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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 14 | Dec. 5, 2002

New Faces in the Faculty


Timothy Kieffer

A growing community of diabetes researchers, significant sources of research funding and a new state-of-the-art facility has drawn alumnus Timothy Kieffer back to UBC following work at Harvard Medical School and the University of Alberta.

An associate professor in the departments of Physiology and Surgery, he investigates molecular and cellular approaches to treating diabetes in adults and children.

Kieffer has a poster of a child in his office. The caption reads: Try telling a child with diabetes that 1,000 insulin injections a year is a cure.

“That’s what motivates me and the members of my lab,” he says. “We’re looking for a cure for this horrible disease. We believe that something better is possible and due the patients who live with diabetes, especially the kids.”

With two young children of his own, Kieffer spends his non-work hours with family but admits he doesn’t stop thinking about research when he locks the lab door and heads home.

This year he is re-establishing his research program that uses gene therapy techniques to genetically engineer cells in the body to automatically produce insulin. He also engineers insulin-producing cells for transplant into diabetes patients.

The new Life Sciences Centre, now under construction on campus, played an important part in Kieffer’s decision to come to UBC, he says. The research space, funding from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the university’s support of the biotechnology industry proved a compelling combination.


Dominique Weis

For the Beatles, the seafloor was a happy hideaway beneath the waves. For Dominique Weis, it’s an opportunity to understand planetary evolution.

Weis, an associate professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, comes to UBC as Canada Research Chair in the Geochemistry of the Earth’s Mantle. Her studies cover a range of subjects from surface and near-surface environments (pollution, paleoclimate reconstructions) to the composition, structure and dynamics of the Earth’s interior (mantle plumes).

Recruited from the Free University of Brussels, she is part of the new Pacific Centre for Isotope and Geochemical Research at UBC.

“It is a major geochemical facility that will be of interest at regional, national and international levels,” Weis says. “This kind of facility represents the future of geochemistry.”

Weis teaches Marine Geology and Isotope Geology. She prefers teaching in “a very interactive way, having constant exchanges of questions and answers with students. I find it critical to have the students participate and be active. It makes the class much more alive.”

She also involves undergraduates in her research activities by hiring students to work in the department’s laboratories and offering undergraduate research thesis projects related to her main research.


Bruce Fulton

While many Asian authors have made it onto North American bestseller lists, Korean writers remain largely unknown in the West. Bruce Fulton hopes to fill that literary gap. As the Young-Bin Min Associate Prof. of Korean Literature and Literary Translation in the Arts Faculty, Fulton translates modern Korean fiction into English and teaches Korean literature in translation.

Fulton’s interest in Korea’s literary scene was sparked by a 1979 meeting with author Hwang Sun-won - Korea’s answer to Ernest Hemingway - but his academic destiny seems to have been determined much earlier than that. Fulton, who holds degrees from the University of Washington and Seoul National University, was born on Oct. 9, the day that Koreans celebrate their national alphabet.

Fulton would like to see more Western readers discover Korean writers. One author they’ll soon have the chance to read is Cho Se-hui. Fulton has translated one of Cho’s greatest works and it will be published in English in the next few years. Considered Korea’s finest modern novel, The Dwarf delves into a theme common to all cultures: the dark side of industrialization.


Catherine Dauvergne

When Canada’s new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was introduced earlier this year after a decade of public consultation, Law Assoc. Prof. Catherine Dauvergne was watching with keen interest.

“We’re mapping the way forward into the 21st century. It’s an exciting time,” says Dauvergne, the Canada Research Chair in Migration Law, whose concentration in this area began during the act’s public consultation process while she was a student at UBC’s Law School.

“Immigration and refugee law are pressing policy and theoretical areas of debate for the 21st century,” she says. “I aim to be part of the debate, both by developing a profile for them within this faculty and by engaging in policy debates on national and international planes.”

Dauvergne holds a PhD in Law from the Australian National University and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Carleton. Most recently, she was the associate director of the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney’s Law Faculty.

“Canadian universities are in better shape than Australian universities,” she says of relocating with her husband Peter, a Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Politics, after seven years down under. “We have better resources in the day-to-day life of academics.”


