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UBC Reports Jun 3, 2004

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VOLUME  50   I  NUMBER  6   I  JUNE  3,2004
2 UBC in the News      3 Cure for Baldness Respectful Research       6 Mentors        7 Depression Centre        8 Fighting Fire
Totem in 3D: Museum of Anthropology Recreates
a Northwest Coast Monument
One pixel at a time, by erica smishek
Imagine being able to "travel through" a traditional Northwest Coast village site that no longer
Thanks to three-dimensional laser scanning
technology, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA)
at UBC may one day make this virtual re-creation
a reality.
"New tools are changing the way we're teaching and conducting research, the way we're preserving and presenting cultural objects," says
MOA projects manager/curator Bill McLennan.
"The future is almost scary."
In consultation with the Haida Nation,
McLennan and his colleague, designer Skooker
Broome, worked with a Vancouver-based firm to
scan a totem pole collected from the Ninstints
Village on the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1957
and now housed in the museum. The totem,
which dates back to the mid-19th century, features a bear with a frog in its mouth and a wolf.
It has weathered, been broken into three parts
and carries only small traces of its original paint.
"The technology allows us to basically retrieve
the information that is in a piece so the information isn't lost," says McLennan. "We can make it
available for people studying the culture, or for
young artists learning their craft."
The tripod-mounted portable scanning system
measured every square millimetre of the entire
surface geometry of the totem in "xyz" coordinates, thereby completing a digital record of
the monument and capturing it in the form of a
point cloud - a dense, accurate and interactive
3-D model that can be rotated and viewed from
any perspective on a computer.
"First we get an exact wire mesh of the whole
piece," McLennan explains. "Then we can lay on
the 'skins' [layers of wood]. Working with contemporary artists, we can determine what the
colours were like in the 1850s when it was
carved. We can also bisect the pole at any point
and can get an exact representation of the thickness of the wood."
A plastic model generated from a 3-D laser
printer as well as two-dimensional prints provide
additional documentation of the object.
Developed by Leica Geosystems, an international company serving customers in surveying, engineering, construction, GIS, mapping, industry and
other areas of activity, the 3-D laser scanner has
traditionally been used as a tool to create "as-
built" documentation of large structures and sites
like pulp mills, oil refineries and dams. Scanning
provides a safe, time-efficient, cost-efficient and
accurate way to determine how a building has
changed since it was built.
More recently, companies that market the product have looked for other applications to showcase the technology, using it to prepare "as-
found" documentation of dinosaur bones,
European cathedrals and castles, and even the
Statue of Liberty.
"Traditional technology has not been able to
capture that much data," says Christine Young,
who worked on the pilot project with MOA.
"With 3-D scanning, it's almost overkill what you
can do with it."
Young, director of marketing for a firm that
distributes the scanners, explains they can be
positioned at significant distances from the structures that are being measured, eliminating the
need for activities such as climbing and crawling
that pose the risk of accident or the need to physically touch items that are often very vulnerable.
Moreover, she says, people don't have to be in
the same room as the object in order to benefit
from the data, thereby expanding the research
continued on page 8
Dried starfish
^fccandleholders. Toy
cars sporting sea urchin
wheels. Sand dollar necklace
pendants. Souvenirs crafted
from dead sea life have
become such a ubiquitous part
of the scenery in tropical
resorts, it's easy to forget that
these curios were once living
In a new exhibit opening
this month, Chicago's Shedd
Aquarium hopes to raise public awareness of the issue
using research conducted by
Project Seahorse, an international marine conservation
and research organization
based at UBC.
Project Seahorse's contribution to the "Sea Star Quest"
exhibit comes in the form of a
survey of the Mexican echino-
derm trade, which includes sea
stars - more popularly known
as starfish - as well as sea
-   Saving the Sea Star   -
Dead sea creatures a popular souvenir, by Michelle cook
Project Seahorse conducted research on the Mexican curio trade in sea stars for a new exhibit at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
urchins, sand dollars, and
heart urchins. More than
1,500 different species of
these live in tidal waters
worldwide but little is known
about the global trade in sea
stars or urchins for use as
Drawing on her previous
experience as a trade surveyor in southeast Asia, Project
Seahorse researcher Kristin
Lunn traveled to Mexico in
February to interview fishers,
distributors and retailers in
several of Mexico's key resort
areas including Mazatlan,
Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and
"We had this idea that sea
stars were being taken for the
curiosity trade but we didn't
have any idea how many
were being traded and what
that would mean for wild
populations," Lunn says.
continued on page 5 2       |      UBC      REPORTS      |      JUNE     3,     2 O O 4
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TEFL to Chinese elementary school teachers, on a 4 day
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EMAIL: public.affairs@ubc.ca
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in May 2004. compiled by brian lin
Troy Good for the Classics
Commenting on the recent blockbuster epic film Troy, starring
Brad Pitt as Achilles, Shirley
Sullivan, head of the classics
department at UBC, said most of
her colleagues are willing to overlook the film's faults for the interest it will spark in the ancient
"Anything that broadens the
person's perspective, that takes
them into the past and makes
them see a wider range of history,
can't but do good. Even if it's a
distortion," Sullivan told
Canadian Press.
