UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 2 | Feb. 1, 2007
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in January 2007
Compiled by Basil Waugh
UBC Astronomers Discover Most Distant Star Cluster
A discovery by UBC astronomer Harvey Richer and his former PhD student Jason Kalirai of the most distant globular cluster of stars ever observed was reported by media across North America, including MSNBC, Space.com, Toronto Star and the Vancouver Sun.
Detected using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the star cluster is estimated to be more than one billion light-years away, 10 times farther than the most distant previously-observed clusters.
The researchers' discovery promises to shed light on the evolution of galaxies, as these stars are likely the offspring of some of the Big Bang's earliest stars.
"Comparing this cluster system -- which is at an early stage of evolution -- with that around our own galaxy paints a clearer picture of how galaxies form and evolve," says Kalirai.
UBC Research Leads to New Vaccine for Dangerous E. Coli Strain
A new cattle vaccine made possible by a discovery by UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay was covered by North American media including the LA Times-Washington Post News Service, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Charlotte Observer and the Globe and Mail.
The vaccine, which has been granted preliminary approval by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and is being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is for the same dangerous E. coli strain that contaminated fresh produce in the U.S. last year.
A spokesperson from its producer, Ontario biotech company Bioniche, says the vaccine is the "first of its type anywhere in the world."
UBC Experts Predict Major Advances for 2007
Eight Canadian newspapers, including the National Post and the Vancouver Sun, reported on UBC's second annual Next Big Thing survey, a forecast of major advances UBC experts say will influence our world in 2007.
Among their predications for 2007 are: new ways to read animals' emotions, Segway scooters for disabled people, the educational use of 3-D virtual worlds such as Second Life, scientific approaches to religiosity and the continued proliferation of communication technology.
UBC professors and staff cited include Dan Weary of UBC's Animal Welfare Program, Bonita Sawatzky of Orthopedics, Brian Lamb of the Office of Learning Technology, Ara Norenzayan of Psychology, Gisele Baxter of the Dept. of English.
UBC Profs. Describe Challenges Faced by Multiple Births: Sextuplets
UBC Drs. Timothy Rowe and Kerry Jang featured prominently in North American coverage of sextuplets born in Vancouver's B.C. Women's and Children's Hospital in January. The Associated Press, San Jose's Mercury News, Canadian Press and the Globe and Mail are among media that included UBC commentary.
"They're certainly in the best possible hands, but they certainly have a long road ahead of them," said Rowe, an obstetrician who heads UBC's Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
Jang, a psychiatrist specializing in multiple-birth studies, said parents in multiple births typically go through a sequence of thoughts, from hope for the babies' health to the realization of the work that will be involved.
Families with multiples often face extra challenges in parenting, and worry whether they should treat their children the same, Jang added. "The answer is no, you don't have to automatically forever treat them exactly the same. You know, watch the kids and respond to their needs."