UBC Research News Releases

Vaginal microbiome does not influence babies’ gut microbiome

Post Date: Mar 31, 2023

New University of British Columbia research is challenging a longstanding assumption that a baby’s gut microbiome is primarily shaped by their mother’s vaginal microbiome, while shedding new light on the factors that do influence its development.

When babies are born, their gut is a nearly sterile environment. But that quickly changes as the infant’s digestive tract becomes home to trillions of microbial cells throughout their early development. This gut microbiome is an important part of overall health and alterations early in life have been associated with negative health outcomes later on, including asthma and obesity.

Read More

Earth prefers to serve life in XXS and XXL sizes: UBC research

Post Date: Mar 31, 2023

Life comes in all shapes in sizes, but some sizes are more popular than others, new research from the University of British Columbia has found.

In the first study of its kind published today in PLOS ONE, Dr. Eden Tekwa, who conducted the study as a postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s department of zoology, surveyed the body sizes of all Earth’s living organisms, and uncovered an unexpected pattern. Contrary to what current theories can explain, our planet’s biomass—the material that makes up all living organisms—is concentrated in organisms at either end of the size spectrum.

Read More

UBC experts on Ozempic

Post Date: Mar 29, 2023

The B.C. government has announced measures to ensure an adequate supply of the diabetes drug semaglutide (Ozempic) in B.C. as demand in the U.S. surges.

UBC experts are available to comment.

Dr. Tom Elliott (he/him) Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Tel: 360-559-8520 Email: telliott@bcdiabetes.ca Interview language(s): English

Read More

Test Post

Post Date: Mar 22, 2023

Two words

Read More

New UBC water treatment zaps ‘forever chemicals’ for good

Post Date: Mar 31, 2023

Engineers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new water treatment that removes “forever chemicals” from drinking water safely, efficiently – and for good.

“Think Brita filter, but a thousand times better,” says UBC chemical and biological engineering professor Dr. Madjid Mohseni, who developed the technology.

Dr. Madjid Mohseni

Read More

Around the world, children’s education becoming more closely tied to their mother’s

Post Date: Mar 22, 2023

A new study has found that a mother’s educational status—the highest level of education that she has attained—plays an increasingly important role in shaping her children’s educational status, while the importance of the father’s educational status has declined.

Read More

Is AI coming for white-collar jobs? A psychology professor finds out the hard way

Post Date: Mar 10, 2023

Dr. Friedrich Götz

A UBC psychology professor wondered whether AI was smart enough to handle some of his workload. He was astonished to discover it could.

Read More

A new beginning for Afghan women judges forced to flee the Taliban

Post Date: Mar 08, 2023

Since the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, women judges throughout the country have lost their jobs, had their lives threatened, and have been forced to evacuate or go into hiding. Last March, the International Association of Women Judges published an open letter to the international community seeking assistance in evacuating and resettling women judges who remained in Afghanistan.

Read More

AI predicts cancer patient survival by reading doctor’s notes

Post Date: Mar 02, 2023

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that predicts cancer patient survival more accurately and with more readily available data than previous tools.

Read More

UBC zoologist: We need to acknowledge climate change’s effects on wildlife—for our own good

Post Date: Mar 06, 2023

Dr. Kaitlyn Gaynor

As the United Nations marks World Wildlife Day on March 3, UBC zoology professor Dr. Kaitlyn Gaynor (she/her) discusses how climate change is affecting wildlife, and why that can spell bad news for humans and animals alike.

Read More

Midwifery care safe for moderate- and high-risk pregnancies

Post Date: Mar 02, 2023

New UBC research shows that midwives in British Columbia are providing safe primary care for pregnancies of all medical risk levels, contrary to a popular belief that midwives mostly manage low-risk pregnancies.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, examined a decade of births in B.C. between 2008 and 2018. The researchers compared birth outcomes for people who had a midwife as their most responsible provider (MRP), with those who were cared for by a family physician or obstetrician.

Read More

So-called ‘safe’ pesticides have surprising ill effects

Post Date: Feb 21, 2023

Health Canada is currently reviewing regulations for pesticides in Canada, and three UBC researchers say regulators might want to consider what happened in Japan.

