September 2014



Pia Smets from the Sally Aitken Lab on Science Storytelling

Pia Smets, Project Manager of research project partner AdapTree attended Using Logic Models and Theory of Change to Demonstrate Impact in Genomics Research, offered in August. She shared her reflections on this event on the Modern Forest blog: “These days, it isn’t enough to have excellent science in a proposal for funding or an evaluation report. Eventually, administrators and politicians also need to be convinced that we deserve to get a slice of their scarce financial resources. Research proposals increasingly need to demonstrate impact. This is some steps removed from direct project outputs, with all the risk and uncertainty involved, so scientists are understandably hesitant to ‘promise the moon’, while at the same time feeling the pressure to do just that. Science is characterized by the unexpected, so rather than a problem, this hurdle allows the characters to shine … if we tell the story well”. Read More

 We are pleased to announce….

Wine Library 3

Dr. Hennie van Vuuren at the UBC Wine Research Centre and genomics.entrepreneurship@ubc will host a second offering of logic model workshop for our research project partners’ Principal Investigators in October. Details will be announced shortly.

The Entomological Society of America Video Competition

Dr. Marta Guarna, Bee IPM‘s Scientific Director, and Katia Truong, g.e@ubc Animation Intern, have submitted a video they produced as part of Katia’s internship, titled Of Bees and Mites: A Model for the Behavioural Response of Bees to Varroa Destructor  for a video competition organized by The Entomological Society of America. Bee IPM has used this effective communication tool during various outreach activities, including presentations at the BC Honey Producers Association. The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. This competition will allow Bee IPM and g.e@ubc to relay their mandates to a wide audience.

Do you have any news on your research project that you’d like to share? Please let us know so we can feature it in our upcoming newsletters.

Genomics News

Assisted Gene Flow & Assisted Migration

As Climate Changes, Forest Ecosystems Will Need to Shift to More Suitable Sites. Should Humans Lend a Helping Hand?

by Greg Breining, published in Ensia. During the last two springs, contract planters for The Nature Conservancy have spread out through the pine, spruce and aspen forest of northeastern Minnesota. TNC workers were planting trees that are uncommon in northern Minnesota. TNC is anticipating a day soon — within the lifespan of a tree — when a changing climate may make the forest unsuitable for some tree species and varieties that now live there.The article acknowledges AdapTree‘s Dr. Sally Aitken’s work: “Aitken has also laid the experimental groundwork for assisted migration of whitebark pine. The species is predicted to disappear from its current range within 70 years, yet much of northwestern British Columbia appears suited to the species. To test that, Aitken successfully planted seeds from seven populations of pine in eight locations up to nearly 500 miles north of whitebark pine’s current range.” Read More 

GREAT Partner Project News

Marine Viral-Host Dynamics Revealed Through Coupled Single-Cell & Metagenomic Sequencing

Steven Hallam, Principal Investigator at Hallam Lab, co-published a paper in eLife titled Ecology and Evolution of Viruses Infecting Uncultivated SUP05 Bacteria as Revealed by Single-Cell- and Meta-genomics. Access it here. Dr. Hallam is a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) scholar and UBC Associate Professor at the UBC Department of Microbiology & Immunology. He is also Canada Research Chair on Environmental Genomics. Dr. Hallam participated in the Lean Launch Pad for Genomics. Read about his journey with entrepreneurship here.

Bee IPM: Outreach Activities

small marta poster The British Columbia Honey Producers Association (BCHPA) is holding an Educational Day on September 27th, where Bee IPM Research Associate, Shelley Hoover will provide updates about the project. BCHPA was incorporated in 1920 to serve Beekeepers of British Columbia. Through its work, education initiatives and Provincial involvement the BCHPA has been acknowledged by the Ministry of Agriculture as the voice of all beekeepers in the Province of British Columbia. Bee IPM Scientific Director Dr. Marta Guarna travelled to Kelowna on September 19th to present about honey bee health and to attend a Lavender Workshop. In her presentation, titled “Honey Bee Health: Using Proteomics to Study These Important Pollinators”, Dr. Guarna discussed relevant findings of the Bee IPM team as it works to understand the diverse factors affecting honey bee health, including pathogens and pests, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure. Read More

Grape and Wine Genomics’ Samantha Turner Receives UBC President’s Staff Award of Emerging LeadershipTurner.JPG

We are thrilled to announce that Grape and Wine Genomics Program Manager, Samantha Turner, received the UBC President’s Staff Award, in the category of Emerging Leadership. Samantha displayed a commitment to people at the University and in the broader community that is above and beyond the requirements of her position. All in all, she has contributed to making UBC a better workplace. Samantha has been involved in the coordination of research activities at the UBC Wine Research Centre since 2009.  She manages the administrative, finance, operations and communication aspects of the Centre. Samantha moved to B.C. from Portland, Oregon where she did similar research-related work with National Institutes of Health and private foundation grants at Oregon Health & Science University.  She attended Wheaton College in Illinois. Congratulations Samantha!

