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Province invests in post-secondary research innovation for a stronger B.C.

Province invests in post-secondary research innovation for a stronger B.C.

August 13, 2021 at 10:27 am  BC, News, Politics

The BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) has awarded $22,107,638 to invest in research infrastructure for 24 projects at the UBC -Vancouver campus.

The BCKDF shares project funding with other funding partners, including the Canada Foundation for Innovation. These investments help ensure UBC will have the state-of-the-art scientific equipment and infrastructure to be well-positioned to lead B.C. into the future.

Advanced materials and clean technology:             

AM+: Mobilizing Additive Manufacturing for Automotive, Aerospace and Clean Energy

This funding will provide specialized technologies to establish a first-in-Canada research cluster focused on additive manufacturing (3D printing) within UBC’s Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory. The research will promote the adoption of additive manufacturing by addressing quality, cost and scale challenges. It will help ensure B.C. is globally competitive in advanced manufacturing and mobilize additive manufacturing to support B.C.’s aerospace, clean technology and automotive sectors. 

Principal investigator: Warren Poole, Department of Materials Engineering
BCKDF award: $3,001,460

Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering

This funding supports a national project to build a neutron beam lab that will enable research and innovation in areas such as clean energy technology, information technology and biomaterials for understanding and combating disease.

Principal investigator: Alannah Hallas, Department of Physics and Astronomy
BCKDF award: $700,000

Momentum resolved electron pair spectroscopy (2e-ARPES)

This funding will be used to develop a first-of-its-kind system at UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute that will study the physics of quantum materials with broad impacts across a range of fields including medicine, transportation and renewable energy. This new infrastructure will strengthen B.C.’s position as a leader in the study of quantum materials and devices, quantum computing and quantum communications, and help anchor new industries arising out of the study of quantum materials in B.C. 

Principal investigators: Andrea Damascelli and David Jones, Department of Physics and Astronomy
BCKDF award: $2,628,802

Used-Water to Resources (U-WatR)

This funding will support the development of innovative wastewater treatment systems that are more efficient, sustainable and enable the recovery of high-value bioproducts that can be used for energy and fertilizer production. The research will position B.C., as well as industry partners, as a global leader in wastewater resource recovery and sustainability.

Principal investigator: Pierre Berube, Department of Civil Engineering
BCKDF award: $1,591,394

Astrophysics and computer science:

Enabling gravitational wave astrophysics with calibration, monitoring and characterization of the LIGO detectors

The funding will provide critical infrastructure to support an international collaboration of scientists using kilometre-scale detectors to measure gravitational waves — tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime emitted by accelerating mass. The infrastructure will help ensure British Columbia is at the forefront of this new scientific frontier that will propel science forward across many fields, including stellar astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear physics, general relativity, high energy physics and cosmology.

Principal investigator: Jess McIver, Department of Physics and Astronomy
BCKDF award: $220,000

HAICU: Hydrogen Antihydrogen Infrastructure at Canadian Universities for Quantum Innovations in Antimatter Science

The funding will build state-of-the-art research infrastructure that uses newly emerging quantum techniques to study the properties of antimatter and address key questions about the origins of the universe. The research will advance B.C.’s leadership in quantum innovation and support the development of new technologies in the fields of cryogenics, lasers, microwaves, photon detectors and particle manipulators that will be leveraged by B.C. companies and help grow the B.C. economy.

Principal investigator: Takamasa Momose, Department of Chemistry
BCKDF award: $3,279,274

VELOSITY: Bringing the Benefits of VLSI to System Software

By supporting the purchase of advanced computing infrastructure, this funding will advance the study and development of next-generation software, operating systems, hardware platforms and secure IT infrastructure. The infrastructure will help train students on emerging software and technologies and advance research to support B.C.’s growing high-tech sector. 

Principal investigator: Margo Seltzer, Department of Computer Science
BCKDF award: $453,594

Land, natural resources and the environment:

Field and laboratory characterization of the climate and landscape response to surface elevation change

This funding will acquire field and laboratory equipment to study climate and landscape change through time. The research will investigate rock and mineral compositions to determine how the formation of mountains changes the regional climate and environment.

Principal investigator: Joel Saylor, Department of Earth, Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences
BCKDF award: $125,000

forWATER AID: Advanced Infrastructure Development for Forested Drinking Water Source

This funding will establish watershed observatories that will investigate how forest management practices affect the treatability of drinking water drawn from forested areas. This will allow researchers to identify threats to B.C.’s water supplies and develop forest management-based technologies to ensure B.C. drinking water security now and in the future.

Principal investigator: Mark Johnson, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
BCKDF award: $180,000

Rapid Air Improvement Network (RAIN)      

This funding will be used to deploy advanced sensors and measurement systems to study the health and climate impacts of air emissions in B.C. By integrating with UBC’s Campus as a Living Lab, the research will study interventions and mitigation measures that improve air quality and scale beyond the UBC campus to promote clean air and a healthy environment throughout B.C.

Principal investigators: Steven Rogak and Naomi Zimmerman, Department of Mechanical Engineering
BCKDF award: $2,028,080

Working to Restore Connectivity and Sustainability (WoRCS) Research Program

This funding will support the study of agricultural diversification practices by providing researchers with advanced infrastructure for molecular genetics, telemetry, remote-sensing and geo-spatial analyses. By working with community partners and 30 farm sites in the Fraser Valley to study the impacts of diversification practices, the WoRCS program will provide timely information on practices and policies that improve farmland sustainability and conserve biodiversity in B.C.

