News & Notes
Micro-courses: Professional Development for the Food Industry
LFS’s online Micro-certificate in Food Safety Management is a new program to help sharpen professional skills.
For those already working in food and beverage production, it’s an excellent way to gain skills needed in quality assurance. For those new to the industry, it provides a look inside the field and an edge for entering the industry.
The Micro-certificate in Food Safety Management includes three micro-courses that are offered in a spring or fall session. Each micro-course is three or five weeks in duration, and they are online with scheduled meetings for group discussions and to hear from industry experts. UBC is currently offering Food Science Fundamentals for Professionals and Food Safety Management System Principles, Laws and Regulations. BCIT will be offering micro-course Internal Auditor Training.
For more information, visit: lfs-ps-2023.sites.olt.ubc.ca/certificate/food-safety-management/
New Food Pilot Plant to Support Local Companies
An innovation hub that brings B.C. companies, food scientists and students together is taking shape at UBC. The university’s new Food and Beverage Innovation Centre (FBIC) is expected to begin construction in early 2023 and be ready for occupancy in first quarter 2024.
B.C. is one of the few Canadian provinces that lacks a food processing pilot plant and innovation centre. The FBIC will enable those in the province’s food industry – from start-ups to established companies – to gain a competitive edge by testing new processes, packaging, and marketing of leading-edge agriculture and aquaculture food products.
It will also support B.C.’s interconnected regional food hubs, known as the Food Hub Network, through knowledge exchange, and provide a training ground for the next generation of food scientists and entrepreneurs.
The centre will be approximately 9,000 square feet, and house laboratories and workshops dedicated to food processing, fermentation, pre-processing, and packaging, as well as new and innovative food product development and quality assurance. In addition, there will be meeting spaces and offices.
New Frontiers Funds LFS Researchers
Two faculty members are leading projects funded through the New Frontiers in Research Funds competition. Assistant Professor Anubhav Pratap-Singh, in collaboration with UBC researchers, will trial a new way to deliver drugs for patients with mild Covid symptoms using an aerosol spray. Professor Hannah Wittman is working with Assistant Professor Khanh Dao Duc (UBC Math) and two universities in South America to investigate how to advance agroecological transitions using digital methods.
Soil Educator Wins Teaching Award
Instructor Sandra Brown, who teaches soil science, received a 2021-2022 UBC Killam Teaching Prize, recognizing her achievements as a teacher and commitment to students. Students, colleagues and alumni bring forward UBC Killam Teaching Prize nominations.
Blueberries and Cereals Research
Improving the sustainability of crops is a focus of these projects led by UBC LFS researchers, who are working in partnership with external organizations through NSERC Alliance Grants:
- Assistant Professor Juli Carrillo will partner with the BC Blueberry Council to address key economic and ecological concerns in B.C. berries – pest management, pollination services, and alternative cropping systems – to promote the sustainability of this high-value crop.
- Assistant Professor Gurcharn Singh Brar is collaborating with Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission and Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission to study cereal pathogens. They aim to improve crop management in cereals through early detection of pests and diseases, and through breeding programs.
New Lab Funding For Soil Science and Plant Physiology
To support their new research activities at UBC, these up-and-coming researchers were awarded Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Funds to outfit their labs: Assistant Professor Jean-Thomas Cornelis (soil science) whose research program is titled Integrated SOILRES platform for advanced study of soil processes driving agroecosystem resilience under climate change; and Assistant Professor Thorsten Knipfer (plant physiology) for his research program, Automated growth and screening platform for elucidating crop water requirements.
Creating a Mobile App to Change Dietary Behaviours
Tracking your diet for an extended period of time is hard, yet a key component in changing your diet. Assistant Professor Tamara Cohen aims to create a new diet self-monitoring tool that is accessible and inclusive to all Canadians. Her research team received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant to test the acceptability and usability of iCANPlate, a mobile dietary self-monitoring tool that aligns with the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide.
Nutrition Researcher Named to Editorial Board
Crystal Karakochuk has been named to the editorial board of The Journal of Nutrition. She is an Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition at UBC and an Investigator at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Women’s Health Research Institute. She also received a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development for her project titled Hemoglobin Measurement (HEME) Laboratory Validation Study in Cambodia.
UBC Funds Research Cluster Projects
Three LFS projects have been funded through UBC’s Research Excellence Clusters in 2022/23. These clusters are inter-departmental networks of UBC researchers who collectively represent leaders in their fields: Professor Hannah Wittman is leading the Diversified Agroecosystem Cluster, which has been funded since 2017; Assistant Professor Tamara Cohen is leading the Wild Berry Research Cluster; and, Associate Professor Eduardo Jovel leads the Indigenous Land-Based Health, Wellness, and Education Research Cluster.