Lean Launch Pad News

MetaMixis Wins B.C. Bioenergy Network prize

BC Innovation Council (BCIC) and New Ventures BC announced the 2014 winners of the biggest technology start-up competition for B.C.’s emerging innovators in Vancouver read the announcement. MetaMixis , which combines environmental genomics and synthetic biology to turn environmental DNA into value-added solutions, won the $20,000 B.C. Bioenergy Network prize. The $55,000 second prize went to Aspect Biosystems, a UBC spinoff that is using 3D printing techniques to create human tissue models that can be used for drug testing and, in the future, developed for regenerative medicine. MetaMixis’ co-founders Cameron Strachan and Dr. Steven Hallam are Lean Launch Pad for Genomics alumni.  Read the story on The Vancouver Sun

MetaMixis Researchers Publish in BC Water & Waste Association’s WaterMark Magazine

Chris Lawson, a microbial ecologist at MetaMixis, publishes an article titled Ecological Design Principles for the Assembly of Micro-Organisms in the Summer 2014 issue of WaterMark Magazine.

Lean Launch Pad Mentor Profile Series: Blair SimoniteBlair3

In our Mentor Profile series, we profile genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC Lean Launch Pad mentors. Mentors play a key role in guiding our cohorts throughout the entrepreneurial process. This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Blair Simonite. Blair teaches entrepreneurship and innovation at the Sauder School of Business, and is deeply involved with Entrepreneurship@UBC in helping UBC-connected entrepreneurs create successful new ventures. Read More

Lean Launch Pad Mentor Profile: Blair Simonite from UBC UILO on Vimeo.

Intern Updates

Introducing Our New Interns 2014

DaniePicDanie Easton, Video Intern

Danie recently graduated with a degree in Motion Picture Arts from Capilano University and since then, she has been focusing on starting her own business within film.  Documentary, events and behind-the-scenes have been a strong suit in Danie’s portfolio.  “I enjoy the pleasure of seeing people enjoy my work, and to show what I can deliver.”  She started working with film 10 years ago, when she picked up her first camera in high school and hasn’t stopped since. In her free time she enjoys photographing and filming the beautiful things in her life, capturing everything. Two things you wouldn’t normally see her without – her laptop and camera – are ready to go at all times. Filming events, promotional videos and weddings have been keeping Danie busy.  “I am so excited to be a part of this team at UBC – to learn and to see where life will take me on this adventure!”


For her first project with g.e@ubc, Danie filmed Lean Launch Pad for Genomics mentor, Blair Simonite.

For more information on our Internship Program, please visit the Internships page or contact us.

Recent Events

The Cleantech Edge: Canada’s Fastest Growing Industry in the Age of Climate Change

One of the biggest untold stories about our economy is that the cleantech industry is the fastest growing industry in Canada. The event took place on September 18th and it was presented by the David Suzuki Foundation, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, in partnership with BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, BC Technology Industry Association, Business in Vancouver and Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. The event explored the notion that creating solutions for environmental challenges, also creates economic opportunities for BC and Canada at large. Canadian leader in the rapidly expanding cleantech economy, Céline Bak, President at Analytica Advisors, shared her insights on Canada’s advantage in clean technology, and how to build on this momentum towards a clean and prosperous future.

Upcoming Events

shutterstock_213495769Lunch & Learn: Stakeholder Engagement, September 29th

The Lunch & Learn Series is designed to provide you with a brief overview of hands-on-tools that will facilitate various aspects of communicating your work outside of the lab.
The first of the series on September 29th, titled Connecting with Your Stakeholders to Communicate Your Results, Deepen Your Impact and Mobilize Resources will introduce you to techniques to map your relationship network, visually communicate the social and economic impact of your research, and frame your work in a way that resonates with the public and builds closer relationships with funders. The session will also provide an opportunity for you to share with us which areas you want to learn more about in future sessions. Read More.

We will offer an in-depth module on October 17th. Invitations will be sent out to our newsletter subscribers shortly. We encourage you to share widely.

Upcoming Science Advisory Board (SAB) Meeting

We have scheduled our next SAB meeting for October 2nd 2014. We are looking forward to sharing g.e@ubc latest developments with our SAB members.

Public Health & Genomics: When the Drugs Don’t Work, October 7th

Genome BC is pleased to let you know that Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government, will deliver Genome BC’s 5th Annual Don Rix Distinguished Keynote Address on Tuesday, October 7th 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. Date: October 7th, 2014; Time:  4:00pm – 7:00pm. For details, click here.

Genomics: the Power & the Promise, November 24-26th

genomics the power and the promise

On November 24-26, 2014, Genome Canada and the Gairdner Foundation, in collaboration with Genome Alberta and the other five regional Genome Centres, will be hosting their next signature event entitled: “Genomics: the Power & the Promise” in Ottawa. The theme for this year’s conference will be “Genomics and the Environment”. Both the environmental impacts of genomics on human health (e.g., environmental influences on the genome, epigenome and human microbiome), as well as on our natural resources will be explored. The event will focus on the power and potential of genomics to transform how our resource sectors are leveraged (e.g., forestry, energy, mining), while protecting and preserving the environment. Register here.

Other Events

View our calendar for more upcoming events.

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