UBC Media Releases
The University of British Columbia announced today the result of the sport review of the 29 Vancouver campus varsity teams.
Following a two-stage assessment, 24 teams have retained varsity status and fall into three groups:
- those most ready to excel
- ongoing varsity
- teams that need more time to develop new models of community support.
The remaining five teams will become UBC competitive clubs.
“This review has re-energized support for UBC’s teams,” said President Stephen Toope. “Our community has told us they want as many varsity teams as possible, and they want the opportunity to help us achieve our vision. We’ve heard them, and we look forward to seeing this translated into solid action in the months ahead.”
During the course of the review, fans and community supporters pledged a total of $4.8 million to help strengthen teams.
“We now have a strong new model that sharpens our focus on excellence,” said Louise Cowin, VP Students. “While keeping 24 teams, our approach will concentrate resources where teams are demonstrating success in achieving our vision.”
The review confirmed five groups of criteria by which to evaluate varsity teams. The University is moving forward with a new sport model that will focus enhanced resources – specifically sport science and medicine, management and marketing — on those varsity teams most ready to achieve excellence across all the criteria. (See background)
Four teams emerged from the review with unique funding needs involving a hybrid of community or innovative commercial partnerships. These teams retain their status and have been given more time to confirm their future.
The five teams that will become UBC competitive clubs will receive support that includes honorariums for coaches, access to training facilities and support for skill development. The University has also begun assessing AMS club teams for the competitive club grouping, allowing more students to participate in competitive sport.
UBC will implement the new sport model in September 2015, following a year of transition.
Confirmed Vancouver campus varsity teams
Among confirmed varsity teams, UBC will focus enhanced resources (specifically sport science and medicine, management and marketing) on teams that have been assessed most ready to achieve excellence across the criteria.
Teams to receive enhanced support (seven)
Basketball: men and women
Swimming: men and women
Volleyball: men and women
Teams to receive current support with some limited enhancements (thirteen)
Cross country: men and women
Field hockey: women
Golf: men and women
Ice hockey: women
Rowing: men and women
Soccer: men and women
Track and field: men and women
Teams, each in unique situations, given more time to pursue hybrid funding (four)
Field hockey: men
Ice hockey: men
Teams realigned to competitive club* (five)
Alpine skiing: men and women
Nordic skiing: men and women
*Varsity teams realigned to competitive clubs will have permission to continue to compete with the Thunderbird name. The branding for other clubs joining the competitive club strand will be determined for 2015-16.
Additional competitive clubs:
In order to achieve its goal for more student participation in competitive sports, UBC Athletics will assess and decide on new competitive club teams in March 2014, pilot these clubs in September 2014, and launch the program in summer 2015.
UBC launches its new sport model in September 2015. By then, all varsity teams will have completed a five-year sport plan, and will subsequently undergo annual performance reviews.
Evaluation criteria for team assessments included five categories:
- Competitive success, competition and progression
- Supports for competitive success
- Community support and tradition
- Fit with UBC mission
UBC advisory assessment team members:
- Chair: Ashley Howard (UBC Managing Director, Athletics and Assessment Team Chair)
- UBC Varsity Team representative: Theresa Hanson (UBC Associate Director, Intercollegiate and High Performance Sport)
- Faculty: Prof. Richard Price (UBC Senior Advisor to the President and former varsity athlete)
- Student: Alex Brown (Former UBC varsity athlete and current B.Sc. student)
- Student: Caroline Wong (AMS President)
- Recent Varsity Graduate: Chris Mark (Former UBC varsity athlete, member of the young thunderbird alumni council, Political Science graduate, consultant in mining exploration)
- Alumni: Ian Robertson (Chair of the UBC Thunderbird Council- Alumni and Odlum Brown Vice President)
- Alumni: Doug Clement (Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, Division of Sports Medicine, UBC; Former Olympic and UBC Coach)
- Alumni: Nick Hopewell (Member of the Thunderbird Council, former varsity athlete, lawyer with Simpson Thomas and Associates)
- High performance expert: Marion Lay (President of Think Sport Ltd and Adjunct Professor, School of Kinesiology, UBC)
- Alnoor Aziz (UBC Associate Director supporting with figures and data)
- Ben Pollard (UBC Director of VP, Students, Portfolio Initiatives, supporting with statistics and analysis)
- Nicole Freeman (Event and Sport Tourism Manager, supporting with Sport Review administration)
Summary of team assessments, by grouping, click here.
History of sport review process, click here.
Canada’s largest integrated brain centre officially opens today, uniting research and patient care to change the way brain disorders are treated and studied.
The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH), a partnership between the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health, unites under one roof research and clinical expertise in neuroscience, psychiatry and neurology in order to accelerate discovery and translate new knowledge into better treatment and prevention strategies.
The building is named after Vancouver philanthropist Djavad Mowafaghian in honour of his $15-million donation to UBC. Construction of the $70-million building is supported by the B.C. government ($25-million), Industry Canada ($10-million), Canada Foundation for Innovation and matching funds from the BC Knowledge Development Fund ($6.48-million), as well as by $13.5-million in donations to UBC from Charles Fipke, the Townsend family, the Borgland family, and Rudy North.
The DMCBH is home to clinics for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression and other brain disorders. Innovative programs that integrate research and patient care, led by Canada’s top researchers – including Canada Research Chairs, BC Leading Edge Endowment Fund Leadership Chairs and a Canada Excellence Research Chair – will offer British Columbians improved access to treatments and clinical trials.
The DMCBH will also house research labs in concussion, stroke, addiction and healthy aging, and serve as a venue for the education and training of hundreds of medical students and graduate students.
Affecting one in three Canadians from early childhood to old age, brain dysfunction costs more than $30 billion annually and is expected to overtake heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death and disability in Canada by 2020.
To learn more about DMCBH, visit www.centreforbrainhealth.ca.
BACKGROUND | Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health
James Moore, Federal Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for British Columbia
“Our Government is proud to support partnerships like the ones that came together to make this Centre a reality. The treatment that this facility will provide, will have a positive impact on the lives of those Canadians suffering from brain diseases and disorders, and put British Columbia at the forefront of cutting-edge research technologies for many years to come.”
Terry Lake, B.C. Minister of Health
“On behalf of Premier Christy Clark and the provincial government, I wish to acknowledge and thank those who contributed to this centre, including the generous donation from Dr. Djavad Mowafaghian. The innovative health research and clinical care that will take place at the facility will help us ensure better patient outcomes now and in the future.”
Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice Chancellor, UBC
“The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health was the culmination of extraordinary partnerships and philanthropy that will help advance our understanding of the human brain and contribute to the treatment and eradication of life-changing brain diseases and injuries. UBC is extremely proud of this major milestone for the wellbeing of British Columbians and the broader community.”
