News & Notes

News & Notes

Mark your calendars for Homecoming at UBC!

Save the date of Saturday, Sept. 14! Homecoming takes place at UBC Vancouver campus with several LFS events planned again this year. This is a chance to rekindle your collegiate spirit and meet up with fellow classmates.

More details on events will be posted throughout the summer so be sure to visit our website at

Homecoming photo courtesy of V.Saran.

LFS and Faculty of Medicine welcomed Michael Pollan to UBC

Rickey Yada, LFS Dean, and Evan Wood, Professor from the Faculty of Medicine, hosted influential journalist Michael Pollan at a sold-out UBC Connects event on Feb. 11.

Held at the Orpheum Theatre, Pollan’s talk titled Food, plants and psychedelics: Revolutionary approaches to human health and well-being, explored the intersection of humans and nature, with a deep dive into the world of psychedelics.

Alumni volunteers help Tri-Mentoring Program triple in size

Students and mentors celebrated their achievements and commitment to the LFS Tri-Mentoring Program on April 2 with an evening that included inspiring words from Dean Rickey Yada, an alumna-mentor, and a student speaker.

With 65 mentors and 130 students, this year’s total number of LFS participants almost tripled, making it the second largest Tri-Mentoring Program on campus! If you are interested in learning more about becoming a mentor, contact Niki Glenning, LFS Alumni Relations Manager, at 604-822-8910 or

Research cluster on sustainable food systems continues with Year 2 funding

Hannah Wittman, Professor in LFS and Academic Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at UBC Farm, is co-leading an interdisciplinary research network that received a second year of support from UBC’s Catalyzing Research Excellence Clusters initiative. The Diversified Agroecosystems Research Cluster received $190,000 for 2019, and it brings together more than 40 researchers from across North America, each with a unique ecological, social, economic and systems analysis perspective.

Among its first-year activities, the cluster convened many internal workshops, as well as a network launch workshop, in which participants developed actionable plans on long-term monitoring, biodiversity, and sustainability of agroecosystems.

Multiple project proposals, grant applications and awards, and academic publications resulted from the ideas generated at the network launch workshop. Additionally, cluster member Zia Mehrabi, a Research Associate in the CSFS, the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES), and the Liu Institute for Global Studies, has recently released the first version of LiteFarm, a farm management application that assists farmers with day-to-day decision-making and enables them to track the sustainability of their farms. Wittman is also a Professor with IRES, which is a UBCbased interdisciplinary research institute and graduate program with expertise in a range of topics related to the environment and sustainability.

To learn more about the cluster, visit:

Barbara Stefanska named a senior editor for the British Journal of Pharmacology

Barbara Stefanska, Assistant Professor in Nutritional Epigenomics, has been appointed Senior Editor in Cancer Pharmacology for the British Journal of Pharmacology (BJP), a leading peer-reviewed international medical journal. BJP was established in 1946 and is published for the British Pharmacological Society. Twelve Senior Editors, including Stefanska, are active researchers from various countries who oversee submissions related to different areas of pharmacology.

Berry councils fund pest management research

Juli Carrillo, Assistant Professor, has received up to four years of funding from the berry research committees for a project called Ecological Pest Management for Spotted Wing Drosophila. Funding is provided by the BC Blueberry Council, Raspberry Industry Development Council and BC Strawberry Growers Association.

Soil science students earn first place at international conference

Two UBC Soil Science PhD candidates were recognized at the International Soils Meeting in San Diego earlier this year. Akshit Puri won First Place in the 5-minute Rapid Fire Oral and Poster session. Kiran Preet Padda took First Place in the Soils in Ecological Restoration Poster session. Both students competed in the Forest, Range and Wildland Soils Division, and are supervised by Christopher Chanway, a Professor in LFS and the Faculty of Forestry.

Siyun Wang wins food safety award

Congratulations to Associate Professor Siyun Wang who won a BC Food Protection Association Food Safety Award. She has worked on several food safety initiatives, including conducting a safety surveillance project in the Lower Mainland to better understand major foodborne pathogens in irrigation water used by fresh produce growers. She is now studying how to reduce the occurrence of Salmonella contamination in foods.

Hans Sigrist Foundation awards animal welfare researcher

Professor Marina von Keyserlingk was recognized by the Hans Sigrist Foundation at the University of Bern with the 2018 Hans Sigrist Prize for her outstanding academic contributions in the field of Sustainably Produced Food of Animal Origin. The Hans Sigrist Prize, equivalent to CAD$135,000, is awarded to a mid-career academic to support their research program. Award winners represent a variety of academic fields; each year’s prize field is different, based on proposals considered by the foundation’s board.

Michael Brunt, PhD candidate, wins award to study animal welfare

Michael Brunt received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Doctoral Scholarship. This is awarded from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Brunt will be pursuing a PhD under supervisor Professor Dan Weary with a focus on researching the human component of animal welfare. He hopes to improve the welfare of animals used in scientific research, and in agriculture and public venues, such as aquariums, by identifying the perceived barriers of caretakers to changing practices.

UBC research cluster to investigate child health and development

Assistant Professor Crystal Karakochuk and Associate Professors Yvonne Lamers and Angela Devlin are part of a research team led by Professor Michael Kobor that successfully obtained one year of funding through the UBC 2018 Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters competition. Their project Harnessing the Social Exposome to Reduce Inequalities in Child Health and Development in Canada will see them working with the Faculty of Medicine and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

AnimalKind expands accreditation program and earns kudos

Vancouver Foundation has awarded BC SPCA and the LFS Animal Welfare Program a grant of $300,000 to expand the AnimalKind program into other animalrelated service industries, such as dog training. Currently, AnimalKind accredits pest control companies for using progressive and science-based methods. The AnimalKind program is led by Sara Dubois, LFS Adjunct Professor and Chief Scientific Officer of the BC SPCA, who co-founded the program with support from David Fraser, LFS Professor, and two LFS alumni who are also current staff, Nicole Fenwick and Erin Ryan. Early development of the program was supported by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and Vancouver Foundation.

The AnimalKind program also won a Clements Awards from The Fur-Bearers. This is to recognize the milestone of launching the world’s first accreditation program for pest control and wildlife management. The Clements Awards is given to individuals and organizations who have contributed to the welfare of fur-bearing animals.