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News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Want to recycle or compost more? Try moving the bins closer, new UBC research suggests. The study shows that placing bins 1.5 metres away from suite doors drastically boosts recycling and composting rates by 141 per cent. The findings highlight how small changes in convenience can have a big impact on performance. "We know people care about the environment but having the desire to recycle and compost doesn't always translate into behaviour changes," said Alessandra DiGiacomo, the study's lead author and a PhD student in the UBC department of psychology. "Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that people composted and recycled much more when we made it more convenient." Since convenience has been shown to change other types of behaviours, such as choosing healthier food options, the researchers predicted that convenience would also increase composting and recycling behaviours. To test their theory, they placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option). The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver's west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at UBC. For 10 weeks, the researchers examined and weighed the waste. They found that when compost bins were placed on each floor in the apartment buildings, instead of on the ground floor, composting rates increased by 70 per cent, diverting 27 kilograms of compost from the landfill per unit per year. When recycling stations were placed just 1.5 meters from suites in student residences, instead of in the basement, recycling and composting increased by an average of 141 per cent, diverting an average of nearly 20 kilograms of waste from the landfill per person per year. "The findings show a minor change in the environment can have a huge impact on behaviour," said study co-author Jiaying Zhao, professor in the UBC department of psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. "Traditional views are that we have to educate people about the importance of recycling and composting, but we believe that's the wrong model because people already know. Simple factors, such as convenience, can be key to helping us become more environmentally friendly." The findings have big implications for waste management and environmental policy, highlighting unique aspects of human behaviour. While people have a desire to do better, Zhao said intentions don't always predict behaviour. "We call this intention-action gap," said Zhao. "What psychologists can do is change the environment a little bit so that our actions can follow through on our intentions. We need to provide solutions and alternatives to current practices to help people recycle and compost more." The study, published this month in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, was co-authored by David Wu, Peter Lenkic and Alan Kingstone in the UBC department of psychology, and Bud Fraser of UBC Campus and Community Planning.


News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

After some serious number crunching, a UBC researcher has come up with a mathematical model for a viable time machine. Ben Tippett, a mathematics and physics instructor at UBC's Okanagan campus, recently published a study about the feasibility of time travel. Tippett, whose field of expertise is Einstein's theory of general relativity, studies black holes and science fiction when he's not teaching. Using math and physics, he has created a formula that describes a method for time travel. "People think of time travel as something as fiction," says Tippett. "And we tend to think it's not possible because we don't actually do it. But, mathematically, it is possible." Ever since HG Wells published his book Time Machine in 1885, people have been curious about time travel--and scientists have worked to solve or disprove the theory, he says. In 1915 Albert Einstein announced his theory of general relativity, stating that gravitational fields are caused by distortions in the fabric of space and time. More than 100 years later, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration--an international team of physics institutes and research groups--announced the detection of gravitational waves generated by colliding black holes billions of lightyears away, confirming Einstein's theory. The division of space into three dimensions, with time in a separate dimension by itself, is incorrect, says Tippett. The four dimensions should be imagined simultaneously, where different directions are connected, as a space-time continuum. Using Einstein's theory, Tippett says that the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets. In "flat" -- or uncurved -- space-time, planets and stars would move in straight lines. In the vicinity of a massive star, space-time geometry becomes curved and the straight trajectories of nearby planets will follow the curvature and bend around star. "The time direction of the space-time surface also shows curvature. There is evidence showing the closer to a black hole we get, time moves slower," says Tippett. "My model of a time machine uses the curved space-time -- to bend time into a circle for the passengers, not in a straight line. That circle takes us back in time." While it is possible to describe this type of time travel using a mathematical equation, Tippett doubts that anyone will ever build a machine to make it work. "HG Wells popularized the term 'time machine' and he left people with the thought that an explorer would need a 'machine or special box' to actually accomplish time travel," Tippett says. "While is it mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials--which we call exotic matter--to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered." For his research, Tippett created a mathematical model of a Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time (TARDIS). He describes it as a bubble of space-time geometry which carries its contents backward and forwards through space and time as it tours a large circular path. The bubble moves through space-time at speeds greater than the speed of light at times, allowing it to move backward in time. "Studying space-time is both fascinating and problematic. And it's also a fun way to use math and physics," says Tippett. "Experts in my field have been exploring the possibility of mathematical time machines since 1949. And my research presents a new method for doing it." Tippett's research was recently published in the IOPscience Journal "Classical and Quantum Gravity".