A lake in Shimane Prefecture has seen its commercial fishery collapse by more than 90 per cent since 1993, when insecticides known as neonicotinoids were first introduced to the area. It just so happens that zooplankton—the tiny creatures in the water that fish feed on—declined by 83 per cent during the same period.

That’s just one example of the unanticipated ripple effects of pesticides uncovered by UBC ecologists Dr. Risa Sargent, Dr. Juli Carrillo and Dr. Claire Kremen in their review of recent science.

Read More

Clouds could delay the impact of climate change on reefs – but not for long

Post Date: Feb 27, 2023

Clouds seem to offer some protection from excess heat to coral reefs – but most will still face frequent bleaching conditions by 2080, according to new research.

Life’s a bleach 

Corals turn white when the surrounding water gets too warm. This is called bleaching, and it leaves coral vulnerable to disease and mortality. Warming can occur due to climate change, as well as solar radiation. Some of this radiation can be absorbed by clouds.

Read More

Owners of the priciest properties in Vancouver pay very little income tax, UBC study finds

Post Date: Jan 27, 2023

A new study from UBC’s Sauder School of Business shows that owners of $3.7-million homes in Vancouver pay just $15,800 in income tax.

“They’re sitting on some of the most expensive real estate in North America, but owners of the priciest properties in Vancouver are paying extraordinarily little in income tax” said UBC Sauder associate professor Thomas Davidoff, who co-authored the study with Dr. Paul Boniface Akaabre from UBC’s school of community and regional planning and Dr. Craig Jones from UBC’s department of geography.

Read More

Traffic pollution impairs brain function

Post Date: Feb 08, 2023

First-in-the-world study suggests that even brief exposure to air pollution has rapid impacts on the brain

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria has shown that common levels of traffic pollution can impair human brain function in only a matter of hours.

Read More

UBC scholar’s Final Fantasy is a PhD in ludomusicology

Post Date: Jan 24, 2023

At the turn of the century, Marina Gallagher was a young piano student who played a lot of video games between piano lessons. The Final Fantasy series was her favourite.

Today, Gallagher (she/her) is a PhD candidate at the UBC School of Music whose thesis explores the music of the Final Fantasy series. She will speak next month at the 10th annual North American Conference on Video Game Music.

Gallagher’s field, ludomusicology, combines the study of games and gameplay (ludology) with the study of music (musicology). We spoke with her about her work.

Read More

Toxic toilet paper and long-lasting chemicals found in endangered killer whales

Post Date: Feb 06, 2023

This release was updated on Feb. 6, 2023 to reflect that 4-nonylphenol (4NP) is associated with toilet paper and found in sewage sludge and wastewater. A previous version stated that 4NP is used in the production of toilet paper.

A chemical associated with toilet paper and found in sewage sludge and industrial and municipal wastewater, as well as ‘forever chemicals’, have been found in the bodies of orcas in B.C., including the endangered southern resident killer whales.

Read More

Event: Unboxing of space-travelling yeast and algae

Post Date: Jan 10, 2023

Media are invited to capture the unveiling of two UBC science experiments that have circled the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission.

UBC pharmaceutical sciences researcher Dr. Corey Nislow, having hand-carried the samples back from Cape Canaveral, will discuss how space flight has changed baker’s yeast and algae cultures that nestled inside Artemis 1’s Orion capsule for 26 days in space.

Read More

B.C. sea sponge has COVID-blocking powers

Post Date: Jan 23, 2023

UBC researchers have identified three compounds that prevent COVID-19 infection in human cells, derived from natural sources including a B.C. sea sponge.

Dr. François Jean

The discovery paves the way for the development of new medicines for COVID-19 variants made from natural sources. And given nature’s abundance, there could be a wealth of new antivirals waiting to be discovered.

Read More

Most wildlife bridges are bear-ly wide enough

Post Date: Dec 19, 2022

Canadian researchers measured wildlife overpasses around the world and found 71 per cent in North America are narrower than recommended.

These bridges let bears and other creatures cross over busy highways, allowing animals to live and breed across their normal habitats—an important factor for biodiversity. Previous research has recommended a minimum width of 50 metres and a width-to-length ratio of 0.8 to ensure larger animals feel comfortable crossing.

