UBC Science is pleased to announce the appointment of new heads and directors at the Department of Botany, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and Michael Smith Laboratories. All the appointments take effect July 1, 2022.
Epigeneticist Dr. Martin Hirst is the new director of UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories (MSL), after serving as the Lab’s associate director. Dr. Hirst’s research aims to further our understanding of the role epigenetic dysfunction plays in cancer initiation and progression, and to translate that knowledge into improved health outcomes. He assumes the director role at MSL from Dr. Peter Zandstra.
Read the full announcement on the MSL website.
Dr. Navin Ramankutty, an expert in sustainable global food systems and land use, will take on the leadership of UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES). Work in Dr. Ramankutty’s lab investigates how humans use and modify Earth’s land surface for agriculture and its implications for the global environment. He replaces Dr. Milind Kandlikar, who has served as IRES director for the last four years.
Read the full announcement on the IRES website.
UBC Botany will welcome Dr. Shawn Mansfield as the unit’s new head this July. Dr. Mansfield’s research focuses on the molecular biology of plant cell wall development, employing functional genomic tools to evaluate the relationship between gene function and plant growth, metabolism and development. Dr. Lacey Samuels has served as UBC Botany’s interim head for the past year.
Read the full announcement on the Botany website.
"These appointments underscore the breadth of high-quality interdisciplinary and discipline-specific research happening across UBC Science,” said Dr. Meigan Aronson, Dean of the Faculty of Science and professor of physics at UBC. “I look forward to working with Martin, Navin and Shawn in the coming years to help bring to life the visions they’ve outlined for their units, and to advance our strategic goals in collaborative research."
IRES and MSL, two of the University’s key interdisciplinary research hubs, host research spanning a range of areas, from translational biotechnology, protein architecture and the analysis of complex biological systems, to ecosystem resilience, energy and pollution, behavioural and cultural sciences, and governance. UBC Botany, one of the largest and strongest departments of its kind in North America, is home to a wide range of research, including plant genetics and genomics, ecology, microbial diversity, marine biology, and cell wall development.
IRES Director Search Committee
Dr. Stephanie Chang, Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Dr. Amanda Giang, Dr. Sally Aitken, Dr. Ian Mitchell, Gillian Harris, Mauricio Carvallo, and Sara Nawaz. MSL Director Search Committee Dr. David Ng, Dr. Thibault Mayor, Dr. Sabrina Leslie, Dr. Anna Blakney, Karen Reid, Christopher Lee, Dr. Alison McAfee, and Dr. William Cheung. Botany Head Search Committee Dr. Patrick Martone, Dr. Naomi Fast, Dr. Michelle Tseng, Dr. Liane Chen, Alison Munro, Dr. Yujun Peng, Dr. Breeya Matheson, and Dr. Paul Gustafson.