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Less than a year after publishing research identifying a single genetic mutation that caused multiple sclerosis (MS) in two Canadian families, scientists at the University of British Columbia have found a combination of two other mutations in another family that made them highly susceptible to the disease. The "double gene" mutation was identified in a large Canadian family with five members diagnosed with MS - all of whom had the DNA abnormality. Two other family members had the same mutation but didn't develop MS, indicating that some other genetic or environmental conditions are still necessary to trigger the disease process. The discovery of this mutation, on top of last year's findings, should help erase doubts that at least some forms of MS are inherited. The prevailing view has been that a combination of many genetic variations causes a slight increase in susceptibility. In this family, individuals with the double gene mutation have about a 7-in-10 chance of developing MS, compared to a 1-in-1,000 risk in the general population. These mutations, described in the journal Human Mutation, impair both immune function and phagocytosis, the process by which cells eliminate debris and pathogens. "This is the first time that problems with phagocytosis have been linked to MS, and provides scientists with a better understanding the disease's origins and targets for developing new treatments," said lead author Carles Vilarino-Guell, an Assistant Professor of Medical Genetics who collaborated with colleagues at Australia's Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. The findings also could be used to screen people with a family history of the disease; an individual who was found to have this mutation could be a candidate for early diagnostic imaging long before symptoms appear, or could opt to reduce environmental risks by taking Vitamin D supplements or quitting smoking. MS results from the body's immune system attacking myelin, the fatty material that insulates neurons and enables rapid transmission of electrical signals. When myelin is damaged, communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, difficulty with balance and coordination, and cognitive impairments. Canada has one of the highest rate of MS in the world, for reasons that elude scientists. The double mutation, unlike the single mutation described last year, leads to the more typical "relapsing-remitting" form of MS, in which the symptoms come and go. These differences in clinical symptoms suggests that different biological processes are responsible for each type of MS, which could explain why treatments for relapsing-remitting patients are ineffective for people with more debilitating, progressive form of the disease. The family with this mutation had donated to a Canadian-wide collection of blood samples from people with MS, begun in 1993 by co-author A. Dessa Sadovnick, a UBC Professor of Medical Genetics and Neurology. The 20-year project, funded by the MS Society of Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation, has samples from 4,400 people with MS, plus 8,600 blood relatives - one of the largest such biobanks in the world, stored at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health's Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.