Dr. David Ostrow, President and Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health
“VCH understands that when researchers and clinicians have the opportunity to work alongside each other, patient problems become tangible and urgent – and this is where solutions come from. As a result, the innovation that will take place at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health will lead to better patient outcomes and promote better care for every British Columbian affected by brain disease.”
Djavad Mowafaghian, philanthropist
“I am thrilled that this life-changing initiative has come to fruition for the benefit of British Columbians and beyond. I am particularly pleased that we will be able to help more children lead happy and healthy lives. It is a dream come true for me.”
Max Cynader, director, Brain Research Centre and DMCBH
“The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health builds on the success of researchers, clinicians, and students at the Brain Research Centre who have made many remarkable advances over the years. By enhancing these existing strengths in basic, clinical, and translational research and education, the Centre for Brain Health and will establish itself as a world leading institution for brain health research and treatment, right here in British Columbia.”
Marilyn Lenzen, North Vancouver resident, MS patient and participant in UBC-VCH research
“For individuals like me with brain-related conditions, this building exudes hope. The atmosphere here is one of restlessness, of not being content with accepted, conventional treatments. I am proud to be part of that process of discovery, and gratified to see that even more patients will now be able to do the same.”
About the DMCBH
As a leading research centre at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and UBC, the DMCBH is committed to bridging the gap between research and clinical operations. In addition to clinics and research laboratories, the DMCBH will also serve as a venue for teaching and learning, where hundreds of UBC medical students and graduate students can take advantage of the interdisciplinary activity and the proximity of research to patient care. Clinical spaces will have larger exam rooms and work spaces to accommodate instructional activities.
Located directly in front of UBC Hospital, the 13,709 square-metre centre was designed by Stantec with patients in mind, including short walking distances, simplified way-finding and numerous places where patients can rest or pause.
A major clinical feature at the DMCBH is an expanded infusion room. Under the supervision of doctors and nurses, MS and Alzheimer’s disease patients routinely receive intravenous medication infusions that may last five to eight hours. The new infusion room, with natural light, WiFi and space for family and visitors, represents a significant improvement for patient care. The facility also hosts the largest cohort of a national MS drug treatment trial, led by Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, who is also leading a national study on CCSVI.
The centre will include a brain tissue and DNA bank, a state-of-the-art repository that preserves donated patient material which could be used to identify genetic risk factors for diseases.
The building is designed to meet the LEED Gold standard by employing a suite of sustainable strategies focused on reduced energy consumption, conservation of water, and use of materials that are low in volatile organic compounds.
Initial B.C. government investment was announced in March 2008, construction began in October 2011. In March 2013, HRH The Duke of York toured and dedicated the cornerstone of DMCBH. Thirty years earlier, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh opened the Imaging Research Centre which preceded the Brain Research Centre, a partner in the creation of the DMCBH.
Biography: Djavad Mowafaghian
Djavad Mowafaghian, CM, OBC, was born in Tehran in 1927. He lost his father at the age of one and was raised in a modest household by his mother, to whom he attributes his passion for giving
In 1987, Mowafaghian decided to make Vancouver his home after visiting and falling in love with the city. In 1990, he established a company that developed and managed several office buildings. In 2003, he created and funded the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation with a mandate of bettering the lives of children through health and education.
Since 2003, the Foundation has helped many organizations. In 2004, it funded a redevelopment project at BC Children’s Hospital that included the creation of a new oncology wing. It has also contributed to UBC, Simon Fraser University, and over twenty other charities in the Vancouver area.
In 2010, Mowafaghian decided to contribute to the construction of the new Centre for Brain Health. He choose this project as it would play a role in studying and finding cures for brain disorders affecting both adults and children.
Today, Mowafaghian continues to oversee the Foundations operations as chairman but has recently extended his interest in children’s well being to his personal life: his young granddaughter and grandson. He loves being a grandfather and looks forward to passing on his mother’s teaching of kindness and generosity to the newest generation.
UBC News series on DMCBH and its researchers
Expert Q&A: How exercise can boost brain power
Expert Q&A: Recharging your brain, one neuron at a time
Expert Q&A: Head games: How the mind works when gambling
Cows learn better when housed together, which may help them adjust faster to complex new feeding and milking technologies on the modern farm, a new University of British Columbia study finds.
The research, published today in PLOS ONE, shows dairy calves become better at learning when a “buddy system” is in place. The study also provides the first evidence that the standard practice of individually housing calves is associated with certain learning difficulties.
“Pairing calves seems to change the way these animals are able to process information,” said Dan Weary, corresponding author and a professor in UBC’s Animal Welfare Program. “We recommend that farmers use some form of social housing for their calves during the milk feeding period.”
As farms become increasingly complex, with cattle interacting with robotic milkers, automated feeding systems and other technologies, slow adaptation can be frustrating for cows and farmers alike.
“Trouble adjusting to changes in routine and environment can cause problems for farmers and animals,” Weary says, adding that the switch from an individual pen to a paired one is often as simple as removing a partition.
Farmers often keep calves in individual pens, believing this helps to reduce the spread of disease. But Weary says that the concern is unwarranted if cows are housed in small groups. “The risk of one animal getting sick and affecting the others is real when you’re talking about large groups, but not with smaller groups like two or three,” he says.
The study, conducted at UBC’s Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz, B.C., involved two cognitive tests for two groups of Holstein calves housed in individual pens or in pairs.
In the first test, researchers introduced a novel object (a red plastic bin) into the calf’s pen. When first exposed to the novel object all calves showed interest, as expected. But after multiple encounters with the bin, the individually housed calves continued to respond as if this was their first exposure, while the paired calves began to habituate and ignored the bin.
“The test suggests that individual rearing can make calves more sensitive to novelty, and thus less able to habituate to changes in their environment,” says Prof. Dan Weary. “This could make it more difficult for a farm animal to be trained or to do something as simple as walk down a path and not be overwhelmed by a bright light or a new noise.”
In the second test, the calves were taught to complete a simple task, approaching a black bottle full of milk and avoiding an empty white bottle. After the calves learned to preferentially visit the black bottle, the researchers switched the rules to determine how well the calves were able to adjust to a change in rules.
Rebecca Meagher, co-author, and a postdoctoral research fellow in UBC’s Animal Welfare Program, explains: “At first, both the individually housed and pair-housed calves initially struggled with the task, but after a few training sessions the pair-housed calves began approaching the correct bottle while the individually housed calves persisted with the old strategy, visiting the incorrect bottle more often. This type of learning deficit has also been found in laboratory animals that are housed individually.”
Nine influential leaders will receive honorary degrees during spring graduation ceremonies at UBC’s Vancouver campus.
Djavad Mowafaghian a major supporter of brain health research, Michael Audain, an advocate for Canada’s visual arts and Bonnie Klein, filmmaker and human rights activist, are among influential leaders receiving honorary degrees during spring graduation ceremonies at UBC’s Vancouver campus.
