Milestones and News & Notes


Four faculty members recently received NSERC Discovery research grants to support their long-term projects in the natural sciences and engineering. These grants also recognize the opportunity for students to receive training in innovative projects.

These faculty members were funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to buy state-of-the-art lab equipment.

News & Notes

Hats off to longstanding UBC Employees

Congratulations to these UBC employees who were recognized for their longstanding service.

Joining the UBC 25 Year Club, which recognizes staff members, are the following: Barbara Hsiao (Director of HR and Administration), Edmund Seow (Manager of the Learning Centre), Rachel Toyen (IRP Project Manager), and Rebecca Lee (Dean’s Office Coordinator).

LFS staff members
(L-R: Sylvia Leung, Barbara Hsiao, Rebecca Lee, Edmund Seow, Rachel Toyen)

Achieving a 40-year service milestone is Professor Dr. David Kitts. Throughout his career at UBC, Dr. Kitts’ research in food chemistry, food toxicology and nutritional sciences has helped to ensure our food supply is safer, and has increased understanding of the health benefits gained from food and beverages. He’s supervised or co-supervised 15 Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates, 14 PhDs, 36 MSc students, and numerous undergraduate research projects.

Also, notable is a 40-year staff employee! Sylvia Leung was hired as a Research Assistant/Technician in the Department of Animal Science in 1983, after earning her BSc in Agriculture/Animal Science from LFS (it was then known as the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences). Leung’s focus has shifted from assisting with research projects to lab management and inventory maintenance. Today, she’s a Buyer, helping with purchasing needs to support ongoing operations.

Community partnership turns wool into pellets as an organic fertilizer

Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project

Can waste wool be put to use in agriculture? A new partnership between the Elizabeth Fry Society (EFS) of Vancouver and Dr. Sue Grayston, an LFS/Forestry Professor specializing in soil science, seeks to find out.

They are collaborating on the Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project to evaluate the potential of using waste wool as a soil additive to help retain moisture and increase nutrient availability, and ultimately stimulate plant growth.

Waste from B.C. sheep farmers, which is typically sent to landfills, is donated to the EFS facility in New Westminster where Woolwerx employees make them into products, such as yarn, and felted dryer balls. Woolwerx is a social enterprise of the EFS that provides training and employment to criminalized women in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Women turn donated wool into new products, learn new employment skills, and increase their standard of living.

The Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project is funded by UBC’s Partnership Recognition and Exploration Fund together with a MITACS Accelerate grant. Both partners will benefit: UBC will help EFS potentially create a new product for their Woolwerx enterprise using its expertise in soil analytical techniques and plant growth, while Woolwerx employees will share knowledge of their processes from raw wool (pest and biohazards) to pelletizing with Dr. Grayston and UBC students.

The UBC Greenhouse is where trials are underway to assess the potential of wool pellets applied at three different application rates to enhance the growth and yield of flowering plants and vegetables.