UBC gains brains in federal funding

Research ranging from food poisoning to sex-related differences
in muscle pain will be conducted at the University of British
Columbia when five new investigators join the university
as Canada Research Chairs.

The UBC positions are among 80 federally funded research
positions — representing an investment of $80 million —
distributed to 32 universities, research institutes and hospitals
across Canada today. UBC has appointed 79 of the 155 positions
allocated to the university.

Researchers have been recruited from prestigious institutions
including Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, and
the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy.

“There is global competition for researchers and our
success in attracting these talented individuals is an endorsement
of UBC’s reputation as a first-class research-intensive
university,” says Barry McBride, vice-president, Academic.

The federally funded research positions are designed to
build Canada’s research capacity. An investment of $900 million
will support the establishment of 2,000 Chairs at universities
across the country by 2005.

Brian Cairns joins UBC from Harvard Medical School. He studies
sex-related differences in muscle and joint pain and, as
Canada Research Chair in Neuropharmacology, will investigate
why women of reproductive age experience more muscle and
joint pain than same-aged men. He will also explore pain
mechanisms to help develop painkillers that act on affected
muscles and joints directly, with minimal side effects.

Erin Gaynor studies Campylobacter jejuni, the leading cause
of bacterial food poisoning. As Canada Research Chair in Bacterial
Pathogenesis, she will investigate the complex interplay between
the bacteria and host cells. Campylobacter jejuni affects
upwards of three million people in North America annually,
and increasing antibiotic resistance makes treatment difficult.
Gaynor comes to UBC from Stanford University in California.

Other new research chairs:

Ronald Barr, from McGill University, will study the effects
of early care giving on healthy infant growth and development;
Megan Levings from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute,
Milan, Italy will study natural properties of the immune
system to control rejection responses in transplanted tissue;
and John Kadla returns to Canada from North Carolina State
University as an expert in sustainable wood processing.

For more information on Canada Research Chairs, visit www.chairs.gc.ca.

UBC researchers, who conduct more than 5,225 investigations
annually, attracted $377 million in research funding in 2002
/ 2003.