Read More

UBC engineers want to save whales from drowning…in noise

Post Date: Jan 09, 2023

Chronic ship noise can lead to stress, hearing loss and feeding problems for marine mammals like whales, dolphins and porpoises. UBC researchers are diving in to help address the issue.

According to project lead Dr. Rajeev Jaiman, an associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering, propeller noise accounts for much of the acoustic barrage from ships.

“Propeller noise can hit 170 decibels, the equivalent of a jet engine or a rocket lift-off,” said Dr. Jaiman.

Read More

From COVID-19 to the common cold: UBC scientists identify broadly effective, infection-halting compound

Post Date: Dec 15, 2022

Researchers at UBC’s Life Sciences Institute have identified a compound that shows early promise at halting infections from a range of coronaviruses, including all variants of SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold.

Dr. Yossef Av-Gay

The findings, published this week in Molecular Biomedicine, reveal a potential path toward antiviral treatments that could be used against many different pathogens.

Read More

New branch on tree of life includes ‘lions of the microbial world’

Post Date: Dec 07, 2022

There’s a new branch on the tree of life and it’s made up of predators that nibble their prey to death.

These microbial predators fall into two groups, one of which researchers have dubbed “nibblerids” because they, well, nibble chunks off their prey using tooth-like structures. The other group, nebulids, eat their prey whole. And both comprise a new ancient branch on the tree of life called “Provora,” according to a paper published today in Nature.

Read More

$33.8M gift to transform MS research and save more lives, sooner

Post Date: Dec 14, 2022

Donation to UBC Medicine and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is world’s largest known gift for MS research and care.

A $33.8 million gift has been donated to the University of British Columbia and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for multiple sclerosis (MS) research and care—the largest known donation ever for MS research worldwide.

The private donation was made by a B.C.-based philanthropist who believes comprehensive contributions to science and medicine can quickly advance solutions and treatments across diseases for patients in B.C., across Canada and around the world.

Read More

Patients may be at higher risk of overdose when opioid therapy for pain is discontinued

Post Date: Dec 01, 2022

Study suggests enhanced guidance for opioid prescribing needed to manage pain, reduce risk of overdose

Discontinuing opioids prescribed for chronic pain was associated with increased risk of overdose, according to a new study from the BC Centre on Substance Use and University of British Columbia-Okanagan published today in PLOS Medicine.

Read More

The stories men tell themselves after getting dumped

Post Date: Dec 07, 2022

Dr. John Oliffe

When a partner breaks up with them, men often try to make sense of it by telling themselves stories about how it happened. Some of these stories are more helpful than others in helping the men move forward, suggests new research by UBC men’s health researcher and Canada Research Chair professor Dr. John Oliffe.

Read More

Which of these five eco-types are you?

Post Date: Nov 30, 2022

When it comes to environmental politics there’s a tendency to associate the Left as pro-environment and the Right as anti-environment, but a UBC sociologist says this polarization might actually slow down our collective progress on environmental issues.

In her new book Eco-Types: Five Ways of Caring about the Environment, Dr. Emily Huddart Kennedy, an associate professor in UBC’s faculty of arts, proposes five new categories to describe how people interact with the environment.

The work is based on research she conducted from 2015 to 2017 where she conducted over 60 interviews and conducted survey research in all 50 U.S. states.

We spoke with Dr. Kennedy about her work.

Read More

New study reveals high rates of iron deficiency in women during late-stage pregnancy

Post Date: Nov 22, 2022

Pregnant women may need to take more supplemental iron than current Health Canada guidelines recommend, after two UBC researchers found high rates of iron deficiency in a recent study.

The research investigated iron deficiency prevalence among 60 pregnant women in Metro Vancouver and found that over 80 per cent of them were likely iron-deficient in late pregnancy despite taking daily prenatal supplements that provided 100 per cent of the daily iron recommendation in pregnancy.

Read More

UBC researcher to study young adults who live with their parents

Post Date: Nov 30, 2022

Umay Kader

Young adults in Canada are less likely to own a home and more likely to live with their parents than they were a decade ago, according to recently released census data.

But statistics only tell one part of the story.

Umay Kader (she/her), a PhD candidate in sociology at UBC, wants to understand the other part. For her PhD research, she is setting out to interview up to 50 people aged 25 to 34 who live with their parents in Metro Vancouver, to learn how they navigate these living arrangements.

