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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.

Canada’s pint-sized space telescope celebrates 10th anniversary in orbit

July 1, 2013

Canada’s suitcase-sized MOST space telescope celebrates its 10th birthday in space this Canada Day weekend with new details on a distant super-Earth, and a renewed call for amateur astronomers to submit targets for the satellite. "Over the years we’ve always half-joked that MOST could stand for My Own Space Telescope,” says MOST mission scientist and UBC astrophysicist Jaymie Matthews. “This is a chance for an armchair astronomer to teach the world about new worlds around other suns, and to celebrate Canada’s and MOST’s birthdays."

Genetic survey sheds light on Oceans’ lean, mean microbial machines

June 24, 2013

Planktonic bacteria inhabiting the world’s oceans have streamlined their genetic makeup to become lean, mean survival machines, according to new research by an international team of researchers, including microbiologists at the University of British Columbia. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are the first direct evidence of widespread genome reduction--organisms evolving to cast off superfluous genes and traits in favor of simpler, specialized genetic make-ups optimized for rapid growth.

RBC's support expands reach of UBC Aboriginal math camps in rural BC

June 19, 2013

About 100 Aboriginal children in rural BC will be able to attend math summer camps hosted by the University of British Columbia thanks to a $30,000 gift from the RBC Foundation. The camps, organized by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) and UBC Mathematics, are a key part of the University's efforts to foster an interest in mathematics among Aboriginal K-12 students. 

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