Distinguished Scholars in Residence

In January 2014 we launched the new ‘Wall Scholars Research Award’, which combines the Early Career Scholars, Distinguished Scholars in Residence, and Research Mentorship Awards into one program.

The Peter Wall Distinguished Scholars in Residence Award is available to UBC Faculty members to spend one year in residence at the Peter Wall Institute, in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment.  There are a number of exciting initiatives at the Peter Wall Institute, promising an exceptional level of intellectual engagement and innovative research.  The Distinguished Scholars in Residence are integrally involved in a number of these initiatives, while having ample time to pursue their own research.  Every year, up to six Distinguished Scholars in Residence are appointed at the Institute, each with up to $20,000 in funding. 

The Distinguished Scholars in Residence program was introduced in 1998.

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The Distinguished Scholar in Residence Award is open to full Professors and senior Associate Professors at UBC Vancouver, who have a demonstrated commitment to excellence in scholarship and an interest in collaborating in an interdisciplinary research environment.  Applicants, self-nominated, must be tenure-track faculty members; emeriti may also apply.

Success is based primarily on the candidate’s research achievements, current projects, and planned research and other initiatives for the year in residence.  The selection committee also takes into account how well the research matches the mandate of the Institute to support work that is innovative and that has the potential to make a significant impact on some aspect of the sciences or humanities.  

A proposal for activities and research, or the planning thereof, while at the Institute should be included in the letter of application.  It is expected that the appointee will make regular use of their Peter Wall Institute research office throughout the year, so if one expects to be away for an extended amount of time, it would be preferable to apply for a different year. Recipients of past awards are eligible to apply for an additional appointment after five years of completing their term.
Funding and Budget
Distinguished Scholars in Residence are provided with shared office space at the Peter Wall Institute and a personal infrastructure budget of $15,000.  Scholars in Residence also have access to additional funds of up to $5000 for expenses related solely to any special project at the Institute directed at contributing to the intellectual life of the Institute, with the approval of the Director.
Term and Responsibilities
The term of the appointment will be from August 1 to July 31. Those selected as Distinguished Scholars in Residence become Faculty Associates of the Institute and will receive regular invitations to Institute events. These gatherings offer an opportunity to engage in informal discussions with colleagues from a wide diversity of disciplines.

While the appointment as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence is for 12 months, one remains an Institute Associate indefinitely. Scholars in Residence are expected to give a research talk during their year in residence and are encouraged to plan a research-related event, such as a lecture series or workshop, at the Institute during or after their tenure, for which additional funds are available (see Funding and Budget). The Scholars in Residence, the Peter Wall Distinguished Professors, and the Institute Director have regular weekly meetings to discuss research issues and at least one off-campus weekend retreat. If one expects to be away for an extended amount of time, it would be preferable to apply for a different year.
Application Procedure
There is no form for the application. A detailed letter of application, a standard UBC CV, and a list of three external (non-UBC) referees names and affiliations should be sent to the Institute. Applicants should make arrangements for three referee letters from distinguished, external references to be sent directly to the Institute by the application deadline. Weight will be given to arms-length letters. The applicant's letter of application should draw attention to important, relevant aspects of the CV and should also describe the fit with the mandate of the Institute, the proposed research for the year at the Institute, and any planned events to enhance the Institute's intellectual environment.

Applicants are responsible for arranging for three referee letters. Only the referees' names and affiliation should be included in the application. Referees should send their letters directly to the Institute by mail, e-mail or fax (604.822.4222) by the competition deadline.

In addition to the signed hard copies of your application, CV and list of referees, electronic versions of the application letter, CV and list of referees in either PDF (preferred) or Word format must be e-mailed to the Institute.

The new deadline will be posted January 2014

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Kenneth Craig
Kenneth Craig, Professor, Psychology

Kenneth Craig, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Editor-in-Chief of Pain Research & Management.  His research has focused upon understanding pain experience and expression and related social parameters of pain management, including formative impacts of family and ethnocultural environments, and the challenges of pain assessment in infants, young children and people with intellectual disabilities, brain damage, dementia and developmental disorders.  This led him to focus upon nonverbal communication, facial expression in particular, its role in clinical and research measures and the difficulties and biases manifest when health care professionals and others attempt to recognize, understand and control pain. 

Dr. Craig’s awards have included status as a CIHR Senior Investigator, the Canada Council I. W. Killam Research Fellowship, the Canadian Pain Society Distinguished Career Award, the Canadian Psychological Association Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science and the American Pain Society Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain Relief.    He has served as President of the Canadian Pain Society and the Canadian Psychological Association and member of the Governing Council of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

At the Institute, Dr. Craig will be planning workshops in Paris and Vancouver that will bring together scholars from the humanities, social sciences and neurosciences to build a multidisciplinary formulation of the remarkably complex phenomenon of human pain and suffering.  In addition, a recently funded NIH application that employs computer vision, pattern recognition and machine learning to assess clinical pain in children will command his attention.  Dr. Craig’s UBC Pain Lab website is available at: http://painlab.psych.ubc.ca/

Michelle LeBaron
Michelle LeBaron, Professor, Law

Professor Michelle LeBaron is an internationally renowned conflict transformation scholar/practitioner at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law who has done seminal work in many types of conflicts including intercultural, international, family, organizational and commercial. Over the past ten years, Michelle has brought artists and scholars from multiple disciplines into collaboration with community members to explore how intractable conflict can be addressed using the arts. Her project Dancing at the Crossroads, conducted with internationally-renowned dancer Margie Gillis, explored dance and movement as resources for addressing conflict across social divides. Professor LeBaron's current project is titled Enacting Resilience, conducted in partnership with members of the Vancouver and Surrey Punjabi communities, involves arts as ways to foster community wellbeing.

Professor LeBaron’s residency at the Peter Wall Institute deepened her focus on arts, conflict transformation and resilience in collaboration with Wall Associate and neuroethicist Dr. Peter Reiner and a global network of scholars and artists. During her tenure, she held an international workshop exploring conflict transformation and resilience via multi-modal arts. Professor LeBaron was also awarded a Wall Colloquium Abroad at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies for 2015 on the same subject.

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

Trained as a philologist, C. W. (Toph) Marshall seeks to extend the boundaries of traditional classical research into theatre and modern media studies. His first book, The Stagecraft and Production of Roman Comedy, provided the first synthesis of Roman stagecraft in fifty years. The examination of actors, masks, and improvisation drew on his previous work on Greek tragedy and comedy, and also on his experience as a performer and director. Dr. Marshall has directed over a dozen plays, including The Invention of Love, The Misanthrope, Children of Heracles, and Asinaria. His next book, Tragic Direction, considers the impact an ancient director has on the creation of meaning in a play, focusing on Euripides’ Helen. He has also co-edited several collections on 21st century American television and comics, often providing the first scholarly appreciation of these works. His research has been generously supported by SSHRC over the years.

At the Peter Wall Institute, Dr. Marshall will be writing a book on Sex Slaves in New Comedy: drawing on the modern experience of sex slavery in Southeast Asia, this project considers how humour is presented in the Greek and Latin plays of Menander, Plautus, and Terence. As in Cambodia, the women in these comedies are often voiceless, and their stories assume a history of sexual violence. By focusing on those characters without the freedom to assert themselves in law, a new understanding of ancient comedy emerges.  His website is available at: http://www.cnrs.ubc.ca/people/cw-marshall

Christian Naus
Christian Naus, Professor, Cellular & Physiological Sciences

Christian Naus’ research program explores the role of gap junction channels and their proteins (connexins and pannexins) in disease, including consequences of mutations on gap junction structure and function, and the role of these intercellular channels in diagnosis of disease and development of novel therapeutic strategies.  Gap junctions are collections of intercellular membrane channels that join adjacent cells in every organ of the body. They allow a variety of small molecules to pass freely from cell to cell, coupling the cells metabolically and allowing them to coordinate their responses to various signals. The importance of gap junctions has become evident with the identification of diseases resulting from mutations or altered expression in connexin genes, including neurological disorders, congenital cataracts, deafness, heart defects and skin diseases.  In May 2012, Dr. Naus held a Wall Colloquium Abroad at the Collège de France, Paris on The Role of Gap Junction Proteins in Health and Disease.

Dr. Naus received a PhD in Anatomy (1985) from the University of Western Ontario (UWO), followed by postdoctoral studies at the Scripps Clinic in Ja Jolla, CA. He then became an MRC Scholar in the Faculty of Medicine at the UWO in 1987, where he developed a successful research program in neurodevelopment and disease, focusing on the newly emerging family of genes which encode the proteins forming unique intercellular gap junction channels.  As a full professor, he was recruited to the Faculty of Medicine at UBC in 2002 to Head the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology.  In 2003, he was also appointed interim Head of Physiology as he guided the merger of these two Departments into the current Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences. Currently Director of the Life Sciences Institute since 2009, he has promoted the interdisciplinary goals of this multi-Faculty and multi-Department research unit, dedicated to discovery research in biomedical and health sciences.  Dr. Naus holds a Canada Research Chair in Gap Junctions and Disease, and was recently elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. 

Dr. Naus is an awardee of the 2014 French Scholar Lecture Series/Cycle de conférenciers français à l'université de Colombie-Britannique, hosted by the Consulate General of France in Vancouver in partnership with the Peter Wall Institute.  The program will bring Professor Marc Mesnil, University of Poitiers, to UBC to participate in a public lecture and other symposia and discussions with UBC scholars.

At the Institute, Dr. Naus will organize a Knowledge Mobilization Workshop on “Emerging Concepts in Stroke and Neuroprotection", sponsored by the Canadian Stroke Network and the Institute. He will also strengthen and expand his current research program in Gap Junctions and Disease, and extend international collaborations. This includes hosting Dr. Christian Giaume from the College de France, who will be an International Visiting Scholar in 2014.  Dr. Naus' website is available at:  http://naus-lab.com/index.php

Bonny Norton
Bonny Norton, Professor, Language and Literacy Education

Bonny Norton is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC. Born and raised in South Africa in the turbulent apartheid years, she learnt at an early age the complex relationship between identity, language learning, and social justice, which are the focus of her research in the international community. She has published widely and received multiple awards for her scholarly contributions. In 2010, she was the inaugural recipient of the “Senior Researcher Award” by the Second Language Research group of AERA (American Educational Research Association), and in 2012 was inducted as an AERA Fellow. Described as developing a new paradigm of research around conceptions of identity and critical pedagogy, she was credited with “changing the face of second language research”. She has been recognized at UBC through the award of a Killam Research Prize and a Killam Teaching Prize.

