Covered in jellyfish slime, and couldn’t be happier

Moon jellyfish can be recognized by their four horseshoe-shaped gonads and small tentacles. Photo: istock.Jessica Schaub’s fascination with marine life started with The Little Mermaid and two small aquariums. Now, her research on jellyfish could inform global ocean ecosystem conservation.By Jessica Schaub, Master of Science in Oceanography student at the University of British Columbia, Pelagic Ecosystems Lab.Imagine you’re standing on a boat in northern British Columbia, with cedars along the shoreline and an emerald green ocean…

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Eco-friendly fashion could have huge environmental impact

Cheap, expendable clothes have a big environmental price tag. The fashion industry is changing, but can they go green quickly enough? Photo: istock.Fast fashion is associated with environmental issues, but the industry is changing and collaborations with scientists could innovate what we wear.By Alejandra Echeverri, Ph.D. in Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.As a teenager, I was fashion obsessed. I spent hours watching fashion TV, went to runway shows and knew the names…

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Rat race! How pest control can backfire

Rats carry many pathogens and dealing with them gets complicated. Photo: istock.Rats are popular in horror stories. But unlike ghosts and goblins, getting rid of them is more difficult than calling Ghostbusters. Science has better options.By Kaylee Byers, UBC Interdisciplinary Studies, The Vancouver Rat ProjectIf you live in a major city, chances are you’ve seen rats scurrying around dumpsters or along alleyways. Urban rats are found around the world, and wherever they go, people work to get rid…

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It takes more than science

BC students try to bring attention to blood donation. Photo: Joban Bal.UBC student Joban Bal on how community organizing can have a huge impact on individual health outcomes.By Joban Bal. First-year medical student at UBC. Founder of One Blood For Life.“I’m sorry, but we haven’t found a suitable bone marrow match.”It wasn’t the first time I’d heard what could be a death sentence for a friend. And unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last. But something was different this…

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The otter side of Vancouver’s stolen koi story

UBC’s Nitobe Memorial Garden and a private collector donated adult fish to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden to replace the koi eaten by an otter. Photo: Mayowill Photography/UBC Botanical Garden.A rogue otter stole koi from Vancouver’s classical Chinese garden. UBC stepped in to help. But how do you trap and transport koi across a major North American city?By Koby Michaels (UBC Focus assistant editor) with input from Katie Teed (Senior Manager, Marketing and Communication,…

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A last love letter to the Serengeti

Tony Sinclair’s interest in the Serengeti began in the 1960s. Photo: The Serengeti Rules.“All is not lost if we do the right thing.” A zoologist explains his love of the Serengeti, and why it’s important for scientists to reach out to the public.By Tony Sinclair, professor emeritus of zoology at UBCWe were standing on a mound in the middle of the vast Serengeti plains — my wife Anne and I holding hands as we gazed to the west into…

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My top 5 science communications lessons after a year on the job

Zooming in: Good communications means making stories relatable, getting up close and personal. Photo: iStock.My top five science communications lessons after a year on the jobA young science communicator dishes tips to help you reach your audience—and keep them interested.By Koby Michaels, Assistant Editor for FocusAfter graduating from UBC Integrated Sciences last May, I embarked on my first year as a full-time science communicator, working as an educator, filmmaker and curriculum designer for Actua — Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization…

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Protein potential

We focus much of our attention on genes, but proteins hold valuable information. Here, chemist Jason Rogalski stands next to a mass spectrometer. Photo: Paul Joseph/UBC.From breeding better bees, to improving spinal cord injury treatment, to helping solve crimes. The power of proteomics is just coming into focus.By Silvia Moreno-GarciaProtein analysis is a bit like studying a stellar object with space probes. Since the 1930s, Pluto was a fuzzy, grainy image, until New Horizons provided a…

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No flying pigs allowed

Margo Seltzer.Whether it’s databases, AI, fake news, file systems or chamber music, computer scientist Margo Seltzer likes to connect the disparate — while keeping it grounded.You can almost see the ideas bounce around the room when you chat with Margo Seltzer. They zoom, back and forth on interesting tangents. Recently, the UBC computer scientist learned that part of teaching chamber music at UBC means showing musicians how to work effectively as a group. Now Seltzer is wondering…

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A yeast for all seasons — and temperatures

Beer’s flavour is a question of chemistry. Photo: Istock.A yeast for all seasons — and temperaturesGenomic techniques are making it easier to identify the most interesting strains of yeast for beer production. UBC geneticist Karissa Milbury is working to literally light the way to a more delicious brew.By Karissa Milbury, Postdoctoral Fellow at Renaissance BioScience and the University of British ColumbiaFrom ancient Mesopotamia to modern-day craft businesses, brewers have honed their skills in transforming wort — a sugary, steeped plant matter — into…

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