Sullivan said other epic movies
have boosted the study of the
antiquities, including Gladiator,
starring Russell Crowe and movie
classic Ben Hur.
Jelly Fish for Lunch?
Kicking off the World Fisheries
Congress in front of 1,500 fisheries scientists from around the
globe, UBC fisheries professor
Daniel Pauly, one of the world's
leading fisheries researchers,
showed how people's growing
appetite for seafood has driven
fishing boats from industrialized
countries ever farther into
Southern Hemisphere seas controlled by Third World nations.
In the wake of the disastrous
crash of the North Atlantic's cod
stocks, the Newfoundland government is encouraging fishermen to
go after jellyfish, said Pauly, who
in November was chosen by
Scientific American as one of the
top 50 fisheries scientists in the
world, reports The Seattle Post
UBC professor Daniel Pauly, one of the world's leading fisheries researchers.
Bell Gives UBC $1.25 Million
for Tech Research
Bell Canada recently announced a
$1.25-million commitment to UBC
to support technology research.
The five-year commitment is the
first in Western Canada for the Bell
University Laboratories program,
reports The Globe and Mail.
Bell is exploring a number of
potential projects with UBC
researchers. Projects will focus on
wireless technology and social
The Truth About Echinacea
Commenting on a new U.S. study
that says echinacea doesn't help
prevent colds, UBC alternative
therapy researcher Lloyd Oppel
told Global National that "echi
nacea is not delivering on the
promise that it's held out to have.
So this study is very much in
keeping with that."
Placebo Effect Revealed
Experiments conducted by Italy's
University of Turin Medical
School have revealed the action of
the placebo effect in Parkinson's
disease patients.
"The research provides further
evidence for a physiological
underpinning for the placebo
effect," UBC neurologist
Jon Stoessl told New Scientist.
His team demonstrated in 2001
that placebos can relieve
symptoms by raising brain levels
of dopamine, a beneficial
neurotransmitter. □
Dynamic Teaching Earns Faculty Killam Awards
There are three rules in Dr. Bob's classroom, says one
student of music professor Robert Pritchard. 1) Don't
Panic; 2) Stay with the tour; and 3) If you don't
understand, it's the teacher's fault! Pritchard's creative
approach earned him one of 22 Killam Teaching
Prizes, awarded to faculty members during Spring
Congregation ceremonies.
Other winners include Education Prof. Pat
Mrenda, North America's leading authority on
autism, and Botany Prof. Jennifer Klenz, an expert on
plant and drosophila (fruit fly) genetics.
Killam winners are selected by their faculties based
on recommendations from students and colleagues.
Each receives $5,000 from university endowment
sources. Recipients are distinguished by their creativity, commitment and dynamic approach to learning.
Other Killam Teaching Prize recipients for 2004 are:
Prof. Geoffrey Herring, Chemistry Dept.
• Prof. Mchael Ward, Mathematics Dept.
• Senior Instructor Judy Brown, English Dept.
• Prof. Anthony Dawson, English Dept. • Dr. Diane
Roscoe, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine • Prof.
Ralph Hakstian, Psychology Dept. • Senior Instructor
Jacques Bodolec, Dept. of French, Hspanic & Italian
Studies • Assoc. Prof. Ann Curry, School of Library,
Archival & Information Studies • Assoc. Prof. Bruce
MacDougall, Law • Asst. Prof. Harry Hubball,
Curriculum Studies • Instructor Sally Osborne,
Physiology Dept • Assoc. Prof. Valerie LeMay, Forest
Resources Management • Assoc. Prof. Calvin
Roskelley, Biology Dept. • Prof. Jonathan Fannin,
Civil Engineering/Forest Resources Management •
Prof. Kay Teschke, School of Occupational &
Environmental Hygiene • Prof. Alan Lowe, Oral
Health Sciences Dept. • Assoc. Prof. Brian
Rodriques, Pharmacology & Toxicology; Prof.
Nicolas Jaeger, Electrical & Computer Engineering •
Lecturer Mike Le Roy, Marketing/Sauder School of
Business. □
Director, Public Affairs
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Brian Lin  brian.lin@ubc.ca
Erica Smishek erica.smishek@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson  hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Fran Hannabuss   hannabus@exchange.ubc.ca
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paul.patterson@ubc.ca or call UBC.NEWS (604.822.6397) UBC      REPORTS      |      JUNE     3,      2 O O 4      |      3
UBC Researcher Seeking a Cure for Baldness
Solution could be available within ten years, by Hilary Thomson
Researcher Kevin McEiwee -
one of only a few people in the
world who hold a doctoral
degree in hair biology - thinks a
cure for baldness that uses the
technique of hair cloning could
be commercially available within
10 years.
