Professor Vanessa Auld begins a five-year term as head of UBC’s Department of Zoology on July 3.
Internationally recognized for her research in neuroscience, cell and developmental biology, Auld earned her BSc in Microbiology from UBC and her PhD from the University of Toronto. She has twice served as UBC Science’s Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, leading equity and diversity initiatives across the Faculty and at the university level.
“I’m so pleased to welcome Vanessa to her new role as department head,” said Dean Simon Peacock in making the appointment. “Our reputation in ecology, and plant and animal science is world class, and I’m confident Vanessa and the department will continue to work to advance zoology research and biology education at UBC. “
During her terms as associate dean, Auld led a comprehensive survey of the Faculty’s working climate, coordinated external department reviews, oversaw faculty recruiting, promotion and tenure, and peer review of teaching initiatives. Auld also worked closely with units to develop important policies around faculty mentoring, workload, and maternal, parental and adoptive leaves.
Auld's research has been published in top journals including Cell and Neuron. She has held continuous operating grants from both CIHR and NSERC for the past two decades and was awarded an HHMI International Scholarship. She has successfully supervised five post-doctoral fellows, 18 PhD and MSc students, and 48 undergraduate research students. Auld has taught core courses in cell physiology, developmental biology, and neuroscience at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
After a post-doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley, she joined UBC as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to associate professor (2001) and to professor (2007).
“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Bob Shadwick for his excellent leadership of the department since 2013,” added Peacock. “UBC Zoology has made great strides under Bob’s leadership, including the construction of new biology teaching facilities and the successful recruitment of outstanding researchers.“
The Zoology head search committee consisted of Kephra Beckett, Michael Gordon, Sean Graham, Katie Pikor, Jeff Richards, Michael Sackville, Eric Taylor and Michelle Tseng.