UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 14 | Dec.
New Faces in the Faculty
PHYSIOLOGY AND SURGERY
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.
Thats what motivates me and the members of my
lab, he says. Were looking for a cure for
this horrible disease. We believe that something better is
possible and due the patients who live with diabetes, especially
With two young children of his own, Kieffer spends his non-work
hours with family but admits he doesnt 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 Kieffers decision to come
to UBC, he says. The research space, funding from the Michael
Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the universitys
support of the biotechnology industry proved a compelling
For the Beatles, the seafloor was a happy hideaway beneath
the waves. For Dominique Weis, its 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 Earths 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 Earths interior (mantle plumes).
Recruited from the Free University of Brussels, she is part
of the new Pacific Centre for Isotope and Geochemical Research
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
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 departments laboratories
and offering undergraduate research thesis projects related
to her main research.
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
Fultons interest in Koreas literary scene was
sparked by a 1979 meeting with author Hwang Sun-won - Koreas
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 theyll soon have the chance to read
is Cho Se-hui. Fulton has translated one of Chos greatest
works and it will be published in English in the next few
years. Considered Koreas finest modern novel, The Dwarf
delves into a theme common to all cultures: the dark side
When Canadas 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.
Were mapping the way forward into the 21st century.
Its an exciting time, says Dauvergne, the Canada
Research Chair in Migration Law, whose concentration in this
area began during the acts public consultation process
while she was a student at UBCs 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 Sydneys 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.
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 facultys 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. Thats 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
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.
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. Hes 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. Pauls
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.
Warburtons 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
The civil services loss was UBCs 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 UBCs Dean of Forestry - a fact both decided
to keep confidential while she was taking her Bachelor of
I come from a real grassroots background. I spent time
in industry, some time in government and have a very local
B.C. history. Its a nice mix for teaching. My students
are saying my class is their best course. Its just great
to teach stuff that Ive learned from my gut.
Condoms, feminine hygiene products, incontinence control
products - theyre the stuff of shoppers nightmares and
of Darren Dahls marketing dreams.
I call it the aisle of shame, Dahl says of the
retail row that usually includes all those products we dread
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. Im
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
I love the lifestyle of an academic, he explains.
I get paid to be curious, I get to teach and essentially
Im my own boss. As long as I remain intrinsically motivated,
I can pursue my interests. This is a great job. Its
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.