During her residency at the Peter Wall Institute in 2013/2014, Dr. Norton will organize a UBC interdisciplinary conference for faculty and students, which will focus on UBC research in and about Africa. The purpose of the conference, which will be held in the 2014 spring break, is three-fold: (i) to identify and enhance the many research projects, across diverse UBC faculties, which address the African context; (ii) to encourage interdisciplinarity and collaboration amongst established and emerging scholars at UBC; and (iii) to promote the application of research to both policy and practice, locally and internationally. The conference is, in part, a response to a 2011 report by UBC’s Office of Research and International, which seeks input on UBC’s long-term International Strategic Plan with regard to Africa.  A website will help to promote and sustain this research network. During her residency, Dr. Norton will also guest edit a special issue of the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development on “Multilingual Literacy in African Communities.” She has also recently been involved in the African Storybook Project: Research for Social Change. Learn more about the project in this video. Her website can be found at http://www.educ.ubc.ca/faculty/norton/

Jamie Peck
Jamie Peck, Professor, Geography

Jamie Peck is a political-economic geographer with wide-ranging interests in urban restructuring, economic governance, the politics of policy formation and mobility, and labor market theory and policy.  He is perhaps best known for his work on the political economy of the free-market project, or “neoliberalism.”  Translated into more than 15 languages, Dr. Peck’s publications include a dozen books and more than 200 research articles and book chapters.  Amongst these are Constructions of neoliberal reason (Oxford), Contesting neoliberalism: urban frontiers (coedited with Helga Leitner & Eric Sheppard, Guilford), and Workfare states (Guilford).

With a PhD in Geography from the University of Manchester, Dr. Peck did his postdoctoral work at the University of Melbourne before returning to Manchester to teach for 11 years.  In 2000, he took up the position of Professor of Geography & Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before moving to UBC in 2008 as Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy.  The recipient of Guggenheim and Harkness fellowships, and an elected Academician in the Social Sciences, Dr. Peck has been honored with the Royal Geographical Society’s Back Award for his contributions to economic geography.  A co-editor of Environment and Planning A since 1998 and now the journal’s managing editor, he is a past editor of Antipode, the radical journal of geography.

At the Institute, Dr. Peck will extend his work on the “organic intellectuals” of the free-market project, by way of an exploration of the archipelago of neoliberal think tanks. His webpage is available at http://www.geog.ubc.ca/~peck/

Catherine M. Soussloff
Catherine M. Soussloff, Professor, Art History, Visual Art & Theory

Known for her comparative and historical approaches to the central theoretical concerns of art history, visual culture and aesthetics, Catherine Soussloff’s recent publications have focused on: performance art, theories of the image from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary art, concepts of the Baroque, Viennese art and culture in the early 20th century, Jewish studies and art history, and curatorial practice.  She is the author of The Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept (Minnesota) and The Subject in Art: Portraiture and the Birth of the Modern (Duke). She has edited five collected volumes and published over forty essays and articles. She has lectured widely in three languages in Canada, the U.S., South America, and Europe. As a Presidential Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Soussloff served as Director of the Visual and Performance Studies Research group, where faculty and graduate students from a wide range of fields researched and published collaboratively for fifteen years. She is presently completing the book, That Ironic Object of Desire: Michel Foucault and Painting, the first comprehensive study of Foucault's writings on painting. Professor Soussloff will be lecturing on this topic next year in Paris at the Sorbonne and at the Institut National de l'Histoire de l'Art (INHA).

Professor Soussloff has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Getty Research Institute, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the College Art Association of America, the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania and the Institute for the Humanities at New York University. In summer 2011 Soussloff was resident at the University of California, Irvine where she held a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar fellowship for the study of Walter Benjamin’s Later Writings.

At the Peter Wall Institute Professor Soussloff will be working on her next book project: a study of the significance of theory for art from post-WW II to the present. In this book she will examine the major thinkers and fields in philosophy, literary theory, and cultural studies taken up by art history, visual studies, and practicing artists and which have resulted in the interdisciplinary and cross-media practices that predominate in art, criticism and scholarship today.

As the recipient of a 2013-2014 Wall Colloquia Abroad award, Professor Soussloff will serve as Principal Investigator for the June 2014 Colloquia Abroad, Michel Foucault and the Humanities in the 21st Century, to be held at the Collège de France. She is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Institute for the Humanities, the Getty Research Institute, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Michael Chandler
Michael Chandler, Professor, Psychology

Michael Chandler is a developmental psychologist and Professor Emeritus in UBC’s Department of Psychology. His research interests include social-cognitive development in general, and, more particularly, the cross-cultural study of processes of identity formation and their impact on the health and wellbeing on Indigenous youth. This ongoing program of research explores the role that culture plays in shaping young people's emerging sense of ownership of their personal and cultural past, and their commitment to their own and their community's future prospects. In a long series of published research findings his work has made it clear that young persons who lose a sense of their own personal and cultural ‘continuity’ (or place in time) are at special risk to suicide and a host of other negative outcomes, including high accident and school dropout rates.

These efforts have earned Dr. Chandler the Killam Memorial Senior Research Prize, the Killam Teaching Prize, and resulted in his having been named President of the Jean Piaget Society for the Study of Knowledge and Development, and appointed Canada's only Distinguished Investigator of both the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The SSHRC supported research being initiated during his year of residency at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies focuses attention on the distinctive ‘ways of knowing’ thought to characterize the tacit epistemologies of Indigenous post-secondary learners, and that may contribute to a better understand of why so many First Nation students abandon their studies without completing the post-secondary degrees they and their communities have sought to achieve.

Barbara Dancygier
Barbara Dancygier, Professor, English

Dr. Barbara Dancygier specializes in cognitive approaches to language, literary discourse, and multimodal artifacts. As a cognitive linguist, she worked extensively on conditional constructions in English, reflexive constructions in Polish, and also on negation and intersubjective meanings. In the last few years, she has focused on formulating a new, language-based model for the analysis of meaning emergence in fiction. Her most recent book, The Language of Stories: A Cognitive Approach, (co-edited with Eve Sweetser), extends the study of cognitive and semantic processes into various communicative modalities. She is interested in meaning emergence processes, especially in contexts where language interacts with other modalities. Her current project focuses on theatre as a case study of the cognitive underpinnings of multimodal communication and creativity.

Dr. Dancygier completed her MA and PhD at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, where she also worked as a faculty member until 1992. After an extended research affiliation with the University of California, Berkeley (Linguistics and Cognitive Science), she taught at Simon Fraser University (Linguistics). In 2002, she joined the English Department at UBC, where she is now full professor. She was a Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley in 1991-1993 and holds a UBC Killam Research prize. In May 2012, she organized a conference on Language and the Creative Mind, partially sponsored by the Peter Wall Institute. In January 2013, Dr. Dancygier gave a Wall Faculty Associate Forum Talk entitled, How We Make Meaning.

Thomas Grigliatti
Thomas Grigliatti, Professor, Life Sciences Institute

Tom Grigliatti’s research work has encompassed a variety of topics and organisms.  His very early work, where he created conditional paralytic mutants in the fruit fly, Drosophila, helped establish the field of neurogenetics.  Later, he turned his attention to identifying genes and mutations in chromatin remodeling proteins, and this work help found the now rapidly expanding field of epigenetics.  In the last 7 or 8 years he’s used functional genomics and proteomics to focus on several different areas of human health.  Along the way, he developed technology that allows the functional reconstruction of virtually any portion of the human proteome in cells grown in tissue culture.  In addition to defining the genes/proteins that are both necessary and sufficient for the function any specific physiological pathway or process and how naturally occurring mutations in these genes alter the outcome, the technology serves as a platform for drug discovery and development.

Dr. Grigliatti came to UBC in 1977.  In addition to being a Professor in the Life Sciences Institute, he is an Associate Member of both the Dept. of Medical Genetics (Fac. of Medicine), and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is a member of several international research consortia, including the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, the Centre for Complex Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders-CARC, and the Centre for Drug Discovery and Development.  He has also been an advisor to NASA and the Canadian Space Agency for design and research on the space station.

At the Institute, Dr. Grigliatti, together with several colleagues, is putting together a 2-day workshop designed to develop Individualized Patient Centric Therapies (iPaCT) and move the implementation of Personalized Medicine along at a more rapid pace.

Eric Margolis
Eric Margolis, Professor, Philosophy

Eric Margolis is a leading figure in the study of higher cognition, and known for research that connects traditional philosophical accounts of the mind with the latest work in the cognitive sciences.  He is especially interested in features of cognition that underlie distinctively human abilities and what these can tell us about the fundamental organization of the mind.  His most recent research concerns the origins of mathematical concepts.  In a forthcoming book, he makes the case that these concepts build on a surprising amount of innate structure that is specific to mathematical cognition.

Dr. Margolis received his PhD from Rutgers University in 1995.  Before his arrival at UBC in 2008, he held appointments at Rice University, where he was director of the Rice Cognitive Sciences Program, and The University of Wisconsin.  He is co-editor of the newly published Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science and is a prolific writer, whose papers have appeared in the foremost philosophy and cognitive science journals.

At the Institute, Dr. Margolis will be working on the research for a book on the contemporary empiricism-nativism dispute in the study of concepts.

Maxwell Cameron, Professor, Political Science

Max Cameron has taken a deep interest in the political challenges taking place in Latin America, particularly the challenges to democracy. Along the way, he has taken productive detours into such topics as the global campaign to ban land mines. Dr. Cameron is a committed communicator who blogs on the Peruvian elections, gives an impressive number of media interviews on a wide range of subjects, and speaks at major international meetings.

Dr. Cameron spent his graduate years at the University of California, Berkeley, after which he taught at Carleton University in Ottawa for ten years before coming to UBC as an Associate Professor in 1999, becoming a full professor in 2002. He has headed up two Wall Exploratory Workshops, on "Threats to Democracy in Latin America" (2000) and on "Latin America's Left Turns?" (2007), both of which led to edited collections.

His ambitious project at the Institute this year is developing a book, "Between Rules and Practice: Why We Need Practical Wisdom in Politics." To this end, he has launched a seminar series by the same title with outstanding speakers from a variety of disciplines, co-sponsored by Green College. The series asks what moral skill and personal will we need as citizens, professionals, parents, and friends to know how to act in particular circumstances - a question that is intended both to deepen his own analysis and stimulate discussion across the campus. He also organized, in his capacity as Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a high-powered public forum on the topic: "Why Don't More Good People Enter Politics?" which featured former Prime Minister Paul Martin and a host of other influential Canadians.

Dr. Cameron's Scholar in Residence talk "Between Rules and Practice: Practical Wisdom in Constitutional Democracies" will be given February 29, 2012 and will be available after that date as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Guy Dumont, Professor and CRC, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Guy Dumont is an expert in Process Control Engineering who developed and implemented one of the first successful industrial adaptive control schemes in the world in 1976. Several of his technologies have been successfully transferred to industry over the years. Motivated by a Wall Exploratory Workshop he co-directed, Dr. Dumont switched topics a decade ago to the field of biomedical engineering, where he researches physiological monitoring and control in critical care, most especially anesthesiology.

Dr. Dumont took his engineering diploma at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers, Paris. He obtained his doctorate in Electrical Engineering at McGill University in 1977 and then spent over twenty years in private industry before being recruited to UBC in 1989. From 1989 to 1999, he held the senior Paprican/NSERC Industrial Chair in Industrial Process Control and worked closely with pulp and paper companies and suppliers. He has also served as Director of the Pulp and Paper Centre at UBC. He is, among other achievements, an elected fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the IEEE, and a two-time winner of the NSERC Synergy Award.

During his year at the Wall Institute, Dr. Dumont is focusing on global health, particularly on affordable technology for mobile health based on mobile phones for underdeveloped countries. Towards this goal, he and his collaborator at the BC Children’s Hospital have contributed $250K of their recently-awarded Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research In Science and Engineering to developing the Phone Oximeter. This device is a smartphone-based pulse oximeter for respiratory disease and management in the developing world. His aim is to make the Phone Oximeter universally available.