Hair cloning is a slang term for
engineered hair growth. The
process involves isolating a group
of cells at the base of the hair follicle - the living part of hair rooted in the skin. Once the follicular
cells are multiplied in a laboratory, they can then be implanted
back into the donor's scalp where
they divide to create new follicles
and generate new hair.
A sample of about 10 hairs
could produce several million cultured cells, which, in turn, could
grow several thousand hairs. (See
sidebar for information on scalp
hair population.)
Scientists have been studying
hair cloning in animal models for
a few years, but McElwee is the
first investigator to demonstrate
exactly how cloning works.
"Now that we have proof of
how this process works, we can
accelerate the research toward
creating a limitless supply of hair
- in effect, a cure for baldness,"
says the 34-year-old.
While early results are promising, he estimates it will take
almost a decade of further study,
clinical trials and meeting regulatory requirements before cloning
is widely available.
Common or pattern balding
affects about 20 per cent of men
in their 20s. By age 50, about half
the male population and 20 per
cent of women have problems
with baldness or hair thinning.
An expert in the cellular
mechanics of hair loss and
growth, McElwee was recruited
by Dr. Jerry Shapiro, a world
authority on hair disorders, to
join the division of dermatology
in UBC's department of medicine
in March 2004. Also an investigator with the Vancouver Coastal
Health Research Institute,
McElwee came to Canada from
Philipp University in Germany
where he was a senior scientist in
the department of dermatology.
A biologist and immunologist,
McElwee completed his unique
PhD in the immunological mechanisms involved in alopecia areata, an inflammatory hair loss disease that can affect men, women
and children and cause full body
hair loss. The cause of the disease
is not fully understood but it is
believed that an individual's own
immune system prevents hair follicles from producing hair fibre.
This month, McElwee will
travel to the International
Meeting of Hair Research
Societies in Berlin to present his
findings on the cells believed to be
the primary culprits in causing the
By separating cells in lymph
nodes, McElwee has determined
which cells are capable of inducing
the disease. He found two types of
cells caused balding problems:
CD8, which produce patchy
baldness and CD4, which produce
systemic balding.
"This research is the first
Recent recruit Kevin McElwee (I)
joins Jerry Shapiro's hair disorders lab.
evidence that CD4 cells are our
primary target in fighting
alopecia areata," he says. "This
new data will help us develop
interventions and treatments to
ease or stop this condition which
can be psychologically devastating for patients."
Shapiro and McElwee will
host the International Meeting
of Hair Research Societies in
Vancouver in 2007.
For more information on hair
loss, visit
http://www.hairinfo.org/ □
Did you know?
• On average, each person has a total of 20 million hair follicles on
their skin, of which 90,000 to 140,000 are scalp hair follicles.
• You can lose up to 25 per cent of your scalp hair before it becomes
• Typically, scalp hair fibres grow for two to seven years before being
replaced by a new hair fibre.
• People may lose up to 100 scalp hairs a day as a result of normal
hair cycling.
• The numbers of hairs on the head vary with colour. Redheads have
about 90,000 hairs and black-haired people about 108,000 hairs,
while brown- and blonde- haired people have up to 140,000.
• On average, hair is composed of about 50 per cent carbon, 21 per
cent oxygen, 17 per cent nitrogen, as well as hydrogen and sulphur.
Hair also contains trace amounts of magnesium, arsenic, iron,
chromium and other metals and minerals.
• Circus performers who hang by their hair know how strong it is. In
theory, you could gradually hang between 5,600kg and 8,400kg
from one head of hair without breaking individual hairs.
• The North American hair loss industry is estimated at $7 billion a
year. □
UBC Graduates
Since 1917
Calling all UBC graduates
You are invited to attend
The UBC Alumni Association
General Meeting
June 16, 2004
5:30 pm for 6:00 pm
UBC Robson Square
Wine and Cheese Reception
RSVP to aluminfo@ubcxa
or 604-822-3313
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REPORTS      |      JUNE     3,      2OO4
Respectful Research Paramount to First Nations Studies
Traditional research methodologies often fall
short in their approaches to First Nations issues,
according to the director of UBC's new First Nations
Studies Program in the Faculty of Arts.
"University researchers tend to deal with First
Nations communities from a position of expert privilege," says Line Kesler, who joined UBC to help launch
the program in January 2003. "That's not always the
most productive approach."
First Nations have a strong oral history tradition,
says Kesler. But researchers aren't always aware
of community concerns regarding the sharing of
"Most First Nations cultures believe that as the
mode of transmission changes, the way knowledge
functions also changes," says Kesler, whose family
comes from the Lakota Nation in South Dakota.
