she says. "Even
more importantly, provincial
and federal governments need
to respond in concrete ways to
the rising poverty among young
As part of the study,
Dillabough invites students
to express themselves and
to develop critical analysis
through visual projects that
include: media and film analysis;
photography; self-portraits; and
future employment images and
"This provides a forum for
young people to address topics
like citizenship, immigration,
security, identity and belonging,"
explains Dillabough, "and
to stop blaming themselves
as failures when we're really
looking at systemic failure."
In one assignment, she
handed out disposable cameras
so students could document
their neighborhood - a Toronto
housing project.
"Some young people said they
couldn't see themselves living
anywhere else because at least
they wouldn't feel out of place
like they might in a middle-class
neighbourhood. Others talked
about the shame they felt about
living in public projects, or the
fact that police would never
answer an emergency call."
She says 20 years of cuts to
educational and social programs
in Ontario - with similar belt
tightening in B.C. over the past
10 years - have taken their toll.
There are fewer dollars going
toward family support, social
assistance and programs such as
subsidized housing. Many school
and community programs to
support youth have disappeared,
while their families are finding it
more difficult to rise above cycles
of poverty and social despair.
"One in five families live below
the poverty line in large Canadian
cities," she says. "Immigrant
and asylum-seeking youth are
often the ones who face the most
difficult economic challenges."
As well, Dillabough says there's
a strong move worldwide to
focus on education standards
through literacy tests and school
assessments. "With so many
cuts to the support structure of
schools, many marginalized, low-
income students can't compete
equally with their middle class
peers." 13
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UBC Annual General Meeting - 01 November 2006 12:00 -1 pm. Featuring guest speaker Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman
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the expressive drive and creative ambitions of
Emily Carr firmly in the centre.
- Johanne Lamoureux, author of
L'art insituable de Yin situ et autres sites
Emily Carr
UBC's Department of
Art History, Visual Art,
and Theory
UBC Press
invite you to
a guest lecture by
Gerta Moray
author of
First Nations Imagery
in the Art of Emily Carr
Tuesday, October 10, 11:00 am
Frederick Lasserre Bldg,. Rm. 102
6333 Memorial Road
Free Admission. Public Welcome.
Retirees Risk Falling into Poverty
UBC-' :■:.:■
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Economist Kevin Milligan looks at how aging people make financial decisions upon their transition from work
to retirement.
Economic theories frequently
refer to the "rational man," or
homo economicus.
But what happens when this
rational man or woman gets
old, retires and begins to draw a
pension? As his or her income,
health and lifestyle change, how
will he or she adjust saving and
spending habits?
And, for that matter, is this
man or woman even so rational
to begin with?
These are the questions that
Asst. Prof. Kevin Milligan is
aiming to answer. Armed with
a grant of $58,309 from the
Social Sciences and Humanities
The research will also probe
how health-related shocks, such
as an immobilizing illness or the
death of a spouse, will influence
the way people manage their
wealth and assets.
The project may help to
shed light on two competing
theories about how people
make economic decisions: the
so-called "Lifecycle Model,"
which takes the view that
people are essentially rational
and forward-looking, and the
"Behavioural Model," which
argues that people are more
heavily influenced by immediate
Milligan's data for both
projects will be drawn from a
inconvenience, but are not fatal
or seriously debilitating.
The second part of the project
will analyze the general patterns
of income and consumption
among people who are about to
retire or have recently done so.
Milligan says, people in this
category run the risk of falling
into poverty once they stop
working. This is particularly true
for those who retire before the
age of 65 and are not yet eligible
to receive their government
But even establishing the rate
of poverty in these circumstances
is not a clear-cut process,
given that there are at least
two ways of measuring it. The
It's kind of weird to say I want to spend three years studying
ages 62, 63, and 64, but that's exactly what I want to do.
Research Council of Canada
(SSHRC), Milligan looks to
find out what factors guide the
economic decisions of aging
people in Canada and the United
States, especially during the
transition to retirement from
"It's kind of weird to say
I want to spend three years
studying ages 62, 63, and 64,
but that's exactly what I want
to do," says Milligan, who has
been a member of the Economics
Department since 2001.
Milligan says he hopes his
research will provide economists
and governments valuable
information about this pivotal
stage of life. The elderly are
one of the most economically
vulnerable groups in society,
he says, largely because most
of their economic decisions lie
behind them.