Dr. Dumont’s Scholar in Residence talk, “Comfortably Numb: Cruise Control for Anesthesia,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Fabio Rossi, Associate Professor, MD, and CRC, Medical Genetics

The overarching theme of Dr. Rossi’s research is the investigation of the mechanisms underlying tissue responses to damage and degenerative disease. His research has highlighted the need for a different approach to tissue regeneration: namely, one that focuses not on individual components studied in isolation, but rather on the whole complex regenerative mileu.  He and his lab have developed a number of techniques aimed at rare stem cell identification and purification, leading them to pioneering techniques such as high-content flow cytometry at UBC;  Dr. Rossi is at present directing the shared flow cytometry facility serving nearly fifty labs on campus and a number of local companies. 

Dr. Rossi earned his MD at the University of Genoa and PhD in Molecular Biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratories, University of Heidelberg in 1996.  Following a few years spent as a Research Scientist and post-doc at Stanford University, and a Visiting Junior Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute, he was recruited to UBC as an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in 2001, becoming a full professor in 2011. Dr. Rossi is known for his remarkable ability to simultaneously maintain productive, well-funded programs in diverse fields, which is rare in his hyper-specialized scientific community.

At the Institute this year, Dr. Rossi will lead two workshops. One will be a small, interdisciplinary exploratory meeting on bone regeneration to discuss how to integrate multidisciplinary expertise aimed at formulating a coherent approach to bone regeneration that is also in line with the recent and foreseen progress in personalized medicine. The other is a planning workshop to create a multidisciplinary regenerative network in Vancouver and organize an international symposium on this topic.

Dr. Rossi’s Scholar in Residence talk, “The Hype About Stem Cells: Ethical and Practical Implications of Recent Advances in Stem Cell Research,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Rena Sharon, Professor, School of Music

Rena Sharon is a pianist who is one of Canada’s leading collaborative performing artists and piano chamber musicians. She also stands out as one who is deeply interested in knowing what science can offer to an understanding of creative processes. She is known for her personal commitment to the relevance of music to the widest range of human conditions and endeavours. She is collaborating with lawyers to explore the keys found in music making that open doors to better interactions between people dealing with differences that require mediation and conciliation. She is also working with neuroscientists on the theory that what is being learned in the study of the brain gains much from how the process of music making can be tracked to reveal unusual combinations of neural pathways.  Recently she founded and now directs the Vancouver International Song Institute, a multidisciplinary entity with an annual festival committed to exploring all aspects of texts and musics of the song literature, and how the study and performance of song literature serves the human need to connect one to another.

Dr. Sharon received her undergraduate degree in Music from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music in Piano Performance at Indiana University. She taught at the Department of Music, Oklahoma State University, and at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where she was Head of Collaborative Music before taking up her UBC appointment in 1982. In 2007,  she led a Wall Exploratory Workshop, “Art Song Anima.”

Dr. Sharon is planning a series of meetings at the Institute to begin identifying problems of image, perception, translation, and communication within the ranks of artist faculty. She hopes this will lead  to a more formal workshop to consider ways of including artists in the expanding global interdisciplinary dialogue.

Dr. Sharon’s Scholar in Residence presentation, "Art Song - An Endangered Species?" was given on January 25, 2012 and is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website. 

John Steeves, Professor, ICORD

John Steeves is a neuroscientist whose research interests focus on the mechanisms essential to facilitate functional repair after Spinal Cord Injury using a range of approaches. He recently stepped down after fifteen years as the Founding Director of ICORD, an interdisciplinary centre with 300 researchers and over 40 faculty investigating a broad range of issues and research questions in the field of spinal cord injury.

Dr. Steeves was educated at the University of Manitoba, with a BSc in Zoology and Psychology and a PhD in Neuroscience and Physiology (1978). After his post-doctoral training in Physiology at the University of Alberta, he was appointed to UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology and the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Since 1987, he has been associated with several departments and programs in the Faculty of Medicine. He became a full professor in 1992 and was the inaugural appointment to the BC Leadership Chair program in 2002. He is also a co-investigator on the Wall Major Thematic Grant project on Sensorimotor Computation (2008-2011).

At the Institute, Dr. Steeves is examining the interdisciplinary integration of computer-guided, robot-assisted rehabilitation strategies for arm and hand function after neurological injury. This topic integrates engineering, computer science, biology, and medicine. He is also continuing to develop lectures and publications on the translation of basic science discoveries to an applied setting. This latter topic has potential for development as a Peter Wall Institute workshop and would attract a broad audience from UBC and beyond.

Dr. Steeves’ Scholar in Residence talk, “Traversing Clinical Trials,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Richard Unger, Professor, History

Richard Unger specializes in medieval and early modern economic history, the history of medieval technology, maritime history, and environmental history. Within these various fields, he concentrates chiefly on north-western Europe, the Netherlands in particular, and has developed an unusually broad chronological range, covering both the medieval and early modern eras.

Dr. Unger completed his master's degrees in History and Economics and a doctorate in History at Yale University in 1971. His many awards and distinctions since joining the UBC Department of History in 1969 include the Donnelley Family Fellowship, National Humanities Center; Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford; Fellow, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study; Visiting Research Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge; Visiting Fellow, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam; John Lyman Book Award of the North American Society of Oceanic History; UBC Killam Research Prize, and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

Dr. Unger's research agenda at the Institute involves two new and interrelated publication projects on historic energy systems: on energy sources used in Canada since 1800, and on energy carriers in early modern Europe (1500-1800), site of the world's first fossil-fuel energy revolution. These two projects begin to demonstrate how different energy sources, not just fossil fuels, have driven modern economic growth and how various energy sources (fossil, wind, water, biomass, etc.) have distinctive advantages and negative environmental impacts. In October, Dr. Unger headed a Peter Wall Institute Colloquium Abroad Continuity in Energy Regimes on the topic of energy sustainability in early modern Europe at one of our three partner institutes, the Technical University of Munich, Institute for Advanced Studies, co-hosted by the Deutsches Museum.

Dr. Unger's Scholar in Residence talk, Energy Consumption and the Environmental Impact of the Black Death, is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Holger Hoos, Associate Professor, Computer Science

Since the mid-1990s, starting with his PhD work, Holger Hoos has pursued an ambitious and successful research program that is centred on methods for constraint reasoning, search, and optimization, and their application. His work has influenced many others in the field, not only through specific research findings but also by providing an example of how experimental studies can guide the development of new methods and algorithms. His co-authored book Stochastic Local Search: Foundations and Applications is considered the best in the field; it establishes taxonomies and tools for analysis that can be the basis for an engineering framework.

Dr. Hoos completed his doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Darmstadt in Germany in 1998 and then took up a post-doctoral fellowship at UBC, followed by an academic appointment in 2000. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he has won several best paper awards from top journals and conferences in his field and has been elected vice-president of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies in Intelligence. He was a 2001–2002 Peter Wall Early Career Scholar.

At the Institute, Dr. Hoos spent time in his pursuit of three research directions:  The study of the 3D structure of RNA, which is a key problem in computational biology. He has already published several promising results in the area. Another research direction is the automated design and optimization of algorithms. This is a core problem in computer science with significant practical impact. As a third direction, he is working on a new open media environment. This is a joint project with colleagues from the UBC School of Music.

Dr. Hoos’ Scholar in Residence talk, “À la recherche de l’intelligence artificielle: Machines That Think, Create and Play,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Janis Sarra, Professor, Law

Janis Sarra is a specialist in corporate law, commercial law, commercial insolvency, corporate finance, and securities law. As the leading scholar in commercial law working in Canada, she has gained international renown for developing a unique approach to research that combines theoretical frameworks drawing from the social sciences with a great understanding of practical issues. In particular, her work on insolvency has helped shape how we think about corporate restructuring, which is one of the reasons why she is in international demand as a speaker and advisor.

Dr. Sarra received her degrees from the University of Toronto: first, a BA in Political Science and Public Administration and MA in Political Economy. After positions as Executive Assistant of Metro Toronto, Research Associate with the Ontario Legislative Assembly, Human Rights Director of the Ontario Federation of Labour, and Member of the Ontario Relations Board, she returned to the University of Toronto for her LLB, LLM, and SJD and was admitted to the Ontario Bar. She joined UBC Faculty of Law in 2000 and was an Early Career Scholar at the Institute in 2001–2002.

Dr. Sarra’s project at the Institute was an interdisciplinary, multi-stage initiative that explores the basic values of fairness. She believes that an exchange of understandings of ethics and values such as fairness, with colleagues in the arts, may serve to deepen our understanding of the concept of fairness and explore its meaning through a different lens. In December she held a jazz concert and discussion, “Jazz as the Medium: Informing Notions of Fairness.” In the spring of 2011 she directed a “Dance Atelier” on “Articulations of Fairness Through Dance, Dialogue, Space” and chaired a public forum she organized, titled “Creating New Landscapes in Notions of Fairness.” (www.fairness.pwias.ubc.ca)

Dr. Sarra’s Scholar in Residence talk, “The Pragmatic, Prescient, and Prudential: Corporate Governance of Banks in the Wake of Financial Crisis,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Margaret Schabas, Professor, Philosophy

Margaret Schabas’ achievements in the philosophy and history of economics have straddled the humanities and social sciences in an admirable fashion, with important refereed contributions in journals and edited books as well as two substantial monographs, on the economist-scientist William Stanley Jevons, A World Ruled by Numbers (1990), and Natural Origins of Economics (2005). Out of her study of the emergence of classical political economy, Dr. Schabas has moved on to the major and challenging task of re-thinking Hume for twenty-first century scholars in a way which speaks to economists, historians, and philosophers.

The international respect in which Professor Schabas is held is evident in the prestigious grants and fellowships she has held outside of Canada. She has held fellowships at Stanford University, a Mellon at Harvard, a Dibner at MIT, a Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, and a Lachmann Fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr. Schabas was educated at the University of Indiana, with an AM in History and Philosophy of Science; the University of Michigan, MA in Economics; and the University of Toronto, PhD in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. She held academic appointments at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and York University before joining UBC as Professor in 2001. At the Institute, Dr. Schabas spent time researching and writing articles on the historical and philosophical foundations of bio-economics and held two one-day workshops.

Dr. Schabas’ Scholar in Residence talk, “Hume on Happiness,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Ilan Vertinsky, Professor, Institute for Asian Research, Institute of Resources, Environment & Sustainability, and the Sauder School of Business

Ilan Vertinsky’s work is widely known for its excellence, rigour, relevance, and interdisciplinary breadth. A common focus of his research to date has been the intersection of uncertainty, resilience, and environmental discontinuities. Much of his research on systems resilience is concerned with specific episodes and is explicitly “event-centric” in its methodology. These event-centric case studies work effectively as instrumental research arguments. However, unlike most scholars who do case research, Dr. Vertinsky uses the cases to build computational models of the real processes and mechanisms that he and his colleagues have observed—models that can be systematically varied to identify more or less robust/resilient institutional designs.