"Some information is also considered very private,
so there is a reluctance to having it published in the
public domain."
Kesler says there have been instances where
researchers identified locations of natural resources on
First Nations land as part of an academic study, which
resulted in the resources being exploited commercially,
putting the community at risk of losing its livelihood.
That's why the program is focused on building
relationships that emphasize reciprocity and respect.
"Students are not only taught the research skills but
challenged to consider the implications of their
approach and its impact on the community's cultural
integrity," says Kesler.
In order to receive a major designation in First
Nations Studies, students are required to complete
a core curriculum and a year-long practicum in which
they collaborate with First Nations communities and
organizations to identify their needs and design
projects that address the challenges while building
on the opportunities.
This year, student practicum projects ranged from
needs assessment of Aboriginal women in the
Downtown Eastside to increasing accessibility to
important political and historical documents through
modern technology such as digital videography and
the Internet.
"Undergraduate research can have immediate and
practical benefits for First Nations communities and
organizations. And our first class of students have -
through their practicum - demonstrated what
university researchers have to offer if their capabilities
are matched by their respect for the needs and wishes
of the community."
Where possible students also work to develop
further tools that will sustain the project beyond the
term of the internship.
"Students have the opportunity to see the theories
they learn in class at work," says Kesler.
The program will also increase Aboriginal content
and discussion on Aboriginal issues in other UBC
departments to the benefit of all students. Through
collaboration in faculty recruitment and curriculum
design, says Kesler, both students and instructors will
become more aware of the Aboriginal perspective
and how issues are presented in areas such as history,
politics, art and culture.
Kesler admits it's a balancing act satisfying the needs
of a diverse group of students, including Aboriginal
students who are seeking knowledge about their own
heritage - perhaps for the first time in their lives;
non-Aboriginals who want to work in the First
Nations community, and those who come with a
strong Aboriginal background.
"By identifying critical issues that are universal to
minority groups and addressing individual needs
through a flexible assignment structure, we're ready
to meet the challenge head on." □
First Nations Woman
Reclaims Identity
Through Education
Adopted by white parents, she knew she was different.
Helen Bell came to UBC to
pursue a bachelor's degree, but
will be walking away with
much more than a piece of
paper: learning to conduct
research has opened the door
to a wealth of knowledge -
and her own identity.
Adopted by white parents at
the age of four, Bell, from the
Nak'azdli Band of the Carrier
Nation near Prince George,
always knew she was different
but felt no particular urge to
explore her Aboriginal heritage. That is, until her adopted
sister, also of Aboriginal
descent, died of complications
of alcohol abuse in 1999.
"She had suffered from
racism and struggled with her
identity her whole life. When
she died, I felt angry and wanted to know why so many First
Nations people struggle with
substance abuse and die
young," says Bell.
"I also wanted to find my
true self."
Having lost contact with her
birth family for more than
three decades and now with a
family of her own - including
three daughters who are
inquisitive about their
Aboriginal heritage - returning
to her band was not an option.
"I'm no longer an active part
of the community, but I know
that through research and a
university education, I will
come to a better understanding
of who I am and where I came
from," says Bell, who enrolled
in a two-year First Nations
Studies Program at Langara
College in early 2000.
Bell says catching up on a
lifetime of cultural education in
just two years was challenging.
"It was an extremely painful
process to learn the history of
First Nations people in
Canada. It was mind-boggling.
But in the long run, the
knowledge made me stronger."
After receiving an Associate
of Arts Degree in First Nations
Studies from Langara College
and the Institute of Indigenous
Government, at 44, Bell went
on to become one of the first
students in UBC's First
Nations Studies Program in
the Faculty of Arts.
Bell says the research
capacity she has acquired at
UBC has made a tremendous
difference in the way she
pursues knowledge of her
culture, and may even pave the
way to a career in academe.
"The research component
at this institution is excellent,"
says Bell. "The respect,
integrity and recognition of
the uniqueness of First
Nations people has really
stood out for me.
"It's crucial for me that
we're doing research for and
with First Nations people, not
studying them like specimens
under a [magnifying] glass."
Most Aboriginal cultures
have strict guidelines regarding
passing on sacred stories and
traditional knowledge that are
inherent to the individual communities. Bell says the methodology in First Nations-related
research is as important, if not
more, than the knowledge
derived from it.
"Research in Aboriginal
communities has to utilize
methods that are different
from conventional strategies,"
says Bell, "with an aim to
provide practical benefits to
the very community where the
knowledge comes from." □ \ C      REPORTS       |      JUNE     3 ,     2OO4      |      5
Construction has begun on a major component of University Town. This new mixed-use building at the corner of Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard is the future home ofthe Dentistry Faculty.
New Survey Reveals Support for University Town Project
A recent survey conducted for UBC reveals that the
majority of people contacted are in favour of
University Town, a project that will bring a new mix
of housing, academic buildings, shops and amenities
to the UBC campus.