Ingrid Price

A commitment to student learning was what drew Ingrid Price to work in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A UBC alumna with a background in Psychology and Biopsychology, Price teaches first-year Pharmacy students and is the new director of the faculty’s Summer Student Research Program.

Formerly with the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth, Price has strong views about what learning should look like.

“I believe learning occurs when we are challenged and that a big part of that is creating some level of discomfort,” she says. “I believe this is the process that motivates learning - trying to solve a problem that is making us uncomfortable.”

Price rejects the role of ‘sage on the stage’. She prefers to strike a balance between pushing students to the edge of their knowledge and skills and supporting them enough so that they have the ability and motivation to continue.

“I am lucky to be working in a faculty whose members devote considerable time and energy to developing effective learning environments,” says Price, who uses problem-based learning in her Pharmaceutics course. “That’s why I was attracted to this job.”

Price is looking forward to her new responsibilities with the Summer Student Research Program that gives undergraduate students summer research placements. She aims to increase the visibility of this program on campus and encourage interdisciplinary research.

Although challenged to balance academic tasks with a busy life as a mother of two boys aged five and nine, Price says she feels honoured to have the role of instructor.


Darren Warburton

Can more exercise increase our life span? Darren Warburton hopes to find out.

An assistant professor in the School of Human Kinetics, Warburton is looking at how aerobic and musculoskeletal fitness affects our health throughout our lives. He’s also interested in using this information to improve the quality of life for patients with cardiovascular disease and other disabilities.

Warburton is working with the Medicine faculty and St. Paul’s hospital to create a rehabilitation centre for high-risk people, including the elderly, children and patients with cardiovascular disease. The centre will be used to conduct research on best practices for developing exercise programs for high-risk groups.

Warburton’s background is in physical education and cardiology. He gives his undergraduates the opportunity to work directly with patients with chronic disease in a rehab setting, as well as the chance to participate in evaluating the health status of people of all ages. And he practices what he preaches, so to speak, by running, cycling and roller blading regularly.


Suzanna Simard

The civil service’s loss was UBC’s gain when Dr. Suzanne Simard joined the Forest Science Dept. as an associate professor this year.

Simard had spent the past 12 years as a research silviculturist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, where her research program focused on vegetation management, broadleaf and mixed stand silviculture and soil biology. With a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from UBC and a Master of Science and PhD from Oregon State University, this is her first teaching experience.
“I like to think I have some depth to offer students. With teaching, I can put things back into a system I got so much out of,” Simard says.

This year, Simard teaches Forest Ecology and Silvics as well as Interior and Coastal Field Schools. She uses problem-based learning as much as possible and also gives students hands-on research opportunities in both the field and the classroom.

Simard comes by her profession honestly. She grew up in a logging family in the B.C. interior and her great-uncle, Joe Gardner, was UBC’s Dean of Forestry - a fact both decided to keep confidential while she was taking her Bachelor of Science here.

“I come from a real grassroots background. I spent time in industry, some time in government and have a very local B.C. history. It’s a nice mix for teaching. My students are saying my class is their best course. It’s just great to teach stuff that I’ve learned from my gut.”


Darren Dahl

Condoms, feminine hygiene products, incontinence control products - they’re the stuff of shoppers nightmares and of Darren Dahl’s marketing dreams.

“I call it the aisle of shame,” Dahl says of the retail row that usually includes all those products we dread buying.

An associate professor of Commerce, Dahl has spent years researching emotions in a consumer context - specifically, why individuals feel emotions like embarrassment or guilt when purchasing certain products and what strategies marketers and retailers can use to reduce negative reactions. He also researches new product development and social marketing.

“Often academics will concentrate on just one subject but I explore really diverse areas. I just go for it. I’m interested in what makes me curious.”

With a Bachelor of Commerce (Alberta) and PhD from UBC, Dahl has taught in Hong Kong and at the University of Manitoba. He has also worked for private industry but prefers the university environment.

“I love the lifestyle of an academic,” he explains. “I get paid to be curious, I get to teach and essentially I’m my own boss. As long as I remain intrinsically motivated, I can pursue my interests. This is a great job. It’s something different every day.”

Dahl also appreciates that his work has relevance not only for industry but also for the general public.

“Everyone is a consumer and everyone has an opinion on the things I explore.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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