Dr. Vertinsky received his BA in Economics from Hebrew University and a PhD in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He held an appointment at Northwestern University before joining UBC’s Institute for Animal Resource Ecology and the divisions of Management Science and Policy Science in the Faculty of Commerce & Business Administration as Assistant Professor in 1970. A prolific author, he has published eight books to date and has received many awards for his research achievements, including the UBC Killam Research Prize.

At the Institute, Dr. Vertinsky spent time drafting a book on the foundation of systems resilience and crisis management that will articulate the fundamental relations that influence crisis prevention, crisis management, and post-crisis dynamics. He also organized an international workshop on the topic in 2011.

Mark Warren, Professor, Political Science

Mark Warren is one of the leading scholars of democratic theory in the world, having made groundbreaking and innovative contributions through his work on representation, deliberation, and participation. Although he began his academic career as a Nietzsche scholar, publishing Nietzsche and Political Thought (1988), his most visible contribution at the moment is via democratic theory. He is especially interested in studying and understanding new forms of democratic representation that can be found in such institutions as citizens’ assemblies and global social movements. Recently, he led a group of scholars who produced an influential study of the Citizens’ Assembly in BC, a novel experiment in democratic governance that is attracting international attention in the academic as well as political world.

Dr. Warren holds a BA in Political Science from Lewis & Clark College, an MA in the Philosophy of Social Studies & Statistics, University of Oregon, and an MA and PhD in Political Science, University of Toronto. He established his academic career at Georgetown University, and joined UBC in 2004 as the Harold and Dorrie Merilees Professor in the Study of Democracy.

Dr. Warren is recognized for being one of the first to talk about the essential role that trust plays in the democratic public sphere. His book on the topic, Democracy and Associations (2001), won the 2003 Elaine and David Spitz Book Prize, awarded by the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought, as well as the 2003 Outstanding Book Award, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA).

At the Institute, Dr. Warren spent time completing his book manuscript on the very timely and important topic of democracy and corruption and co-organized a workshop on the subject.

Dr. Warren’s Scholar in Residence talk, “Voting with Your Feet: Exit-Based Empowerment in Democratic Theory,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Martin Barlow, Professor, Mathematics

Martin Barlow is a leading figure in probability theory and one whose work has shaped research in the field of stochastic analysis, a field in which it is not easy to make an impact. He began his career by developing profound ideas in the area of stochastic calculus, making a number of important contributions to the theory of stochastic processes, especially in the realm of Brownian motion on fractals. He also has close connections with the theory of “disordered media” in physics and has explored a number of related topics in stochastic analysis in Euclidean space, manifolds, and graphs. Dr Barlow is the leading international expert in the behaviour of diffusions on fractals and other disordered media.

Dr. Barlow holds a Bachelor of Mathematics and a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Cambridge; he received his PhD from the University of Wales in 1978. Since his appointment as Associate Professor of Mathematics at UBC in 1992 and Professor in 1994 he has lectured worldwide, including most recently the Institute of Mathematical Statistics Medallion Lecture at the World Congress of the Bernoulli Society, and has received many international fellowships. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Royal Society (London).

At the Institute, Dr. Barlow prepared a book manuscript on the topic, “Random Walks on Graphs,” and initiated research on topics of long-standing interest that are broadly connected with the history of science.

Dr. Barlow’s Scholar in Residence talk, “Random Walks and Random Structure,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Trevor Barnes, Professor, Geography

Trevor Barnes is a prominent human geographer who specializes in the economic geography of contested zones. From his early work focusing on an analysis of the capitalist space economy, which was the title of his first book, he has expanded his approach to incorporate issues affecting rainforest ecosystems and industrial geography. In his Logics of Dislocation (Guilford Press), he emphasized the role of social and institutional relations in the development of economic geography, an approach that the Canadian Association of Geographers has referred to as “visionary.” He then explored post-structuralism, co-editing two influential studies, Writing Worlds (Routledge) and Reading Human Geography (Edward Arnold).  For the past several years, he has been investigating his own field of economic geography from a historical perspective.

Dr. Barnes received a BSc in Economics from University College London with MA and PhD degrees in Geography from the University of Minnesota. Since joining UBC as Assistant Professor in 1983, he has distinguished himself as a leading and highly innovative interdisciplinary scholar. Among his many honours are the Canadian Association of Geographers Award for Scholarly Distinction and the Presidential Award for Distinguished Achievement from the Association of American Geographers, and from UBC a Killam Memorial Fellowship, Killam Research Prize, and a UBC Distinguished University Scholar appointment.

At the Institute, Dr. Barnes explored the connections between the Second World War and the Cold War within the discipline of geography and the knowledge it produced. Dr. Barnes’ Scholar in Residence talk, “Two Men of War and Their Big Idea: Walter Christaller, Edward Ullman, and Central Place Theory,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Michael Doebeli, Professor, Mathematics and Zoology

Michael Doebeli is a specialist in the origin of biological diversity and has pioneered the study of speciation through the approach of mathematical biology. He was the co-author on one of the most widely cited speciation papers ever, “On the Origin of Species by Sympathetic Speciation,” in Nature 1999, and is engaged in integrating his work on species diversification to develop an evolutionary understanding of cooperation.

Dr. Doebeli received his MA and PhD in Mathematics from the University of Basel, Switzerland with a special emphasis on dynamical systems in zoology. Since joining UBC as an Assistant Professor in 1999, becoming Professor in 2007, Dr. Doebeli has taught advanced courses in Ecology and Mathematical Biology. He is past director of the Integrated Sciences Program in the Faculty of Science. In addition to his notable publication history, his work has been honoured with such national awards as the NSERC Steacie Fellowship, the UBC Charles S. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research and a UBC Killam Memorial Fellowship.

Given his prior history as a Peter Wall Early Career Scholar in 2000, and 2009 Scholar in Residence appointment, the Institute was pleased to support the completion of Dr. Doebeli’s book monograph addressing the evolution of diversity in biology, language, and culture for Princeton University Press. The mathematical and experimental models he addressed will be expanded further as he follows his interest in the origin of diversity in language and religion, approached from an evolutional perspective.

Dr. Doebeli's Scholar in Residence talk, “Evolution of Diversity,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Leah Edelstein-Keshet, Professor, Mathematics

Leah Edelstein-Keshet’s career is dedicated to using mathematics as a tool for research in the life sciences. She has become recognized as one of the world leaders in the area of mathematical biology, in which she has been at the forefront for 25 years. Her work spans many topics, from the sub-cellular to the ecological. For the past decade, she has focused on biomedical research, including autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. She also researches Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Edelstein-Keshet earned her BSc and MSc degrees in Mathematics from Dalhousie University and received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel in 1982. She held teaching positions at Brown University and Duke University before joining UBC as Associate Professor in 1989, becoming Professor in 1995. Her book Mathematical Models in Biology (Random House) is regarded as the definitive textbook in the rapidly growing field of mathematical biology. She has been awarded the Canadian Mathematical Society’s Krieger-Nelson Prize, which recognizes outstanding research by a female mathematician, and, at UBC, the Faculty of Science Award for Leadership. She has also served as President of the Society for Mathematical Biology.

As a 2009 Scholar in Residence, Dr. Edelstein-Keshet applied her interdisciplinary approach to an understanding of cellular mechanics, biochemistry, and the molecular biology of cell processes. Her work on cell motility and the cytoskeleton addresses such fundamental questions as changes in cell shape following stimulation by chemoattractants, crawling motion and turning of the cell in response to external cues. Such processes are important regulators of cellular dynamics in cancer, pathogen invasion, and normal cellular functions. In 2009, she held a “Cellfest” and sponsored several visiting international speakers.

Dr. Edelstein-Keshet’s Scholar in Residence talk, “A Mathematician’s Adventures in Cell Biology,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Harvey Richer, Professor, Physics & Astronomy

Harvey Richer is an observational astronomer who uses his privileged access to the Hubble Space Telescope and a range of other telescopes to explore the age of the Universe, the evolution of stellar systems, and the formation of galaxies. Over the past eight years, he has been one of the largest Canadian users of the Hubble, large blocks of time on which are internationally competitive and extremely limited.

Dr. Richer received his BSc degree in Physics and Mathematics from McGill University and his PhD in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Rochester. Prior to coming to UBC, he taught at Rochester and worked as a Visiting Astronomer at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Since becoming Professor at UBC in 1983, Dr. Richer has been a Canada Council of the Arts Killam Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow.

Dr. Richer’s distinguished record of research brought him to the Institute in 2009, where he and his team analyzed their latest Hubble telescope data with an aim to image one of the earliest star clusters in the Universe. By analyzing the cooled white dwarf stars in this cluster, the team will be able to date the origin of this formation. Further, by locating and characterizing the cluster’s least massive normal stars, they will determine the minimum stellar mass that is capable of sustained nuclear reactions in its core.

Dr. Richer’s Scholar in Residence talk, “Watcher of the Sky: An Observational Astronomer’s View of the Universe,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Stephen Sheppard, Professor, Forest Resources Management and Landscape Architecture

Stephen Sheppard specializes in landscape planning and aesthetics. He is one of a handful of researchers in the world who uses visualization technology to explore key questions of our times. Dr. Sheppard’s work in Forest Resources Management and Landscape Architecture analyzes the relationship between human perceptions, environmental conditions, and the participatory processes of future planning. From his 1989 work Visual Simulation (Van Nostrand Reinhold), looking at the disconnect between popular concern about the environment and the lack of political will to address the issue, Dr. Sheppard expanded into laboratory-based perception experiments to explore participatory techniques for forestry practitioners. 

Dr. Sheppard received his BA and MA in Agricultural and Forest Services from the University of Oxford and his PhD in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982. After arriving at UBC in 1997, he divided his time between the environmental services sector and academia. Along the way, he has established himself as a leading figure in the aesthetics of climate change, and his CALP (Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning) research group at UBC has played host to scholars from around the world.

At the Institute, Dr. Sheppard analyzed his latest data on the public perceptions of climate change for a book manuscript, Visualizing Climate Change: A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions, completed under an agreement with Earthscan. Based on his novel research approach into the role of visualization-based planning methods, this research promises to contribute substantively to an understanding of how cognition, cultural factors, and the media influence perceptions on this vital political issue. He held a workshop in March 2010 that demonstrated the background of his CALP research group and its impact on the emerging theory of aesthetics and perception of climate change.

Dr. Sheppard’s Scholar in Residence talk, "Changing Our High-Carbon Aesthetic: Shifting Attitudes on Climate Change," is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Dr. Sheppard's award helped fund a one-day workshop, "Changing Perceptions of Climate Change Through Community Action" on March 10, 2010, as part of a larger symposium entitled "Social Mobilisation for Climate Solutions Research."

William Benjamin, Professor, Music

Bill Benjamin specializes in musical composition and theory. His early work involved a technical analysis of 19th and 20th century music.  He also produced a range of musical compositions that garnered a number of honours.  More recently, his interests have shifted away from straight analysis to exploring the nature and function of musical memory, a concern that touches on an aspect of musical reality confronted by musicians and non-musicians alike.  As a musical theorist, he is considered one of the most distinctive authorities in that field.


Dr. Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University, and MFA and PhD degrees in musical theory and composition from Princeton University. He came to UBC as an Associate Professor of Music in 1978, becoming Professor in 1983 and Director of the School in 1984.