Pollsters surveyed residents in the Greater
Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), neighbours
who live near the university and members of the
university community including students, faculty and
staff. McAllister Opinion Research conducted the poll
in February and March.
The research was designed to determine support
for University Town, concerns and benefits and how
UBC's consultation efforts are viewed.
The survey found that 85 per cent of GVRD
About 2,200 people participate
residents polled said University Town was a good idea.
About 75 per cent of the neighbours approved and a
majority of students and staff also approved. However,
four in 10 faculty expressed ambivalence.
The concerns were also clear. Respondents were concerned that the cost of the housing units may be too
expensive, green space could be lost and traffic congestion might be increased.
On the other hand, the understanding of benefits was
also clear. They felt the main benefits were that revenue
from the project could support the university's academic
mission, provide affordable housing and more bursaries and scholarships.
Fifty-nine per cent of the faculty and 58 per cent
of the students said that UBC had not consulted with
them enough on the project, while the majority of all
UBC neighbours, staff and GVRD residents polled
said there was enough consultation.
"I am extremely pleased with the strong endorsement of University Town as a further distinctive,
interesting and vibrant community within the family
of groups comprising metropolitan Vancouver," said
Dennis Pavlich, UBC VP External Affairs. "We will
make even greater efforts to consult with our stakeholders, especially with our faculty, to explain how
this project will benefit our academic mission." □
Saving the Sea Star
continued from page
With almost no records
available to work from,
Lunn's goal was to gather
information on the structure of the Mexican trade in
echinoderms including the
types of fisheries involved,
the volume and types of
species being caught, the
main trade centres, the
value of the industry and
trade regulations. Mexico
was chosen for the survey
because it is known to be a
are currently an estimated
62 sea star fishers nationwide supplying the curio
industry. Those fishers are
each collecting an average
of 12,000 sea stars annually. The survey reports nine
sea urchin fishers each collecting about 6,800 sea
urchins annually for use as
curios. At least 200 retail
stores in major tourist centres sell sea stars or sea
urchins individually or as
detachment between where
the animal came from and
what you're selling it as. It's
not treated much differently
than a plastic sea star."
Lunn stresses that the survey is only a preliminary
one but it gives researchers
a good base to conduct further studies on the potential
impacts of the sea star curio
trade. She hopes the
research Project Seahorse
has contributed to the
"We had this idea that sea stars were being taken for the curiosity
trade but we didn't have any idea how many were being traded and
what that would mean for wild populations."
major exporter of shell
products and because of its
huge tourism industry.
Lunn and research assistant Maria Jose Villanueva
Noriega from the
Universidad Nacional
Autonoma de Mexico spent
a month interviewing
almost 100 people involved
in various aspects of the
echinoderm trade along
Mexico's Pacific and
Caribbean coasts, where
collecting is typically done
by hand in shallow waters.
The interviews provided
the first large-scale look at
the Mexican industry. There
part of other shell crafts.
In the survey's other main
findings, fishers' opinions
were split on whether sea
star stocks were in decline.
Lunn also found that many
retailers didn't know or
weren't interested in where
their stocks of marine animals had come from.
"When asking retailers
about their sources, I had a
lot of people telling me that
their animals had come
from the Philippines, when
those species aren't found in
the Philippines," Lunn says.
"By the time it has moved
up the chain, there is a
Shedd Aquarium exhibit
will make people think
carefully about the souvenirs they see on offer at
their next tropical vacation
"The souvenir trade is
one where you can directly
reach a consumer audience
and have it make a difference because this is not
sea life that people have
to catch - it's not medicine
and it's not a food fishery.
At the same time, some
people do depend on this
trade for full-time employment and we have to
consider that as well.
"I think that people are
really detached from where
these curios came from and
I think that is what Shedd
is trying to get across with
the exhibit - that these
are wild animals and that
you could be having an
impact on wild populations
when you buy them."
The Shedd Aquarium's Sea
Star Quest runs from June
17, 2004 -January 9, 2005.
Lor more information, visit
www.sheddnet.org. For more
information on Project
Seahorse, visit
www.projectseahorse.org. D 6     I
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Continuing Studies
Paying it Forward
Trying to find your way and
your place in the world as a
university student can be exciting
and rewarding. It can also be
overwhelming, confusing and
A new mentoring program
developed by UBC Career Services
with support from the Counselling
Foundation of Canada is helping
students gain clarity about their
educational and career paths. The
program's tri-level structure gives
mentoring an innovative twist.
Third- or fourth-year students are
matched with faculty or industry
mentors in the students' areas of
study. These students, in turn, mentor first- or second-year students.
"There are only three Canadian
universities funded to pilot tri-
mentoring programs and UBC is
one of them," explains Diane
Johnson, mentoring projects
manager with Career Services.
