Peter Wall News Feed





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Janis Sarra named in Top 25 Women of Influence

Janis Sarra named in Top 25 Women of Influence

Dr. Janis Sarra, UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor at the Peter Wall Institute and UBC Professor of Law, has been ranked as one of this year's Top 25 Women of Influence.

Dr. Sarra ranked 5th right behind Kathleen Wynne, Premier of the Government of Ontario in the public sector category.

The Top 25 Women of Influence recognizes a select group of executives who have achieved the highest levels of professional success in business, health, non-government organizations, professional services and the public sector. Having made a significant difference  in their fields, these women serve as important role models for future female leaders across Canada. All 25 women will be profiled in the winter issue of Women of Influence magazine.

For more information on Women of Influence, please visit

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Peter Wall Distinguished Professor to lead new CIFAR research program

Peter Wall Distinguished Professor to lead new CIFAR research program

Dr. B. Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, and Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children and Professor, University of Toronto, will lead a new Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) program, which will explore the role that microbial organisms have in human development and behaviour.

The research program was recently approved by the CIFAR Board of Directors after a Global Call for Ideas was issued in April 2013. Leading researchers from across Canada and around the world were invited to submit proposals to create research networks that would tackle complex questions of global significance.

The program, Microbes & Humans, aims to develop a deeper understanding of how human microbiota effect human health, development and evolution. It will explore the role that the microbial organisms that reside within us (microbiota) have in human development and behaviour, and how the microbiota has impacted evolution and the dynamics of society and culture – new thinking in this emerging field will improve our understanding of personal and global health.

Dr. Finlay's areas of research interest and accomplishment include host-parasite interactions of pathogenic bacteria, especially enteric bacteria, and pioneering the use of polarized epithelial cells as models to study pathogenic bacteria penetrating through epithelial barriers. Research in his lab is focused on understanding bacterial pathogenesis from the perspective of both pathogen and host. Dr. Finlay holds appointments as UBC Professor in the Michael Smith Labs and in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Immunology. To learn more about his research, watch this short video.

The start-up phase of the program is expected to begin in 2015.

To learn more about CIFAR’s new research programs, click here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dr. Jamie Peck named a 2014 Highly Cited Researcher

Dr. Jamie Peck named a 2014 Highly Cited Researcher

Dr. Jamie Peck, 2013-2014 Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence and UBC Professor of Geography, has been named one of 2014’s most Highly Cited Researchers according to Thomson Reuters.

The multimedia and information firm has generated a new list of Highly Cited Researchers in the sciences and social sciences to update and complement a previously published list that was presented on the website

Highly Cited Researchers 2014 represents some of world’s leading scientific minds. Over 3000 researchers earned the distinction by writing the greatest numbers of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators℠ as Highly Cited Papers—ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.

To learn more about Highly Cited Researchers 2014, please follow this link.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dr. Janis Sarra receives YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Dr. Janis Sarra receives YWCA Women of Distinction Award

The Institute wishes to congratulate Dr. Janis Sarra on receiving a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training and Development on June 3, 2014.  

Dr. Sarra is a UBC law professor and UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor at the Peter Wall Institute. She is an internationally recognized expert in corporate finance, banking and securities regulation. She is an innovative educator, adept at fostering life-long professional development.

During her recent tenure as Director of the Peter Wall Institute at UBC, she created new programs of research and education, connecting early-career female scholars to world-leading researchers, supporting innovative interdisciplinary research. As founding Director of the UBC National Centre for Business Law, she helped educate and place women in business and finance, developing innovative new courses to ensure all law students, but particularly women, are well prepared to assume leadership roles.

Recognized nationally as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women, the Women of Distinction Awards honour women whose outstanding achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community. The Awards also honour businesses and organizations that support the wellness and diverse needs of their employees. The Women of Distinction Awards is YWCA Metro Vancouver’s premier fundraising event.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sarra on this award.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Interim Director Announced

New Interim Director Announced

The Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nancy Gallini as the Director, pro tem of the Peter Wall Institute.