At the Institute, Dr. Benjamin examined underlying philosophical questions about musicality and musical behaviour. This work has drawn him into the interdisciplinary area of aesthetics, psychology, and musicology. He is working toward an alternative approach to music aesthetics that emphasizes the role of the listener as an active participant, as having access to a real internal record of the music. Dr. Benjamin collected qualitative and quantitative data for his new book to be titled Music Heard and Imagined. Dr. Benjamin’s Scholar in Residence talk, “Reproducing Music in Silence,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Margery Fee, Professor, English

Margery Fee has shaped national understanding of Canadian literature, culture, and regional and national forms of Canadian English usage.  She has also become an influential figure within global indigenous and postcolonial studies, as measured in her numerous publications, research grants, editorships, and plenary addresses. 


Dr. Fee completed her doctorate in English at the University of Toronto in 1981. Since taking up her position at UBC as an Associate Professor in 1993, she has held a number of prominent administrative positions in the Faculty of Arts at the same time as maintaining her role as a highly productive and innovative scholar. 


Dr. Fee’s longstanding interest in Aboriginal issues, postcolonial studies, narrative, and racialization merged in her article, “Racializing Narratives: Obesity, Diabetes and the ‘Aboriginal’ Thrifty Genotype,” in Social Science and Medicine (2006). This study set her on a path that led to her year at the Peter Wall Institute, where she forged new networks and generated a considerable number of papers as well as two grant applications.  Dr. Fee held a Scholar in Residence Workshop in October 2009 entitled, “Connecting Academic Research to Aboriginal Wellness”.  Dr. Fee’s Scholar in Residence talk, “What Can the Humanities Offer Science in Understanding Genetics and Social ‘Race’?” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Anthony Pitcher, Professor, Fisheries Centre

Tony Pitcher is a distinguished fisheries biologist, with an outstanding scholarly record and a worldwide reputation in fisheries research, much of it interdisciplinary. He received his MA and DPhil in Zoology from Oxford University in 1970. He was appointed as Professor and founding Director of the UBC Fisheries Centre in 1993. In 2003, Dr. Pitcher received the Beverton Medal from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles for his lifetime contributions to fisheries science.


Dr. Pitcher has made major contributions as a research scientist in two particular areas. The first area was fish schooling behaviour. More recently, he has been working on ecosystem assessment and modeling. In his pioneering “back to the future” approach, he uses past ecosystems to set viable future policy goals. This contemporary interest in the sustainability of benefits for humans from marine ecosystems was his research area while at the Institute in 2008.


Dr. Pitcher received funding for a full-scale Exploratory Workshop titled “The Sea Before Us: Reconstructing the Strait of Georgia,” held at the Institute in May 2009. The aim of the Sea Before Us project is to develop and publish concepts, methods, and case studies establishing a restoration ecology for the oceans that is practical and grounded in theory. Dr. Pitcher’s Scholar in Residence talk, “The Sea Ahead: Learning from the Past,” is available as an audio podcast on the Institute’s website.

Karen Bakker, Associate Professor, Geography

Dr. Bakker is a scholar committed to understanding environmental policy, the role and significance of water resources in society, and distributive justice. Her primary work is in the field of the political ecology of water, water resources, and resource used in developed and developing countries. Dr. Bakker, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, completed her doctorate in 1999 and subsequently held a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Oxford. She came to UBC as an Assistant Professor in 2001 and was a Peter Wall Early Career Scholar in 2002-2003.

Dr. Bakker authored An Uncooperative Commodity: Privatizing Water in England and Wales (Oxford University Press, 2004) and edited Eau Canada: The Future of Canada’s Water (UBC Press, 2006). In addition to producing numerous refereed articles and chapters and a great number of reports, Dr. Bakker contributes to popular debates in the media and elsewhere. At UBC, she is Director of the Water Governance Program.

While at the Institute, Dr. Bakker organized a launch for her edited collection, Eau Canada (see page 20 of the 2006-2007Wall Annual Report), held a workshop on transboundary water governance, a follow-up to her Peter Wall Exploratory Workshop which was intended as the starting point for an edited book on the topic, and prepared a book-length draft of a major synthesis of the vast strands of empirical research and theoretical advances she has accomplished over the past eight years in developing countries. She held an intensive, one-day brainstorming session at the Institute in the spring of 2008 to explore a research focus for a major funding project and published volume. 

Alan Mackworth, Professor, Computer Science

Dr. Mackworth is widely considered the leading and most distinguished artificial intelligence (AI) researcher in Canada. He has pioneered and made major contributions in the area of constraint satisfaction problems, methods, algorithms, and applications. He has developed an algebraic model of dynamics, Probabilistic Constraint Nets, which has had an impact on developments such as robotic control systems. Dr. Mackworth was the first to propose robot soccer as the benchmark for research on situated robotic agents, a concept that led to the founding of the International RoboCup Federation. He came to UBC as Assistant Professor in 1974.

Dr. Mackworth’s leadership in the community through his personal contacts and personality has been as impressive as his research contributions. He is a founding fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and has served as its president. He is a senior editor of the international journal Constraints and a member of the board of Artificial Intelligence. At UBC, Dr. Mackworth served from 1990 to 2006 as Director of the Laboratory for Computational Intelligence, a world-leading group of 15 faculty working in artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning. In addition, he took a leading role in developing the undergraduate Cognitive Systems program.

At the Institute in 2007, Dr. Mackworth worked on a subset of his larger research program on the development of constraint-based approaches to computation and control to further develop the Constraint-Based Agent (CBA) theory. The CBA is a formal and practical design framework for the specification and implementation of intelligent systems that function in active environments.

Judy Segal, Associate Professor, English

Dr. Segal is a rhetorical theorist, someone who studies the history, theory, and means of persuasion in contexts that include politics, the law, commerce, and, increasingly, science. This field is one of the most interdisciplinary, being noted for its ability to bridge the Humanist-Medical-Scientific divide. Her specialty is the rhetoric of health and medicine.  Her contributions to studies of the rhetoric associated with the contemporary biomedicalization of sexuality in Western societies are hailed as pioneering. Dr. Segal came to UBC from the University of Waterloo as Assistant Professor in 1991.


Dr. Segal’s 2005 monograph is Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). She has co-edited a special issue of the journal Configurations on the subject “Scientific Ethos: Authorship, Authority and Trust in the Sciences” (2003).


At the Institute in 2007, Dr. Segal’s research involved continued examination of biomedicalization and its impacts on discourse, society, and individuals, focusing on her SSHRC-funded project “Values and Public Persuasion: The Rhetoric of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Pharmaceuticals.” She held a Peter Wall Institute funded one-day workshop in the spring of 2008 to gather a small number of international scholars and UBC graduate students who are working on topics in the rhetoric of health and medicine but who normally have no sustained opportunity for serious, face-to-face exploration of shared interests.

Anthony Sinclair, Professor, Zoology

Dr. Sinclair has conducted research on the Serengeti of Tanzania for more than forty years, asking very ambitious questions: What determines the size of animal populations? What are the structuring processes in ecosystems? How does one conserve and manage those ecosystems? He has also conducted long-term studies in northern Canada. Dr. Sinclair is considered by his peers to be one of the most influential and productive ecologists working in the world today and perhaps the most recognized ecologist in looking at the behavior of large ecosystems and the nature of population. He came to UBC as Assistant Professor in 1975.

At UBC, Dr. Sinclair was Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Research for six years (1996-2002). He developed a successful, major Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant and raised infrastructure funds for the research program he calls the Biodiversity Knockout Experiment. He also runs the Species at Risk Centre at UBC as part of the Centre for Biodiversity Research.

At the Institute, Dr. Sinclair finalized the edited collection, Serengeti III (The University of Chicago Press, 2008), and worked to synthesize ten years’ worth of data on the Serengeti. To that end, he scheduled a major Exploratory Workshop at the Institute for October 19-21, 2007: “Developing Sustainable Human-Natural Systems: The Greater Serengeti Ecosystem as a Case Study.” One outcome of this workshop was the basis of the next edited collection, Serengeti IV (The University of Chicago Press, Forthcoming 2011), on what affects biodiversity, including both natural and human-induced impacts.

Anne Condon, Professor, Computer Science

Dr. Condon is a leader in the theoretical computer science and computational biology communities. Among her research awards are the ACM Distinguished Dissertation Award (1988), National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award (1992), Distinguished Alumna Award from University College Cork, Ireland (2001), and one of the five Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (2004). The latter reflects Dr. Condon’s remarkable influence on women in computer science by inspiring and mentoring them individually and leading projects to improve the number of women entering the field.

For the past decade, Dr. Condon has specialized in interdisciplinary research in the areas of bio-molecular computation and, more recently, RNA (Ribonucleic acid) structure prediction. She publishes in top forums of theoretical computer science, bio-molecular computation, computational biology, and molecular biology, including Nature, Journal of Molecular Biology, and Nucleic Acids Research.

At the Institute, Dr. Condon among other things worked towards writing a new introductory computer science textbook based on a course she created at UBC that is cross-listed in Computer Science and Women’s Studies. She also organized a Distinguished Scholar in Residence Lecture Series, “Computational Approaches to Understanding and Predicting the Structure of RNA Molecules, and Their Roles in Living Cells.” Details of these talks appear in our 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 Annual Reports.

Andrew Macnab, Professor, Pediatrics

Dr. Macnab has developed an unusual and outstanding combination of technical ability, academic knowledge, and scientific expertise. He has in particular a range of knowledge that is extraordinarily broad for an academic clinician who must concern himself with the myriad minutiae that constitute optimum treatment of seriously ill infants and children. It extends from the arcane aspects of developmental biology to the optical physics of biology sensors through the very basics of pediatric transport and child care.

A Canadian leader in the science of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Dr. Macnab has made seminal discoveries at a basic science level that are poised to translate a disruptive technology into an answer for a major clinical problem in urology.

At the Institute in 2006, Dr. Macnab took advantage of being on the main campus to organize a Theme Development Workshop that explored a spectrum of applications of NIRS. He also worked to complete his book manuscript, “The A to Z of Air Travel with Infants and Children.”  Dr. Macnab’s Associate Forum talk “Aid for Africa: The ‘Ilkeliani’ of UBC” was held on October 11, 2006.

Catharine Rankin, Professor, Psychology

Dr. Rankin works on the development of learning and memory, having first studied the marine mollusk, Aplysia californica, then later studying the behaviour of the Caenorhabditis elegans (microscopic nematode worms) just as C. elegans was becoming widely appreciated as an experimental field for neurobiological and neuroethological studies. She has emerged as one of the world’s leading researchers in the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary field of behavioural neuroscience, and as the authority on the behaviour of C. elegans. A signal of Dr. Rankin’s stature was her appointment as the host for the next International Congress of Neuroethology, held in Vancouver in 2007.


In addition to her research on nematode behaviour and cellular and genetic mechanisms of learning and memory, Dr. Rankin has contributed to theoretical neuroscience. She has published her research in high impact forums such as Science and Journal of Neuroscience, and has contributed chapters to the three most recent basic reference texts on C. elegans.