"There is great interest from other
universities and organizations in
what we're doing here."
Approximately 300 students and
140 mentors from industry and
academia are currently involved in
the program and, starting in
September, close to 525 students
and 260 mentors will participate
in tri-mentoring in areas such as
agricultural sciences, applied
science, dentistry, computer science
and life sciences.
Julianne Sun, a third-year food
and nutritional sciences student,
says meeting with her industry
mentor gave her confidence to
proceed on her chosen career path.
"I know now it will not be easy
to search for my first job once I
Mentors pass it on. by cristina calboreanu
graduate and that I should be getting as much experience as I can
during the summer or working
part time during the next school
year," she explains. "Therefore,
right now I am busy planning and
searching for appropriate companies and workshops to help myself
gain knowledge and experience."
The unique structure of the
program allows senior students
to benefit from the knowledge
and experience of their industry
mentors, while at the same time
building mentorship and
citizenship skills. In turn, junior
students receive information and
suggestions on matters such as
course selection and volunteering.
For some, the lessons learned go
well beyond career advice.
In a survey of program participants, a third-year horticultural
student wrote, "At first I was disappointed that my industry mentor
was not a professional agricultural
researcher, but then I was inspired
by the fact that my mentor was
able to bring her other job experiences into her current career as a
landscaper. Instead of learning how
to get from a degree to my dream
job, I learned how a person can
make the most of their experiences
to do something they love."
For a group of engineering
students, tri-mentoring provided
an opportunity to address a social
need, according to PhD candidates
Donna Dykeman and Erin Young,
the program co-ordinators of the
Engineering Mentoring Program
pilot in the Faculty of Applied
"We wanted to provide a
support network for women in
engineering," explains Dykeman.
"Twenty per cent of all engineering
students are women, but the
number of women actually
working in the field is much lower,
around five per cent. We would
like to see women not be a
minority in this area."
Wth support from the
continued on page 7
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GARDEN UBC      REPORTS       |      JUNE     3,     2 O O 4      |      7
New Centre Promises Better Treatments
for Depression, Bipolar Disorder
Plans to translate research rapidly into improved care, by Hilary Thomson
Retiring Within 5 Years?
People suffering from disabling
mood disorders such as depression
and bipolar disorder can expect
improved assessments and treatment with the opening of the
Mood Disorders Centre of
Excellence at UBC Hospital, part
of the Vancouver Coastal Health
Research Institute (VCHRI).
"This facility will offer research
and patient care with a 'bench to
bedside' approach focusing on
rapid translation of research into
improved care," says Dr. Alison
Buchan, associate dean, Research,
UBC Faculty of Medicine. "Coordinating mood disorder research
in B.C. will help us recruit faculty
to this outstanding multidiscipli-
nary team," adds Dr. Bernie
Bressler VCHRI director.
Directed by Dr. Raymond Lam,
a UBC professor of psychiatry and
a key investigator with VCHRI,
the Mood Disorders Centre has
received approximately $4.5 million in new research funding from
community support. Its two program streams are the Bipolar
Disorder Program and the BC
Credit Union Centre for
Excellence in Depression Research
and Care.
The depression centre is supported by a gift of more than $1
million from B.C. credit unions
that will provide for additional
researcher positions to expand the
reach of the centre. New programs
of treatment include ReChORD
(Relief of Chronic or Resistant
Depression) that uses an integrated
and comprehensive approach,
including expert medication management, psychotherapy, and
occupational therapy.
A key element of the Bipolar
Disorder Program is an early
mania treatment program. Called
Systematic Treatment
Optimization Program in Early
Mania (STOP-EM), it is made
possible through unrestricted funding of $1.5 million from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
STOP-EM will provide early
and accurate identification and
diagnosis, using comprehensive
clinical assessment as well as neuropsychology and neuroimaging
approaches. Treatment will
include pharmacological and psychosocial therapies.
"Patients, especially young
adults, with bipolar disorder often
suffer for years without correct
diagnosis or treatment. We want
to increase chances of improvement and recovery by diagnosing
and treating individuals soon after
their first manic episode," says
UBC professor of psychiatry Dr.
Lakshmi Yatham, a VCHRI
researcher and world leader in
bipolar treatment, who will oversee the program.
Patients aged 14 and older with
a current or recent first manic
episode can be referred to the program for assessment, treatment
and optional participation in the
research component of STOP-EM.
Researchers will assess social and
intellectual functioning, brain
structure and chemistry and provide genetic testing.
AstraZeneca is a leading global
pharmaceutical company with an
extensive product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas:
cardiovascular, gastrointestinal,
infection, neuroscience, oncology,
and respiratory.
The B.C. credit union system is
the largest network of financial
institutions in the province with
61 credit unions with 340 branches in 125 communities, employing
7,000 people.
