News, Notes & Milestones

News & Notes

Food And Beverage Research Partnerships to Expand

LFS will work even more closely with those in B.C.’s food industry, thanks to the creation of a Food and Beverage Innovation Professorship last fall.

At a visit to UBC, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced that the province will provide $2.58 million over three years for an endowment to fund the professorship. Anubhav Pratap Singh, Assistant Professor of Food Processing, has been named to the inaugural position and has already developed several research projects with local companies.

Singh and the province’s Ministry of Agriculture conducted a needs assessment survey of the B.C. food industry.

“We are listening to the needs of those who work in industry, and learning what will it take for their companies to be even more competitive on the world stage,” said Singh.

Singh’s role as the Food and Beverage Innovation Professor at UBC will involve: leading research and development in food-processing technology; working with industry partners; developing academic programming to train graduate students; and, serving as academic and research director for the proposed UBC Food and Beverage Innovation Centre.

“I’m excited to solve problems that are impacting industry today,” said Singh. “As an application-oriented scientist, my research strives to have an immediate impact in the next five years. One example from our research is exploring physical interventions like pressure, vacuum, light, sound, plasma, electricity to enhance food quality and safety.”

New Research Chair to Study Companion Animals

Companion animals play a large role in their adopted families and in service programs where their social interactions can benefit people with disabilities. Assistant Professor Alexandra Protopopova has done extensive research to improve the fate of companion animals and those who surround them.

Now Protopopova has been named the NSERC/BC SPCA Industrial Research Chair in Animal Welfare, and she will lead research between UBC and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) over the next five years.

“Companion animals face critical issues related to optimal housing in animal shelters, rehabilitation and adoption following cruelty or neglect, import of rescue animals, and in various other human-animal interaction contexts,” says Protopopova.

“I’ll be working with the scientific community, professionals in non-profit organizations, and the companion animal industry to discover new ways we can improve the lives of companion animals.”

This new program will combine research, public education and outreach and will be integrated into the Faculty’s well known Animal Welfare Program, which was first created in 1997. It will generate cutting-edge research, and create training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and professionals in the companion animal industry.

Protopopova’s work will fall under three themes: behaviour and welfare of cats in animal shelters; behaviour and welfare of dogs; and, behaviour and welfare of pet rabbits and rats in shelters. Studies will be conducted at animal shelters, UBC LFS, and the BC SPCA, which has 44 locations and assists more than 45,000 animals each year.


UBC’s Cedar Summer Camp and Mentorship Program Funded by NSERC

NSERC PromoScience has funded UBC’s Cedar Summer Camp and Mentorship Program, which seeds interest in STEM among Indigenous youth. Joel Liman, Indigenous Academic Advisor (Science and LFS), leads the program. Students visit campus to engage in scientific learning from age eight and continue throughout high school. This funding also supports broad mentorship between Indigenous STEM students involved in the UBC Chapter of AISES (The American Indian Science and Engineering Society) and Indigenous youth in B.C.

Dan Weary Co-Lead on a $1.4M Project

Professor Dan Weary is the academic co-lead on a new $1.4M project funded by Genome Canada’s Genomics in Society Interdisciplinary Research Team program. He’ll partner with Michael von Massow, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, to better understand barriers and opportunities for commercializing gene-edited beef and dairy products.

UBC’s Wine Research Centre Dual-Campus Presence

UBC’s Wine Research Centre will have a dual campus presence in Vancouver and the Okanagan. Jacques-Olivier Pesme, based at UBC Okanagan, who is special advisor to the Dean, Faculty of Management, and a Professor in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide (Australia), has been named Director of the WRC. Simone Castellarin will be Associate Director of the WRC, ensuring a continuity of research. Castellarin is an LFS Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Tier 2, in Viticulture and Plant Genomics.

UBC Farm’s CSFS Receives Vancity enviroFund Grant

UBC Farm’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems has secured another Vancity enviroFund grant of $187,000 to support BC Food Web, an online portal that gives food producers, processors, policy-makers and educators access to research and resources.

Jennifer Black Selected as a Wall Scholar

Associate Professor Jennifer Black has been selected a Wall Scholar by the Peter Wall Institute in the 2020-21 academic year. During her residence, she plans to engage children and schools in more critical discussions about the links between poverty, food insecurity and social justice.

Dan Weary and Marina von Keyserlingk’s NSERC Industrial Research Chair Renewed

NSERC has renewed Professor Dan Weary and Professor Marina von Keyserlingk’s NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Welfare for an additional five years. The Chair is supported by several industry partners: Alberta Milk, BC Dairy Association, Boehringer lngelheim (Canada) Ltd., CanWest OHi, Cattle Industry Development Council, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, lntervet Canada Corporation, Saputo Inc., SaskMilk, Semex Alliance.

Jim Thompson Receives B.C. Dairy Industry Achievement Award

Jim Thompson, Professor Emeritus, received the BC Dairy Industry Achievement Award from the B.C. Dairy Historical Society. This award recognizes his outstanding support for dairy research and education, and animal welfare. Thompson was the Founding Director, UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre and retired December 31, 2018.

Two LFS Professors Awarded SSHRC Grants

Professors Sumeet Gulati and Hannah Wittman were each awarded SSHRC Partnership Development Grants. These grants support postsecondary institutions and organizations in jointly developing research activities in the social sciences and humanities, or in designing new partnership approaches. Gulati’s project is titled Human Casualties and Wildlife Conservation in India, and Wittman’s project is Navigating Agroecological Transitions in Latin America.

Two Faculty Members are Conducting COVID-19 Research

Associate Professor Siyun Wang will research and develop evidence-based disinfectant guidelines for those working in agri-food, and Xiaonan Lu (an LFS Affiliate Associate Professor as of August 1) is researching new methods to rapidly detect COVID-19. Both projects are funded through NSERC Alliance grants.