At the Institute in 2006, Dr. Rankin will led an Exploratory Workshop on a form of learning called “habituation” with researchers who study the topic in different systems, one outcome was a book-length publication and a scholarly review on the topic, “Habituation Revisited: An Updated and Revised Description of the Behavioral Characteristics of Habituation” (Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2008). The final report from Dr. Rankin’s Exploratory Workshop is found through the link: http://www.habituation.pwias.ubc.ca/report.php.

Mark Zacher, Professor, Political Science

Dr. Zacher’s research in the area of international relations and global public policy is well known internationally and has had an immense influence on those who work on the politics of international institutions and law. He has not only published monographs with major university presses and articles in leading journals, but he has held fellowships at Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, and Toronto. After heading up the UBC Centre of International Relations for several decades, Dr. Zacher is at present Research Director


Dr. Zacher’s scholarly influence is also felt across disciplines, especially his co-authored books on Pollution, Politics and International Law: Tankers at Sea (U California Press, 1979); Managing International Markets: Developing Countries and the Commodity Trade Regime (Columbia UP, 1988); and Governing Global Networks: International Regimes for Transportation and Communications (Cambridge UP, 1996).


At the Institute in 2006, Dr. Zacher worked on the politics of international health collaboration, including a book, “United by Contagion.”  With Dr. Janice Stein, Director of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, he co-directed the Wall Summer Institute for Research, held 25-28 June, 2007. The theme of WSIR 2007 was “Civil Society Organizations and Global Health Governance”; our 2006-2007 Annual Report describes the outcomes of that event.

Kenneth Carty, Professor, Political Science

Dr. Carty is considered the most distinguished Canadian scholar on political parties. He has published extensively and participated actively in professional meetings around the world, has authored and co-authored seminal works on BC and Canadian political parties and methods of elections, and has served as a major consultant to provincial and national Royal Commissions. Dr. Carty joined UBC as a lecturer in 1974.


With Lisa Young and Bill Cross he co-authored Rebuilding Canadian Party Politics (UBC Press, 2000), a study that has redefined the models we now use to explain the growth, development, and changes in our federal parties.


Dr. Carty was the Director of Research for the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform for several years. This experiment in popular democracy drew worldwide attention. Never before has an assembly of randomly chosen citizens been given the task of studying the intricacies of a major policy question and proposing a solution. Dr. Carty prepared a booklength study of the Citizens’ Assembly, which addresses important international matters of modern democracy.


A second project arose from his involvement in the Canadian Democratic Audit, a multi-scholar ten-volume series. Dr. Carty co-authored the final integrative summary study. He also organized a two-day Scholar in Residence Workshop held 4-5 December, 2005 the state of the field and the possibilities of forming a virtual network of scholars of Canadian political parties and party systems were discussed, see our 2005-2006 Annual Report for details of this workshop.

Dominic Lopes, Professor, Philosophy

Dr. Lopes studies a range of philosophical issues: ethics, epistemology, the philosophy of the mind and cognitive science, and aesthetics. In the field of aesthetics he is regarded as a leading scholar working in the area of representation, aesthetic perception, and pictorial meaning. He came to UBC as Associate Professor in 2000.


In his first book, Understanding Pictures (Oxford UP, 1992), Dr. Lopes elaborates an original and now influential theory of the interpretation of pictures. It is considered one of the leading works in aesthetics of the nineties. His essay, “Art Media and the Sense Modalities: Tactile Pictures” (1997) won a prestigious essay prize from The Philosophical Quarterly. He has also edited or co-edited three important reference works: The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics; Philosophy of Literature: A Companion; and Imagination, Philosophy, and the Arts.


Dr. Lopes’ involvement with the Institute has been considerable. He was a 2001-2002 Early Career Scholar and Co-Principal Investigator of the 2003 Exploratory Workshop, “Maps: Then, Here, and Now,” which studied the relationship of mapping and human cognition. (See the 2002-2003 Annual Report for details.)


At the Institute in 2005, he worked to prepare a book entitled Live Wires: A Philosophy of Interactive Digital Art, which is at the cutting edge of the philosophical examination of contemporary arts. He also organized a Distinguished Scholar in Residence Lecture Series on the ontology of digital art. A report on the full series is included in our 2005-2006 Annual Report.

Olav Slaymaker, Professor, Geography

Dr. Slaymaker is an award-winning international expert in physical geomorphology and the environment of the cryosphere (landscapes of ice and snow). He has authored, co-authored, or edited nearly twenty books, including Mountain Geomorphology (Arnold, 2004), received dozens of international awards and special honours, and served on numerous major international and national professional associations and committees. Dr. Slaymaker came to UBC as an Assistant Professor in 1968.


Dr. Slaymaker has developed a range of interdisciplinary intellectual interests that have taken him from his original area of field measurement and analysis of erosional processes in the mountains of BC to the analysis of lake sediments as proxies for climate and land use changes over the Holocene, and on to his current interest: the human implications of the great future environmental changes. Reflecting this shift in focus was the major Exploratory Workshop he led at the Peter Wall Institute in April 2003, “Mutual Vulnerability, Mutual Dependence: The Reflexive Relation Between Human Society and the Environment,” a description of which appears in our 2002-2003 Annual Report.


At the Institute in 2005, Dr. Slaymaker organized another Exploratory Workshop for which he is the Principal Investigator.  “Assessment of Sensitivity to Disturbance of the Major Cryospheric and Socio-Economic Systems in the Circumpolar World,” held February 26-28, 2006. Details of the Workshop are found in our 2005-2006 Annual Report.

Lawrence Ward, Professor, Psychology

Dr. Ward is considered one of the most creative and original experimental psychologists in the field. As a theorist, he has always sought to conceptualize human behaviour in ways that can be put to empirical, quantitative test. Dr. Ward came to UBC as an Assistant Professor in 1974.


Dr. Ward’s works on sequence effects and on attention are integral to his continuously developing interest in understanding the temporal dynamics of cognition and behaviour. He has more recently extended his interest to the temporal dynamics of non-linear systems – theoretically and mathematically.


He was a Co-Investigator in the first Peter Wall Major Thematic Grant project, “Crisis Points and Models for Decision” (1997-2000).  This involvement led him to conduct a series of ground breaking psychophysics experiments, for the first time using added noise to transmit information about a sub-threshold signal across the threshold of perception, and resulted in his book, Dynamical Cognitive Science (MIT Press, 2002).


Dr. Ward took advantage of his time at the Institute in 2005 to write up his research on the neural correlates of consciousness. He also intensified his interest in neural synchrony by serving as Co-Convener and Director of the first Wall Summer Institute for Research (WSIR), “Synchrony in Mind, Brain, and Consciousness”.  Detailed outcomes of WSIR 2005 are found in the 2005-2006 Annual Report.

Susan Boyd, Professor, Law

Professor Boyd is internationally recognized as the leading feminist family law scholar in Canada; she is also the country’s leading researcher in the area of child custody law. She works within the interdisciplinary socio-legal studies stream of legal research as well as within feminist studies generally. She came to UBC as Chair in Feminist Legal Studies in 1993.


In the 1980s Professor Boyd began researching the field of child custody law, using it to explore the ways in which women’s work and men’s work were dealt with in social and legal narratives. This work resulted in her book, Child Custody Law and Women’s Work (Oxford University Press, 2003), which ranks among the most important interdisciplinary texts in the family law field. It was nominated for the Walter S. Owen Book Prize. After taking up the newly endowed Chair in Feminist Legal Studies at UBC, she directed a SSHRC-funded collaborative research project that produced the edited collection, Challenging

the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law, and Public Policy (University of Toronto Press, 1997).


At the Institute in 2004 Professor Boyd worked to complete two collaborative, SSHRC-funded projects, wrote two articles, and co-edited two collections. She organized a Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar’s workshop on the research: “Feminism, Law, and Social Change: (Re) Action and Resistance,” May 7–8, 2004. (See page 12 of our 2003-2004 Annual Report for details.)

Murray Isman, Professor, Agroecology

Dr. Isman is among the leading figures worldwide in the field of chemical ecology. His research represents a combination of insect behaviour and physiology with plant chemistry and toxicology. His impact on chemical ecology, manifested in the more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers he has written, has been enormous. He is one of a handful of investigators experienced in working at both basic and applied levels and is one of the most renowned investigators of the insecticidal potential of neem, among the most promising natural pesticides in North America in a half-century. He came to UBC as Assistant Professor in 1983.


Dr. Isman has edited two widely-cited collections in the area of chemical ecology, serves on the editorial boards of five journals, and has been president of three scientific societies: the Entomological Society of British Columbia, the International Society of Chemical Ecology, and the Phyotochemical Society of North America (where he was the first entomologist to hold the position).


He took advantage of his time at the Institute to expand his basic investigations of insect behaviour to explore learning and memory in caterpillars and moths.

Patricia Vertinsky, Professor, Human Kinetics

Dr. Vertinsky is regarded as perhaps the most influential thinker and producer in the fields relating to sports studies, cultural studies, and the body/society paradigm. She is a social and cultural historian whose research is located at the centre of an upsurge of interdisciplinary interest in the body and its role in society, which is now seen as central to much contemporary thought and practice in medical science, educational practice, feminism, technology, and health. It is a subject that bridges the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences and professions. Dr. Vertinsky came to UBC as Assistant Professor in 1975.


Her co-edited collections, Sites of Sport: Space and Place and Experience, and Disciplining Bodies in the Gymnasium: Memory, Monument, and Modernism, appeared in the spring of 2004.


She has many publications, honours, and awards, including election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education and to the College of Fellows of the European Committee for Sport History. She is Past-President of the North American Society for Sport History and Vice-President of the International Society for the History of Sport. She is also a UBC Distinguished University Scholar.


At the Institute in 2004 Patricia worked to complete her research and book on the Dartington Hall (England) project, which focuses on the ‘educating’ of the British Body in the inter-war years. Dr. Vertinsky planned a Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence Conference on her co-edited book (2005) project, “Physical Culture, Power, and the Body” for October 15–16 2004, which is described in our 2004-05 Annual Report.

Michael Whitlock, Associate Professor, Zoology

Dr. Whitlock is regarded as being in the top tier of evolutionary geneticists in the world. He is able to do both theoretical and empirical work that is fundamental. He is best known for his research on the evolution of spatially structured populations. He took up his UBC appointment as Assistant Professor in 1995.


Dr. Whitlock has played a starring role in a major advance in evolutionary biology over the last 10 years: the development of ‘metapopulation’ biology. His work has produced a series of landmark results that show how basic features of evolution depend on spatial structure, a topic now on the cutting edge of evolutionary biology. A second theme in his research is how selection and random genetic drift can generate new adaptations; his work in this area is considered the leading and most influential in the field. A third research direction with an applied impact is conservation biology: “How small a population can be before extinction is inevitable.”


He has published a flood of key contributions that have measurably advanced each of the three research directions; he has also been associate editor of top-tier journals, Evolution, Heredity, and the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.


As a Peter Wall Scholar in Residence in 2004, he worked on writing an extensive book on statistics in biology. His Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar’s project was to organize the first meeting of the evolutionary biologists of the Pacific Northwest: “EVO-WIBO 2004: Evolutionary Biology in the Pacific Northwest,” April 17–18, 2004. (See page 12 of our 2003-2004 Annual Report for details.)