Milligan will examine how
people prepare - or don't
prepare - for retirement, in terms
of their income and consumption
Statistics Canada survey and
a U.S. Health and Retirement
Study from the University of
His first task will be to study
the link between health and fiscal
decision-making. As Milligan
notes, this is a topic that has
been examined before and
his research will be guided by
previous observations.
"For example, one of the
benchmark findings is that
people will very rarely sell their
house unless there's a severe
health shock to the family," he
"We'll look at these different
possible hypotheses as to why,"
he says. "Is it financial need, is
it physical need, is it emotional
A severe shock, according
to Milligan, generally means
either the death of one spouse
or a sudden need for full-time
care. But there is also the matter
of less pronounced traumas
- injuries and illnesses that
may cause discomfort and
usual method for determining
poverty is to look at income and
to designate a certain revenue
threshold as the poverty line.
However, some economists
have made the argument that
what matters most for assessing
quality of life at the end of
the day is not income but
consumption, since spending will
not always be proportional to
people's incomes.
Interestingly, this seems to be
exactly what is going on with
60-65 year-olds in Canada,
according to Milligan's previous
Though there is a spike in
income-based poverty among
this demographic group, the
consumption-based poverty rate
stays largely constant.
Such a trend, suggests
Milligan, would on the surface
seem to support the forward-
thinking "Lifecycle Model" of
human economic behaviour:
people plan ahead, save money
and are thus able to maintain
their lifestyles even when their
continued on page 7 UBC REPORTS  | OCTOBER 5, 2006 | 7
HOUSEHOLD continued from page 1
move through the environment.
"There is considerable new
interest among scientists to start
looking at human health effects,
and governments, including
Canada's, are now making
decisions about regulating these
Researchers will enroll 150
pregnant women for the study,
which was launched last month
and will extend to September
2008. Participants will be asked,
during in-home surveys, about
exposures to PBDEs found in
mattresses, furniture foam,
plastic casing of electronic
equipment such as TVs and
computers, and other household
goods. The women will also
be asked about exposure to
PFCs via products ranging from
microwavable popcorn bags to
non-stick cookware coatings and
self-cleaning ovens.
Levels of PBDEs and PFCs
will be measured in the air, dust
and dryer lint in homes. Also,
maternal blood samples will
be collected in mid-pregnancy
and a sample of umbilical
cord blood will be collected at
delivery. Levels of both groups
of chemicals won't be analyzed
until all 150 subjects have been
In humans, accumulation rates
and toxicity relative to exposure
levels are not well understood. It
is known that PFCs are some of
the most persistent compounds
known, and the half-life of
PBDEs in human tissues ranges
from approximately 15 days
to six years. However, fast-
degrading PBDEs don't actually
"clear" the body after two
weeks. They transform into
slower degrading chemicals and
persist. A puzzling factor is that
age doesn't necessarily affect
PBDE accumulation.
In North America, PBDE levels
in humans are approximately
10-100 times higher than levels
found in Europe or Japan,
according to a review of PBDE
levels in humans conducted
in 2004. Health Canada
data showed PBDE levels in
Vancouver mothers' breast milk
increased approximately 15-fold
from 1992-2002, but are still
lower than levels found in certain
areas of the US. Canada has this
year prohibited the importation
of certain chemicals that turn into
Should expectant mothers be
"We're not expecting to see
dramatic changes here - the
effects, if any, will be subtle but
may still be important, and
show a trend that should be
monitored," says Webster. "I think
it's important to start looking
at connections so we can take
precautionary measures, if needed.
Even if effects are subtle, because
virtually everyone is exposed to
these chemicals, any small effects
may still represent a public health
For more information about the
study, visit www.cher.ubc.ca/chirp.
BC Women's Hospital &
Health Centre is an agency of
the Provincial Health Services
Authority. 13
WINE continued from page 3
to better understand the sources,
distribution, and levels of these
smoke-related compounds in
local grapes and wines.
Eggers has received nearly
$200,000 in funding from the
British Columbia Wine Institute,
the Investment Agriculture
Foundation of British Columbia,
and the Western Diversification
Program to conduct extensive
field sampling at small, medium,
and large wineries and vineyards
in the Okanagan.
"These grants have allowed
us to stay busy working with
viticulturalists, winemakers, and
research scientists at Agriculture
Canada's Pacific Agri-Food
Research Centre in Summerland,
B.C., sampling from wine cellars
and vineyards up and down the
Okanagan," says Eggers.
A major part of their research
is exploring the impact of
Brettanomyces (Brett) — an
undesirable yeast that can
produce aroma defects in wines.
