UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 1 | Jan.
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2004
Compiled by Brian Lin
UBC Student Wins Rhodes Scholarship
UBC 4th-year biophysics student Michael Rivers-Bowerman
has been awarded a 2005 Rhodes Scholarship, worth more than
The award enables Rivers-Bowerman to spend the next two
years at England’s Oxford University, studying politics,
philosophy and economics.
“I’m kinda surprised. I never thought I would
wind up at Oxford,” the 22-year-old told The Vancouver
Sun. “This is just a tremendous opportunity for me to
broaden my education, and at one of the finest universities
in the world.”
Rivers-Bowerman plans to return to UBC after the scholarship
to study medicine and specialize in radiation oncology.
Postpartum Depression often Overlooked
As many as 80 per cent of women suffer from postpartum depression,
making it the most commonly encountered illness following
the birth of a baby, UBC psychiatry, ostetrics and gynecology
professor Shaila Misri told The Globe and Mail. “Yet
it’s one of the ones easily missed.”
While in most cases, baby blues fades after a couple of
weeks, for 10-13 per cent of women, it can turn into lasting
depression that features intrusive thoughts of harming their
“They might see a knife in the kitchen and think:
‘What if I stabbed this baby?’ They might see
the microwave and think: ‘What if I put this baby in
the microwave?’ ” said Misri.
To learn more about this serious form of depression, a screening
tool of 10 questions will be distributed to general practitioners
and family physicians across B.C. over the next few weeks.
Get the Laptop off your Lap
New research published in the journal Human Reproduction
shows that laptops, combined with the thighs pressed-together
posture needed to balance them, give off enough heat to raise
the temperature inside testicles by nearly three degrees Celsius
This increase could endanger the production of healthy sperm
and lead to infertility, says study leader Yefim Sheynkin,
a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
“If [Dr. Sheynkin] can measure that difference in
temperature [with laptop use], it is significant, but it needs
more study,” male-infertility expert Victor Chow, a
consultant with UBC’s Centre for Reproductive Health,
told The Globe and Mail. “We need to know if it actually
lowers sperm counts . . . or [if] the only thing you can say
about it is that laptops heat up testes.”
Daycare Centres Promised
Commenting on the federal government’s recent commitment
to build a national daycare program, UBC early education professor
Hillel Goelman, who is a supporter of the universal model,
says communities ought to be able to decide at the local level
how best to deliver child care.
“We don’t want to drop daycare centres all across
the country. We have to ask ourselves, ‘What do we need?’
” Goelman told The National Post.
UBC research director Julie Wagemakers and computer science
profesor Karon MacLean both have children at UBC’s newly
renovated daycare centres.
Wagemakers says she never would be able to give her two
young daughters the resources they get at daycare at home.
“They’ve got a zillion musical instruments --
drums, ukuleles, xylophones, everything,” Wagemakers
says. “Our two-year-old loves music, and that’s
not something we would have known had she been at home . .
. It’s a whole world built for little kids,” says
Orchid Centre Stage at Smithsonian
The Smithsonian has published a book called Ultimate Orchid
to accompany the recently opened “Orchid Express”
exhibit at the Natural History Museum Saturday, reports The
The exhibit and book provide interesting facts and stories
about the flower, including one where a Virginia collector
bought an interesting plant from a roadside stand in Peru
in 2002. He was sentenced last month to a $1,000 fine and
two years probation for bringing home an orchid protected
by the Endangered Species Act.
“The site where it was first found has been stripped
of these orchids by unethical collectors, and it is now locally
extinct,” said a report from the Botanical Garden at
UBC. “Happily, a population has been found elsewhere
in a very remote location.” The university did not name
UBC Rhodes Scholars
Former Prime Minister John Turner (BA ’49), who recently
led a delegation of election observers in the Ukraine, is
one of UBC’s better known Rhodes Scholars. Over the
years many UBC students have earned this widely recognized
and prestigious honour, established in 1902 to bring outstanding
students from across the world to study at Oxford University
in the interests of promoting international understanding
and public service. Since 1979, eleven students from UBC have
won the scholarship, currently valued at more than $100,000.