UBC Reports | Vol.
50 | No. 1 | Jan.
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2003
Compiled by Brian Lin
Canada Fast-Tracks Vaccines
Canadian researchers are fast-tracking efforts to ward off
the deadly SARS virus.
Research funded by the province of British Columbia and led
by UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay could see human trials
in place as early as next fall if there was another outbreak
This summer's outbreak affected 8,100 people around
the world, killing 774, including 44 in Canada.
"This is not a long, slow, methodical work-it-out type
(of) vaccine," Finlay told Reuters.com, adding that
his group is trying to parlay $2.6 million Cdn into a usable
vaccine in an unprecedented two years -- a process that normally
takes a decade and at least $200 million Cdn.
Seeking Ivy Amid the Maple
The number of American university students in Canada has
nearly doubled in the last five years, to more than 4,200
this year, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Three leading Canadian schools -- UBC in Vancouver, the University
of Toronto and Queens University in Kingston -- have drawn
more Americans by recruiting jointly in the United States,
calling their group "Canadian Ivy."
Donald Wehrung, a UBC professor who directs international
recruiting for the school, said the number of U.S. undergraduates
at UBC has more than tripled in five years, to 241 students
in the last school year.
Anorexia may Cause Emphysema
The malnutrition that results from anorexia may cause emphysema,
UBC radiology professor Harvey Coxon told CBS News.
Coxon and colleagues used a new method of assessing computed
tomography scans to analyze the lungs of 14 anorexia patients
and found the malnutrition in these patients changed the physical
structure of their lungs.
"There is a reduction in the amount of lung tissue
in patients with anorexia nervosa," says Coxson, who
is also an investigator at Vancouver Coastal Health Research
Institute at Vancouver General Hospital.
"It is unclear whether these structural changes are
permanent, but if they are, early therapy is important in
patients who have anorexia."
Sexing up Cellphone Ads
Mobile phones with cameras are quickly catching on in Canada
-- and Telus Mobility has seized on the new technology with
a heavy advertising blitz that combines cute with sexual innuendo.
Using sex "can be very effective," UBC marketing
professor Darren Dahl told The Globe and Mail.
"It certainly attracts attention," said Dahl,
who is researching sexual themes in advertising. "That's
the first goal of advertising, to break through the clutter."
Still, he says, the situation is a "bit tricky. With
concerns of privacy with these types of phones, it's
a tough balancing act."
S&P Affirms UBC ‘AA-' Ratings
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has affirmed
its ‘AA-' long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured
debt ratings on UBC, reports Forbes.com.
The ratings on UBC reflect the university's status
as a flagship university in British Columbia and its broad
course range with high academic standards.
The ratings also reflect UBC's strong and growing research
capability, together with significant endowment income that
diversify the university's revenue sources.
Paving the Way for Female Viagra
UBC master's student Shona Penhale has boldly gone
where no scientist has gone before -- and mapped the previously
unidentified nerves that cause sexual pleasure in women.
Penhale has unravelled the mysterious conduits of nerves
that lace through a mere -- but critical -- eight centimetres
of the vagina.
The results could provide vital information about female
sexual dysfunction, may lead to a viable Viagra for women
and could help surgeons avoid damaging crucial pleasure-carrying
nerve pathways during surgery.
"It was completely uncharted," Penhale told The
Globe and Mail. Already, a doctor in Europe is using a three-dimensional
computer model based on Penhale's findings as an educational
Hockey and Opera Collide on ‘Opera Night in Canada'
The UBC Opera Ensemble is using Canada's favourite
sport to introduce school children to the opera.
Dressed in red practice jerseys, the ensemble emerge onstage
to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. The front of their
jerseys show a treble clef while on the back, instead of surnames,
appear each "player's" voice name: soprano,
mezzo, tenor and baritone. The performance consists of excerpts
from famous operas.
The goal is to show kids that singing opera can be a job,
just like playing hockey, co-creator and soprano Shauna Martin
told the CBC. She hopes that giving children this early taste
will help open their minds to opera when they get older.
Why Abused Women Take it
UBC professor Mary Russell has spent the last 15 years trying
to figure out why women become locked in abusive relationships.
She now believes she has the key.
Along with obvious factors such as financial hardship and
fear of reprisals, women stay because of their beliefs about
relationships, Russell told the Vancouver Sun.
"Belief systems are critical, they underlie everything,"
said Russell, who found those who abuse their partners believe
they are superior, deserving, and the centre of their lives.
Abused women also often feel they can't manage on their
own, and are convinced their partner comes first, Russell