Others include a First Nations master carver, international forestry and stem cell scientists, history and law scholars and a business leader.
UBC awards honorary degrees in recognition of substantial contributions to society at the provincial, national or international levels. The recipients will receive their degrees during the Spring Congregation ceremonies, held May 21-28.
UBC’s Okanagan campus will confirm its honorary degree recipients at a later date.
The 2014 spring honorary degree recipients are:
Michael Audain is a businessman and philanthropist with a long history of activism and support for visual arts and culture in B.C. and Canada. He launched the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and established the Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts in British Columbia. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia.
Dempsey Bob is internationally renowned as a master carver and is one of the foremost Tahltan-Tlingit artists of his generation. He has been a cultural ambassador, forging links between First Nations, Aboriginal and Maori artists and leaders. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
James Clifford is a leading American historian who helped shape the field of the history of anthropology. His influential research and books have sparked critical debates in many disciplines. Clifford has been a strong supporter and positive critic of UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and served as a member of the Museum’s advisory board from 2010 to 2013.
Bonnie Klein is an outstanding documentary filmmaker, author and human rights activist. After two strokes and three years in rehabilitation, Klein made a remarkable recovery and has become an advocate for the disability rights movement. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
Raymond Lee is a business leader who has embraced the triple bottom line approach with the company he founded, Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd. The company invests in exploring sustainable business practices and adopting production methods that use less water and coal. An electrical engineering alumnus, Lee is also heavily involved in the community and donates his time and resources to numerous organizations.
Djavad Mowafaghian is a business leader and philanthropist whose generosity has touched many lives. After he moved to Vancouver, he created the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation, which has the mandate to better the lives of children through health and education. He has supported many organizations in Iran and Vancouver including BC Children’s Hospital, UBC, and SFU. He is a recipient of the Order of British Columbia and was named a member of the Order of Canada in December.
Janet Rossant is a scientist and professor who is recognized for her groundbreaking work in understanding the role of genes in embryo development. She holds positions at The Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Stem Cell Network and is actively involved in the international developmental and stem cell biology communities.
Lisa Sennerby-Forsse is a leading forestry scientist and professor who has held prominent positions and advisory roles at universities, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and research institutions in Sweden and the European union. Her works spans many fields including environmental issues, plant physiology, cell biology and silviculture.
Marvin Storrow is recognized across Canada for his significant work in the area of Aboriginal Law; some of his contributions laid the groundwork for historic changes to Aboriginal rights in Canada. Storrow graduated from UBC’s Faculty of Law in 1962 and has worked in both civil and criminal law. He has made almost 40 appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Photos of the honorary degree recipients are available here.
A new University of British Columbia study identifies an important molecular change that occurs in the brain when we learn and remember.
Published this month in Nature Neuroscience, the research shows that learning stimulates our brain cells in a manner that causes a small fatty acid to attach to delta-catenin, a protein in the brain. This biochemical modification is essential in producing the changes in brain cell connectivity associated with learning, the study finds.
In animal models, the scientists found almost twice the amount of modified delta-catenin in the brain after learning about new environments. While delta-catenin has previously been linked to learning, this study is the first to describe the protein’s role in the molecular mechanism behind memory formation.
“More work is needed, but this discovery gives us a much better understanding of the tools our brains use to learn and remember, and provides insight into how these processes become disrupted in neurological diseases,” says co-author Shernaz Bamji, an associate professor in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute.
It may also provide an explanation for some mental disabilities, the researchers say. People born without the gene have a severe form of mental retardation called Cri-du-chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder named for the high-pitched cat-like cry of affected infants. Disruption of the delta-catenin gene has also been observed in some patients with schizophrenia.
“Brain activity can change both the structure of this protein, as well as its function,” says Stefano Brigidi, first author of the article and a PhD candidate Bamji’s laboratory. “When we introduced a mutation that blocked the biochemical modification that occurs in healthy subjects, we abolished the structural changes in brain’s cells that are known to be important for memory formation.”
According to the researchers, more work is needed to fully establish the importance of delta-catenin in building the brain connectivity behind learning and memory. Disruptions to these nerve cell connections are also believed to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease. Understanding the biochemical processes that are important for maintaining these connections may help address the abnormalities in nerve cells that occur in these disease states.
A new technique that targets proteins that cause disease and destroys “bad apples” in the cell has been developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Brain Research Centre, part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.
The findings, published this month in Nature Neuroscience, has important implications for a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, stroke and even cancers, the researchers say.
“This technique is revolutionary, because it can reduce or remove the pathological form of the protein without impacting the normal form of the protein or harming other proteins in the cell,” says Xulai (Shelly) Fan, a UBC PhD candidate who co-led the study with Prof. Yu Tian Wang of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.
The researchers used the new technique to disable protein function temporarily in select brain regions affected by disease. Directly targeting specific proteins in a cell is important, because many disease-causing proteins have normal functions in the cell. They become harmful – or bad apples – only during certain disease processes.
In a stroke, for example, the body activates a protein, DAPK1, which damages or kills neurons in the affected brain area. However, in its normal form and outside the affected brain area, DAPK1 has a positive function – clearing the body of cell mutations and inhibiting the abnormal cell growth found in cancer. Targeting is critical because permanently disabling DAPK1 outside of the affected brain area could have many adverse effects.
“If we can target these proteins temporarily we may be able to save neurons without impacting the patient’s overall health,” says Dr. Wang, who is a professor of Neurology and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon Chair in Stroke Research. “This technique has broad applications, so it’s a very exciting finding.”
Read the study online: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3637.html
Learn more about UBC’s Brain Research Centre here: http://brain.ubc.ca
Researchers are using fibres from fishing line and sewing thread to create inexpensive artificial muscles that could be used in medical devices, humanoid robots, prosthetic limbs, or woven into fabrics.
In a study published today in Science, international researchers, including University of British Columbia Electrical and Computer Engineering professor John Madden and PhD candidate Seyed Mohammad Mirvakili, detail how they created inexpensive artificial muscles that generate far more force and power than human or animal muscles of the same size.
“In terms of the strength and power of the artificial muscle, we found that it can quickly lift weights 100 times heavier than a same-sized human muscle can, in a single contraction,” says Madden. “It also has a higher power output for its weight than that of an automobile combustion engine.”
Artificial muscles have been made successfully out of materials like metal wires and carbon nanotubes in the past. But researchers and device makers have found these artificial muscles expensive to fabricate and difficult to control.
Madden and his colleagues used high-strength polymer fibres made from polyethylene and nylon, the common materials in fishing lines and sewing thread. The fibres were twisted into tight coils – like you would twist the rubber band of a model toy airplane – to create an artificial muscle that could contract and relax.
