Analyzing First Nations well-being under self-governance

But the Tsawwassen First Nation lacked systematic information about their people such as their socio-economic status, education, health, and desires for a better community — information vital to guide the self-governance process.  They reached out to University of British Columbia professor Ralph Matthews from the Department of Sociology to help conduct a detailed survey on all aspects of well-being of the population. 

Postcard from Brazil: UBC student brings laser experiment to Rio de Janeiro

I knew I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity but I was still scared.  When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, I had no idea what to expect. It was my first trip to South America, I didn’t speak any Portuguese, and I only knew my Brazilian supervisor, whom I’d met once before.

After I landed, I was greeted at the airport and taken to UFRJ and then to my apartment in Santa Teresa, an old neighbourhood on a hill. Once I looked out my window and saw the view of the bay and Sugarloaf Mountain, I realized just where I was. It was amazing.

A passion for medicine

Working alongside Dr. Tim Storr in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Chemistry, Laura and her team of colleagues are screening compounds that bind metals, such as zinc and copper, to look for therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. For Laura, the hands-on research and interactive laboratory setting has been a rewarding experience. “Collaborating with my labmates has been truly inspirational. We’re tackling the project from different perspectives and sharing our methods of research.”

Using technology to fight disease

Bojan Ramadanovic, a postdoctoral fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences (IRMACS) Centre at Simon Fraser University, specializes in mathematical modeling of complex social systems, including the spread of disease and delivery of healthcare. Through Mitacs-Accelerate and working under his academic supervisor, Dr. Alexander Rutherford, he partnered with pharmaceuticals company Merck Canada Inc.

Natural healing with Kisameet clay

Found in the glacial deposit at Kisameet Bay on the British Columbia coast, the clay, now trademarked as “Kisolite”, is naturally antimicrobial.

Kisameet Glacial Clay Inc. has exclusive rights to harvest the clay for commercial use.  But the company needed solid scientific evidence of its medicinal properties prior to going to market.

Professor Profile: Professor Bozena Kaminska – SFU

Originally from Poland, Dr. Kaminska moved to Canada in 1986 and held a professor position at Polytechnique de Montréal for fourteen years, before heading to the United States with her start-up company OPMAXX.  After the company’s acquisition, she returned to Canada and was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. She has been based at School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University since 2005.

Dr. Kaminska found Mitacs Accelerate as the perfect fit to advance her own research and apply it in an industrial setting.

Research from the heart

Diego comes from Guadalajara, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education where he is working towards his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology. It was his initial intrigue with DNA that drove him to this field of study, but now the possibility that his research will have real world impact has pushed him to pursue his masters.

A step forward in computer security

Marcelo is currently working on a project where he analyzes short online documents, such as emails, to check the identity of the author. His research is integral to the field of computer security because there have only been a handful of studies on this topic.  “Authorship verification of online documents can play a critical role in various criminal cases such as blackmailing and terrorist activities, says Marcelo.” “Sharing my research with others is integral to the field of computer security, and Mitacs Step has provided me with the necessary communication skills to do so.”

Improving earthquake safety with Mitacs-Accelerate

It is this knowledge that Kamloops-based firm West Edge Engineering Ltd. was looking for when they approached UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering.

There, they were teamed up with Engineering Masters student Konrad Duerr, through a Mitacs-Accelerate internship.

Konrad worked on implementing seismic hazard assessment computer software at West Edge, allowing the company to carry out earthquake risk assessments on buildings – something they had not been able to do before the internship.

Improving wheelchair safety

Airbags have been widely used to prevent injuries in automobile accidents for many years and Vancouver-based Mobisafe Systems Inc. has been examining ways to make wheelchairs safer using similar technology.

They approached the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, seeking academic research expertise on how to develop an “airbag” safety system for wheelchairs using a foam cushion.

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