Joan Anderson, Professor, Nursing

Joan Anderson is both a sociologist and registered nurse. She holds the Elizabeth Kenny McCann Chair in the UBC School of Nursing. Dr. Anderson’s research spans the disciplines of sociology of health, critical medical anthropology, nursing and health care, focusing on the issues of migration, culture, gender and health. Her research deals with how personal histories, as well as socio-political and economic factors, influence the construction of life stories and the experiencing and management of health and illness. Specifically, Dr. Anderson was Principal Investigator on a three year (2002-2005) CIHR project “The Hospitalization and Help-seeking Experiences of Diverse Ethnocultural Groups.” This project is looking at how patients from different ethnocultural backgrounds experience the transition from hospital to home and home-care management. She was also Site Principal Investigator on the SSHRC funded study “Multicultural Meanings and Social Support Among Immigrants and Refugees”(2000-2003). Dr. Anderson was also Principal Investigator on the CIHR funded research project “First Nations Women and Health Services” (2001-2003).


Dr. Anderson planned a symposium entitled “Reimagining community: Decolonization, postnationalism healing and well-being”, held at the Institute in the fall of 2003. Details of this event are found in the 2003-2004 Annual Report.


Dr. Anderson’s research has been published in influential peer reviewed journals including Sociology of Health and Illness, Journal of Advanced Nursing, and Social Science and Medicine.

Kenneth Craig, Professor, Psychology

Ken Craig is a clinical psychologist who works in the field of pain and illness behaviour. Dr. Craig’s research focuses primarily on the social science perspectives that would assist in understanding and controlling the serious health challenges of acute and chronic pain in children and adults. Much of Dr. Craig’s recent published work is in the challenging area of understanding and improving pain management for a number of highly vulnerable populations characterized by limitations in the capacity to communicate painful distress.


Dr. Craig was a CIHR Senior Investigator (through 2005) and Principal Investigator on a CIHR funded project entitled “Multidimensional Assessment of Infant Pain: Validity and Reliability of Indicators,” and Principal Investigator on the SSHRC funded project “Social Transactions as Determinants of Pain.” During his residency at the Institute in 2003, Dr. Craig completed work (with T. Hadjistravropoulos) on Pain: Psychological Perspectives, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004). Dr. Craig has published widely and frequently in peer reviewed journals including: Pain, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Journal of Pediatrics, Social Science and Medicine, and Behaviour Research and Therapy.


In 2002 Dr. Craig was awarded the Donald O. Hebb Award by the Canadian Psychological Association (its most prestigious scientific award) for “distinguished contributions to psychology as a science” and the 2002 Jeffery Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain Relief from the American Pain Society. His many honours and distinctions also include a UBC Killam Teaching Prize (2000), a UBC Killam Research Prize (1991) and a Canada Council Killam Research Fellowship (1992-1994).

Sherrill Grace, Professor, English

Dr. Grace’s teaching and research interests lie in the areas of 20th century Canadian Literature and Culture, Drama, Biography and Autobiography, and Interdisciplinary Studies in 20th Century Literature, Art, Film, Theatre and Music. She served as head of the UBC Dept. of English 1997-2002 and earlier as Associate Dean of Arts. Dr. Grace has received many research awards, including a Canada Council Killam Research Fellowship 2004-2006. Her honours and awards include the UBC Killam Research Prize in 1990 and the UBC Jacob Biely Prize in 1998. In 1991 Dr. Grace was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She was made a UBC Distinguished University Scholar in 2003.


The breadth and depth of Dr. Grace’s research interests are well illustrated by her extensive publication record. She has published over 150 articles and 13 books. Notable among her books are: Sursum Corda! The Collected Letters of Malcolm Lowry, Vol. I. London and Toronto, Jonathan Cape, and U. of Toronto Press, 1995; and Vol. II 1996; Canada and the Idea of North, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's U., 2002; Performing National Identities: International Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Theatre, co-edited with Albert-Reiner Glaap, Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2003.


At the Institute in 2003, the primary focus of Dr. Grace’s research was in the area of autobiography. She worked towards completing a new edition of Mina Benson Hubbard’s 1908 book A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador and worked on an in-depth study of Canadian playwright and woman of the theatre Sharon Pollock. Her Exploratory Workshop “Putting a Life on Stage: Theatre and AutoBiography”, was held in February 2004 and reported on in our 2003-04 Annual Report.

David Ley, Professor, Geography

David Ley’s research is in the areas of downtown and inner cities as well as broader issues in social and cultural geography. In particular, his work has focused on issues to do with immigration and large urban centres, the black inner city as frontier, the role of humanistic approaches to geography, gentrification and political ideology, and urban landscapes and cultural conflict. One of Dr. Ley’s major research activities from 1996 to 2003 was as UBC Director of the Metropolis Project, riim.metropolis.net, a SSHRC funded Centre of Excellence. The project’s mandate is, initially, to examine race, ethnicity and immigration in Canadian cities, and thereafter, in comparative context with cities in other countries. Prior to taking up his residency, Dr. Ley held an Exploratory Workshop entitled “Multicultural Sites/Sights: Sydney and Vancouver as Gateway Cities.” Details of Dr. Ley’s Exploratory Workshop can be found in our 2000-2001 Annual Report.


Dr. Ley has a very diverse and extensive publication record. He has papers in such noted journals as Annals - Association of American Geographers, Urban Geography, The Canadian Geographer, and Economic Geography. He has also authored or co-authored nine books, including the ground breaking work The New Middle Class and the Remaking of the Central City, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996; and what is now considered a classic in urban studies, The Black Inner City as Frontier Outpost, Washington: Association of American Geographers, 1974.


Among his many honours and distinctions, David Ley is a Canada Research Chair, Tier I, recipient of a UBC Killam Research Prize, 1989-91, and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1998). In 2000 Dr. Ley received the Christenson Fellowship of St. Catherine’s College, Oxford and in February 2003 he was named a Trudeau Foundation Fellow (2003-2006).

Michael Church, Professor, Geography

Michael Church is recognized internationally as one of the top scholars in the field of geomorphology. Within this field his areas of research interest include fluvial sediment transport and the interpretation of river channel changes, and theoretical geomorphology. Dr. Church’s research in fluvial geomorphology led him to pursue inter-disciplinary work in such areas as hydrology, water resources management and aquatic ecosystems. He is one of the few geomorphologists who work on large rivers, specifically Fraser and Peace Rivers in British Columbia. Dr. Church’s early research, “Baffin Island Sandurs: A Study of Arctic Fluvial Environments” (Canadian Geological Survey, Bulletin 216, 1972) is considered the first modern application of fluvial geomorphology. This landmark paper was recognized with the Kirk Bryan Award of the Geological Society of America. Dr. Church has continued to publish papers on theoretical and practical aspects of geomorphology, sedimentology and hydraulics in leading journals including Nature, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Sedimentary Research, Sedimentology, Water Resources Research, and Earth Surface Processes & Landforms.


Dr. Church’s work on river channel stability focuses on the areas of critical states in the physics of complex macroscopic systems, in particular granular systems. Sedimentary (granular) structures that are the outcome of sediment transport and deposition leading to critical states are important elements of aquatic habitat for benthic organisms, and important topographic elements on the streambed that fishes use. The theoretical work that Dr. Church engages in, in this and other areas of research, informs his practical work as a consultant and scientific advisor for such projects as the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forests Practices in Clayoquot Sound and the Fraser Basin Council.


Michael Church is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America; he was awarded the Killam Research Prize at UBC in 1991, and the David Linton Award of the British Geomorphological Research Group in 1996. Dr. Church has held a Royal Society Research Fellowship at Oxford (1987) and was a Visiting Senior Fellow at Keble College, Oxford.

Dennis Danielson, Professor, English

After devoting much of his scholarly career to the study of literature of the Renaissance, Reformation and seventeenth century, with an emphasis on the works of John Milton, Dr. Danielson has branched out into the history of science. In particular he has pursued an interest in the history of cosmology. It was of particular interest to the Institute’s Selection Committee, charged with evaluating the applications for 2002 UBC Distinguished Scholars in Residence, that a majority of Dr. Danielson’s letters of reference came from physicists and astronomers rather than scholars in the Humanities. Dr. Danielson’s work exemplifies interdisciplinarity, exploring the interactions among literature, history and astronomy. His research emphasizes the role of the literary imagination in shaping and extending developments in cosmology.


A highlight of Dr. Danielson’s research in the field of the history of cosmology was the publishing, to significant favourable review, of his critical anthology Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking (Perseus Books, 2000). The work received considerable attention from scientists and led to Dr. Danielson’s invitation to give the plenary address at the first joint annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers. This was the first plenary address to the AAS by an academic with a non-science background. Further demonstrations of the importance of Dr. Danielson’s research to the science community have included an invited talk to the Space Telescope Science Institute, and articles in Nature (Vol.410, April 26, 2001) and American Journal of Physics (69: 8, August 2001).


Dr. Danielson served on the Board of Governors of The University of British Columbia and as Associate Head of the English Department.


David Jones, Professor, Zoology

The late Dr. David Jones is recognized as the preeminent comparative cardiovascular physiologist for his work in elucidating the cardiovascular regulatory mechanisms of aquatic/marine mammals and birds. Specifically, his research interests were in the study of heart rate and blood flow in diving animals and the impact of flow changes during submergence on metabolism. Dr. Jones began his research with diving birds and extended his investigations to other habitually diving animals including the elephant seal and the leatherback turtle. A secondary area of research interest for Dr. Jones was with circulatory structure and function in a range of vertebrates and invertebrates.


His work has implications for broadening our understanding of control processes, particularly of those functions controlled by the central nervous system.


Dr. Jones’ research required a sophisticated understanding of biological mechanisms with extraordinary technical skill. One of the challenges in this area of inquiry is to replicate carefully controlled laboratory diving experiments in nature, with animals diving naturally. An example of an area of research innovation pioneered by Dr. Jones was the use of telemetry to sample data in field situations (e.g., during free dives).


David Jones published over 180 articles and book chapters. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and received, among other honours, the Flavelle Medal of the R.S.C. (2000), the Fry Medal of the Canadian Society of Zoologists (1991) and UBC Killam Research Prize (1993). Dr. Jones served as administrative director of Zoology Animal Care at UBC.

Dianne Newell, Professor, History

Dr. Newell’s research interests span a range of subjects within these broad areas: Canadian social and economic history; history of technology; aboriginal women in the industrial economy; Pacific fisheries; and science and technology in late industrial society. For example, her research explores science fiction literary production, in particular women’s involvement in postwar science fiction. This work brings together elements of Dr. Newell’s interests in technology, its history and socio-political implications for gender. Dr. Newell’s Peter Wall Institute Distinguished Scholar in Residence Workshop “New Angles on Science? Fiction?” brought together scholars from English, History, Film Studies, Anthropology, Women’s Studies and Literature. Details on the workshop are found in the 2002-2003 Annual Report.


Much of her work has been at the intersections of economic history, technology, Pacific fisheries and Northwest coast aboriginal society. Dr. Newell has authored or edited five books: Technology on the Frontier: Mining in Old Ontario (UBC Press, Vancouver, 1986); with R. Greenhill, Survivals: Aspects of Industrial Archaeology in Ontario (Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont., 1989); editor, The Development of the Pacific Salmon Canning Industry: A Grown Man’s Game (McGill- Queen’s U. Press, Montreal, 1989); Tangled Webs of History: Indians and the Law in Canada’s Pacific Coast Fisheries (U. of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1993, 1997) (CHA Clio Award; Cdn. Nautical Research Soc., Keith Matthew Prize); and editor with R.E. Ommer, Fishing Places, Fishing People: Traditions and Issues in Canadian Small-Scale Fisheries (U. of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1999).