Brett often exists in wine barrels,
but can also find its way into
wine from the raw grapes. Rayne
notes that by causing aroma
defects in wine, the yeast has
become a bane to winemakers in
many parts of the world.
"We're collecting nearly 100
samples a month from individual
oak barrels at 10 wineries and
analyzing them for 4-ethylphenol
and 4-ethylguaiacol, the two
compounds with horsey,
leathery and smokey, barnyardlike odours the Brett yeast
is known to produce in high
concentrations," Rayne explains.
While collecting samples,
Eggers and Rayne are also
monitoring parameters such as
dissolved oxygen, temperature,
humidity, and sulfur dioxide (a
preservative to prevent unwanted
bacterial and yeast growth
during barrel aging and in the
bottle) — in the hopes of better
understanding the underlying
production factors that can
allow Brettanomyces growth
in one barrel, while another
barrel right next door can go
This work is the first
comprehensive North American
survey for Brett defects in wines,
and will indicate whether the
rigorous hygiene practiced in
Okanagan wineries is holding off
infection from this yeast. Rayne
notes that experience in other
winemaking regions has shown
that once Brett takes hold, it is
very difficult to control or get
rid of.
"This is research that may
help improve grape and wine
production not only in the
Okanagan but around the
world," Eggers says. The research
will continue for two years
and cover progress of the 2005
and 2006 vintages, as well as
the analysis of 2003 and 2004
vintages that have already spent
years in a barrel.
"Together, the two projects are
helping to establish a world-
class wine chemistry research
centre at UBC Okanagan," says
Eggers. "By working closely with
industry and government, we are
striving to maintain and improve
the quality of our local wines." 13
RETIREES continued from page 6
incomes diminish.
However, this is far from
definite and Milligan hopes
his research will provide some
"If we find out that the initial
findings hold up, that income
might bounce around a whole
lot, but consumption stays really
constant over this transition
period, that gives us some
more evidence in favour of the
Lifecycle Model," he says.
As for the rigorous work of
number crunching and analysis,
Milligan will have the help
of two colleagues, Professors
Michael Baker of the University
of Toronto and Courtney
Coile of Wellesley College,
He says he's not undertaking
this project solely out of
academic interest. At a time
when the Baby Boomer
generation is nearing retirement,
studies of poverty among the
elderly may be critical in shaping
government actions toward
"On the public policy side of
things, I think it's pretty obvious
that for designing pension policy,
whether public or private, having
a good idea of the economic risks
that are faced by households as
they make the transition is pretty
important," he says.
"If everyone is doing okay,
then maybe we don't need to
spend the extra billion dollars
on seniors, but if there are some
real pockets of poverty out there,
then maybe we should know that."
Milligan has been investigating
the economic conditions of
seniors since the late 1990s,
when he researched RRSPs and
retirement savings plans for
his PhD thesis (University of
Toronto, 2001).
He has had at least one
opportunity to make practical
use of his expertise since then.
"My mother is in her 60s,
and it certainly gives her a great
advantage to have someone
who's thought a lot about these
kinds of things, to give her
advice," he says.
Milligan likes the idea that his
work might lead to improved
conditions for retirees. But as far
as his current research goes, he's
not even sure yet what he could
tell them.
"I don't know where this
is going to go," says Milligan.
"What makes me most excited
about the project is that I don't
know what we're going to find,
and so I'm intrigued by what it's
going to look like." 13
Nick Melting recently received his Bachelor
of Arts in History from the University of
British Columbia. He plans to begin law
school in 200/.
Conferences and Accommodation
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FROM OCT 2006-MAY 2007
Group Sales and Conference Services offices are open for
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St. John's College
St. John's College extends an
invitation to visitors to UBC to stay
in our quiet, comfortable, and
well-appointed guest rooms.
Available year-round, guest rooms
are furnished with a double or
queen bed, private washroom,
telephone, television, coffee
maker, bar fridge and internet
Dining with College residents in our
spacious Dining Hall is an integral part
of the life of the College, and meals
are included in the guest room fees.
For further information or to make a reservation, contact us by
phone at 604-822-6522, or by e-mail: sjc.reception@ubc.ca I     UBC    REPORTS     |     OCTOBER    5,    2006
Did you know?
That so far in 2006
UBC has approved over
500,000 square feet
of construction activity,
including 452 new
residential homes?