We spoke with Kader about the project.

Read More

Seafood farming’s growth rate has already peaked, and now it’s in decline

Post Date: Nov 15, 2022

The growth rate of seafood farming worldwide peaked in 1996 according to new UBC research, highlighting the importance of rebuilding wild fish stocks to feed future demand.

Dr. Rashid Sumaila

If we were to rely only on aquaculture to meet the demand for seafood by 2030, the world’s production would need to grow at three times the current projected rate, the study found.

Read More

UBC releases 2021 animal research statistics

Post Date: Nov 10, 2022

UBC’s summary of animals involved in research at the university in 2021 is now available.

This is the 12th consecutive year the university has published the data. UBC is one of the few Canadian universities to publish animal research statistics annually. The university publishes the data as part of its overall commitment to openness and transparency.

The data was collected for UBC’s annual report to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a national organization that oversees the ethical use of animals in science.

Read More

UBC research could help astronauts eat well on future Mars missions

Post Date: Nov 09, 2022

If space is the final frontier, it’s food that will get us there in good shape, and UBC researchers are making sure that our food will be up to the task.

Dr. John Frostad, an assistant professor in chemical and biological engineering who studies the science of food, leads a team that is creating new ways of encapsulating omega-3 fatty acids so that they can go the distance.

Omega-3 is essential to mental sharpness. Even a couple of days without omega-3 in our diets may dull our brains and have us feeling less than our best. However, our bodies cannot produce it naturally so we must find it in the foods we eat, such as fish, flaxseed, or often by taking supplements.

Read More

Bivalent vaccines are here: What it means for people who are pregnant

Post Date: Nov 14, 2022

Dr. Deborah Money

Appointments for bivalent COVID-19 boosters have opened up across Canada. Yet, vaccination rates among people who are pregnant trail the general population, and people at all stages of pregnancy have questions about what the new vaccine formulation means for them.

Read More

One in seven billion: First-in-the-world diagnosis a result of incredible teamwork

Post Date: Nov 08, 2022

For the first couple years of his life growing up in Syria, Ebrahim Aldalati was, as he put it, “a regular baby.” He had no health issues and was just like other kids. But by the time he was two, that all changed.

“My family started seeing that my left leg was not working. I could straighten it, but I couldn’t bend it,” recalls Ebrahim.

Ebrahim and his family were living in Syria when he was born.

Read More

National study suggests it’s time to rethink how we treat atrial fibrillation

Post Date: Nov 07, 2022

Early intervention with catheter cryoablation can halt disease progression, reduce risk of serious health impacts  

A national study led by UBC researchers at the Centre for Cardiovascular Innovation is shedding light on how to more effectively treat atrial fibrillation (AF) – a common heart rhythm problem associated with increased risk of stroke and heart failure.

Read More

Is road salt killing salmon?

Post Date: Nov 07, 2022

UBC researchers led by Dr. Patricia Schulte, Dr. Chris Wood and Dr. Colin Brauner are joining forces with community groups to find out if road salt in streams could be harming Pacific salmon. They are investigating the seasonal impact of road salt in more than 20 streams around the Lower Mainland as well as growing baby salmon from eggs in high salt water in the lab.

In this Q&A, Drs. Schulte and Wood discuss how citizen scientists can contribute and how the public can help reduce any potential road salt impact.

Read More

Environmentally friendly ‘biofoam’ could address plastic pollution crisis

Post Date: Nov 07, 2022

UBC and Wet’suwet’en First Nation collaborate to create new packaging foam from wood waste

A new biodegradable packing foam developed at UBC not only potentially addresses the world’s plastic pollution crisis but also serves as an equal and true partnership example of working with First Nations.

The team came together to turn a timely research idea into reality while helping solve a critical community need at the same time: UBC researchers Dr. Feng Jiang and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yeling Zhu, Reg Ogen and Joe Wong, president and CEO and vice president respectively of Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s Yinka Dene Economic Development Limited Partnership, and the office of the Chief Forester in the Ministry of Forests.

Read More

Event: Emerging scholars share how they’re taking action on climate change

Post Date: Oct 26, 2022

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) is just around the corner so get inspired and join UBC students and faculty this Thursday as they share their work to combat climate change.