News Article | March 17, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

"After years of improvement efforts motivated by the need to adapt to external challenges, we are now starting to take advantage of new opportunities. After years of talking about being part of the solution, we are now turning words into action. In everyday operations Hydro is a producer of aluminium. In the broader picture, I see Hydro in the business of making the world lighter - by light-weighting people's daily lives and by easing the burden of climate change by saving greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy-efficiency," President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg writes in his letter to shareholders. "More and more discover the inherent properties of aluminium. Through innovation and product development we bring new aluminium solutions into new applications. Due to its light weight, formability, durability and endless recyclability, the growth is strikingly broad-based, spanning sectors like transportation, packaging, building & construction as well as electrical applications. While other base metals seem to have reached the point of saturation in many markets, aluminium still has a significant potential for increased use. In 2017 we're expecting demand for aluminium to grow by a healthy 3-5 percent," Brandtzæg says. "Last year we invested in future-oriented projects that we expect to be successful seen from a strategic, financial and a climate point of view. In 2017 three important symbols of the new era will be in full operation; the Karmøy Technology Pilot in Norway, the Automotive Line 3 and the UBC recycling line in Germany, Brandtzæg continues. "Seizing new opportunities doesn't mean that we have put our improvement efforts behind us. It's in our company DNA to always improve and renew and do better tomorrow than we did yesterday - in safety, in operations, and financially. I am especially pleased with how the improvement efforts are giving tangible results in safety. Our first duty is to make sure that our colleagues return home from work just as safe and sound as when they turn up. A year without fatalities and a TRI rate of 2.6 (work-related injuries per million work hours) make 2016 our best-ever, both for our own employees and contractors. We can never take safety for granted. We have to work for it and be aware every single day, aiming at zero fatalities and a TRI rate below 2 by 2020. Improvements also materialize on the bottom-line. By delivering NOK 1.4 billion in improvements in 2016, we surpassed our NOK 1.1 billion target. It encourages me to see that our people even know how to do 'Better' better. It also allows us to offer a safe and reliable dividend to shareholders," Brandtzæg says. "I am happy, not only about the results we achieve, but also by how we achieve them. By being a 360 degree aluminium company, fully integrated along the entire aluminium value-chain, Hydro is in a unique position to control every step of production, and be responsible - for the land, water and forests, for our employees and the communities we engage with, for the energy use and emissions in our processes, and for bringing end products back into the loop to be used over again. By being part of the solution to some of the mega trends of our time, light-weighting being one of them - supported by determined implementation of ever new steps under the Better, Bigger, Greener aspiration - we are ready to set out for another 100 years. It's an inherent strength of our Hydro Way. We have the patience to take the long-term perspective, and the eagerness to use every opportunity, every day, to make things happen, " Brandtzæg says. The report, meeting the Norwegian statutory requirements for annual reporting, is "Financial Statements and Board of Directors' Report - 2016." This report is available in Norwegian and English. In addition, a more extensive report is available, "Annual Report - 2016," with detailed information about Hydro's businesses, operational performance, financial performance, viability performance, corporate governance and financial statements. The report is available in English. At www.hydro.com/reporting2016 content from the two reports is presented with supplementary information. All parts of the reports can be downloaded from this web site and printed in PDF format on demand. Hydro's main reporting on viability performance is included in the "Annual Report - 2016," with additional details on www.hydro.com/reporting2016 Cautionary note Certain statements included in this announcement contain forward-looking information, including, without limitation, information relating to (a) forecasts, projections and estimates, (b) statements of Hydro management concerning plans, objectives and strategies, such as planned expansions, investments, divestments, curtailments or other projects, (c) targeted production volumes and costs, capacities or rates, start-up costs, cost reductions and profit objectives, (d) various expectations about future developments in Hydro's markets, particularly prices, supply and demand and competition, (e) results of operations, (f) margins, (g) growth rates, (h) risk management, and (i) qualified statements such as "expected", "scheduled", "targeted", "planned", "proposed", "intended" or similar. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and forecasts that, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty. Various factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in a forward-looking statement or affect the extent to which a particular projection is realized. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: our continued ability to reposition and restructure our upstream and downstream businesses; changes in availability and cost of energy and raw materials; global supply and demand for aluminium and aluminium products; world economic growth, including rates of inflation and industrial production; changes in the relative value of currencies and the value of commodity contracts; trends in Hydro's key markets and competition; and legislative, regulatory and political factors. No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct.  Hydro disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 12, 2017, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit officially appointed Celeste Haldane to a three-year term as Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission. “It is an honour to be appointed Chief Commissioner at this important time for reconciliation in Canada and in British Columbia. Modern treaties are the best path to a true Nation to Nation relationship for all parties, self-determination for First Nations, and for the implementation of the UN Declaration,” said Haldane. “With political will from all parties, several treaties can be achieved in the next three years. The Treaty Commission will assist the parties in concluding negotiations and moving to a new relationship of reconciliation.” Celeste is a practising lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). In 2015, she began her Doctorate at UBC in Anthropology & Law. Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit www.bctreaty.ca to learn more about the Treaty Commission.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 12, 2017, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit officially appointed Celeste Haldane to a three-year term as Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission. “It is an honour to be appointed Chief Commissioner at this important time for reconciliation in Canada and in British Columbia. Modern treaties are the best path to a true Nation to Nation relationship for all parties, self-determination for First Nations, and for the implementation of the UN Declaration,” said Haldane. “With political will from all parties, several treaties can be achieved in the next three years. The Treaty Commission will assist the parties in concluding negotiations and moving to a new relationship of reconciliation.” Celeste is a practising lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). In 2015, she began her Doctorate at UBC in Anthropology & Law. Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit www.bctreaty.ca to learn more about the Treaty Commission.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 12, 2017, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit officially appointed Celeste Haldane to a three-year term as Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission. “It is an honour to be appointed Chief Commissioner at this important time for reconciliation in Canada and in British Columbia. Modern treaties are the best path to a true Nation to Nation relationship for all parties, self-determination for First Nations, and for the implementation of the UN Declaration,” said Haldane. “With political will from all parties, several treaties can be achieved in the next three years. The Treaty Commission will assist the parties in concluding negotiations and moving to a new relationship of reconciliation.” Celeste is a practising lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). In 2015, she began her Doctorate at UBC in Anthropology & Law. Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit www.bctreaty.ca to learn more about the Treaty Commission.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On April 12, 2017, the governments of Canada, British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit officially appointed Celeste Haldane to a three-year term as Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission. “It is an honour to be appointed Chief Commissioner at this important time for reconciliation in Canada and in British Columbia. Modern treaties are the best path to a true Nation to Nation relationship for all parties, self-determination for First Nations, and for the implementation of the UN Declaration,” said Haldane. “With political will from all parties, several treaties can be achieved in the next three years. The Treaty Commission will assist the parties in concluding negotiations and moving to a new relationship of reconciliation.” Celeste is a practising lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). In 2015, she began her Doctorate at UBC in Anthropology & Law. Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit www.bctreaty.ca to learn more about the Treaty Commission.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

