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How a versatile gut bacterium helps us get our daily dietary fibre

January 19, 2014

UBC researchers have discovered the genetic machinery that turns a common gut bacterium into the swiss army knife of the digestive tract -- helping us to metabolize a main component of dietary fibre from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. The findings illuminate the specialized roles played by key members of the vast microbial community living in the human gut, and could inform the development of tailored microbiota transplants to improve intestinal health after antibiotic use or illness. The research will be published in the journal Nature on Sunday.

Improved maps, old school pencils, await UBC geology students this summer

January 15, 2014

This May, UBC geology students doing field studies will be able to put theory into practise -- and avoid cliffs -- using new base maps funded through Shell Canada’s Campus Ambassador Program (CAP). Every summer UBC geology students hone their field techniques at the Geological Field School based near Oliver, BC, charting the type and location of rock outcrops onto base maps. However, the program’s old maps don’t show the topography at the same detail the students are expected to map at.

Newly discovered three-star system to challenge Einstein’s theory of General Relativity

January 5, 2014

A newly discovered system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense pulsar–all packed within a space smaller than the Earth’s orbit around the sun–is enabling astronomers to probe a range of cosmic mysteries, including the very nature of gravity itself. The international team, which includes UBC astronomer Ingrid Stairs, reports their findings in the journal Nature today.

Catching the big wave: 'Universal ripple' could hold the secret to high-temperature superconductivity

December 19, 2013

UBC researchers have discovered a universal electronic state that controls the behavior of high-temperature superconducting copper-oxide ceramics. The work, published this week in the journal Science, reveals the universal existence of so-called ‘charge-density-waves’ -- static ripples formed by the self-organization of electrons in the material’s normal state. These ripples carry the seeds out of which superconductivity emerges.

Scientific data lost at alarming rate

December 19, 2013

Eighty per cent of scientific data are lost within two decades, according to a new study that tracks the accessibility of data over time. The culprits? Old e-mail addresses and obsolete storage devices. “Publicly funded science generates an extraordinary amount of data each year,” says Tim Vines, a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia. “Much of these data are unique to a time and place, and is thus irreplaceable, and many other datasets are expensive to regenerate.

UBC lead on CERN-ATLAS project to head Physics and Astronomy

December 18, 2013

UBC’s lead researcher on the ATLAS project – one of two large detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN responsible for discovering the Higgs boson – has been named head of the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Colin Gay, a leading expert in experimental subatomic and energy frontier physics, will assume the role effective January 1, 2014 for a five-year term.

UBC immunologist honoured with BC women in science award

December 17, 2013

UBC immunologist Pauline Johnson has been recognized with a 2013 Community Leadership and Excellence Award by the Minerva Foundation for BC Women, a non-profit dedicated to promoting women and leadership in the province. Johnson is the only second tenured female professor in the history of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. Her research focuses on the connection between infection, inflammation and immunity. 

UBC researchers receive $7.2 million to develop test for pulmonary disease 'lung attacks'

December 6, 2013

Two UBC researchers are leading a $7.2 million project to develop a test identifying patients at risk for the debilitating and often deadly lung attacks brought on by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and a leading cause of hospital admissions. UBC's Don Sin, Canadian Research Chair in COPD, and UBC computer scientist Raymond Ng co-lead the $7.2 million project, which will help medical professionals provide better treatment and ultimately help reduce hospitalizations and emergency visits.

UBC-SFU visual analytics hub receives $1.3 million in government, industry support

December 3, 2013

The Government of Canada and IBM have announced $1.3 million in support to help establish the Visual Analytics Research and Instructional Laboratories (VIVA), a data-visualization research and training partnership between UBC and Simon Fraser University. The announcement includes a Federal investment of $513,141 which will be used to purchase an IBM private cloud computing platform, providing students, faculty and VIVA’s industry partners with scalable, secure access to servers, storage, applications and services.

UBC researchers named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

November 25, 2013

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 named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and the publisher of the journal Science.

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