Featuring a keynote speech by Severn Cullis Suzuki, executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, UBC climate researchers will share how their ongoing work contributes to the global struggle for our future in PechaKucha-style, seven-to-12-minute talks at VanDusen gardens, including:

Read More

Sick queen bees have shriveled ovaries, putting their colonies at risk

Post Date: Oct 25, 2022

Queen bees with viral infections have smaller ovaries than their healthy counterparts, a recent UBC study has found, which could threaten the health and financial viability of their colonies.

Can’t get COVID, can get sick

Viral infections in honey bees are becoming more intense and widespread. UBC researchers Abigail Chapman and Dr. Alison McAfee found that virus-infected queen bees in the field have shriveled ovaries compared with healthy ones. The researchers then infected queen bees in the lab with a different virus, and noticed the same result.

Read More

Peter Wall and UBC launch new program awarding up to $4 million per year to help create sustainable solutions in B.C.

Post Date: Oct 24, 2022

Today, Peter Wall and UBC announced the launch of the Wall Research Awards and Wall Fellowships, which will be supported by the Peter Wall Legacy Fund, for a total of up to $4 million each year.

These Wall Research Awards and Fellowships will be offered to UBC faculty members and students. They will initially focus on research relating to sustainability in the areas of urban development, water, energy, transportation infrastructure, environmental protection of oceans and waterfronts, and resource-intensive industry. A celebration will also accompany the announcement of the awards and fellowships each year.

Read More

UBC professor’s new workbook offers tools for a better sex life

Post Date: Nov 07, 2022

Dr. Lori Brotto

When UBC psychologist and sex researcher Dr. Lori Brotto published her first book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness, she upended convention by revealing how mindfulness can be used to treat sexual difficulties in women, such as lack of desire, pain and trauma.

Soon after, Dr. Brotto’s Sexual Health Research Lab was inundated with requests from people who wanted to participate in her research program.

Read More

Some screen time better than none during children’s concussion recovery

Post Date: Oct 17, 2022

Too much screen time can slow children’s recovery from concussions, but new research from UBC and the University of Calgary suggests that banning screen time is not the answer.

The researchers looked for links between the self-reported screen time of more than 700 children aged 8-16 in the first 7-10 days following an injury, and symptoms reported by them and their caregivers over the following six months.

Read More

How to protect yourself and your family this flu season

Post Date: Oct 18, 2022

Adrian Ziemczonek estimates he’s put more than 500 needles into arms as a pharmacist who has provided immunizations to people in the community since 2015.

As a clinical pharmacist and lecturer at UBC’s Pharmacists Clinic, he plays a key role in organizing public vaccination clinics at UBC while also maintaining an active patient care practice based at the Pharmacists Clinic.

With influenza season approaching, we asked Ziemczonek what people should expect and how they can protect themselves in the months ahead.

Read More

UBC experts and events on Orange Shirt Day

Post Date: Sep 27, 2022

September 30 is both Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is a date to commemorate residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors and those who didn’t return home. It’s also a day to learn about and reflect on the history and ongoing impacts of the Indian residential school system and other colonial policies in Canada.

UBC experts are available to comment.

Brenna Bhandar Associate Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law Email: bhandar@allard.ubc.ca Interview language(s): English

Read More

COVID-19 lockdown may have accelerated HIV transmission in some at-risk populations

Post Date: Sep 23, 2022

A new study led by researchers at UBC and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is shedding light on how COVID-19 pandemic restrictions impacted another long-standing public health threat — HIV.

The study, published in the Lancet Regional Health – Americas, examined HIV transmission during B.C.’s initial COVID-19 lockdown (March 22 to May 20, 2020) when stringent public health measures reduced social interactions and curtailed access to critical health services. The researchers looked at the impact of these restrictions on populations at risk of acquiring HIV, including people who use drugs (PWUD) and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Read More

UBC researcher creates wood-based alternative to single-use plastic

Post Date: Oct 06, 2022

UBC researcher Dr. Feng Jiang has developed a cellulose film that looks like plastic and behaves like plastic—but is biodegradable.

How it’s made

Dr. Jiang’s process breaks down wood fibres (sourced from forest waste) in a solution of cold sodium hydroxide combined with mild mechanical blending. The sodium hydroxide is then recycled. The result is a translucent, strong and water-resistant film.