Principal investigator: Claire Kremen, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
BCKDF award: $400,000

Health and life sciences:

Cancer single cell dynamics observatory

The funding will accelerate cancer research by providing researchers with specialized technology that analyses the genomes of single cells. This will advance the development of “precision oncology,” which uses the genomes of the patient and tumour to inform the choice of therapy that is most likely to benefit the patient. The research will provide insight into how cancer changes over time and factors that cause treatment resistance, leading to improved diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer patients in British Columbia. 

Principal investigator: Samuel Aparicio, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
BCKDF award: $2,396,810

Complex human-based organ (disease) models for basic and preclinical research with a focus on human epithelia

The funding will support the development of advanced models of human tissues, such as skin, the lung and liver. The models will enable researchers to advance the study of human diseases and facilitate the development of safe and effective new drugs.

Principal investigator: Sarah Hedtrich, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
BCKDF award: $101,408

Data Science for Neurological Disorders Laboratory

The funding will help establish the Data Science for Neurological Disorders Laboratory at UBC, which will utilize cutting-edge computing infrastructure to support the discovery of personalized approaches for the prevention and management of neurological diseases.

Principal investigator: Jacquelyn Cragg, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science
BCKDF award: $125,000

Deciphering DNA-encoded gene-regulatory logic with genome-scale synthetic DNA

The funding will be used to shed light on the complex genetic underpinnings behind common inherited diseases affecting British Columbians, such as autoimmunity and heart disease, which will pave the way for the development of cellular therapies and targeted treatments for patients.

Principal investigator: Carl de Boer, School of Biomedical Engineering
BCKDF award: $125,000

DNA event recording technologies to decipher high-resolution dynamics of molecules and cells in mammalian development

The funding will support the development of new genetic circuit devices that will advance understanding of complex biological systems and enable the development of innovative cell-based therapies for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Principal investigator: Nozomu Yachie, School of Biomedical Engineering
BCKDF award: $400,000

Enabling Precision Health in COPD

The funding will help uncover better ways to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients using new molecular and imaging technologies. The research will support the development of innovative precision therapies that have the potential to improve the lives and enhance the health outcomes of millions of Canadians with COPD.

Principal investigator: Don Sin, Department of Medicine
BCKDF award: $185,935

Laboratory for Human-Animal Interaction and Companion Animal Welfare

The funding will help establish a state-of-the-art observation laboratory at UBC that will study the relationship between people and companion animals. By generating new discoveries in human-animal interactions, the laboratory will help transform the companion animal industry and promote animal welfare.

Principal Investigator: Alexandra Protopopova, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
BCKDF award: $125,000

Investigating How Mitochondrial Stress Signaling Maintains Organelle Homeostasis in Health and Disease

The funding will be used to study the role that mitochondrial damage plays in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The research will help uncover mechanisms to prevent this damage and develop new therapeutics to fight these otherwise incurable diseases. 

Principal investigator: Hilla Weidberg, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences
BCKDF award: $125,000

Investigating the neurophysiological effects and accumulation of subconcussive sports head impacts

The funding will provide researchers with state-of-the-art sensory equipment that will be used to uncover how the brain is affected by mild head impacts during contact sports. The technology will put B.C. at the forefront of brain injury detection and management, and help local companies design better protective sports equipment.

Principal investigator: Lyndia Wu, Department of Mechanical Engineering
BCKDF award: $125,000

MiDAS Microbial Diversity Expansion for Applied Sciences

The funding supports the development of new technologies that will expand the use of yeast for bioprocessing applications that benefit the environment, economy and health of British Columbians. These applications include the food and beverage industry (e.g., wine, beer and dough), removal of pollutants from the environment and the production of non-animal proteins, enzymes and new medicines.

Principal investigators: Thibault Mayor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Vivien Measday, Wine Research Centre
BCKDF award: $3,276,459

Plant-pollinator and global change lab

The funding will help deepen the understanding of the threats facing wild bees and the extent to which these threats can be mitigated through changing land use practices. The knowledge gained will help protect critical pollinators that support healthy ecosystems and many of B.C.’s most important crops.

Principal investigator: Risa Sargent, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
BCKDF award: $123,454

Reactor for Atmospheric Transformations (ReACTr) to track the fate of outdoor and indoor air molecules

The funding will provide researchers with measurement equipment for the study of key particles in the air British Columbians breathe, such as those emitted by boreal forests, personal care products, mining activity and coastal marine life, and the impact these compounds have on air pollution and human health.

Principal investigator: Nadine Borduas-Dedekind, Department of Chemistry
BCKDF award: $191,000

Social Sciences / Humanities

Ensuring Full Literacy in a Multicultural and Digital World

This funding will deploy advanced technologies, such as eyetracking, electroencephalogram (EEGs) and deep-learning systems, to study how to advance full literacy for all British Columbians and Canadians. By identifying factors that improve spoken language and reading skills, the research will support the development of literacy materials and technological platforms that are better tailored to learners of different ages and from different backgrounds.

Principal investigator: Janet Werker, Department of Psychology
BCKDF award: $199,968

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