UTown Welcomes
Jan Fialkowski
The University Neighbourhoods
Association (UNA) has recently
appointed its first Executive
Director, Jan Fialkowski. Jan
is certainly up to the task, and
brings an accomplished record in
building and managing campus
and community relations. Her
extensive experience in both
municipal governance and working
with university communities means
Jan comes with a perspective from
both sides of the relationship.
Before taking up her new role
with the UNA, Jan was the director
of residence and housing at Simon
Fraser University for six years.
During this time, Jan helped SFU
implement its new $43-million
student residences, increasing
the student accommodation by
almost 50 per cent in only two
years. Although SFU has a much
smaller student-housing program
than UBC, this change significantly
improved the social vitality of the
campus and provided much needed
affordable housing on campus.
Jan has also acted as the associate director of residence and food service
at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., and has been involved in
municipal governance in Ontario.
Co-Development Pushes Work-Study Ratio
to 68 Per Cent
UBC's co-development program is helping UBC exceed its work-study
targets and the first project in Wesbrook Place has already received a
positive response from UBC faculty and staff.
"Our minimum work-study target according to the UBC Official
Community Plan is 50 per cent," said Dennis Pavlich, UBC Vice-President
of External and Legal Affairs. "Reaching 68 per cent marks a huge
success for our housing program and is indicative of the quality and
livability of the community we are creating in University Town."
With three co-development projects now complete, all eyes are
turning to the first project in Wesbrook Place called Keenleyside.
Named after Hugh Llewellyn Keenleyside, a UBC academic and one
of British Columbia's most eminent public servants, the project is a 72
unit, 4-storey condominium located in the heart of Wesbrook Place
"This is our fourth co-development project in University Town," said
Matthew Carter, Project Manager for UBC Properties Trust. "With each
one interest has grown exponentially. Clearly the model is working and
people are satisfied with the results."
Jan Fialkowski, the LTNA's new Executive Director.
Keenleyside is expected to
be complete by Spring 2008.
UBC Properties Trust's fifth co-
development project will be unveiled
sometime in 2007.
For further information on
codevelopment opportunities visit
TREK Programs Ease
Commuting Woes
The TREK Program Centre is
improving campus transportation
options by providing free carpool
matching, secure lock-up facilities
for cyclists, and transit discount
programs, including the Employer
Pass Program for staff and faculty
and the student U-Pass program. A
new car share program modeled after
the Cooperative Auto Network is
also being developed and will soon
be available to departments across
Also, TransLink's Community
Shuttle program (route C20)
started service at UBC in September
2006. C20 covers destinations and
residences on the west side of campus
including Totem Park, the Botanical
Gardens, Nitobe Gardens, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Chan
Centre. C20 also serves residents on the east side of campus, including
Hampton Place and Acadia/Fairview. All transfers, passes (including U-
Pass), and cash fares are accepted and are consistent with the regional
fare structure. For more information on the Community Shuttle program
and other TREK initiatives visit www.trek.ubc.ca.
Chan Centre Launches
Exciting Fall Program
Once again UBC's Chan Centre
is bursting with high quality
programming, including a world-
class line-up of jazz, world, folk and
classical music performances, plus
lectures, theatre and more. The Chan
Shun Concert Hall highlights include
jazz trumpeter Chris Botti; world
music stunners Juan de Marcos and
the Afro-Cuban All Stars; blue-grass
greats the Del McCoury Band; and
many others.
For more information on the Chan
Centre schedule visit
The New Campus Plan
UBC is ramping up for a major consultation on the future of UBC
Vancouver's academic infrastructure. The campus-wide discussion will
focus on UBC's architecture,
built form, public realm, and,
critically, how planning on
campus is implemented.
"Our goal," said Joe Stott,
Director of Campus and
Community Planning, "is to
consult with students, staff and
faculty as broadly as possible
to determine UBC's physical
plan for the next 20 years.
This includes addressing how
we incorporate the values of
Trek 2010, recent residential
development, and the planning
needs of a leading university."
Consultations will roll out in four distinct phases starting with an
opportunity for the community to define UBC's planning challenges.
This will be followed by a series
of community charettes, and will
end with the development of three
community visions and a draft
Public events will kick off
this fall with a speaker series
and a series of blogs to stimulate
discussion and inspire the campus
community to participate in
shaping the future of the Point
Grey campus. The exercise is
expected to take 18 months to
For further information visit
Bird's eye view ofthe original 1914 Sharp & Thompson plan for UBC.
University Town  UBC External Affairs Office 6328 Memorial Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2 T: 604.822.6400 F: 604.822.8102 www.universitytown.ubc.ca


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