The artificial muscles contract and relax in response to changes in temperature, which can be controlled by an electrical heating element. This system was has been demonstrated by using such muscles to manipulate surgical forceps. The artificial muscles may also find use in robots and low cost devices that help those with impaired mobility, the researchers say.
Watch a video of the artificial muscle manipulating surgical forceps here.
The University of British Columbia President’s Task Force on Gender-Based Violence and Aboriginal Stereotypes launched a university-wide consultation today with the release of 14 draft recommendations.
The Task Force was struck by Prof. Stephen Toope in November 2013 to tackle some of the attitudes and lack of understanding related to gender-based violence, as well as the trivialization of Aboriginal cultures which came to light during some of the September 2013 student-led FROSH events.
“We are at a critical juncture,” said Prof. Toope. “I believe this report will spur our community to deepen an important reflection and take another step toward authentic respect and equality.”
The 12-member Task Force proposed preliminary recommendations to nurture a culture of substantive equality, grouped in four types of interventions, namely university policies, strategic initiatives, curriculum and education, and community building.
“These preliminary recommendations reflect members’ experience and expertise,” said Louise Cowin, Vice President, Students and Task Force member. “A deeper conversation across the entire UBC community is needed before we put forward a concrete action plan.”
Consultations begin immediately, online and in person, and will conclude on March 5, 2014. The Task Force’s recommendations and consultation feedback will then be submitted to Professor Toope.
“I don’t believe we can single-handedly reverse the current pop culture with its casual gender-based violence, nor can we eradicate well-rooted Aboriginal stereotypes that prevail nation-wide,” said Cowin. “But we can certainly take more intentional and bolder actions for our students, faculty and staff here at UBC.”
The UBC President’s Task Force on Gender-Based Violence and Aboriginal Stereotypes:
The 12-member Task Force was given a mandate to develop a set of actionable recommendations to combat the systemic attitudes and lack of understanding related to gender-based violence and the trivialization of Aboriginal cultures. The group met over a three-month period to review existing structures and programming at UBC, consider approaches taken by other institutions and develop recommendations for further discussion.
The Task Force membership includes faculty and staff from a number of areas including the Faculties of Arts, Education and Law, Creative and Critical Studies (UBCO), the First Nations Studies Program, the Sauder School of Business, the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, the Office of the UBC Vancouver Provost, Student Housing and the Alma Mater Society.
Consultations and follow up actions:
UBC students, faculty and staff are invited to comment on the draft recommendations made public today. Community feedback will be received until March 5, 2014, and will be presented to President Stephen Toope, together with the Task Force’s recommendations.
Summary of the draft recommendations:
The 14 recommendations are grouped under four themes listed below. (A full list of recommendations can be found in the full report.)
1 – Policy:
UBC’s values and vision for a respectful and inclusive community must be supported by a foundation of well-developed, comprehensive policies that are representative of UBC’s diverse communities. Policy development and review processes that clearly lay out UBC’s core values and set clear expectations for all members of the UBC community are central to achieving these goals.
2 – Strategic Initiatives:
UBC’s strategic approach must rest on a foundation of well-developed, comprehensive policies that set clear expectations for its community members at all levels. Plans must be developed on a central, unit, and faculty level to set out clear actions and goals that will foster a respectful and safe campus community. To enable effective unit-based planning, evaluation, and achievement, resources and support must be made available to facilitate these processes.
3 – Curriculum and Education:
Teaching and learning together are central to the UBC mission. Topics of gender/gender identity, Indigeneity, race/ethnicity and sexuality should be ingrained in the curriculum and recognized as a consistent and ongoing part of the education UBC provides both inside and outside of its campus borders.
4 – Community:
Members of the UBC community have a key role to play in living the values, expectations, and goals of the university. Community building and orientation activities must be reflective of the policies and plans that are put in place to support students, faculty, and staff in understanding the importance of these issues and how their actions, words, and work contribute to fostering a respectful and safe campus.
Full Report from the Task Force on Gender-Based Violence and Aboriginal Stereotypes: http://vpstudents.ubc.ca/2014/02/19/improving-campus-culture/
Fall 2013 UBC measures to address campus chants, sexual violence: http://vpstudents.ubc.ca/2013/09/18/ubc-response/
Have you ever noticed that your best friends speak the same way? A new University of British Columbia study finds we prefer voices that are similar to our own because they convey a soothing sense of community and social belongingness.
While previous research has suggested that we prefer voices that sound like they are coming from smaller women or bigger men, the new study – published today in the journal PLOS ONE – identifies a variety of other acoustic signals that we find appealing.
“The voice is an amazingly flexible tool that we use to construct our identity,” says lead author Molly Babel, a professor in the Department of Linguistics. “Very few things in our voices are immutable, so we felt that our preferences had to be about more than a person’s shape and size.”
Aside from identifying the overwhelming allure of one’s own regional dialects, the study finds key gender differences. Among North Americans, it showed a preference for men who spoke with a shorter average word length. The researchers also found a preference for “larger” sounding male voices, a finding that supports previous research.
For females, there was also a strong preference for breathier voices – a la Marilyn Monroe – as opposed to the creakier voices of the Kardashians or actress Ellen Page. The allure of breathiness – which typically results from younger and thinner vocal cords – relates to our cultural obsession with youthfulness and health, the researchers say. A creaky voice might suggest a person has a cold, is tired or smokes regularly.
Babel says the findings indicate that our preference for voices aren’t all about body size and finding a mate, it is also about fitting in to our social groups.
Babel and her colleagues at the University of California, Santa Cruz asked college-aged participants in California to rate the attractiveness of male and female voices from people living west of the Mississippi River.
They found that participants preferred different acoustic signals for males and females – and the strongest predictors of voice preference are specific to the community that you’re a part of.
For example, the Californian participants had a strong preference for female voices that pronounced the “oo” vowel sound from a word like “goose” further forward in the mouth. This has been a characteristic of California speech since at least the early 1980’s. In many other regions of North America, people would pronounce the “oo” sound farther back in the mouth, as one might hear in the movie Fargo.
The preference for males who had shorter average word length relates to a difference between how men and women speak. In North American English, longer average word length is a style typically used by women while shorter average word length is one used by men. The preference for men with shorter average word length connects to what we consider normal or average.
Given the anecdotal evidence of people’s preference for foreign accents, Babel theorizes that at a certain point the exotic is also appealing. “Once you are outside of a certain range of familiarity, novel and exotic sounding voices might become more attractive,” she says. “We also have to keep in mind that we find some accents more preferable than others because of social stereotypes that are associated with them.”
A study led by University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researchers has revealed how the fatal neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is transmitted from cell to cell, and suggests the spread of the disease could be blocked.