Dr. Newell’s publications have won the Clio Award of the Canadian Historical Association, the Keith Matthew Prize of the Canadian Nautical Research Society, and the Association of Canadian Studies. She is past-president of the Smithsonian-based Society of Industrial Archaeology, former Associate Dean, UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies, and recipient of the UBC Killam Memorial Fellowship (1990).

Anthony Barrett, Professor, Classical, Near Eastern & Religious Studies

Dr. Barrett’s areas of research are Roman literature and history, and classical art and archaeology. Since 1988 he has been Director of the excavation of the Roman fort on the ‘Lunt’, a plateau overlooking the river Sowe to the south of the city of Coventry, England. Professor Barrett conducts an annual training excavation at the site each August.

Dr. Barrett’s other main research activity is his involvement in the Imperial Biographies Series published by Yale University Press. This series envisages new analyses of the lives and careers of the more significant figures of Rome’s imperial families. Dr. Barrett has so far completed three volumes in the series. His first book, Caligula: The Corruption of Power, offered the portrait of a sane and rational emperor, but one without moral compunctions. It has been translated into Italian, with Russian and German editions pending. The second, Agrippina: Sex, Power and Politics in the Early Empire, seeks to dispel that notion of the promiscuous murderess and to suggest that Agrippina’s contribution to the state was beneficial. It also argues that she saw her main role as partner to the emperor Claudius, rather than merely the agent of her son Nero. A Russian edition is pending. A third volume on Livia, the wife of the first emperor, Augustus, was published in 2002 (Yale University Press).

Dr. Barrett is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and of the Society of Antiquaries, London. From 1993 – 1998 he served as Head of the Department of Classics at UBC. For his Institute project Dr. Barrett held a workshop entitled “Archaeology in the New Century: Scientific Advances in Archaeological Research” on March 15-16, 2002. This workshop explored some of the advances made by the new generation of archaeologists, and illustrated how techniques ranging from botany to the study of isotopes in the bones are taking archaeology across new frontiers.

John Foster, Professor, English

Professor Foster’s primary field of research is literary criticism, particularly of British and Irish literature. His work, from the beginning informed by social anthropology and folklore, has broadened in recent years to include the history of natural history, Titanic studies, and political culture.
Dr. Foster is author of five books and editor of four others. The five authored works are: Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (1974); Fiction of the Irish Literary Revival: A Changeling Art (1987); Colonial Consequences: Essays in Irish Literature and Culture (1991); The Achievement of Seamus Heaney (1995); and The Titanic Complex (1997). The most important of Dr. Foster’s edited books is Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History (1997, 1998).

Professor Foster’s Institute project was a week-long symposium entitled “Contemporary Irish Writing & Its Cultural Contexts” in October 2001. The symposium brought outstanding Irish writers and literary critics to UBC including poets Paul Muldoon and Michael Longley, playwright Thomas Kilroy, novelist Dermot Healy, poet/memoirist Ciaran Carson, author/critic Robert Welch and poet/critic Gerald Dawe.

Dale Rolfsen, Professor, Mathematics

Dr. Rolfsen is a theoretical mathematician with strong research interests in topology and algebra. Among his areas of specialization are the theory of knots and braid groups, dynamics, manifolds of dimension 2, 3 and higher, and applications of these theories. Professor Rolfsen’s work centres on ordered groups, 3-manifolds and the structure of braid groups. Dr. Rolfsen’s work in knot theory has applications in diverse fields including the spatial structure of DNA and other polymers, how enzymes affect the topology of molecules, and protein folding. Professor Rolfsen’s book Knots and Links is a well-known text in this field.

From 1989 - 1994 Dr. Rolfsen served as Head of the UBC Mathematics Department. He was the UBC Site Director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences from 1998-2003.

Linda Siegel, Professor, Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education

Professor Siegel’s areas of research activity are learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, detection of children at risk for learning and behavior problems, cognitive development, language development, and the history of childhood. Her publications include the coauthored books Current Directions in Dyslexia Research (with K. van den Bos, D. Bakker, and D. Share, 1994) and The Social and Cognitive Aspects of Normal and Atypical Language Development (with S. von Tetzchner and L. Smith, 1989).

Professor Siegel’s research includes a longitudinal study in North Vancouver to examine the early identification and intervention of native English-speaking and ESL speaking children at risk for reading failure. This school-based research in dyslexia and reading failure is also in the preliminary stages in other districts in BC. The other study Dr. Siegel is currently conducting is to examine the development of reading, language, and memory skills in children and adults with learning disabilities. An assessment of reading, language, spelling, memory and arithmetic is conducted with each participant. Suggestions for remediation and appropriate accommodations in school and the workplace, and/or further education are made for each individual, based on their personal learning difficulties.

Dr. Siegel holds the Dorothy C. Lam Chair in Special Education in the UBC Faculty of Education. She is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Canadian Psychological Association.

William Hsieh, Associate Professor, Earth & Ocean Sciences, Physics & Astronomy

Dr Hsieh’s research is in the area of the inter-annual variability of the climate system - that subtle, nonlinear interplay between ocean, atmosphere and land. In particular, Dr. Hsieh is developing models for climate prediction at the seasonal time scale. Seasonal climate prediction is a new field which has emerged only in the last 12-15 years, with potentially huge economic benefits to society. An example is the famous El Niño phenomenon that can now be forecast with reasonable accuracy 3-12 months in advance. Dr. Hsieh is pioneering the use of artificial neural network models (originally developed in the field of artificial intelligence) for analyzing meteorological/oceanographic data and for short-term climate prediction. During his residency at the Intstitute Dr. Hsieh worked on a graduate text titled “Machine Learning Methods in the Environmental Sciences: Neural Networks and Kernels” (Cambridge University Press, 2009). For his Institute project Dr Hsieh organized a series of talks by prominent researchers in the field of Atmosphere and Ocean Modelling (see Appendix B of the 1999-2000 Annual Report for details).

Patricia Marchak, Professor, Anthropology & Sociology, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability

Dr. Marchak has a number of areas of research interest including: sociology of resource industries, principally forestry and fisheries; state terrorism and ideologies, primarily in the South American context; political economic theory and political ideologies related to social structure; environmental issues and issues of sustainability. Dr. Marchak’s book, “God’s Assassins: State Terrorism in the 1970s in Argentina” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999), was widely and favourably reviewed. Dr. Marchak’s Institute project was the workshop entitled “Truth, Justice, Accountability and Reconciliation in Societies Emerging from Crimes against Humanity” held October 13-14, 2000. The workshop brought together leading researchers and practitioners in the field to consider the emergence of, and implications of, new models for achieving justice and reconciliation, as in the case of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Further details on the workshop can be found in Appendix B of the 1999-2000 Annual Report.

Peter Suedfeld, Professor, Psychology

Dr. Suedfeld’s research spans three major areas: 1. Environmental Psychology: adaptations to, coping with, and long-term consequences of extreme environments. Some of the individuals and groups studied (in the field, archival analysis, questionnaire and interview) include polar and space voyagers, political prisoners, holocaust survivors, slaves, and combat soldiers. 2. Cognitive Psychology: high-level decision making and problem solving under stress. One ongoing study is analyzing the speeches and writings of Canadian Prime Ministers to assess cognitive and motivational characteristics related to success in that position. 3. Political Psychology: how people perceive and think about historical/political scenarios e.g., the two World Wars, religious and ethnic conflicts. Dr. Suedfeld’s Institute project was the conference entitled “Psychological and Literary Approaches to the Study of Autobiographical Narrative and Memory” held May 6-7, 2000. The workshop brought together UBC and international experts from the fields of Psychology, Sociology, Literature, Educational Studies, History and English (see Appendix B of the 1999-2000 Annual Report for details).

John Willinsky, Professor, Language Education

Dr. Willinsky’s areas of research are: socio-cultural aspects of language, literacy and literature, anti-racism and post-colonialism, curriculum history and theory, post-structuralist theory, and technology and education. John is the Principal Investigator of the Public Knowledge Project at UBC. The Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to exploring whether and how new technologies can be used to improve the professional and public value of scholarly research. Details on the Public Knowledge project can be found at http://pkp.sfu.ca/.

Dr. Willinsky’s publications include “If Only We Knew: Increasing the Public Value of Social Science Research” (New York: Routledge, 2000); “Technologies of Knowing: A Proposal for the Human Sciences” (Boston: Beacon, 1999); “Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire’s End” (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998); and “Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED” (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994). Dr. Willinsky’s Institute project was the workshop entitled “Knowledge Futures: Alternative Models for Scholarly Publishing” held November 2, 2000. The workshop considered methods for improving the quality, organization and accessibility of research knowledge, and explored new roles for the library and academic associations in achieving these goals (see Appendix B of the 1999-2000 Annual Report for details).

Michael Chandler, Professor, Psychology

Dr Chandler has been at the forefront of developmental theory, promoting the ideas of Piaget to North American psychology in the early 1970s and continuing to use this framework to understand cognitive development in children. While at the Institute, he was researching adolescent suicide cases on Vancouver Island, focusing on social-cognition development; affective development; developmental psychopathology and lifespan development.

Sarah Otto, Assistant Professor, Zoology

Dr Otto’s research focuses on the evolution of an organism including its life cycle, mating system, and genomic organization. She has been exploring factors that influence whether or not a new mutation can become established within a population. She explores the limits that these factors place on evolution by natural selection, using mathematical models. Her work in recombination seeks to explore and explain the range of parameters governing gene creation and destruction. While at the Institute, her most recent journal publications included The evolution of recombination in changing environments, TREE 13: 145-151; and The probability of fixation in populations of changing size, Genetics 146: 723-733.

Alan Richardson, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Dr Richardson’s research interests are in the relations between the history of science and the history of philosophy in the 20th century. His published research has been on the rise of philosophy of science as a discipline in philosophy. During his time at the Institute, Dr. Richardson was researching how scientific philosophy has fundamentally changed philosophy’s relation to other disciplines in the humanities and in science. He is editor of “Logical Empiricism in North America”, a volume in the series of Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). He also edited “The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism” (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2007).

Dolph Schluter, Professor, Zoology

Dr Schluter’s research on adaptive radiation has revealed the environmental conditions promoting both the origin of new species and their ecological divergence. His work has determined factors governing the assembly and evolution of phylogenetically diverse faunas. Studying a mini-explosion of new species of threespine stickelbacks in coastal BC lakes, he has found that these are among the youngest species on earth, less than 13,000 years old. He has developed and applied novel analytical and experimental methods that are now finding widespread application, and is considered one of the outstanding evolutionary biologists of his generation. Dolph was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London during his tenure as a PWIAS Distinguished Scholar in Residence. His books include: “The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); and “Species Diversity in Ecological Communities: Historical and Geographical Perspectives” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). During his year in residence, Dr. Schluter, in addition to his book, published articles in Nature, American Naturalist, Science and Evolution.