Other researchers have also developed cellulosic films but the UBC project—funded by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development—is the first to use small amounts of energy and chemicals in the manufacture.

Read More

Converging epidemics: COVID-19 lockdown may have accelerated HIV transmission in some at-risk populations

Post Date: Sep 23, 2022

A new study led by researchers at UBC and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is shedding light on how COVID-19 pandemic restrictions impacted another long-standing public health threat — HIV.

The study, published in the Lancet Regional Health – Americas, examined HIV transmission during B.C.’s initial COVID-19 lockdown (March 22 to May 20, 2020) when stringent public health measures reduced social interactions and curtailed access to critical health services. The researchers looked at the impact of these restrictions on populations at risk of acquiring HIV, including people who use drugs (PWUD) and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Read More

Why whales don’t get brain damage when they swim

Post Date: Sep 26, 2022

Special blood vessels may protect whales from pulses in their blood that would damage the brain while swimming, new research has suggested.

Whaley high blood pressure

Land mammals such as horses experience ‘pulses’ in their blood when galloping, where blood pressures inside the body go up and down on every stride. UBC researchers have suggested for the first time that the same phenomenon occurs in whales when they swim.

Read More

UBC experts on new census data

Post Date: Sep 21, 2022

Statistics Canada has released 2021 census data on housing and Indigenous peoples across Canada. UBC experts are available to comment.

Dr. Penny Gurstein Professor Emeritus, School of Community and Regional Planning Tel: 604-319-0242 Email: penny.gurstein@ubc.ca Interview language(s): English

Read More

New tools aim to improve care for people experiencing substance use stigma

Post Date: Sep 23, 2022

Stigma and discrimination associated with substance use, known as substance use stigma, contribute directly to significant harms and barriers to care. Due to widespread negative attitudes towards substance use issues, people are often treated in disrespectful or discriminatory ways in health care settings.

Now a team of researchers at UBC and Western University are offering a suite of tools and strategies to ensure that people who experience substance use stigma can receive better care in the future.

Dr. Colleen Varcoe

Read More

Warmer Earth could see smaller butterflies that struggle to fly, affecting food systems

Post Date: Sep 15, 2022

New UBC research has shown warmer temperatures can lead to smaller butterflies that collect less pollen and visit fewer flowers.

Warmer temps = smaller wings

Dr. Michelle Tseng and recent graduate Erez Büyükyilmaz grew butterflies in the lab at different temperatures and found that the warmer the temperature, the smaller the butterfly, mimicking how increasing global temperatures due to climate change might affect the size of the insects. Then, using special equipment, they found smaller butterflies did not fly as far or as fast as the bigger ones, due to their smaller wings.

Read More

We’re heading to the moon and maybe Mars. So who owns them?

Post Date: Sep 20, 2022

Humanity is set to make a return to the Moon with the Artemis program, in what NASA says is a first step to Mars. So, who gets first dibs?

Dr. Aaron Boley, a professor in UBC’s department of physics and astronomy, discusses the mission’s plans and why we need to sort out access and resource rights before we return to the lunar surface.

What’s going on with the moon right now?

There’s a push to have a sustained presence on the Moon by many players, including the United States, China and Russia. One such effort is NASA’s upcoming Artemis 1 launch, a three-part mission that starts with an upcoming unmanned launch and results in returning people to the lunar surface.

Read More

Global fish stocks can’t rebuild if nothing done to halt climate change and overfishing, new study suggests

Post Date: Sep 01, 2022

Global fish stocks will not be able to recover to sustainable levels without strong actions to mitigate climate change, a new study has projected.

Researchers at UBC, the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions and University of Bern projected the impact that different global temperature increases and ranges of fishing activity would have on biomass, or the amount of fish by weight in a given area, from 1950 to 2100. Their simulations suggest that climate change has reduced fish stocks in 103 of 226 marine regions studied, including Canada, from their historical levels. These stocks will struggle to rebuild their numbers under projected global warming levels in the 21st century.

Read More

UBC team developing oral insulin tablet sees breakthrough results

Post Date: Aug 30, 2022

A team of University of British Columbia researchers working on developing oral insulin tablets as a replacement for daily insulin injections have made a game-changing discovery.