“This work identifies an important piece of the puzzle in determining how the disease is transmitted throughout the nervous system,” says lead investigator Dr. Neil Cashman, UBC’s Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and Protein Misfolding. “By understanding how this occurs, we can devise the best ways to stop the progressive neurological damage seen in ALS.”
The research shows that misfolded non-mutant SOD1 can be transmitted from region to region in the nervous system, offering a molecular explanation for the progressive spread of ALS.
Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study also shows the spread can be blocked using antibodies. Antibodies were specifically raised to bind to regions of SOD1 exposed when it is misfolded, and block its spread. If non-mutant SOD1 misfolding is the cause of ALS, as the study suggests, then the antibodies could arrest ALS progression, the researchers say.
This work builds on previous research in Cashman’s lab. ALS is associated with the mutant SOD1 protein (superoxide dismutase 1) and earlier investigations found that the disease-associated mutant SOD1 can induce a change in the shape of other proteins at the molecular level by misfolding inside living cells. The affected proteins then accumulate in ways similar to the process underlying prion diseases – rare, fatal, degenerative brain disorders seen in both humans and animals.
ALS is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons progressively degenerate and die so that the brain can no longer initiate and control muscle movement. Patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. There are approximately 140,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide each year.
Dr. Neil Cashman is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and Protein Misfolding at UBC, and Academic Director of the Vancouver Coastal Health ALS Centre. He is also a member of the Brain Research Centre, a partnership between UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.
Prion diseases belong to the general category of brain diseases called proteinopathies, which also includes Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The most common human form of prion disease is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Prion diseases of animals include Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) (mad cow disease) in cattle, scrapie in sheep and goats, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk.
Vancouver Coastal ALS Centre: http://www.vch.ca/403/7676/?program_id=952
Brain Research Centre: http://brain.ubc.ca
Three UBC ecologists who study the natural world at very different scales–from marine ecosystems, to plant and soil systems, to microbial communities–have been inducted today as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at its 2014 Annual Meeting. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and the publisher of the journal Science.
UBC’s Steven Hallam, John Klironomos and Daniel Pauly are among 388 members recognized by the AAAS for their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts” to advance science or its applications. Six researchers at Canadian institutions are among the new fellows.
Steven Hallam, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Science
Is cited for distinguished contributions to the fields of environmental genomics and microbial ecology, particularly for metabolic pathway reconstruction of uncultivated microorganisms mediating fundamental biogeochemical processes.
John Klironomos, Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of plant and soil ecology, particularly for empirical studies on plant-microbe interactions and the structuring of plant communities.
Daniel Pauly, Fisheries Centre, Faculty of Science
Is cited for distinguished contributions to marine ecology and fisheries management, particularly in the tropics, and for developing concepts, software, and databases used throughout the world.
With this year’s additions, 13 UBC researchers have been named fellows of the AAAS. New fellows will be recognized on 15 February, 2014 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.
AAAS members can be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members, or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.
The fellows were announced last November. The induction ceremony took place this morning. For more details on the 2013 AAAS Fellows, click here.
A large-scale survey of South African healthcare workers has revealed major gaps in workplace protection against tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis, according to a University of British Columbia health researcher.
Presenting findings today at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Dr. Annalee Yassi says issues such as confidentiality, stigma, technological capacity and staff training need to be addressed while improving hospital resources and protocols.
Preliminary results of the 2012 baseline survey of more than 1,000 healthcare workers in three hospitals show that more than 68 per cent of patient care staff had never been screened for TB; nearly 20 per cent were not vaccinated against hepatitis; and 55 per cent did not wear respiratory protection when needed. Despite South Africa’s high TB and HIV rates – 18 per cent of its adult population is HIV-positive – and risk of hepatitis transmission, recapping of used needles before disposal and washing and reusing of gloves were common, with more than 20 per cent surveyed reporting needlestick injury or unprotected exposure to bodily fluids.
Yassi, who is helping South Africa implement occupational health guidelines developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), says healthcare workers in developing countries face greater health challenges while serving significantly more patients.
“In addition to massive workloads, healthcare workers in developing countries are more likely to get sick from the workplace,” says Yassi, a professor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, noting that healthcare workers in South Africa are at three times the risk of contracting TB than other South Africans, and more than seven times more likely to be hospitalized for drug-resistant TB. A 2013 WHO estimate showed South Africans were almost 300 times more likely to contract TB than Americans.
“Considerable progress is being made, including better standard operating procedures and screening,” says Yassi. “But there’s much more we can do to ensure a healthy workplace for the international health care workforce.”
Dr. Annalee Yassi’s AAAS presentation, Promoting Health Equity by Addressing the Needs of International Health Workers, is at 10-11:30am, Feb. 14, 2014.
University of British Columbia scientists have found for the first time an infectious form of the cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii in western Arctic Beluga, prompting a call for caution for the Inuit people who eat whale meat.
The same team also discovered a new strain of the parasite, previously sequestered in the icy north, that is responsible for killing 406 grey seals in the north Atlantic in 2012.
Presenting their findings today at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Michael Grigg and Stephen Raverty from UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit say that the “big thaw” occurring in the Arctic is allowing never-before-seen movement of pathogens between the Arctic and the lower latitudes.
“Ice is a major eco-barrier for pathogens,” says Michael Grigg, a molecular parasitologist with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and an adjunct professor at UBC. “What we’re seeing with the big thaw is the liberation of pathogens gaining access to vulnerable new hosts and wreaking havoc.”
Toxoplasmosis, also known as kitty litter disease, is the leading cause of infectious blindness in humans and can be fatal to fetuses and to people and animals with compromised immune systems.
“Belugas are not only an integral part of Inuit culture and folklore, but also a major staple of the traditional diet. Hunters and community members are very concerned about food safety and security,” says Raverty, a veterinary pathologist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands’ Animal Health Centre and an adjunct professor at UBC. Raverty has led the systematic sampling and screening of hunter-harvested Beluga for 14 years.
Grigg has also identified the culprit of the 2012 grey seal die-off as a new strain of Sarcocystis. While not harmful to humans, the Arctic parasite, which was named Sarcocystis pinnipedi at the AAAS meeting today, has now killed an endangered Steller sea lion, seals, Hawaiian monk seals, walruses, polar and grizzly bears in Alaska and as far south as British Columbia.
NB: Related images, a ready-to-post video, raw interviews and b-roll are available at https://db.tt/WdllRgeI. Visit news.ubc.ca/category/aaas for more story ideas, media-friendly experts and subscribe to UBC science media releases.
Toxoplasmosis and health concerns
Toxoplasma is spread mainly through consuming of undercooked meat or water that has come in contact with soil contaminated by cat feces.
It is estimated that up to one-third of the world’s human population carry Toxoplasma. While not a major concern for healthy individuals, Toxoplasmosis can be fatal to the fetuses of pregnant women and immune-deficient individuals. It first gained notoriety as an AIDS-defining infection.
