UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 14 | Dec.
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in November 2002.
Compiled by Brian Lin
Superbugs weakness found
UBC biochemistry assoc. prof. Natalie Strynadka has discovered
a protein that helps one of the worst superbugs resist antibiotics.
The bug is called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus,
or MRSA, and Strynadka and her PhD student Daniel Lim have
found a protein with a distorted shape within the bacteria.
This distorted, or unique, shape prevents antibiotics
from binding to it and allows the bacteria to live even in
the presence of high levels of antibiotics, Strynadka
told the Globe and Mail. Were going to work on
developing new compounds or drugs that will turn off the activity
of this resistance protein.
Such a discovery could potentially save thousands of lives.
Much ado about coffee
A new study from Switzerland published in Circulation: The
Journal of the American Heart Association, suggests that caffeine
may not be the ingredient that gives coffee its heart-revving
UBC nutrition scientist David Kitts told the Globe and Mail
that coffee research flows in cycles. Coffee is a very
complex beverage, coffee beans are roasted and toasted. It
can be filtered, dripped or instant and there are wide and
different sources of beans, and all these things are variables
that can influence the chemical makeup of the drink,
Kitts said. I guess the best rule, as always, is moderation.
Future bright for B.C. economy?
According to Export Development Canada the slump in B.C.s
exports will end this year and reverse robustly in 2003, powered
mainly by forest products and energy sales.
Export sales are expected to rise by seven per cent, recovering
from an estimated six-per-cent drop this year. UBC economics
prof. John Helliwell cautions that energy prices and volumes
may be influenced by unpredictable political events the EDC
forecast appears to overlook.
You need to say youre well into the range of
uncertainty in the next 12 months, Helliwell told the
Vancouver Sun, You can imagine a number of different
unfoldings of the Iraqi scenario that could affect the price
and quantities of everything. How important are the uncertainties
Canada among terrorist targets
Commenting on a U.S. study that listed 22 potential terrorist
targets in Canada, UBC political scientist Allen Sens told
the Vancouver Province that terrorists were more likely to
raise money in Canada than try to blow up parts of it. He
added we should be more concerned that terrorists might use
Canada as a base to attack the U.S.
Women in science
A two-part BCTV feature suggests more women are going to
university and entering the sciences.
In the Neuroscience program, for example, two-thirds of the
students are women.
15 per cent of the people who were registered in neuroscience
programs when I was going through were female, UBC neuroscience
asst. prof. Jane Roskams told BCTV. I think the times
are changing in many, many different ways.
Twenty per cent of the students enrolled in engineering at
UBC are females. The university as a whole is more than
half women, certainly at the undergraduate level, said
Bruce Dunwoody, associate dean of applied science. So
we are under represented definitely compared to the rest of
I think it starts at young ages when, from the toys
that kids are playing with, girls are given dolls and boys
play with blocks which might enhance their visual spatial
skills, said educational psychology asst. prof. Jennifer
Shapka. I think it has to do with somehow getting girls
to see themselves as capable as being an engineer or a physicist.
Family business goes to school
UBC is now in its second year offering courses to help family
businesses learn to separate family issues from business needs.
Everything starts to get jammed together. There ends
up being in-fighting and unfortunately, difficulties occur
when it really doesnt need to happen that way,
Judy Cunningham of the UBC Business Family Centre told City
We do find some resistance, mostly because families
are very private, theyre concerned theyre going
to have to talk about their own families. Theyll have
to get into a room and somebody is going to start digging
into all their private stuff, thats not what happens.