Zoologist, curator join 25-year service ranks

by Hilary Thomson
Staff writer

When Zoology Prof. John Gosline looks back over his 25 years at UBC, he sees a common denominator. Slime.

"My first grad student studied slug slime and one of my current students is researching hagfish slime," he says. "But that's about the only thing that hasn't changed."

Gosline is one of 44 UBC faculty and librarians being inducted into the Quarter Century Club, a group whose members have 25 or more years of service at UBC.

When he arrived at UBC in 1973 after completing post-doctoral work at the University of Cambridge, Gosline taught cell biology and biochemistry to second-year students.

He now directs the new Integrated Sciences Program where third-year students and faculty develop a unique interdisciplinary major based on the student's career objectives.

Gosline has also developed a research career in molecular biomechanics that has earned him a place in the Royal Society of Canada -- one of the highest honours in the Canadian academic community.

He studies structural biomaterials such as horses' hooves and elastin -- the rubbery protein which makes up arteries. Information about these materials offer clues that can help solve biomedical and engineering problems.

A current project involves cloning spider silk, a substance renowned for its strength and stretchability, with a view to manufacturing silk-based structural materials such as biodegradable plastics.

But it isn't research that Gosline cites as a highlight of his time at UBC.

"Interacting with the students has always been the bright spot," he says. "It's been a wonderful privilege."

For Assoc. Prof. Marjorie Halpin, curator of Ethnology at UBC's Museum of Anthropology, moving the collection was the high point of the last 25 years.

"We were in boxes in the basement of the Main Library for years," she says. "We weren't even aware of what we had until we got to the new museum in 1976."

Halpin was introduced to Northwest Coast art while working as an instructor at the Smithsonian Institution. She came to UBC in 1968 as a doctoral student and studied the art of the Tsimshian and their neighbors on the Nass and Skeena rivers of B.C.'s northern coast. Her work has focused on crests, masks and totem poles.

In addition to her duties as curator, Halpin is an associate professor in the Anthropology and Sociology Dept.

This year she redesigned a third-year course, the Anthropology of Art, to teach it in a computer lab with art resources found on the Internet.

"This is the first year I've taught a whole course using an electronic base of information," she says. "Twenty-five years ago, I never suspected I'd be teaching this way."

This year's new Quarter Century Club members will be inducted Oct. 15.

They include: Agricultural Sciences: Arthur Bomke, Soil Sciences; Applied Science: Donald Mavinic, Civil Engineering; Hermann Dommel, Mabo Robert Ito, Electrical Engineering; Anne Wyness, Nursing; Arts: Marjorie Halpin, Anthropology and Sociology; Daniel Overmyer, Ken-ichi Takashima, Asian Studies; Christopher Friedrichs, Peter Ward, History; Dale Kinkade, Linguistics; Gregory Butler, James Fankhauser, Robert Silverman, Music; Stanley Coren, Arthur Hakstian, Lawrence Ward, Psychology; David Freeman, Social Work; Commerce and Business Administration: John Claxton; Education: J. Donald Wilson, Educational Studies; Alex Carre, Edward Rhodes, Human Kinetics; Forestry: Laszlo Paszner, Wood Science; Graduate Studies: William Neill, Fisheries Centre; Law: Robert Diebolt, Anthony Hickling; Library: Linda Joe, Asian Library; Medicine: Mary Todd, Anatomy; Richard Barton, Peter Candido, Biochemistry; Moira Mowa Yeung, Medicine; John Benedet, Basil Ho-Yuen, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Margaret Pendray, Pediatrics; Science: Robert DeWreede, Fred Ganders, Botany; Thomas Brown, Earth and Ocean Sciences; James Carrell, Brian Seymour, Mathematics; Gerald Weeks, Microbiology; Philip Gregory, Michael Hasinoff, Physics and Astronomy; John Gosline, James Smith, Zoology.