In 1987, all four out of 30 women in a northern Quebec village exposed to Toxoplasma during pregnancy gave birth to congenitally infected children. The most significant risk factor attributed to this high incidence rate in northern Quebec was the consumption of dried seal meat. The rate of maternal infection during pregnancy in North America is six in every 1,000 pregnancies.
UBC researchers had previously identified Toxoplasma infecting marine mammals in the northern Pacific region, but finding the parasite in hunter-harvested Belugas of the western Arctic raises public health concerns. These animals are consumed by the Inuit people as a recognized part of their traditional culture.
“The Inuit’s traditional processing and cooking methods should be enough to kill Toxoplasma, but vulnerable populations like pregnant women need to be extra vigilant around handling and consuming raw whale meat,” says Grigg.
Pathogens and ecological barriers
Protozoan parasites like Toxoplasma and Sarcocystis infect and remain dormant in many animal hosts. Infectious forms of the parasite are only shed in the environment by “definitive hosts.” Cats are definitive hosts for Toxoplasma. A variety of definitive hosts exist for the Sarcocystis parasites.
Arctic ice sheets have previously served as an ecological barrier, limiting the circulation of pathogens between cold and warm climates. Climate change has affected the ice sheet barrier, facilitating pathogen spread to new, susceptible marine and land animals that now access the Arctic.
Marine mammals: Sentinels of ecosystem health
Seals, walruses and polar bears rely on seasonal sea ice for habitat and must adapt to the sudden loss of ice, while migratory species such as whales appear to be finding new prey, altering migration timing and moving to new habitats.
“Marine mammals can act as ecosystem sentinels because they respond to climate change through shifts in distribution, timing of their movements and feeding locations,” says Sue Moore, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a collaborator of Grigg and Raverty. “These long-lived mammals also reflect changes to the ecosystem in their shifts in diet, body condition and physical health.”
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The University of British Columbia celebrates the significant increase in federal government support for research, in particular the creation of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
Announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as part of the budget tabled today in Parliament, the $1.5 billion, ten-year commitment to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund marks the beginning of a concerted national effort to propel top performing institutions onto the world stage.
“I applaud the federal government’s decision to spur greater Canadian leadership in global research and innovation,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. “This investment will ultimately benefit all Canadians because research so often is the needed catalyst in the creation of industry, jobs and economic growth.”
The federal budget also included $46 million additional annual funding for Canada’s research institutions, through increased allocations to the core federal research granting agencies and for the Indirect Costs Program.
These granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—provide core funding for much of Canada’s research and innovation.
“Federal funding has always been critical,” said Prof. Toope. “But in this budget, I see a recognition that our national capacity to discover and innovate is fundamental to Canada’s social and cultural dynamism, as well as giving us a competitive advantage in the global economy.”
The budget also earmarked $222 million over five years for UBC-based TRIUMF physics laboratory to support international partnerships.
In addition, a number of measures benefit UBC students directly, including providing over $40 million for internships for graduates, $8 million in new funding for postdoctoral fellowships through Mitacs, and removing student-owned vehicles from the Student Loan Assessment.
The University of British Columbia released today its Point Grey Campus Safety Working Group interim report and recommendations. Vice President, Students Louise Cowin appointed the team last November to address safety concerns following a series of six sexual assaults that took place on campus from April to October 2013.
The proposed recommendations cover priorities including lighting, programming, and communications. The report also recommends an immediate community dialogue on the expansion of electronic surveillance on campus.
“This is a safe campus by any measure,” said Cowin. “Any action we take following community consultation will build on a strong foundation of programs, services and community relationships.”
UBC’s campus on the Point Grey peninsula is notably different from most universities in Canada, because of its size, location and diversity of communities, a fact which is reflected in the recommendations put forward in the report.
“A safe campus is one where the entire community cares and therefore is motivated to act,” said Benjamin Goold, UBC professor of law specializing in surveillance and security issues, and member of the working group. “Education, engagement and dialogue are all critical to fostering this.”
UBC Vancouver students, faculty and staff who study, work and live on the Point Grey campus will be able to provide feedback online until February 25. Face to face consultation will also be held with community stakeholders. Feedback will inform university decisions, with initial commitments to be announced in March 2014.
The UBC Point Grey Campus Safety Report:
The report’s recommendations were put forward after careful study of the Point Grey campus’ existing environment, consideration of best practices among comparable universities and initial community suggestions. Recommendations are offered in the following areas:
- Cameras on Campus
- Promoting a Safe, Caring, and Respectful Campus Community
- University and RCMP Partnership
- Communication Tools
- Mobility and Visibility on Campus
The Point Grey Campus Safety working group:
The working group evolved from an ad-hoc committee brought together to respond to the six sexual assaults that took place on campus from April to October 2013. Membership includes representation from Campus Security, Student Conduct and Safety, Access & Diversity, Human Resources, Campus and Community Planning, the Alma Mater Society, Student Housing and Hospitality Services and faculty members.
Consultations and follow up actions:
The UBC Vancouver student, faculty and staff community on the Point Grey campus is invited to comment on the report’s recommendations made public today. Community feedback will be received until February 25, 2014 and will inform the university’s action plan.
The UBC Vancouver Point Grey campus situation and priorities will continue to evolve therefore the consultation process starting today is part of an ongoing dialogue to guide continuous improvement. The working group puts forth two overarching recommendations:
- Immediate Term: Conduct consultation with community members on the recommendations presented in the report, asking both broadly framed and specific questions that will assist in the implementation of actions.
- Ongoing: Establish a standing task force to meet every two years to review matters of safety and security on campus, intentionally engage in dialogue and community consultation through this process, and bring key stakeholders together to deepen the partnership and collaboration required to focus on personal and community safety and security.
Recommendations for immediate action:
Recommendations in the report are earmarked for immediate action or for medium-term implementation (six months to one year). The following sums up recommendations for immediate action:
Cameras on Campus:
The University will seek community input on the expansion of electronic surveillance on campus at key entry and exit points, including the main transit hubs, for the purpose of recording individuals and vehicles coming on to campus, and the investigation of crimes and other serious incidents after the fact. As part of this process, the university will develop a clear policy to address the implementation and appropriate use of CCTV camera surveillance, taking into account all relevant privacy considerations.
Click here to read a Q&A with UBC Law professor Benjamin Goold about the complex issue of bringing cameras to campus.
UBC and RCMP Partnership:
- Human Resources, Student Services, and the RCMP are to develop a coordinated approach to communicating safety notices, as well as services, resources and support services for victims of crime on campus.
- UBC Campus Security and RCMP are to regularly exchange data and information on incidents of personal security and campus safety.
- UBC should maintain its ‘blue phone’ service until a new strategy has been fully considered and an action plan is in place.
- A campus team is to lead the development and implementation of a mobile phone application (for students, staff, and faculty).
