Shining stars

Spotlight on UBC research luminaries

Twenty-two UBC researchers in fields as diverse as volcanology, health policy, computer science, HIV/AIDS and cognitive linguistics are being honoured for their accomplishments during this year’s Celebrate Research Week, March 2-9.

Among the winners of the 2011 Faculty Research Awards is Dr. Randy Gascoyne in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, who also carries the distinction of being the first clinical faculty member to receive the Killam Research Prize.

Gascoyne is a hematopathologist at the BC Cancer Agency and the sole Canadian member of the International Lymphoma Study Group. An expert in the diagnosis and classification of lymphoma, his research focuses on the use of biomarkers as an outcome predictor in non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Dr. Julio Montaner, chair of the division of AIDS in the Faculty of Medicine and director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, has focused his recent research on the effectiveness of highly active anti-retroviral therapy as a prevention tool for the spread of HIV, especially in hard-to-reach populations. A former president of the International AIDS Society, Montaner is recipient of this year’s Jacob Biely Research Prize, the University’s premier research honour.

The President’s Award for Public Education through Media goes to Prof. Alfred Hermida of the School of Journalism—the second year in the row a journalism professor has received this distinction.

Hermida, one of the founding editors of the BBC News web site, is recognized for his research in the digital dissemination of journalism and for his efforts in sharing research beyond academic circles through a combination of scholarly publications, applied projects and media activities. He coined the term “ambient journalism” to describe the new breed of journalism that exists through social media. He has given more than 130 interviews to local, national and international print and broadcast media outlets since joining UBC in 2006.

“I have tried to further our understanding of how traditional functions of journalism—informing citizens, ensuring public accountability, providing analysis and mobilizing public opinion—are being transformed by the disruption of established concepts of communication, prevailing notions of space and time and the distinction between public and private spheres,” says Hermida.

In addition to studying social media, Hermida has been actively engaging with the public through his award-winning blog,, where he has shared comments, interpretations and analyses on trends in digital journalism.

A blog post Hermida wrote in September 2009 based on his research paper, Twittering the News: The Emergence of Ambient Journalism, was retweeted by more than 130 users, resulting in more than 1,000 views of the post. Hermida will share his insights on March 7 as part of the Celebrate Research lunchtime lecture series.

Winners of the 2011 Faculty Research Awards will be recognized at the Celebrate Research Awards Gala on March 8, 6:30-9 p.m. at the Museum of Anthropology.

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