Philippe Tortell and Michael Murphy have been appointed heads of the departments of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Microbiology and Immunology, respectively. Their terms begin July 1, 2019.
"Both Michael and Philippe have strong academic and administrative records and are held in high regard by their colleagues and departmental communities," said Dean of Science Meigan Aronson in making the appointment. “I look forward to working with the new leadership at each department to advance their work in delivering world-class research and education.
Tortell, a biological and chemical oceanographer with broad interests in ocean-climate interactions, served as director of UBC’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies from 2016 to 2018. His recent work has focused on understanding the potential climate effects on Arctic and Antarctic marine systems. His research employs a variety of laboratory and field-based measurements to examine the interactions between marine micro-organisms and climate-active trace gases. Tortell received his BSc in Biology at McGill University (1994), and an MA (1997) and PhD (2001) in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He replaces Roger Beckie as head of EAOS.
Murphy investigates how bacteria respond to stresses such as iron limitation, antibiotics, and barriers to motility. His lab investigates the function of proteins involved in stress response through a combination of structure determination, genetic phenotypes, and biochemical assays. He research has been published in top journals, including mBio, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Science, and Nature. Murphy has served as Microbiology and Immunology’s graduate advisor, and on the department’s advisory and executive committees. He replaces Michael Gold.
"Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Microbiology and Immunology are part of highly ranked research areas at UBC," added Aronson. "I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Roger and Mike for the thoughtful leadership and stewardship they've provided their departments over their terms."
Also as of July 1, Evgeny Pakhomov's appointment as head of UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries has been extended two years, and Colin Gay has been reappointed for a second term as head of Physics and Astronomy.
The Microbiology and Immunology head search committee consisted of: Meigan Aronson, Dave Oliver, Cara Haney, Ken Harder, Lindsay Eltis, Mike Wolf, Susan Palichuk, Terry Stubbs, and Linda Horianopoulos.