Researchers have discovered that insulin from the latest version of their oral tablets is absorbed by rats in the same way that injected insulin is.

“These exciting results show that we are on the right track in developing an insulin formulation that will no longer need to be injected before every meal, improving the quality of life, as well as mental health, of more than nine million Type 1 diabetics around the world.” says professor Dr. Anubhav Pratap-Singh (he/him), the principal investigator from the faculty of land and food systems.

Read More

UBC scientist is sending yeast and algae to space on Artemis 1

Post Date: Aug 23, 2022

When NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission takes off on August 29, on board will be four science experiments—including one from Canada.

UBC pharmaceutical sciences professor Dr. Corey Nislow is sending yeast and algae cultures into space, in a pod not much bigger than a shoebox, to study the effects of cosmic rays and near zero gravity on living organisms.

When the spacecraft returns after its uncrewed 42-day orbit around the Moon, Dr. Nislow will get his samples back, along with the information they contain.

Read More

Children are entering a fourth school year in a pandemic — expert advice for parents

Post Date: Sep 01, 2022

Dr. Manish Sadarangani

As children head back for a fourth school year with COVID-19, many parents are hoping their kids will be able to enjoy a mostly normal school experience. But with new variants circulating and respiratory virus season on the horizon, many also have concerns and questions about what the new school year will look like.

We sat down with Dr. Manish Sadarangani, a pediatrics professor at the UBC faculty of medicine and father of three, who shared his perspective and advice for parents.

Read More

UBC researchers discover ‘weak spot’ across major COVID-19 variants

Post Date: Aug 22, 2022

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered a key vulnerability across all major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the recently emerged BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron subvariants.

The weakness can be targeted by neutralizing antibodies, potentially paving the way for treatments that would be universally effective across variants.

The findings, published today in Nature Communications, use cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to reveal the atomic-level structure of the vulnerable spot on the virus’ spike protein, known as an epitope. The paper further describes an antibody fragment called VH Ab6 that is able to attach to this site and neutralize each major variant.

Read More

Why some pro hockey players don’t seek help even when they need it

Post Date: Aug 17, 2022

A new UBC study highlights that help-seeking behaviours in professional men’s ice-hockey is heavily impacted by cultural and systemic factors.

Katie Crawford, who completed the study as part of her master’s degree in UBC’s school of kinesiology, has always had some insight on the high and low points of the profession. She grew up in a hockey family where her dad was a former coach and brother currently works in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Read More

COVID-19 vaccine and young children — expert answers for skeptical parents

Post Date: Aug 18, 2022

Thanks to a recent decision by Health Canada, children in British Columbia over the age of six months are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. And a recent study by UBC researchers reveals some surprising attitudes about child vaccination from parents who remain unvaccinated.

Dr. Ran Goldman, professor of pediatrics at UBC, answers some questions for parents looking for more information before vaccinating their children.

Dr. Ran Goldman

Read More

How to avoid becoming a mosquito’s dinner

Post Date: Aug 16, 2022

Dr. Ben Matthews

Summer is almost over, but that doesn’t mean mosquitoes aren’t still searching for their next meal—and you might be next.

A new study co-authored by UBC’s Dr. Ben Matthews suggests humans may just be the most sought-after delicacy for the pesky insects. A common type of mosquito, the globally invasive Aedes aegypti, literally sniffs out humans, driving them to bite us even over other animals.

Read More

Time machines and black holes on the agenda at quantum gravity meeting

Post Date: Aug 15, 2022

A theory of everything, that works at a cosmic and quantum level, has eluded researchers for years.

Next week is the Quantum Gravity Conference, with physicists from around the world gathering  in Vancouver for the launch of the Quantum Gravity Institute, as well as trying to solve one of science’s biggest mysteries.

In this Q&A, Dr. Philip Stamp, co-founder of the Quantum Gravity Society, and a professor in the UBC department of physics and astronomy, discusses what the conference hopes to achieve.

Read More

UBC team deploys pollution-sniffing mobile lab

Post Date: Aug 18, 2022

Watch out, Vancouver. The PLUME van is coming soon to a location near you.

