Bite-sized research presentations by recently appointed UBC Faculty Members across disciplines. Faculty presentations in this seventh session by the 2021-23 Leading Scholars Program cohort include:
Next-Generation RNA Vaccines
Anna Blakney, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
My laboratory is a multidisciplinary group of engineers, immunologists and molecular biologists seeking to engineer the next generation of RNA vaccines and therapies. We seek to gain a deeper understanding of how the components of gene delivery formulations interact with the immune system to improve potency and enable clinical translation. We use a type of RNA called 'self-amplifying RNA', which is able to replicate upon delivery to a cell and requires a ~100 times lower dose than normal messenger RNA.
I research social, political and religious developments in the eastern Mediterranean world in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages (1500-500 BCE) through ancient texts and iconography. My current book prjoect explores the long-term ideologies that undergirded divine kingship in this region to articulate the religous mechanisms behind the emergence of the Greek city-states. More generally, I research the social functions of religion in human societies. I also have interests in ancient migration across Eurasia and in particular the historiography of migration studies in archaeology. I will be heading up the Mobilities Cluster next year at the Centre for Migration Studies, so I am excited to see how these interests intersect with the opportunities at Green College!
Minoritarian Performance (Studies)
Olivia Michiko Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Film
I work at the intersections of performance studies, critical race theory, feminist and queer theory, and critical Indigenous studies––with additional specific interests in archives, experimental form and performative writing. I’m currently working on a book manuscript about closeness as a minoritarian method of doing history otherwise, through art & performance and beyond archival stricture. My next project takes on a more experimental (at-times dialogic) form, and explores the weave of (classroom) pedagogy, performance (studies) and critical questions of race, gender and sexuality.