Dr. Gallini is a professor in UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics (VSE).  Prior to coming to VSE, she was a faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto (1979-2002, chair of the Department 1995-2000) and Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia (2002-2010).  Her research focuses on the economics of intellectual property, competition policy, strategic alliances, licensing, and patent policy. She has served on editorial boards of the American Economic Review and the International Journal of Industrial Organization, and is currently a member of SSHRC Council and the Mitacs Research Council.  Dr. Gallini has also worked with the Competition Bureau and Industry Canada on projects related to Canada’s patent and competition policies.

Her appointment is for a one year term, effective July 1, 2014.  A search for a permanent director will be started in the Fall.

Please join the Institute in welcoming Dr. Gallini to her new role at the Institute.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dr. Janis Sarra appointed as UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor

Dr. Janis Sarra appointed as UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor

Dr. Janis Sarra has been appointed as UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor for a three-year term by UBC President Stephen Toope in recognition of her exceptional contributions to research and education. Dr. Sarra has stepped down as Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies to assume her new role and an Interim Director of the Peter Wall Institute will be announced shortly.

"Janis made a host of contributions that have significantly improved the Institute,” says Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Institute Distinguished Professor. “These have brought increased recognition of its work, both at UBC and internationally, as well as bringing in many major new programs for scholars.  During her time as Director, the Institute underwent a remarkable transformation, and is now considered one of the very top institutes for advanced studies in the world, serving as a model for many newer institutes," Finlay added, who also holds appointments at the Michael Smith Laboratories and in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Immunology at UBC.  

The designation of Presidential Distinguished Professor recognizes members of faculty who have made outstanding contributions as scholars and academic leaders.  In her time as Director of the Peter Wall Institute, Dr. Sarra helped transform the Institute into a world-leading institute for fundamental, advanced and applied research.  Initiatives such as the International Visiting Research Scholar Awards and the International Research Roundtable program have greatly expanded the Institute's global reach. 

“Thanks to Janis, the Institute has never been more closely engaged with the wider University and with communities beyond campus, locally, nationally and internationally,” affirms Derek Gregory, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor and UBC Professor of Geography. “Her leadership has been exemplary: a model of principle, vitality and imagination.  Through her interdisciplinary work on fairness, which managed the extraordinary feat of bringing together cutting-edge legal scholarship and contemporary dance, Janis not only pushed the envelope of advanced studies but also set the bar for public engagement at a new and challenging level.  We are all desperately sorry to see her step down, but it’s wonderful to know that in her new role she will continue to be closely involved with the Institute.”

Dr. Sarra is a UBC Professor in the Faculty of Law, where she previously served as Associate Dean and as founding Director of the National Centre for Business Law.  She is a globally recognized expert in corporate finance, banking and securities law.  Her many contributions to public policy development include her appointment as Expert Advisor to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group on Corporate Groups and Cross-Border Finance and Insolvency Law, and Expert Witness to the Canadian Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce in its Review of Insolvency Legislation.  Dr Sarra’s research has been cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada and numerous appellate courts.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

New awardees announced

The Institute is pleased to announce the awardees of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies International Research Roundtable Awards and Wall Colloquia Awards for 2014-2015. These prestigious awards of $20,000 to $45,000 are aimed at fostering excellence in research, serving as a catalyst for innovative long-term collaborative research between UBC, national and international scholars.

Distinguished Professor Research Colloquia

The Contours of Later Modern War
Dr. Derek Gregory, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, UBC

Public Policy Development as Related to Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Dr. Judith Hall, Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
Dr. Brett Finlay, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor,
Michael Smith Laboratories Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC

International Research Roundtables 2014-2015

Geopolitical Economies of Development and Democratization in East Asia
Dr. Jim Glassman, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, UBC
Dr. Jamie Peck, Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence,
Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, UBC

Seafood in an Uncertain Future: from Scenarios to Policies     
Dr. William Cheung, Changing Ocean Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, UBC
Dr. Yoshitaka Ota, NF-Nereus Program, Fisheries Centre, UBC
Dr. Masahiro Matsuura, Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo

