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Promising discovery in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

May 22, 2014

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have identified a small molecule that prevents bacteria from forming into biofilms, a frequent cause of infections. The anti-biofilm peptide works on a range of bacteria including many that cannot be treated by antibiotics. “Currently there is a severe problem with antibiotic-resistant organisms,” says Bob Hancock, a professor in UBC’s Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology and lead author of the study published today in PLOS Pathogens. “Our entire arsenal of antibiotics is gradually losing effectiveness.”

Nanomaterials research training at UBC gets boost

May 16, 2014

Researchers studying nanomaterials at UBC received a $1.65 million boost in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada today. UBC chemist Mark MacLachlan received the support from NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience program, with the funding extending over six years. The investment will help MacLachlan mentor and train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

New TRIUMF-UBC training program aims to turn Vancouver into 'Isotope Valley'

May 16, 2014

A new interdisciplinary program at UBC and the TRUIMF national physics lab will provide young scientists with enriched training experiences in the production, preparation and innovative application of isotopes for science and health.  The Isotopes for Science and Medicine (ISOSIM) CREATE program--announced today at a ceremony at McGill University by Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder--will help researchers transition from academia into the Canadian workforce.

Lethal parasite evolved from pond scum

May 8, 2014

A lethal parasite infecting a wide range of insects actually originated from pond scum, according to a genomic investigation by UBC researchers. A team led by UBC Botany's Patrick Keeling sequenced the genome of Helicosporidium – an intracellular parasite that can kill juvenile blackflies, caterpillars, beetles and mosquitoes – and found it evolved from algae like another notorious pathogen: malaria.

Planck reveals magnetic fingerprint of our galaxy

May 6, 2014

An international team of astrophysicists has released an unprecedented map of the entire sky that charts the magnetic field shaping the Milky Way galaxy and helps in our understanding of the birth of the universe. The team—which includes researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) at the University of Toronto—created the map using data from the Planck Space Telescope.

UBC antimicrobial pioneer elected to American National Academy of Sciences

April 29, 2014

UBC microbiologist Julian Davies has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is among 21 foreign associates from 15 countries elected to the prestigious Academy today in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in research. The Davies lab searches for antibiotics from a variety of natural sources, these include bacteria isolated from soils, sediments, clays, mushrooms and lichens.

‘Charismatic’ organisms still dominating genomics research

April 29, 2014

Decades after the genomics revolution, half of known eukaryote lineages still remain unstudied at the genomic level--with the field displaying a research bias against ‘less popular’, but potentially genetically rich, single-cell organisms. This lack of microbial representation leaves a world of untapped genetic potential undiscovered, according to an exhaustive survey conducted by UBC researchers of on-going genomics projects. The survey results are published in the May issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

UBC's research prowess in statistical inference bolstered with CRC renewal

March 28, 2014

Statistical research at UBC that could help pinpoint the genetic origins of disease and illuminate the mysteries of genetic diversity has received a boost in federal funding from the Canada Research Chairs program. Jiahua Chen, CRC in Statistical Inference, was among eight Chairs appointed or renewed today at UBC, with the researchers receiving a total of $8.5 million in funding. The UBC contingent is among 102 new and renewed chairs announced Friday by Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, at the University of Alberta.

Still deadly after all these years: World TB Day is March 24

March 21, 2014

World TB Day -- March 24 -- marks Robert Koch's discovery of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacillus in 1882. Today, TB remains one of the world's most serious health threats, killing millions annually in the developing world, and striking at communities in Canada. UBC researcher Charles Thompson and colleagues at UBC's Centre for Tuberculosis Research are investigating new approaches to combating TB. Next week, they're also holding public talks to increase awareness of this surprisingly stubborn disease.

A day to celebrate the life of pi

March 13, 2014

March 14 (3/14) is Pi Day, a day for number lovers like UBC’s Lior Silberman to celebrate the world’s most famous irrational number Pi Day is an unofficial day to revel in the mystery of the infinitely long mathematical constant that is approximately equal to 3.14. First started in the late ’80s, Pi Day is used by many schools to teach students about the number. MIT sends acceptance letters to prospective students on this day, as well. Lior Silberman, a professor in UBC’s Dept. of Mathematics, explains the allure of pi. When did you first hear about Pi Day?

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