Patty Wellborn



Celebrate Research 2017 spotllight

From advances in chronic disease interventions to improving wireless communications, innovative research projects at UBC Okanagan are attracting national attention.

This week, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awarded $1 million to a diverse range of emerging initiatives across the Okanagan campus. Celebrating these and many other accomplishments, UBC Okanagan hosts its annual Celebrate Research Week March 6 to 11.

Philip Barker, UBC Okanagan Vice-Principal of Research

Philip Barker, UBC Okanagan Vice-Principal of Research

“I am delighted that the outstanding research taking place at UBC Okanagan is being recognized by the Canada Foundation for Innovation,” says Philip Barker, UBC Okanagan Vice-Principal of Research.“These awards reflect the hard work, commitment and vision in our research community. Our campus continues to excel and the recent funding announcement is testimony to this. I congratulate everyone involved.”

The CFI awards will support the establishment of five research facilities:

The Centre for Translational Research in Behaviour Change for People with Chronic Conditions

Led by Kathleen Martin Ginis, professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, this centre will become the site for community-engaged behaviour change research to promote health and well-being for individuals with chronic disease or physical disabilities. Initiatives include improving behavior-change interventions, developing, testing and evaluating the impact of interventions, and developing products and services for people with chronic conditions.

The Statistical Machine Learning Laboratory

Led by Jeffrey Andrews, assistant professor of statistics, this lab will develop new computational methods and software for discovering hidden information in large data sets. The lab will train students in cutting-edge statistical pattern recognition techniques that can be applied to data from numerous fields, including medicine, marketing, sociology, and biology. Collaborations with local industry and government agencies will provide additional benefits to the Okanagan region.

The Molecular and Materials Simulation Facility

Led by Gino DiLabio, associate professor and head of chemistry, this lab will be a high-performance computing laboratory which will simulate chemical reactions that can lead to, and protect against, human diseases. These findings will have implications for debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The center will promote collaboration with academic and industrial partners, and will train the next generation of simulation scientists.

The Laboratory for Single Molecule Mechanobiology

Led by Isaac Li, assistant professor of chemistry, this lab will determine how the mechanical forces from individual molecules regulate cell movement and chemical signalling, specifically in cancer and immune cells. The findings will lead to the development of new screening methods that will detect rare cancer cells from blood tests.

The Electromagnetics Testing and Characterization Laboratory

Led by Loïc Markley, assistant professor of electrical engineering, this lab will evaluate and develop new metamaterials, microwave circuits, and antennas for advanced wireless technologies. The facility will provide UBC Okanagan with the infrastructure necessary for state-of-the-art experimental research at microwave and mm-wave frequencies. This will lead to developments in telecommunications, wireless power, and imaging.

Celebrate Research 2017 public events

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final

The Three Minute Thesis is a competition where current graduate students have three minutes to explain the depth, significance and wider impact of their research to the judges and audience for a chance to win top honours and prize money.

Date: Wednesday, March 8
Time: 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Location: University Centre Ballroom, room UNC 200
For more

Café Scientifique: Breaking the Cycle of Chronic Pain

Side stepping the effects of stroke

Someone in Canada has a stroke about every nine minutes. Are there new approaches to reduce the disability associated with stroke? Can healthy lifestyles help people reduce their risk of stroke and enhance recovery?

Join experts from UBC’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention and Interior Health for refreshments and a discussion about the latest approaches to reduce the effects of stroke.

Date: Thursday, March 9
Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
Location: Okanagan Regional Library, 1380 Ellis St., Kelowna
Free registration:

School District 23 Science Fair

Young scientists will be at UBC Okanagan for School District 23’s two-day Science Fair. Participating individually and in pairs, students will interpret their science projects for judges and public viewers. On Saturday, students and the public can also explore educational opportunities in UBC Okanagan’s Engineering, Chemistry and Education programs.

Date: Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11
Times: Friday, 4 to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.
Location: UBC Okanagan, Engineering, Management & Education (EME) and Fipke Centre (FIP).

Presentations will be held in UBC Okanagan lecture theatres on March 11

  • 3-D Printing: 11:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. l FIPKE 204
  • Engineering with Light: 11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. l EME 0050
  • What is Chemistry (and Why should we Care)? 12:30 to 1:10 p.m. l EME 0050

For more information visit:


While age may just be a number, how well we age impacts the quality of our later years.

March is Embrace Aging month at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention (IHLCDP), along with Interior Health and Interior Savings Credit Union have teamed up to present a number of events about healthy aging.

The line-up of seminars and events covers everything from getting a good night’s sleep, staying strong physically, making sound financial decisions, to connecting with our loved ones and community.

“Our aim is to inspire and inform our community on steps we can all take to age well—both mentally and physically,” says Joan Bottorff, IHLCDP director. “We’re especially pleased to play an active role by providing seminars on fraud prevention, being savvy with technology, staying active, estate planning and several special screenings of the very popular Age of Love movie.”

A full list of events is available at:

All events are free and open to the public; however, registration is required.


POWERPLAY, developed by UBC researchers, provides tools for workplaces to encourage male employees to take off their boots and get some physical exercise.

