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UBC receives $26.9 million for 70 research projects

October 27, 2014

From genetic mapping to wind turbines, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has received $26.9 million toward 70 research infrastructure projects from the BC Knowledge Development Fund in 2014. “Our government invests in innovation to grow and diversify our economy,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson. “Development of research and innovation into commercial opportunities leads to the jobs and investments that make the technology sector a major contributor to the provincial economy.”

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

October 24, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately. Sepsis, a syndrome caused by infection, leads to organ failure and is responsible for up to five million deaths annually. There are 18 million cases of sepsis worldwide every year. The discovery could cut back on the lengthy diagnostic time usually required to confirm if a patient is suffering from sepsis and increase the odds that they will respond to treatment.

Sea stars under attack

October 20, 2014

If a mysterious disease keeps spreading, we may no longer see sea stars along the seashore A year ago sea stars, commonly known as starfish, started disintegrating on the shores of Howe Sound, hit by a mysterious condition referred to as sea star wasting syndrome. The syndrome has decimated sea star colonies from British Columbia to California. UBC marine biologist Chris Harley discusses the effects of this puzzling condition, and what might be causing it. What is sea star wasting disease, and what is causing it?

UBC Science welcomes eight new Canada Research Chairs

October 20, 2014

Eight new Canada Research Chairs have been appointed and one renewed at the UBC Faculty of Science. The newly appointed researchers are helping improve stress-tolerant crops, solar electricity and tuberculosis treatments, and making big discoveries about the origins of planets and of life on Earth. With 13 new appointments and three renewals valued at $11.6 million UBC now has 186 Canada Research Chairs, the second-highest number in the country.

Loss of big predators could leave herbivores in a thorny situation

October 16, 2014

Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to UBC research published today in Science. UBC zoologist Adam Ford and colleagues used GPS tracking and feeding experiments to measure how an African antelope’s (impala) fear of predators, as well as the growing patterns of thorny plants, combine to influence the landscape.

Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

October 9, 2014

Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of Britsh Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters.

A bee in their bonnet

October 6, 2014

Beekeepers have launched a lawsuit against the makers of neonicotinoid pesticides. Are their concerns justified? Canadian beekeepers recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that are coming under scrutiny. But do they have a case? UBC biochemistry researcher and apiarist Leonard Foster says these chemicals may not be great for bees, but they’re not necessarily the bogeyman they’re made out to be. What are neonicotinoids?

Missing targets: UBC fisheries expert says we aren’t meeting our goals of protecting biodiversity

October 2, 2014

In 2010, the international community adopted the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity, agreeing to meet 20 targets to protect the diversity of animals, fish, plants and their habitats by 2020. As we near the midpoint to 2020, UBC professor Villy Christensen, co-author of the report “A mid-term analysis of progress toward international biodiversity targets” published today in Science, explains whether we can achieve those goals. Will we meet the 2020 biodiversity targets?

New research decodes virus-host interactions in ocean dead zones

September 15, 2014

A new study by University of British Columbia and US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute researchers sheds light on the ecological role played by marine viruses in oxygen starved regions of the worlds' oceans. It's the first time researchers have used single cell genomics to explore interactions between SUP05—a sulfur-oxidizing bacteria that will play an increasingly important role in ocean carbon and nutrient cycling—and the viruses that infect the bacteria at deeper depths.

New president pledges to boost UBC research excellence

September 12, 2014

UBC's new President Arvind Gupta pledged in his formal academic installation ceremony today to increase funding for research excellence by $100 million during his presidency, supporting those who discover, develop, and deploy knowledge. He said the pledge to boost research excellence is fundamental to improving teaching and learning, building engagement throughout B.C. and the world, fostering a vibrant international learning community, and promoting innovation. Last year UBC received $564 million in research funding for more than 8,440 research projects.

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