Research, innovation make people’s lives better

Research, innovation make people’s lives better

The BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) has awarded more than $3.3 million to invest in research infrastructure for 11 projects at the University of British Columbia (UBC) – Vancouver Campus.

The BCKDF shares project funding with other funding partners, including the Canada Foundation for Innovation. These investments help ensure that UBC will have the latest scientific equipment and infrastructure to be well positioned to lead BC into the future.

Health and Life Sciences:

Infrastructure for laboratory simulations of interstellar chemistry
The BCKDF provides $125,000 for research infrastructure to investigate the journey of molecules from their birth in the vacuum of space to their transport to new planets and other worlds. The laboratory will develop unique tools to simulate reactions in space. The measurements will have applications to the life cycle of molecules in our own atmosphere, including important pollutants that affect the health of British Columbians. The project will provide exceptional training to highly qualified personnel and will prepare them for careers in academia, industry and the space sector.
Researcher: Ilsa Cooke

Research in Physical Activity and Exercise with, by and for hard-to-reach communities (RESPECT) collaboration
The BCKDF is providing $639,239 for infrastructure for research at the RESPECT Collaboratory, which will develop, evaluate, and disseminate physical activity interventions with, by, and for hard-to-reach and equitable populations. Short-term benefits include co-creating tailored and effective interventions for individuals seeking help for depression, women living with HIV and military veterans, among others. The vision is to be the leading international research center for physical activity and exercise interventions in hard-to-reach populations by 2030.

Research from the RESPECT Collaboratory will improve the quality of life of equity deserving groups in British Columbia.
Researcher: Guy Faulkner

Facility for the Study of Insect Adaptability and Physiology (FSIAP)
The BCKDF provides $781,055 for the FSIASP. The facility is designed to help researchers better understand how insects respond to climate change, so they can predict, control and manage the effects of their distribution, as well as study how changing temperature regimes affect their metabolism and energy use, as they move towards looking for genetic signatures. which predicts whether some insects are more or less suitable for specific climates. This data will be used to predict the future distributions of insects of concern within British Columbia and Canada, starting with Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that can spread several viral diseases, and Choristoneura fumiferana, a moth that destroys large areas of forest.
Researcher: Philip Matthews

Endometriosis Integrated Pain Lab
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that affects one in 10 people and is a common cause of infertility and pelvic pain, including painful periods, sexual pain and chronic pain.

The BCKDF is providing $75,001 to invest in lab space for state-of-the-art sensory nervous system pain testing, building on existing lab space to lead to an endometriosis integrated pain lab. The expected outcomes are better precision care for endometriosis.

In the short term, this research will raise BC’s profile as an international leader in endometriosis research, and in the long term, there will be cost savings for BC’s health care system by preventing unnecessary repeat surgeries for endometriosis.
Researcher: Paul Yong

Visualization of immune cell activities using live cell imaging and confocal microscopy
The BCKDF is providing $140,000 for research infrastructure that will help understand how immune cells that ingest bacteria, viruses and foreign pathogens actively contribute to normal development of a fetus. By studying these cells using advanced imaging technologies, researchers will be able to investigate how maternal insults (eg, periodontal infection) experienced during pregnancy alter these cells to result in developmental abnormalities. The knowledge gained from this research will have broad implications in maternal-fetal health and will benefit Canadians by supporting health professionals in their recommendations to pregnant people regarding the potential risks associated with specific actions during pregnancy.
Researcher: Jessica Rosin

Precision oncology for gynecological cancers
Gynecological cancer affects 1,600 British Columbians each year and the number of new cases is expected to increase by one-third over the next 15 years.

The BCKDF is providing $325,000 for an infrastructure project that will accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic targets for rare and difficult-to-treat gynecological cancers and enable the development of tools that can determine a patient’s risk and help guide their treatment. The long-term goal of this project is to generate new knowledge that will improve health outcomes for British Columbians with gynecological cancer.

The infrastructure will also enable training of highly qualified personnel on the latest technologies in proteogenomics.
Researcher: Jessica McAlpine

Infrastructure for AI-Integrated Point-of-Care Ultrasound Imaging for Decentralized Healthcare
The BCKDF is providing $158,055 to invest in infrastructure that will lead to the development of an AI-guided point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) imaging platform. The system will provide remote, early stage disease risk assessment of non-communicable diseases. In addition to training highly skilled trainees in AI, the project has the potential to decentralize patient care which will help reach underserved groups disproportionately affected by NCDs in BC
Researcher: Ilker Hacihaliloglu

Laboratory for the advanced study of dietary ecology of modern and ancient organisms
The BCKDF is providing $123,515 for laboratory equipment to build a state-of-the-art stable isotope facility for the advanced study of food webs in modern and ancient environments. The project will advance the understanding of diet and food web dynamics of modern wild and fossil animals. The research and the infrastructure built by this facility will be a critical resource for wildlife conservation and environmental monitoring of British Columbia’s natural environments, as well as attracting world-class researchers for collaboration and training.
Researcher: Kendra Chritz

Information and communication technology and wireless:

Computational infrastructure for accelerating quantum technology
Quantum computers possess the power to solve numerous problems in materials science, chemistry and optimization that are fundamentally beyond the reach of even the most advanced conventional computers.

The BCKDF is providing $800,000 to invest in the construction of a high-performance computing cluster to design next-generation quantum algorithms and devices, a semiconductor-based quantum processor prototype being developed at the University of British Columbia, and to expand these technologies integrate to make a unique quantum-accelerated supercomputer.

This system will strengthen BC and Canada’s role as a world leader for quantum computing research, and promote training of highly qualified personnel for a future quantum workforce.
Researcher: Andrew Potter

Natural resources:

Integrated Climate Change and Aquaculture System (ICCAS) for multi-stressor experiments on commercial juvenile fish
Climate change and food security are two of the biggest challenges facing the world today.
The BCKDF is providing $125,000 to invest in infrastructure for the ICCAS, an innovative experimental facility to conduct multi-stressor climate change experiments on the early and most vulnerable life stages of freshwater and marine fish. The system will be used to determine species- and life-stage-specific sensitivity thresholds of commercial species to heat stress, hypoxia and acidification, in order to improve fisheries management and sustainable aquaculture practices in BC
Researcher: Andrea Frommel

Infrastructure for the field-based investigation of the impact of climate change on sedimentary systems
The BCKDF is providing $91,554 for the project, which examines the impacts of climate change on BC landscapes, including rivers, erosion, sediment deposition and environmental change, as well as impacts on BC’s transportation network and industries, such as mining, forestry and energy. The project focuses on understanding and preparing for the impact of climate change.
Researcher: Mitch D’Arcy

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