Mobility and Visibility on Campus
- Continue to improve visibility and mobility on campus by responding to changing vegetation, landscaping and daylight hours. Campus and Community Planning staff will continue to work with university partners to improve infrastructure maintenance and service levels, with safety as a key consideration for all public realm improvements.
- The VP Students, Campus Security, and the Alma Mater Society will strike a team to consider the program development and resources required to improve the Safewalk Program, with a report due by September 2014.
- The VP Students, Campus Security and the AMS – Safewalk Program will develop a strategy for summer operations. For Term II, Safewalk will continue its extended hours of operation from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday – Saturday, in partnership with UBC Campus Security.
Working Group report: http://vpstudents.ubc.ca/2014/02/07/improving-campus-safety/
UBC statements, releases and actions related to 2013 sexual assaults: http://www.ubc.ca/staysafe/
The University of British Columbia greets with great interest today’s announcement of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo on the dedication of additional federal government resources for First Nations’ education.
The allocation of additional funding and the commitments to escalated funding and First Nations control are important factors in fostering a stable system that can reflect the unique diversity and range of K-12 education delivery throughout the country.
UBC has a strong commitment to Aboriginal education at all levels. UBC recognizes that progress depends on strong collaborative relations with First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, and educators. In British Columbia, where considerable progress has been made in recent years, we look forward to ongoing engagement with our community partners as further details follow this announcement.
Canada’s young Indigenous population is growing rapidly and many are making remarkable contributions as leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, professionals, critical thinkers, and educators. By improving K-12 education outcomes for First Nation students we are working to ensure that all First Nations, Métis and Inuit students can achieve educational success and have the potential to have a positive impact on communities, provinces and our country.
UBC and Aboriginal education
In Place and Promise, UBC’s official strategic plan, the University has made a strong commitment to Aboriginal education and engagement. This includes an Aboriginal Strategic Plan and related initiatives to integrate understandings of Indigenous cultures and histories into its curriculum and operations. Further, the University acknowledges that the Vancouver and Kelowna campuses sit on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam First Nation and Okanagan Nation. The University offers a variety of programs and courses focused on Aboriginal communities and topics. These include Canada’s oldest Aboriginal law program, an Aboriginal residency program for medical students, the First Nations Languages Program, and the interdisciplinary First Nations Studies Program. Over the past 39 years, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program NITEP has graduated more than 360 students who have gone on to successful careers as teachers, administrators, and other highly valued positions in Aboriginal education. Further, the University has partnered with Langara College on the innovative Aboriginal Transfer Program, which includes guaranteed admissions to UBC Faculty of Arts, scholarships and awards, and student community development. The University also offers the First Nations Longhouse to serve as a home away from home for UBC Aboriginal students, where they can study and learn in a surrounding that respects Aboriginal cultures and traditions. For more information, visit: http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/
With a boost of $200,000 from the BC Innovation Council and a comprehensive new campus strategy, UBC is taking steps to make it an unquestioned leader in entrepreneurial activity.
Those benefitting include UBC technology ventures that are part of entrepreneurship@UBC, a program that offers an accelerator program, mentor network, incubator resources, online resources, and access to seed funding, as well as entrepreneurship courses to undergraduate students from all faculties in partnership with the Sauder School of Business.
“UBC has a well-earned reputation as a center for research and innovation,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson. “Supporting BCIC’s new funding for e@UBC will help develop and launch the next generation of entrepreneurs to come out of UBC’s classrooms.”
Since September, students and faculty have registered in excess of 100 new venture ideas, representing new technology applications for areas as diverse as energy efficient gas compressors, robotics, medical devices and digital media. (See backgrounder for more detail.)
“The level of innovation here at UBC is exceptional, and we are excited about the opportunity to help transform these ideas into successful companies,” said Pascal Spothelfer, UBC Vice President, Communications and Community Partnership.
The BCIC funding will advance the e@UBC program, including development of an entrepreneurial leadership network to help foster campus innovation and increase the number of new companies spun off from student and faculty research.
“We’re confident this is a recipe for success,” said Greg Caws, President and CEO of BCIC. “It is particularly significant that the expanded e@UBC program helps participants to align their commercialization efforts with the needs of their target market early in the commercialization process.”
Two UBC ventures involved with e@UBC:
Aspect Biosystems is a UBC-led team developing a novel bioprinting system for the fabrication of 3D biological tissues. Aspect is creating 3D tissue constructs that provide improved physiological models for drug testing. See video here.
“Taking part in the e@UBC program has changed how we will go forward,” said Konrad Walus, associate professor, UBC Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. “What we’re doing now is more talking to customers, potential customers and users, figuring out what really makes sense for them, what will add value to them.”
Kairama is working to fundamental lower the cost of delivering compressed natural gas to fleet vehicles. Their simple, low cost compressor is dramatically cheaper and more energy efficient than other compressors currently in use compressing mains gas into compressed natural gas for use by NG vehicles.
“e@UBC helped Kairama move a technology developed in a garage to a commercial venture by providing experienced business guidance and seed capital,” said Mike Jackson, CEO and Kairama co-founder and former UBC researcher. “We now enable courier companies to use natural gas to fuel their vehicles instead of diesel or gasoline, which greatly reduces a huge contributor to their operating costs and cleans up the air too.”
See other ventures from the entrepreneurship@UBC program at http://entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/our-ventures/.
About the BC Innovation Council
BCIC accelerates the commercialization of technology in the priority sectors of the BC Jobs Plan, through the support of startups and the development of entrepreneurs. Together with its partners, BCIC delivers programs and initiatives that promote startup growth and speed to market, resulting in jobs, revenue and economic development. BCIC is a Crown Agency of the Province of British Columbia.
Entrepreneurship@UBC strives to maximize the number of successful ventures from UBC using an unprecedented combination of education, mentorship, venture creation and seed funding. Its initiatives strengthen the ecosystem that supports emerging ventures and fosters links with business communities.
For example, the Accelerator program is an intensive 8-week program focused on customer identification, engagement, and business model optimization. For-credit entrepreneurship courses are offered to students across all faculties, in partnership with the Sauder School of Business. Events ranging from appointments at “open office” sessions to student led events like the Startup Weekend, match new entrepreneurs with experienced mentors who can provide support and perspective. The e@UBC Seed Fund is a key source of early stage risk capital for high potential businesses in the e@UBC ecosystem.
Visit entrepreneurship@UBC for information about its successful ventures or how to join the entrepreneurship@UBC community.
About UBC’s Innovation Strategy
See President Stephen Toope’s five-point strategy to help UBC drive innovation in the B.C. economy: http://entrepreneurship.ubc.ca/ubc-announces-strategy-to-help-boost-economic-impact-of-innovation-in-b-c/
Consumers will cling to a product like Coke for comfort if watching a scary movie on their own, a new study from UBC’s Sauder School of Business shows. This finding contradicts industry norms which see significantly fewer product placements in horror films compared to other genres.
