Seabirds study shows plastic pollution reaching surprising levels off coast of Pacific Northwest

July 4, 2012

Plastic pollution off the northwest coast of North America is reaching the level of the notoriously polluted North Sea, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of British Columbia. The study, published online in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, examined stomach contents of beached northern fulmars on the coasts of British Columbia, Canada, and the states of Washington and Oregon, U.S.A.

UBC Faculty of Science awarded CREATE grants to train young researchers

June 26, 2012

University of British Columbia students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of geochemistry and quantum sciences have received grants totaling $3.3 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants, each worth $1.65 million, will offer practical training and research opportunities for young researchers at the UBC Faculty of Science.

UBC Researchers Share in Cosmology's Most Prestigious Prize

June 20, 2012

Two UBC researchers have been awarded the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize for their work as part of a 2003 NASA mission that pinpointed the age of the Universe at 13.75 billion years. UBC Physics and Astronomy professors Mark Halpern and Gary Hinshaw will share the $500,000 award with NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) lead Charles Bennett and other colleagues from the team.

Simon Peacock Reappointed to Second Term as Dean of Science

June 13, 2012

Simon Peacock, recruited to UBC in 2006 from Arizona State University, has been appointed to a second six-year term as Dean of Science. His second term will run July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2018. "Under Dean Peacock's leadership the Faculty has made outstanding achievements across undergraduate education, research infrastructure development and support, and community engagement," says David Farrar, Provost and Vice President Academic, in making the announcement. 

Loss of Biodiversity Increasingly Threatens Human Well-Being: UBC, University of Michigan Research

June 6, 2012

The loss of the planet’s biological diversity is increasingly threatening Mother Nature’s ability to provide humans with goods and services like food, water, fodder, fertile soils, and protection from pests and disease, according to a sweeping review of 20 years of research by an international team of ecologists, including biologist from the University of British Columbia and McGill.

New Malaria Treatment Approach Shown Effective

June 1, 2012

Anti-inflammatory agents developed by UBC microbiologist Robert Hancock, used in combination with anti-malarial drugs, have been shown to boost survival rates of severe malaria by as much as 50 per cent. Malaria kills up to one million people worldwide every year, particularly children under five and pregnant women, who often develop severe clinical symptoms such as brain damage and multiple organ failure. Up to 25 per cent of severe clinical malaria cases are fatal even with access to the best health care, partly because the parasite triggers inflammation that damages vital organs.

Sensory Organ in Whale's Jaw Coordinates Mechanics of Lunge-Feeding: UBC, Smithsonian Researchers

May 23, 2012

UBC zoologists and researchers at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a sensory organ in rorqual whales that coordinates its signature lunge-feeding behaviour – and may help explain their enormous size.

UBC Outreach Programs Receive PromoScience Funding

May 17, 2012

Three UBC outreach initiatives will get a boost from NSERC’s PromoScience Program this year, with the Michael Smith Laboratories, Life Science Institute and Pacific Museum of the Earth receiving a total of $90,000 in funding from the national competition. The grants will enable UBC's Life Sciences Institute (LSI) to increase capacity in its CSI@LSI program, which invites high school students to visit state-of-the-art labs at UBC and solve a staged murder mystery using forensic techniques.

UBC Research Breaks Down Seaweed's Survival Techniques

May 10, 2012

UBC botanists have placed seaweed in the underwater equivalent of a wind tunnel to get a better idea of how different types of algae withstand the onslaught of strong waves and currents. The findings, published in the American Journal of Botany, show that bladed and branched seaweeds take very different approaches to surviving stormy waters--some reducing their surface area in the face of increased turbulence, others actually changing shape to cope.

H1N1 Discovery Could Pave Way for Universal Flu Vaccine

May 8, 2012

UBC immunologists have found a potential way to develop universal flu vaccines and eliminate the need for seasonal flu vaccinations. Each year, seasonal influenza causes serious illnesses in three to five million people and 200,000 to 500,000 deaths. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic killed more than 14,000 people worldwide. Meanwhile, public health and bioterrorism concerns are heightened by new mutations of the H5N1 “bird flu” virus, published last week by the journal Nature, that could facilitate infection among mammals and humans.

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