An “air pollution lab on wheels,” PLUME will be used to measure concentrations of air pollutants across the city including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ground-level ozone, black carbon, methane, volatile organic compounds, and various sizes of ultrafine particles that can affect air quality.

PLUME, which stands for Portable Laboratory for Understanding Human-Made Emissions was developed by Dr. Naomi Zimmerman, a professor of mechanical engineering who studies air quality and its impacts on health and the environment.

Read More

B.C. ocean’s worth of almost $5 billion to GDP likely an underestimate

Post Date: Aug 09, 2022

British Columbia’s ocean contributed almost $5 billion to provincial gross domestic product in 2015, a sum that is likely an underestimate, a new UBC study has found.

The ‘back of the envelope’ estimate could be used by non-economists to work out a baseline of what oceans contribute to the economy, as part of achieving the United Nations’ goal of sustainable oceans by 2030.

Senior author Dr. Rashid Sumaila, professor in the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and school of public policy and global affairs, discusses why this value is likely an underestimate when the living ocean’s full contribution is taken into account.

Read More

How artificial intelligence can make our food safer

Post Date: Aug 09, 2022

Food recalls could be a thing of the past if artificial intelligence (AI) is utilized in food production, according to a recent study from UBC and the University of Guelph.

The average cost of a food recall due to bacterial or microbial contamination, like E. coli, is US$10 million according to study co-author Dr. Rickey Yada (he/him), a professor and the dean of the UBC faculty of land and food systems.

We spoke with Dr. Yada about how AI can help optimize the current systems used in the food processing industry, and how it can help make our food supply safer.

Read More

Travel restrictions significantly reduced COVID-19 cases entering Canada — but insufficient to prevent new outbreaks

Post Date: Aug 02, 2022

Canada’s restrictions on international travel drastically reduced the number of COVID-19 cases entering the country during the first waves of the pandemic but were insufficient to prevent new outbreaks, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia researchers.

Read More

With just a tablespoon of blood, B.C. researchers aim to transform cancer treatment

Post Date: Aug 11, 2022

Researchers at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and BC Cancer have developed a new blood test that provides unprecedented insight into a patient’s cancer make-up, potentially allowing doctors to better select treatment options that will improve patient outcomes.

The technology was outlined in a study published today in Nature.

Read More

Even low levels of air pollution contribute to increased health risk

Post Date: Jul 20, 2022

Levels of air pollution well below national and international air quality guidelines are associated with an increased risk of death, according to a new Canada-wide study led by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

The study, published today in a Health Effects Institute (HEI) report, provides an in-depth analysis of air pollution levels across Canada and their relationship with mortality. The findings reveal that long-term exposure to even the lowest levels of fine particulate matter — microscopic air pollutants from sources like wildfires and fossil fuel emissions — poses a significant health risk.

Read More

Breaking up is hard to do – but many men find healthy ways to cope

Post Date: Jul 14, 2022

The popular stereotype that men don’t want support during a breakup, separation or divorce is simply not true, according to a new paper by researchers at the UBC school of nursing.

In reality, many men do seek out help by accessing online resources, coaches and self-help books, or they reach out to friends, family and community-based groups, and some engage professional counsellors.

Read More

Space rocket junk could have deadly consequences unless governments act

Post Date: Jul 12, 2022

The re-entry of abandoned stages of rockets left in orbit from space launches have a six to 10 per cent chance of severely injuring or killing a human being in the next decade, according to a new UBC study.

Researchers say governments need to take collective action and mandate that rocket stages are guided safely back to Earth after their use, which could increase the cost of a launch, but potentially save lives.

“Is it permissible to regard the loss of human life as just a cost of doing business, or is it something that we should seek to protect when we can? And that’s the crucial point here: we can protect against this risk,” says lead author Dr. Michael Byers, professor in UBC’s department of political science.

Read More

What robots can learn from therapists

Post Date: Jul 07, 2022

A transformative experience working with very sick children changed Paul Bucci’s mind about how robots used in human therapy should be designed.

Bucci, a doctoral student in UBC’s department of computer science, researches how robots can be used in therapy to help comfort humans, like PARO, a cute seal pup robot that wiggles and blinks and is used in dementia wards for companionship. After spending time at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, he says designers of therapeutic robots can take lessons from therapists – and leave the actual therapy up to humans.

Read More