“People cope with fear by bonding with other people. When watching a scary movie they look at each other and say ‘Oh my god!’ and their connection is enhanced,” says newly graduated Sauder PhD student Lea Dunn. “But, in the absence of friends, our study shows consumers will create heightened emotional attachment with a brand that happens to be on hand.”
In her forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research paper, Dunn demonstrates that consumers who experience fear while watching a film feel a greater affiliation with a present brand than those who watch films which evoke happiness, sadness or excitement.
A further study reveals that fear stimulates people to report greater brand attachment, even if they are limited to just seeing the product. Finally it was shown that enhanced feelings toward the brand were only generated if it was experienced at the same time as fear. If the product is presented afterward, no bond is created.
“Marketers are afraid of fear. Their worries about negative associations outweigh their desire to tap into the massive market commanded by fear-based entertainment such as horror films or video games,” says Dunn. “But our study shows advertisers should consider offering up their brands as something to cling to in the dark when the knives come out and the blood starts to splatter.”
Dunn’s study The Impact of Fear on Emotional Brand Attachment will be published in the June edition of Journal of Consumer Research and was co-authored by Sauder School of Business Assistant Professor JoAndrea Hoegg.
Learn more about UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
The University of British Columbia is forging ahead with its Innovation Strategy, announcing the appointment of Angus Livingstone as UBC’s Innovation Catalyst, effective February 17, 2014.
The UBC Innovation Strategy aims to leverage the university’s research and educational activities in order to further contribute to job creation, economic growth and social benefits in British Columbia and beyond.
“The implementation of the Innovation Strategy is now well underway,” said Vice President of Communications and Community Partnership, Pascal Spothelfer. “Angus brings a wealth of experience and connections to his new role, allowing him to tie together the individual elements of the strategy. He will not only set the implementation in motion, but also accelerate it.”
Livingstone will be leaving his current role of Managing Director of UBC’s University-Industry Liaison Office, a position he has held since 1999. “This new role builds on Angus’ strong understanding of UBC’s research effort,” said Vice President Research and International John Hepburn. “His leadership of the UILO helped us achieve tremendous success for our knowledge mobilization.”
On February 17, J.P. Heale will become the UILO’s Interim Managing Director. Dr. Heale has been an Associate Director of the office since 2004, working extensively with external stakeholders and researchers across UBC and its affiliated teaching hospitals.
The five-point UBC Innovation Strategy includes the creation of a Corporate Relations Office to facilitate closer working relations with the business sector; the creation of a wholly-owned subsidiary to facilitate faculty consulting and major project business development; the reorganization and expansion of the entrepreneurship e@UBC program; the growing of the “Campus as a living lab” model beyond campus; and the re-engineering of the University-Industry Liaison Office.
Graduating from UBC with a B.Sc. in Computer Science in 1983, Livingstone joined the UILO in 1988 where he has held various positions relating to industry-sponsored research, technology transfer and the management of UILO operations. Under his leadership, UBC has consistently ranked as the leading Canadian university and has gained international recognition for its technology transfer and commercialization activities. Livingstone has played critical roles in the creation of many Canadian technology transfer and commercialization initiatives. He brings to his new role in-depth understanding of the complexities of the university environment and its interactions with industry and external stakeholders. While relinquishing his position at the UILO, Livingstone retains his current board positions and will continue to be project leader on the genomics entrepreneurship program delivered in partnership with Genome Canada and Genome BC.
The University of British Columbia’s Board of Governors has approved two pilot home ownership options for faculty to improve the university’s ability to retain and attract top talent to Vancouver despite its often prohibitive housing market.
This faculty housing program is part of the university’s Housing Action Plan adopted in September 2012, an initiative championed by president and vice-chancellor Stephen Toope to address current affordable housing challenges for students and staff, as well as faculty recruitment and retention.
“Some of the most promising scholars tell us they would love to be part of UBC, one of the top-ranked research universities globally,” said Toope. “Housing prices are too often the deal-breaker. Today, we have something that will help tip the scales in UBC’s favour.”
Under the two pilot options, UBC will offer up to 150 housing units or loans over three years for approved tenured and tenure-track faculty, in order to purchase housing on UBC’s Vancouver campus.
The first pilot option offers housing units at 33 per cent below benchmark prices for similar units available on the open market in Vancouver. The other pilot option is a second mortgage loan program.
The faculty housing program is the culmination of a two-year effort by the Community Planning Task Group of the Board, chaired by faculty-elected member Nassif Ghoussoub who is also a professor of mathematics. “This was the last,critical piece of the puzzle,” said Ghoussoub. “We invited over 3,000 faculty members to comment and today’s options owe much to what we heard from them.”
In addition to the pilot options, the board also approved a set of policies to guide faculty eligibility, allocation, and occupancy for the units or loans.
Application to both faculty housing pilot options opens in March 2014 with the launch of a dedicated website.
UBC Housing Action Plan
The University Community on Campus – UBC’s Housing Action Plan (HAP), was launched in September 2012 and is a comprehensive plan to improve housing affordability and choice on the Vancouver campus for faculty, staff and students. The faculty home ownership pilot program is one 19 policies in the HAP. As a result of this and other policies within the Plan, UBC will be the only Lower Mainland employer to offer significant levels of restricted housing to employees, and one of the world’s first universities to offer non-profit housing to low-income staff. UBC is also committed to building enough student housing to meet the demand through the Student Housing Financing Endowment, and The University Community on Campus – UBC’s Housing Action Plan additionally commits to further supporting the student experience through new housing and advocacy programs.
Faculty housing – capped appreciation option:
The first pilot option offers, to approved faculty, housing units at 33 per cent lower than benchmark prices for similar units available on the Vancouver open market. Campus units purchased under this option must be sold back to approved faculty at 33 per cent below benchmark prices at the time of resale (or at the original purchase price plus the annual average faculty salary index over the time the unit was owned prior to resale, whichever is less). This will ensure that this ownership option remains available and affordable for future generations of faculty.
Faculty housing – second mortgage loan option:
The second pilot option is a second mortgage loan program for approved faculty. The loans are for 33 per cent of the price of a new home in specific on-campus developments, up to a maximum of $330,000 for the second mortgage, to be repaid in 30 years or earlier if a change in faculty eligibility occurs. The loan does not require monthly or annual interest payments, however, the repayment amount is 33% of the resale price.
The two new pilot options will be offered based on demand. Applications will be reviewed by a University Faculty Housing Allocation Committee, to be chaired by the university’s Provost. Units will be allocated according to strategic goals and priorities of UBC and its faculties.
Read the Board of Governor’s Community Planning Task Group consultation report.