POWERPLAY, developed by UBC researchers, provides tools for workplaces to encourage male employees to take off their boots and get some physical exercise.

Despite studies that show men generally want to be healthy, there are very few workplace programs designed specifically for men that encourage healthy lifestyles.

A team of UBC researchers met with groups of men to discuss the best ways to support healthy eating and physical activity during their working days. While most men knew the importance of good health and had a desire to be well for their families, men who worked in traditionally male-dominated workplaces felt they were too tired or lacked the time to be physically active.

“The results of the discussions weren’t surprising,” says UBC Okanagan nursing professor Joan Bottorff, one of the study’s investigators. “We know most men are not meeting recommendations for physical activity or for fruit and vegetable consumption. Yet the men gave us some helpful suggestions about what might work while supporting them to make changes to improve their health.”

Bottorff conducted a series of studies on mens’ health and fitness with fellow UBC researchers Cristina Caperchione and John Oliffe. In partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, the BC Cancer Agency, Northern Health and Athabasca University, the three created POWERPLAY, an interactive health promotion program designed for men who traditionally work in blue-collar professions.

“There are lots of effective workplace health promotion programs,” says Bottorff, director of UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention. “However, most of the programs are designed for the office environment and often fail to engage male employees.”

The researchers found that in addition to feeling tired or time-deficient, many men eat large meals to sustain themselves during the workday and knowingly skip fruits and vegetables because they were less filing. They also understood the importance of good health admitting they want to stay healthy to provide for their families.

POWERPLAY is designed to help men by providing a series of eating and physical activity challenges. The men work in teams and compete against each other. Along with providing motivational and creative messages, the program provides incentives, online resources, and policy suggestions for employers.

POWERPLAY,, has been introduced at four northern BC workplaces: two trucking companies, a coal shipping terminal and a municipal work crew.

“Our goal is to assist more employers in using POWERPLAY to create workplace environments where men support each other in making lifestyle changes,” says Bottorff. “Men want to be around long-term to support their families and POWERPLAY includes the tools that can help them live healthier lifestyles.”

Several studies on POWERPLAY have been published, noting an increase in physical activity and better awareness of healthy living and eating. The most recent study was published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. To find out more, visit:


What: Assisted death: What everyone should know
Who: Dr. Harvey Chochinov, chair of the federal panel exploring options for a legislative response to the Supreme Court decision on physician-assisted death
When: Monday, May 2, 10 to 11 a.m.
Where: Reichwald Health Sciences, lecture theatre 257, 1088 Discovery Ave., UBC Okanagan

Questions about assisted death have been a water cooler topic ever since the federal government passed legislation to allow physician-assisted deaths two weeks ago.

The public is invited to a webinar in which Dr. Harvey Chochinov talks about the legislation and answer underlying questions that family members want to know. Chochinov is a distinguished professor of psychiatry and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Manitoba and director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit.

He also chaired the federal panel that examined options for a legislative response to the Supreme Court decision on physician-assisted death.

Join the webinar with faculty and students at UBC Okanagan or link in with your own device. To RSVP, visit:

This knowledge and research exchange webinar is co-sponsored by UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention and the Castlegar Hospice Society.


Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease PreventionWhat: Free public presentations
Who: co-hosted by UBC Okanagan’s Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention and Interior Health
When: March 1 to March 24
Where: Various locations throughout the Okanagan
Website and schedule:

Aging is inevitable. Yet, taking steps to aging well can make life better now and over the long term.

March is Embrace Aging month at UBC’s Okanagan campus. To mark this occasion, the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, along with the Interior Health Authority, have teamed up to present 14 free events throughout the Okanagan. The events aim to help individuals age well — both mentally and physically.

UBC faculty, students, and experts from Interior Health and the community will present on topics as diverse as new communications tools, atrial fibrillation, and risk taking by older adults.

Highlights from the month’s lineup include:

  • Public transportation accessibility and options for seniors: Joyce Mainland, a BC Transit training and mobility specialist, will discuss BC Transit and handyDART accessibility and options for seniors utilizing public transit as an alternate or supplement to driving. This event takes place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 at the Parkinson Rec Centre.
  • Singing makes everything better: Nigel Brown, executive director of Sing for Your Life Canada Foundation B.C., will share the moving story of the impetus for Sing for Your Life Foundation in the United Kingdom. He will highlight this participatory-singing program and how it encourages isolated older people living at home to come out and sing socially with others. This event takes place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 at the Vernon Public Library.
  • Tossin’ and turnin’? Sleep tips for seniors: Dr. Ronald Cridland, CCFP, diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, will present options and strategies. This event takes place at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 17 at the Parkinson Rec Centre.
  • Making room for older adults: Increasing the liveability of homes and communities: Dr. Norah Keating, director of the Global Social Initiative on Aging, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, will discuss new initiatives. This event takes place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 at the Penticton Community Centre.

This is the third annual Okanagan Embrace Aging month. While some events take place on campus, others are at community venues such as the Okanagan Regional Library and the Parkinson Recreation Centre. An option to join by webinar is also available for some events. All are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Details are available at: