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Faculty of Science

News and Events for
UBC Science Alumni | Issue 4, 2018

Could a deadly mushroom help battle cancer?

UBC chemists have produced the first synthetic version of a toxin found in the infamous death cap mushroom. The toxin can kill cancer cells, but extracting it from wild mushrooms is time consuming, so a synthetic version could save lives.

New issue of Earth Matters

Earth Matters is back! This annual magazine features profiles of EOAS faculty members, students and alumni, plus news and awards. From crustal evolution to water turbulence, learn all about the research going on at UBC.

Diamonds narrate their life story

Although diamonds are admired for their flawless appearance, diamond ‘imperfections’ can provide valuable information about their formation and Earth’s structure. “Inclusions can tell us the story of a diamond’s life,” says geologist Maya Kopylova.


Alumni Day at Homecoming
Enjoy free admission to UBC attractions, an exclusive alumni experience at the football game, and an awesome ’80s party. 
September 22, 2018

Skin and Bones 
Examine our complicated relationship with the animal world in this exhibition that intersects natural science, fine art and fashion.
Opens September 15, 2018

Exploring Tidal Tomography
Harvard researcher Harriet Lau explains how  tidal tomography can illuminate the deepest part of Earth’s mantle. Part of the EOAS colloquium series.
September 13

Gut enzymes could yield universal blood

Since the 1980s chemists have tried to use enzymes to create universal blood, which could ease blood shortages. Now, UBC researchers have found a new group of enzymes in the human gut that can accomplish the task 30 times better than previous candidates.

Chasing after jellyfish

UBC alumna Jessica Schaub (BSc 18) has developed a new way to study jellyfish clusters: drones. Her research could allow us to analyze jellyfish behaviours and populations in greater detail. Read this and other EOAS alumni profiles in Earth Matters.

Biochem alumnus looking to harness power of yeast

Biochemist and molecular biologist Matthew Dahabieh (BSc 06’, MSc 08’, PhD 13’) explains why yeast research is a big deal. “Since the 1800s, industry has focused on a very small set of strains that are useful, and now there’s a bottleneck in yeast biodiversity.”

Out of the blue

Botanist Patrick Keeling details the evolutionary thread connecting malaria and coral reefs. Corals provide an “unexpected glimpse into the transition from symbiont to parasite.”


Geologist Charles Fipke receives alumni award

Charles Fipke (BSc’ 73) has received a 2018 UBC Alumni Award of Distinction. The internationally respected geologist founded Canada’s first commercial diamond mine. A successful business person, philanthropist and volunteer, Fipke’s generosity has benefited Alzheimer’s research, the protection of wild animals, and UBC’s Okanagan campus in his hometown of Kelowna.

  • UBC researcher David Boyd has taken on the role of special rapporteur on human rights and the environment for the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Vanessa Auld has begun a five-year term as head of UBC’s Department of Zoology.
  • The Canadian Association of Physicists has awarded medals to Andrea Damascelli, Alison Lister and Ariel Zhitnitsky.
  • Brett Finlay has received a $5.8M Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support his research on host-microbe interactions.
  • Lab manager and biologist Winnie Cheung is a recipient of the UBC President’s Staff Awards.
New theory on how Earth’s subduction zones form

New work from EOAS researcher Matthijs Smit and international colleagues indicates that some of Earth’s most active seismic zones are formed by plate tectonic changes elsewhere on the planet. 

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