​Istuary Innovation Group has kicked off the first of a series of talks, Make the Change: Women in STEM, focused on creating opportunities and efforts to build a more diverse, inclusive workforce in Canada. The first talk, held yesterday, was in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, featuring leading academic Professor Elizabeth Croft, well known for increasing the percentage of female students entering first year engineering at UBC to 30 per cent from 20 per cent during her tenure as NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. Research presented by Professor Croft covering women in STEM professions indicates only 12 percent of hires in computing and engineering were women as of 2013. “One of the biggest challenges for attracting women, in my experience, is in building their confidence,” said Professor Elizabeth Croft, Associate Dean for Education and Professional Development, University of British Columbia. “This can be done by creating a welcoming environment and addressing their feelings of ‘imposteritis,’ that is, feeling like an imposter no matter how successful or established one is.” Istuary grew from zero women hires when it first started in 2013 to 20 percent in less than three years. Jean Su, Vice President of Engineering, Innovation Labs, who also spoke today, was the first female software developer hired at the company a year and a half ago. Underrepresentation of women led Istuary to make significant strides to increase the number of women with backgrounds from mechanical engineering to software development and computer design. “I developed my career in a heavily male-dominated industry but I saw it more as an opportunity,” said Su. “I studied in Canada at UBC then worked in China, where my female colleagues are expected to work for a few years then leave and have a family. Canada is more advanced in providing huge opportunities for women, but it needs to be better. From a business perspective, it just makes logical sense.” Istuary will host Make the Change: Women in STEM Talks regularly. For more information, contact: media@istuary.com. Istuary Innovation Group is a Canadian technology company with a mission to connect local technology to global markets through globalization for sustainable innovation. Istuary focuses on identifying and filling technology gaps in foreign markets by leveraging Canada’s world-class design and engineering talent. Operating in 3 countries, 30 cities, and employing over 1500 employees worldwide, go to www.istuary.com for more information.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.medicalnewstoday.com

The international team behind the study - which is published in the journal European Urology - includes members from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Senior author Mads Daugaard, a senior research scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and an assistant professor of urologic science at UBC, says that this the first time that the idea of using malaria proteins to treat cancer has been put "into a direct clinical context." "There is a massive clinical need to find new treatments for bladder cancer and we saw an opportunity to target this disease with our new malaria drug," he adds. The bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvis that stores urine before it leaves the body. Muscle tissue in the walls of the bladder allow it to stretch to accommodate urine. Bladder cancer arises when cells in the bladder grow out of control. As more cancer cells grow, they can develop into a tumor and spread to neighboring tissue and other parts of the body. The American Cancer Society estimate that there will be approximately 79,030 new cases of bladder cancer and 16,870 deaths from the disease in the United States during 2017. Although it is the fifth most common cancer in the U.S., bladder cancer has the highest per patient cost. There is only one chemotherapy treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) - a predicament that has changed little in 20 years, say the researchers. The standard of care for MIBC is "cisplatin-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy." However, only around 40 percent of patients show a major response to this first-line treatment and therefore, "second-line treatment options for MIBC are currently in great demand," note the authors in their paper. The new study builds on previous work by Prof. Daugaard and co-investigator Ali Salanti, a professor in the Center for Medical Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. That research showed that a protein called VAR2CSA - normally found in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum - could deliver cancer drugs into tumors. The researchers say that the protein attaches to a particular group of sugar chains - called "oncofetal chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains (ofCS)" - that are normally found only in cancer tumors and placental tissue. Because cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer has unusually high levels of ofCS, Prof. Daugaard and colleagues decided to explore the potential for using VAR2CSA as a basis for treating this form of the disease. For the new study, the team used mice implanted with tumors taken from human patients with highly aggressive forms of MIBC. The researchers developed an experimental drug that combined certain domains of the VAR2CSA malarial protein with three cell-toxic compounds derived from a marine sponge. When they treated the mice with the combination drug, there was a dramatic effect: 80 percent of the mice survived for more than 70 days, whereas none of the mice in three other control groups that did not have the combination therapy survived. The team is now working on a way to produce the drug on a larger scale for use in clinical trials. Profs. Daugaard and Salanti will be leading the work at a company that they started. Learn why a type of bladder cancer has similar molecular features to breast cancer.

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