The Ring

Bob McDonald: The joy of (communicating) science

Mon, 2012-03-19 08:57

McDonald prepares for his lecture. Photo: Phil Saunders
McDonald prepares for his lecture. Photo: Phil Saunders

Bob McDonald, distinguished CBC science commentator and host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, entertained a nearly full house at the Farquhar Auditorium on March 14 as the Axys Group Distinguished Speaker Series’ inaugural lecturer. Reflecting on the topic “Science as I’ve Seen It,” he described the advantages of being a science journalist and the freedom this has offered him in making knowledge more engaging and accessible to the public.

Science honours students parade their research

Thu, 2012-03-08 12:46

L-R: Emma Conway describes her first-place research project to remblay, Gillis a
L-R: Emma Conway describes her first-place research project to remblay, Gillis and Lipson. Photo: Phil Saunders

A throng of people gathers around an island of poster boards in the atrium of the Bob Wright Centre. Undergraduate students are proudly discussing their research to a caravan of professors judging them on their research and the way they explain it. Welcome to HonoursFest 2012, the first annual celebration of undergraduate science research at UVic.

Travel award to Hof

Thu, 2012-03-08 12:42

Dr. Fraser Hof (chemistry), Canada Research Chair in Supramolecular and Medicinal Chemistry, has been selected to receive one of four 2012 travel awards bestowed by the Canadian National Committee for the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (CNC/IUPAC). The travel awards program is highly competitive amongst the most outstanding young faculty members across Canada. The award will fund Hof’s costs to attend the International Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry in Durham, UK, in September 2012.

UVic biochemist wins Steacie national research award

Thu, 2012-03-08 12:28

Boraston and PhD student Melissa Cid in the lab
Boraston and PhD student Melissa Cid in the lab. Photo: NSERC

Finding molecular ways to thwart microbial infections and generate biofuels will be uppermost in the mind of University of Victoria biochemist Dr. Alisdair Boraston for the next two years. Boraston is one of six Canadian scientists to be awarded a prestigious 2012 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, announced on Feb. 27 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Purkis, Weaver win 2012 Victoria Leadership Awards

Thu, 2012-03-08 12:23

Weaver. Photo: Diana Nethercott
Weaver. Photo: Diana Nethercott

UVic climatologist Dr. Andrew Weaver and Dr. Mary Ellen Purkis, dean of UVic's Faculty of Human and Social Development, are this year's recipients of the University of Victoria Community Leadership Awards. On Feb. 21 they were two of 29 nominees celebrated at the eighth annual Victoria Leadership Awards (VLA) gala at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Cosmic mystery deepens

Thu, 2012-03-08 11:50

Composite image of Abell 520. Photo: NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M. J. Jee and A. Mahd
Composite image of Abell 520. Photo: NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M. J. Jee and A. Mahdavi

In a study appearing in this month’s Astrophysical Journal, an international team of scientists—including an astrophysicist from the University of Victoria—use data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to confirm the presence of a baffling gigantic clump of dark matter at the very heart of Abell 520, a “high-speed cosmic pile-up” involving multiple massive clusters of galaxies 2.4 billion light years from Earth.

In memoriam: Dawna Brand

Thu, 2012-03-08 11:18

Dawna Brand, a senior laboratory instructor in the Department of Biology, died unexpectedly on Feb. 1 after having suffered ruptured brain aneurysms. Dawna was much loved by her students, which is exemplified by the many thank you cards and notes of appreciation from those whose lives she touched that filled her office.

“Oil sands article” heats up climate change debate

Thu, 2012-03-08 11:15

Climate change and the Alberta oil sands are two related topics that never fail to capture international media attention when new information is published. Combine the two topics into a single article and you get the avalanche of media calls handled by UVic climatologist Andrew Weaver and one of his PhD students, Neil Swart, over the week of Feb. 19.

Marine biologist recognized as “rising star”

Thu, 2012-03-08 10:58

Dr. Julia Baum (biology) is among 126 recipients of the 2012 Sloan Fellowships, announced in February by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The annual award honours early-career scientists and scholars whose potential and achievements identify them as rising stars. This is the first year the Sloan Award has included ocean sciences. Baum’s research explores the impact of fishing on the life of predatory species, such as sharks. More:

Sprigg wins international prize for undergrad-authored research article

Thu, 2012-03-01 11:53

L-R: Ausio, Sprigg, Choy
L-R: Ausio, Sprigg, Choy

Lyndsay Sprigg (BSc 2009 Biochemistry and Microbiology) in November received the prestigious International North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) research award, presented to an undergraduate who was first author in an important publication during the previous year. She was primary author of “Interaction of daunomycin with acetylated chromatin,” published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry—the most cited and highest-impact journal in medicinal chemistry—and co-authored by UVic’s Dr. Juan Ausio (her honours thesis supervisor) and Francis Choy. Sprigg received the highest ratings from the adjudicating committee in her category and was given the top award. After graduation, Sprigg continued her research with the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver for a year and is currently studying medicine at the UBC Kelowna campus. The NRW Research Schools, which bestow the award, were founded as an initiative of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. International networks of renowned scientists, world leading supervisors and excellent scientific environments, the NRW Research Schools provide a forum for pre-doctoral candidates with superior academic track records.