UBC celebrates the research, and those who are making a difference

Full week of activities highlights students, professors, and projects that matter

Research matters. Whether it’s a new chip on cell phones to monitor health, helmets that prevent concussions, or new methods to provide safe drinking water, research underway at UBC’s Okanagan campus continues to evolve and improve our lives.

UBC Okanagan is hosting its 10th annual Celebrate Research week March 2 to 6, and is inviting the community to discover the goings-on inside the research labs, in our communities, and what makes UBC’s researchers tick.

The week starts with a keynote address from UBC Professor Emeritus Patrick L. McGeer discussing his research into Alzheimer’s disease and advances using aurin tricarboxylic acid. McGeer, a Canadian physician, professor, and medical researcher has dedicated his life to finding the biochemical recipe to target the amyloid plaques responsible for causing Alzheimer’s.

McGeer has screened thousands of compounds to find aurin tricarboxylic acid and if his predictions are correct that it works in a spectrum of human diseases, it may become the most widespread drug ever developed.

McGeer, one of Canada’s leading experts of neurological disorders, hopes to introduce aurin tricarboxylic acid in clinical settings within a year. His presentation takes place at the Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, Monday, March 2, starting at 7 p.m. This event is free, open to the public and no registration is required.

The scientific investigation done by McGeer is a perfect example of why the university celebrates research, says Prof. Gordon Binsted, acting vice-principal, Research and Innovation.

“Our research has come a long way in 10 years,” says Binsted. “Advances in technology mean the research keeps advancing and our professors are finding new ideas and ways to investigate and solve challenges. Celebrate Research week gives our faculty members and students a chance to share what they’re working on and let the public know about some of the many great projects underway on this campus.”

During Celebrate Research week, the public is encouraged to participate in a series of campus presentations involving faculty and student researchers. UBC is also shining the spotlight on the community’s youngest scientists by hosting School District 23’s annual Science Fair.

As many as 300 young future scientists will be on campus for the two-day Science Fair. Students will present their science projects for judges and public viewers from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 in the Engineering, Management and Education building’s Richard S. Hallisey Atrium, and from 10 a.m. to noon in the University Centre Ballroom UNC 200. Awards will be presented in the UNC Ballroom from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 4.

Other highlights of the week include the Three Minute Thesis, where graduate students will compete against each other to present their research in rapid-fire presentations. They have one slide and three minutes to share the depth, significance, and impact of their research with the judges and audience for a chance to win top honours and prize money. The Three Minute Thesis takes place in the University Theatre ADM 026, Wednesday, March 4, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Later that day, those concerned about growth issues in the Okanagan will want hear a panel of experts talk about the challenges Okanagan municipalities face dealing with sustainable development. Topics include promoting social inequality, homelessness, historic preservation, sustainable urban planning, and affordable housing. The panel discussion takes place in the Arts Building ART 376 on Wednesday, March 4, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Events continue throughout the week and on Thursday, Chris Walker, host of CBC’s Daybreak South, moderates a panel discussion dealing with chronic pain. UBC experts Zach Walsh, associate professor of psychology; Susan Holzman, assistant professor of psychology; and Sally Willis-Stewart, senior instructor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences join rheumatologist Michelle Teo to discuss the issues faced by those who live with chronic pain, and whether there are better ways to deal with it.

This public event is at Café Scientifique, co-sponsored by the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, and Interior Health. It takes place at the Bohemian Café, 524 Bernard Avenue, Thursday at 5 p.m. and admission is free.

For a complete listing of Celebrate Research events visit: http://celebrateresearch.ok.ubc.ca/schedule

Kelowna Capital News

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