VCHRI is a joint venture
between UBC and Vancouver
Coastal Health that promotes
development of new researchers
and research activity. □
Nearly three million
Canadians will experience
clinical depression - an
illness that usually develops
between the ages of 24 and
44. Symptoms include
sleep, appetite and energy
problems, social withdrawal and irritability, and
despair. However, four out
of five people with depression can be successfully
treated within weeks.
Depression is a leading
cause of disability from
work and costs more than
$5 billion per year to
manage. About 15 per cent
of people with severe
depression commit suicide.
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder, previously
known as manic-depressive
illness, is a severe mood
disorder that affects about
one million Canadians.
Patients with this disorder
experience both severe
depressions as well as
manic episodes (common
symptoms include irritability, aggressive behaviour,
lack of judgement, impul-
sivity, decreased sleep and
increased energy, and often
psychosis), both of which
are debilitating. A brain
disorder, it typically
develops in adolescence or
early adulthood. Affecting
up to four per cent of
adults, bipolar disorder is
the sixth leading cause of
disability worldwide
among 15-44-year-olds. □
Paying it Forward
continued from page 6
Association of Professional
Engineers and Geoscientists of
British Columbia, the Engineering
Mentoring Program pilot started
in January 2004 with 30 students
and 15 academia and industry
mentors. There are also plans
to expand the program to all
engineering students in September.
"The program is showing
students that there's a great variety
and a broad spectrum of careers
in engineering, not just your
stereotypical manufacturing
environment," says Young. "The
field is very broad and can be
broadened further to fields like
law, ethics, and medicine."
The Faculty of Agricultural
Sciences was the first unit at UBC
to implement the new program.
In September 2001,42 students
were matched with 21 industry
Community Partnerships
Co-ordinator Cathleen Nichols
says that before implementing
tri-mentoring, she had coordinated other mentorship programs in agricultural sciences, as
well as developing internship and
co-operative education programs,
but she found tri-mentoring opened
new doors.
"What I like about tri-mentoring
is the fact that it is self-sustainable,"
says Nichols. "You're linking
junior students with seniors, and if
you do it right the juniors will stay
connected with the program and
come back as seniors. Our
senior students soon realize the
value of mentoring for all parties
and come back as alumni.
"Tri-mentoring is helping us
reconnect with our alumni, which
is a struggle for all the faculties on
campus," she adds, "and it's also
helping students make good
decisions in terms of their chosen
path and career development."
While there are great hopes for
tri-mentoring at UBC, for some
the program has already proven
successful for all involved. For
mentors, explains Johnson, this is
an opportunity to network with
other professionals in the field and
especially to "give back to the
For the students, Nichols
says tri-mentoring "gives them
self-esteem. It gets them asking
some really good questions about
career development, and it's
helping them to see into the future.
It's exciting to see the growth in
them, and it would be wonderful
if tri-mentoring was implemented
campus-wide." □
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www.mediagroup.ubc.ca REPORTS      |      JUNE     3,      2OO4
Controlled burning has
t native spring blooms back to the Cowichan Gary Oak Preserve.
Fighting Fire with Fire
Controlled burns bring back native plants, by Michelle cook
As British Columbians brace for
another summer of high forest
fire risk, UBC researcher Andrew
MacDougall is preparing to
deliberately set alight some
patches of the Cowichan Garry
Oak Preserve south of Duncan
to study fire's power to restore
native plants.
This summer will mark the
fifth year that MacDougall has
conducted controlled burn
experiments in the preserve to
examine whether low-intensity
fires will help native plants
regenerate in the rare ecosystem.
The goals of the project are to
better understand the causes and
consequences of plant invasion
on native species, as well as
examine possible strategies
for managing the ecosystem
through the re-introduction of
controlled burning that had
traditionally been done by First
Nations people.
"The area is a hot spot for
biodiversity in Canada," says
MacDougall, who recently
completed a PhD thesis on his
work in the Garry oak preserve
under the supervision of botany
and the barn owl.
Historical records, researched
by MacDougall and colleagues
at the University of Victoria,
show that prior to European settlement, First Nations people in
the area used planned burns to
manage the land and cultivate a
supply of indigenous camas
bulbs. Camas, a lily plant that
produces a potato-like tuber,
was an important food source
for many Coastal tribes. The
under-burning also encouraged
the growth of native grasses,
presumably to attract deer and
elk to the area to graze.
The one-square-metre patches
of ground that MacDougall
burned in past years have begun
to produce results.
Earlier this spring, colourful
purple-flowered camas plants
and native prairie violets were
thriving in meadows amid the
stately oaks. MacDougall says it
has been interesting to watch the
ecosystem respond to fire management techniques.
"We've noticed significant
increases in the growth and
reproduction of many native
Tim Ennis, the Nature
Conservancy's director of land
stewardship for the B.C. region,
says the UBC research will
not only help people doing
conservation in other parts of
Canada, it will help the
Conservancy to make management decisions for the Maple
Bay property.
