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  • January 10, 2017
    To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, we are counting down to Canada Day with profiles of 150 noteworthy British Columbians.This brilliant Nobel laureate was best known as a regular guy — rumpled, humble, generous and as happy mentoring the broader public regarding the importance of science to their lives as he was enthralled by the complexities of his difficult research. He like camping, hiking, sailing, skiing and listening to Sibelius. Light reading ran to The New Yorker and The Guardian. If the stereotype of the driven genius is a cold aloofness, Smith, say his colleagues at UBC, is remembered...
  • December 9, 2016
    “The natural resource and environment sectors are areas where genomics is just starting to emerge as a powerful tool to help address issues facing many traditional industries. These new projects will tap into the huge potential for innovative, genomics-based solutions that will help some of our key industries – mining, forestry, fisheries – revive and thrive in the face of climate change, while also protecting our precious ecosystems, drinking water and wildlife.”–Marc LePage, President and CEO, Genome CanadaCanada’s natural resources and associated industries sustain around 1.8 million jobs...
  • December 6, 2016
    Biotech has altered the way that perfumes are manufactured, making them more consistent and removing many animal products. New research promises to extend these innovations further.To produce perfumes today major companies shave shifted away from animal products. While this is perhaps driven by a desire to drive costs down (in a market valued at $35 billion globally), it is considered by many to be a move in the right direction. To see how the perfume manufacturing process has altered take a bottle of Channel No. 5. In the 1980s the perfume, which is on the high-end of the market, would have...
  • December 2, 2016
    Congratulations to Dr. Cara Haney on being awarded a ‘Canada Research Chair-Tier 2 chair-2016’ award in Molecular Mechanisms of Host-Microbiome Interactions. This award is held in her home department of Microbiology & Immunology.The Canada Research Chairs Program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. This program stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development.Tier 2 CRC awards are given to emerging world-class researchers who have...
  • November 10, 2016
    The Michael Smith Lab congratulates four Faculty members who received Foundation Grants in the 2015-2016 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) competition. Investigators Steve Withers ($1,495,089) and Phil Hieter ($2,526,307) receive funds for 7 years and were part of the 87 successful applications out of 645 total for the mid-career/senior investigator cohort. Also, Nobu Tokuriki ($1,057,965) and Christian Kastrup ($1,377,460) receive funds for 5 years, they were among the 33 of 265 submitted applications who were funded in the new/early career investigators cohort, defined as...
  • September 26, 2016
    UBC researchers have discovered how cancer cells become invisible to the body’s immune system, a crucial step that allows tumours to metastasize and spread throughout the body.“The immune system is efficient at identifying and halting the emergence and spread of primary tumours but when metastatic tumours appear, the immune system is no longer able to recognize the cancer cells and stop them,” said Wilfred Jefferies, senior author of the study working in the Michael Smith Laboratories and a professor of Medical Genetics and Microbiology and Immunology at UBC.“We discovered a new mechanism...
  • September 10, 2016
    At his past post as president at the University of Cincinnati, the popular school administrator was once picked up by football fans and crowd-surfed through the stands. Another time, he was the top person of a cheerleaders’ pyramid at a basketball game.But underneath Santa Ono’s quirks and informality lies a no-nonsense leader.Ono, 53, was born at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver while his father worked as a UBC professor. He left the city when he was about a year old and grew up in Baltimore.At the University of Cincinnati, many were dismayed to hear he planned to leave. After a career as a...
  • July 29, 2016
    What if scientists don’t really know what’s in their vials and lab dishes? A research team has analyzed dozens of data sets from human genomics studies and found that nearly half of them have a sexual identity problem—they’re labeled as coming from a male but the data suggest they must be from a female, or vice versa. These mix-ups, likely due to accidental mislabeling of the data at some point, but possibly also from cell contamination in the original samples, could have untold effects on the validity of comparisons in genomics experiments conducted worldwide, according to the group, which...
  • August 3, 2016
    Jacquelynn Burke, Senior Publicist with Algonquin Books writes:In some of the most exciting scientific developments of our time, researchers have recently discovered the myriad ways our tiny microbes (aka “the stuff in our gut”) have a powerful impact on our health. Among the most important but little-known revelations in this paradigm-shifting field are the ways a child’s gut-health can affect their well-being for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, researchers like B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD—both parents and scientists at the forefront of the field—have found...
  • July 1, 2016
    Tropical sandalwood produces one of the world's most highly prized fragrances in the perfume industry. Due to over-exploitation, sandalwood populations are threatened in some of their native locations. The Bohlmann Lab applied an integrated metabolomics and transcriptomics approach to sandalwood samples collected in a remote plantation in Northern Australia, which led to the discovery of the complete metabolic pathway of sandalwood oil biosynthesis. They then showed that the sandalwood genes can be used for bioengineering in yeast, enabling the development of alternative and sustainable...
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