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Mountain pine beetle genome decoded

March 27, 2013

The genome of the mountain pine beetle – the insect that has devastated B.C.’s lodgepole pine forests – has been decoded by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre. This is a first for the mountain pine beetle and only the second beetle genome ever sequenced. The first was the red flour beetle, a pest of stored grains. The genome is described in a study published Tuesday in the journal Genome Biology.

Planck space mission sheds light on the Universe

March 25, 2013

The Planck Space Telescope has produced the best map ever made of the most ancient light in the Universe, with help from a Canadian team led by University of British Columbia Prof. Douglas Scott and University of Toronto Prof. J. Richard Bond. Unveiled today in Paris, the first results of the 15-month mission show that the Universe is slightly older than previously thought, expanding more slowly and that there is more matter than known before. The data also revealed a portrait of the Universe when it was just 380,000 years old.

Three UBC scientists win international research grants

March 21, 2013

Three UBC Science researchers have received Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) grants, which support collaboration among scientists working in different countries. The UBC Science winners are: Filip van Petegem, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will share a Young Investigator Grant with:
  • Frank Bosmans, Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, US

Douglas Altshuler, Zoology, will share a Program Grant with:



Three UBC Science Canada Research Chairs appointed

March 15, 2013

UBC statistician Gabriela Cohen Freue, immunologist Ken Harder and evolutionary biologist Loren Rieseberg earned support from the Canada Research Chair program, it was announced today. UBC Science's chairs are among 120 federally funded research positions awarded or renewed today. UBC boasts a total of eight appointments – five new and three renewals – valued at $4.5 million.

UBC researcher to go national with wildfire smoke forecasting

March 15, 2013

Extreme weather expert Roland Stull has received $325,000 from the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) to expand his work on forest fire prediction and tracking. Stull and his team of researchers at the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) have spent the past six years running the BlueSky Western Canada Wildfire Smoke Forecasting System. Support from CSSP will expand BlueSky’s reach, allowing full Canadian coverage of wildfire smoke forecasts.

Drugs targeting blood vessels may be candidates for treating Alzheimer’s

March 6, 2013

UBC researchers have successfully normalized the production of blood vessels in the brain of mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by immunizing them with amyloid beta, a protein widely associated with the disease. While AD is typically characterized by a build-up of plaques in the brain, recent research by the UBC team showed a near doubling of blood vessels in the brain of mice and humans with AD.

UBC researchers, alumni honored by LifeSciences BC

March 5, 2013

UBC cellular microbiologist Brett Finlay, known for his groundbreaking research into Salmonella and Escherichia coli infection, has been awarded the Genome British Columbia Award for Scientific Excellence by Lifesciences British Columbia. The awards recognize leaders in the province’s life science community who have transformed the sector, and rising stars in research or business.

New flu drug stops virus in its tracks

February 21, 2013

A new class of influenza drug has been shown effective against drug-resistant strains of the flu virus, according to a study led by University of British Columbia researchers. Published online today in the journal Science Express, the study details the development of a new drug candidate that prevents the flu virus from spreading from one cell to the next. The drug is shown to successfully treat mice with lethal strains of the flu virus.

Evolution of diversity surprisingly predictable

February 19, 2013

Similar—or even identical—mutations can occur during diversification in completely separate populations of E. coli evolving over more than 1,000 generations, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Montana. The findings by UBC zoologist and mathematician Michael Doebeli and Matthew Herron, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Montana, were published today in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

UBC Science Associate Dean to receive award for marine virology work

February 16, 2013

Curtis A. Suttle, UBC’s Faculty of Science Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, is being recognized for his pioneering work in the field of marine virology with the G. Evelyn Hutchinson award. The award, granted annually by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), highlights Suttle’s contributions to a variety of fields, including biological oceanography, environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, virology and phycology.

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