"When dealing with the
invasive species, they are difficult
to control because they grow in
among the native plants," Ennis
says. "We needed to find more
efficient strategies for management, and Andrew's results have
given us the tools we need to
handle them. We're taking the
same treatments he has succeeded with and are applying them
on a larger area."
The Nature Conservancy is
currendy using a combination of
controlled burning, mowing and
seeding to transform the Garry
oak landscape in the years to
"Rather than a carpet of exotic grasses punctuated by one
wildflower, what we want to
achieve is a carpet of native wild-
"We've noticed significant increases in the growth and reproduction
of many native plants. Prairie violet has tripled in cover."
professor Roy Turkington.  "It
hasn't seen fire in more than 150
years, and invasive grasses and
other introduced species have
come in and choked out the
native plants. They also generate
large amounts of highly combustible plant litter, increasing
the risk of forest fire."
In Canada, Garry oak
ecosystems are found only on
Vancouver Island, the nearby
Gulf Islands and in the Fraser
Valley. They support 91 species
that have been designated at
risk in B.C. or nationally.
The 18-hectare Cowichan preserve, owned by the Nature
Conservancy of Canada, is the
most intact remaining example
of the ecosystem in the country.
It is home to five endangered
or threatened species: the
yellow prairie violet, white-top
aster, Howell's tritelaia, the
Propertius dusky wing butterfly
plants. Prairie violet has tripled
in cover," MacDougall says.
"The other good news is we've
gotten rid of the invasive grasses.
We'll never have the fuel loads
that we did before we began the
burning experiments."
He says the experiment also
produced some unexpected
"At first glance, the high
abundance of invasive plants
suggests that they drive biodiversity decline," MacDougall says.
"However, our research has also
revealed a hidden but significant
impact of habitat fragmentation
on the ability of native species to
re-colonize invaded areas.
Because exotics [introduced
species] thrive in our highly
developed, contemporary
landscapes, they can dominate
by default rather than by
competition even though their
dominance suggests otherwise."
flowers," Ennis says.
MacDougall says it remains to
be seen whether some of the
rarer native plants will be able to
make a comeback, and the study
is expected to continue for at
least another five years. But the
initial results have proven that
larger scale, rotational controlled
burns are a conservation option
that could also help to lower the
risk of forest fires.
"Invasive [introduced] grasses
are fuel for fires and we need to
get a handle on these fuel loads.
Low intensity fires can greatly
reduce the hazard of larger,
destructive wildfires. Controlled
burning would have the benefit
of protecting an area from
damage in the event of a forest
fire," MacDougall says.
As for the oaks themselves,
MacDougall says they love fire.
"Unless they are very small, it
doesn't harm them." □
These nursing students studied at Fairview hospital
site in Vancouver until 1925 when the Dept. of
Nursing was relocated to the UBC campus. UBC's
School of Nursing celebrates its 85th anniversary this
month and wants to locate alumni, especially those
from the class of 1954 or earlier, who will be special
guests at a gala event. For more information, visit
www.nursing.ubc.ca. □
Totem  in 3^    continued fi
torn page 1
MOA's Bill McLennan (I) and Skooker Broome with totem pole.
and learning capabilities.
In the case of Northwest
Coast artifacts, McLennan
explains, many were dispersed
in museums and private collections throughout the world
and are not always accessible.
Even those remaining in the
province  "are so isolated and
often difficult to get to."
Plus they are rapidly
"The poles in SGang Gwaay
'llnagaay [Ninstints] are really
on their last legs," says
Guujaaw, president of the
Council of the Haida Nation
and an acclaimed carver who
once assisted Bill Reid. "In
another decade, they won't be
here. Our people want to let
them finish their course."
Guujaaw consulted with
the museum on the scanning
project and sees great potential
in the technology for his
people and for their own
research centres.
"By getting that record, we
would be able to preserve the
poles and information about
them for future generations,"
he says.
Since scanning can be completed hundreds of metres from
a structure or geographical site,
researchers can digitally capture an entire scene and draw
on other resources like historical photographs to get a
complete picture of the setting.
With the innovative pilot
project complete, McLennan
hopes to secure a virtual
museum grant from Heritage
Canada or other sources to
digitally record Ninstints
Village, a world heritage site
and the earliest recorded Haida
village of the south Queen
Charlotte Islands, where some
free standing poles (but no
other structures) remain.
"The rocks and hills are still
there and we can determine
where the poles were," he says.
"We can essentially step back
in history and reconstruct
Such projects, he says,
demonstrate how technology
can bring cultural works back
to First Nations and give the
rest of us more insight into the
First Peoples and B.C. cultural
"It's a fantastic way of
studying history, of bringing it
back and of helping people
understand and respect world
cultures," McLennan says. "It's
really exciting." □


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