News, Notes & Milestones

News & Notes

Welcome Back to UBC

Many thanks to those who came out to UBC Homecoming on September 14. LFS was happy to see our alumni, family and friends return to Vancouver campus. Thousands joined us to enjoy live music, food trucks, hands-on activities and our popular LFS mascot, Reggie the Bee, who gave out many high fives!

Vancouver Summer Program draws international students

This past summer, Land and Food Systems opened up the doors of the world to our academic programs.

LFS participated in UBC’s Vancouver Summer Program, which offers courses to international undergraduate students from cooperating universities. These students get the opportunity to experience two UBC academic courses, with some earning course credit from their home institution, while learning about Canadian culture and practices.

For several years, LFS has offered courses but this past year showed tremendous growth, with the number of participants in the LFS courses increasing from 66 to 142 between 2018 and 2019.

The Faculty’s June program packages included Nutrition and Healthy Eating, and Agribusiness Management, while the July packages were Nutrition and Healthy Eating, and Food Science and Sensory Evaluation. The courses are interactive and involve hands-on cooking, evaluation and group work.

Some of the field trips included visiting Granville Island, UBC Farm and Roots on the Roof, the student-run rooftop community garden on UBC’s Student Union Building.

Professor Emerita Eunice Li-Chan Receives an Alumni Builder Award

Congratulations to Professor Emerita Eunice Li-Chan on receiving an Alumni Builder Award from UBC in September.

This award recognizes UBC alumni who have significantly contributed to the University and enriched the lives of others, and in doing so, have supported alumni UBC’s mission of realizing the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.

Li-Chan received the award for her dedication to education and commitment to excellence in agricultural sciences and food chemistry in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1975, and a PhD in Food Science in 1981. She also earned a MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta.

After working for the Faculty as a Research Associate, she became Assistant Professor in 1992. She retired in 2017 after more than 30 years of hard work and dedication.

Home Economics Class of 1969 Celebrate 50th Year Reunion

The Home Economics Class of 1969 celebrated their 50th reunion this September at Sunset Beach in Vancouver. Carol Omstead (Bachelor of Home Economics 1969) felt she couldn’t let the occasion pass by, and decided to step forward to organize the night.

“There were 25 of us who were able to attend, and we had a great time reminiscing of our classes, and of late nights cramming for an exam,” Omstead recalls. “It was incredible to see how far everyone has come. While many of us set out to become teachers or dietitians, others sought graduate school or worked in everything from farming to government.”

Is your graduating class planning on hosting a reunion? We’d love to be a part of it! Contact Niki Glenning, your Alumni Relations Manager, at or 604 822-8910.


Food, Nutrition and Health Researcher Wins Two Awards

Assistant Professor Crystal Karakochuk recently won two awards to study the role of nutrition on disease. The first is a three-year CIHR Project Grant for research conducted at BC Children’s Hospital on folic acid supplementation in children with sickle cell disease. The second is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) 2019 Scholar Award for her project Advancing nutritional hematology to reduce the burden of anemia and inform nutrition policy. The (MSFHR) Scholar Program award has a 5-year term and supports early-career health researchers who are building leading-edge programs in B.C.

Funding Supports Fast-Breaking Research

Two LFS researchers won New Frontiers in Research Fund Explorations awards, which focuses on fastbreaking, high-risk research that is international and interdisciplinary. Assistant Professor and food scientist Derek Dee investigates the behaviour of proteins under different conditions, and will study how soy, pea, lentil and peanut proteins can be further improved in taste and texture as satisfactory meat replacements. In a separate award, Assistant Professor Frederik Noack is leading a new international project measuring the environmental impact of urbanization in developing countries, studying how biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions are impacted, while considering economic factors and population trends.

Mahsa Jessri Earns One of Six Banting Research Awards

Mahsa Jessri, Assistant Professor, was one of six national recipients of a 2019 Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award. She aims to predict how dietary patterns contribute to longevity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by studying the impact of diet and food policy on public and population health.

Food Scientists Win NSERC Discovery Grants

Three LFS food scientists were awarded five-year NSERC Discovery Grants: Assistant Professor Derek Dee will study how to assemble and design protein nanofibrils using genetic and chemical modification for potential applications in food, biomaterials and medicine; Associate Professor Xiaonan Lu will study how food processing and preservation conditions could induce the formation and resuscitation of campylobacter dormancy; and Professor David Kitts’ research involves quantifying how Maillard Reaction products generated in heat processing of foods mitigate oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions that occur in the intestine.

UBC Public Scholars Initiative Funds Animal Welfare Student

PhD candidate Michael Brunt was the recipient of a UBC Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) to engage in public dialogue, produce creative forms of scholarship,and explore diverse career pathways. Brunt is studying animal welfare under supervisor Professor Daniel Weary. The PSI allows him to expand engagement with the public to gain a greater understanding about how perceived transparency can influence trust and the social acceptability of using animals in scientific research.

Canadian Nutrition Society Conference Gives Nod to LFS Students

Human Nutrition graduate students were recognized at the annual Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Brock Williams (PhD candidate, supervisor Crystal Karakochuk) won first place in the Infographic presentation, and Mirah Valdes (MSc candidate, supervisor Jennifer Black) took second place in the CNS Poster Competition.