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UBC researcher donates MacArthur ‘genius’ grant to biodiversity training program

September 9, 2013

UBC zoologist Sarah Otto is using the second installment of a MacArthur 'genius grant' to help connect young research talent with agencies tackling conservation and biodiversity-related issues. Otto’s gift of $100,000 will launch an endowment to provide on-going support for the university’s Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training and Education (BRITE) internship program. "The world’s biodiversity is in crisis, making it urgent that we connect our students with the pressing problems being tackled outside of academia," says Otto. 

‘Trojan’ asteroids in far reaches of Solar System more common than previously thought: UBC research

August 29, 2013

UBC astronomers have discovered the first Trojan asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus, and believe 2011 QF99 is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of the Solar System’s giant planets. Trojans are asteroids that share the orbit of a planet, occupying stable positions known as Lagrangian points. Astronomers considered their presence at Uranus unlikely because the gravitational pull of larger neighbouring planets would destabilize and expel any Uranian Trojans over the age of the Solar System.

Marine life migrating to cooler habitats 12 times faster than land animals

August 6, 2013

Marine species are migrating toward the poles as much as 12 times faster than land-based species as a result of the warming climate, according to a new study by an international team of scientists. The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows marine species distribution moving toward the poles at an average of 72 kilometres per decade, compared to terrestrial species, which are moving poleward at an average of six kilometres per decade.

Captured: Mysterious oyster killers

July 25, 2013

University of British Columbia researchers have apprehended tiny, elusive parasites that have plagued oysters from British Columbia to California. First reported in 1960, Denman Island disease is caused by Mikrocytos mackini, a parasite that infects mainly Pacific oysters, and leads to unsightly green lesions and death. “M. mackini has eluded capture for more than 50 years because it lives inside the oyster’s cells and has proved impossible to grow and study in a lab,” says Patrick Keeling a professor in UBC’s Department of Botany who led the microbial investigative team.

UBC Physicists Catch Neutrinos “In the Act”

July 18, 2013

Today at the prestigious European Physical Society meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, a new breakthrough in our understanding of neutrinos, nature’s most elusive particle, was announced. The T2K collaboration, which consists of scientists from Canada, Japan, and nine other nations, confirmed definitive observation of a new type of neutrino oscillation, in which muon neutrinos transform to electron neutrinos.

Stars’ orbital dance reveals a generation gap: UBC, NASA research

July 18, 2013

UBC astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to track the orbital motion of 33,000 stars in one of the Galaxy’s oldest globular clusters, offering new insights into the formation of the Milky Way. The careful examination of ‘cosmic choreography’ enabled researchers, for the first time, to link the movement of stars within the cluster to the stars’ ages. The study reveals two distinct generations of stars within globular cluster 47 Tucanae, 16,700 light-years from Earth.

Genomic survey of microbial ‘dark matter’ sheds light on BC’s unseen biodiversity

July 14, 2013

A landmark single-cell genomic study of microorgansims from sites across the globe is underscoring British Columbia's role as an 'oasis' of biodiversity. The findings, to be published Sunday in Nature, could also prompt scientists to redefine how the tree of life represents relationships among and between life’s three domains.

UBC zoologists develop bird vaccine for West Nile Virus

July 9, 2013

UBC zoologists have developed a vaccine that may halt the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV) among common and endangered bird species. WNV, a mosquito borne pathogen, arrived in North America in 1999 and is now endemic across the continent. In 2012 alone, WNV killed 286 people in the United States, and 42 people have died from the virus in Canada since 2002. There is currently no effective vaccine against WNV infection in humans or birds.

New director of UBC Life Sciences Institute brings a focus on personalized medicine

July 5, 2013

Pieter Cullis, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has been appointed as the new Director of the UBC Life Sciences Institute. As director, Cullis will work to nurture, expand and coordinate the work of the LSI's nine research groups and their scientists, and to raise the profile of UBC as a leader in the life sciences. He will bring a new vision and mission for the LSI, drawing upon his interest in personalized medicine and work to encourage interdisciplinary investigations.

Higgs boson is just the beginning: UBC prof

July 3, 2013

One year after discovery, Prof. Colin Gay describes how Canadian scientists helped sort through mountains of data to help pinpoint the particle The discovery of the Higgs boson was without doubt the most important of its kind in recent years. Finding the subatomic particle at the Large Haldron Collider (LHC) on the Swiss-French border made international news earlier this year—and for good reason.

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