Prosociality in History and Historiography: Can Big Gods Tip the Balance in World History?
Dr. Edward Slingerland, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, UBC
Dr. Brenton Sullivan, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, UBC

Building a Bio-analytical Theory for the Analysis of Marine Mammal Movements
Dr. Nancy Heckman, Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science, UBC
Dr. Matias Salibian-Barrera, Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science, UBC

Donning the Regalia: Maintaining Tradition in an Age of Modernity
Dr. Harry Nelson, Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry UBC
Dr. Janette Bulkan, Aboriginal Forestry, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Wall Colloquia Abroad at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies

Being Human Today: The Theory and Practice of Social Transformation through the Arts
Professor Michelle LeBaron, Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Faculty of Law, UBC

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Partnership With Global Civic Policy Society

The Peter Wall Institute is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Global Civic Policy Society (GCPS) for its Public Salon series.  The GCPS Public Salons are interdisciplinary gatherings - speakers from very different walks of life are given 7 minutes each to speak on a topic they are passionate about, generating lively discussion and community interest.  The GCPS undertakes efforts in partnership with educational institutions to achieve a more educated citizenry.  Peter Wall Institute Associates are invited to attend the upcoming Public Salon on May 14, 2014, and UBC students are eligible for a limited number of complimentary tickets.  Please contact the Institute for more information.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wall Scholars Awards announced

The Institute is pleased to announce that 17 UBC scholars have been selected as Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholars for 2014-2015. 

The Wall Scholars Research Award is available to UBC Faculty members to spend one year in residence at the Peter Wall Institute, in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment. 
The award selection is based primarily on the candidate’s scholarly achievements, excellence in research proposal for innovative research during residency, and the initiatives proposed to contribute to the intellectual life of the Institute.  The selection committee also takes into account the candidate’s demonstrated commitment to research outside usual disciplinary boundaries.

Scholars are provided with shared office space at the Peter Wall Institute, and up to $20,000 in funding. The term of the appointment for this year’s awardees will be from August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015.

For more information on the program, click here.

2014-2015 Wall Scholars

  • Dr. Sally Aitken, Professor, Forest and Conservation Sciences

  • Dr. James Feng, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Dr. Gastón Gordillo, Professor, Anthropology

  • Dr. John Oliffe, Professor, Nursing

  • Dr. Patricia Schulte, Professor, Zoology

  • Dr. Philippe Tortell, Associate Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Botany

  • Dr. Vanessa Andreotti, Associate Professor, Educational Studies

  • Dr. Glen Coulthard, Assistant Professor, Political Science and First Nations Studies Program

  • Dr. Clarence de Silva, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

  • Dr. Amin Ghaziani, Assistant Professor, Sociology

  • Dr. C.W. Marshall, Professor, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies

  • Dr. Vin Nardizzi, Associate Professor, English

  • Dr. Alireza Nojeh, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Dr. Nelly Panté, Professor, Zoology

  • Dr. T’ai Smith, Assistant Professor, Art History, Visual Art & Theory

  • Dr. Diane Srivastava, Professor, Zoology

  • Dr. John Steeves, Professor, ICORD


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

International Visiting Research Scholar Awards announced

The Institute is pleased to announce the recipients of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies 2014-2015 International Visiting Research Scholar Awards

These research awards allow the Peter Wall Institute to partner with UBC faculties, departments and research centres to attract outstanding scholars to work collaboratively with UBC faculty members on innovative research. The objectives of the awards are to recognize excellence in research, to foster basic and advanced research in an interdisciplinary research environment, to strengthen interactions between international visiting scholars and their UBC peers, and to nurture longer term interdisciplinary research relationships through the Institute. 

The Peter Wall Institute offers up to 15 International Visiting Research Scholar Awards of $10,000 annually. This year’s process was highly competitive and the Institute’s International Adjudication Committee was impressed with the comprehensiveness of the applications, the significance of the research topics, and the high calibre of scholars that will visit from all over the world.

A complete list of the International Visiting Research Scholar Awardees  and their UBC Faculty hosts for 2014-2015 can be found online here.

Please join the Institute in congratulating the new Awardees!

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