UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May
IN THE NEWS
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in April 2003.
Compiled by Brian Lin
Workaholics can be Healthy
New research from Australia found no strong evidence
of a link between coronary heart disease and work-related
What matters isnt how hard you work, but how much you
like what you do. A number of studies show that having
control at work is positive -- not just being in charge of
other people, but having the freedom to make decisions,
UBC epidemiologist Aleck Ostry told the New York Times.
Workaholism can be useful when you are making the most
of your skills and education, you are stretching yourself
and are held in high esteem.
Stars on War
U.S. country radio stations recently dropped the Dixie Chicks
from their play list when lead singer Natalie Mains told a
London concert audience she was ashamed the President of the
United States was from Texas.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, actress Susan Sarandon
and Madonna are all speaking out against the war on Iraq.
But their message is not always popular.
Now is a time when our commitment to free speech is
difficult. This is when we need it most, UBC journalism
professor Stephen Ward told Global National. It goes
against everything that we believe in a free society, which
is the free expression of difficult and possibly offensive
views for many people at a time when we need it.
UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay told the National Post that
there is no need for people to get obsessive about hand-washing
amidst the SARS scare.
We are more microbe than we are human, said Finlay.
There are actually 10 times more microbes in us and
on us than there are human cells. Put another way, the average
person is home to 1,000,000,000,000,000 microbes (10 to the
power of 14.) They are invisible because bacteria, viruses
and fungi are much smaller than human cells.
All of which means it is a good idea to wash your hands before
eating and after using the toilet. In every gram of
feces you secrete there are more bacteria than there are humans
in the world, said Finlay, who does not shy away from
the reality of the inner world. Its gross, but
its real life.
Research Funding Worth it
In a letter to the Vancouver Sun, UBC VP Research Indira
Samarasekera said the scientists at the Michael Smith Genome
Science Centre at the B.C. Cancer Agency accomplished a remarkable
feat by being the first group in the world to sequence the
coronavirus, suspected of causing SARS.
The work [of Dr. Marco Marra, Dr. Caroline Astell,
Dr. Steve Jones and their team], at the Michael Smith Genome
Science Centre, named after the UBC Nobel Laureate Michael
Smith, is a testament to scientific excellence and the sheer
power of basic research. It also demonstrates that funding
of leading research pays off in spades, said Samarasekera.
The breakthrough on SARS has put the B.C. Cancer Agency,
UBC and Canada on the map, said Samarasekera. Many
of the scientists on Dr. Marras team, including Dr.
Marra, were attracted back to Canada from the U.S. because
of the renewed vitality of the research climate in this country.
This is only the beginning of what is emerging as an extraordinary
period for knowledge creation in Canada, with profound social
and economic benefits.