2019-21 Leading Scholars

  • Trevor Campbell
    Trevor Campbell, Assistant Professor, Statistics
    email: trevor@stat.ubc.ca

    Trevor Campbell is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics. His research tends to fall broadly in the realm of computational statistics and machine learning. He is most interested in developing and studying automated, scalable algorithms with solid statistical guarantees; these remain computationally efficient when dealing with large amounts of data, require little to no statistical expertise to use, and can be trusted to perform well due to rigorous theoretical analysis of their behaviour. Although much of his work is theoretical and computational, he also has a wide variety of applied interests: He is actively involved in studying the contagion of violence in police social networks in Chicago, adding rigorous uncertainty quantification to aerospace composite part manufacturing processes, modelling the behaviours of gentoo penguins in the antarctic, and capturing the evolutionary processes of biological cells as they progress from progenitor stem cells to more specialized types.

  • Luisa Canuto
    Luisa Canuto, Program Director (Italian), French, Hispanic and Italian
    email: luisa.canuto@ubc.ca

    Luisa Canuto is studying how to provide the scholarly foundation necessary to guide the renewal of the Italian language program. Her research also includes how to best integrate interdisciplinary alliances with other programs and departments as well as leverage strategically educational technologies to reach learning outcomes and innovate pedagogies and assessment methods.

  • Yankai Cao
    Yankai Cao, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
    email: yankai.cao@ubc.ca

    Yankai Cao’s research focuses on the design and implementation of large-scale local and global optimization algorithms to solve problems that arise in diverse decision-making paradigms such as machine learning, stochastic optimization, optimal control, and complex networks. His algorithms combine mathematical techniques and emerging high-performance computing hardware (e.g., multi-core CPUs, GPUs, and computing clusters) to achieve computational scalability. His goal is also to make these developments accessible to academic and industrial users by implementing algorithms on easy-to-use and extensible software libraries.

  • Julen Etxabe
    Julen Etxabe, Canada Research Chair in Jurisprudence and Human Rights and Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law
    email: etxabe@allard.ubc.ca

    Julen Etxabe is Canada Research Chair in Jurisprudence and Human Rights and joined Allard Law as Assistant Professor in July of 2019. His current research combines legal and literary theory to identify a new model of dialogical judgment emerging in the area of human rights, which is transforming inherited notions of reasoning, rights, authority, and law in the post-national and diverse societies of the 21st century.

  • Alexandra Flynn
    Alexandra Flynn, Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law
    email: flynn@allard.ubc.ca

    Alexandra Flynn's projects are all loosely captured under the field of ‘urban law and governance’. To better understand how cities work and who holds power, she goes beyond case law and legislation (‘law in the books’) to uncover the legal norms and rules that operate in practice. Her academic, policy, and community work reimagine how Canadian cities can be more inclusive and participatory, especially for Indigenous communities and historically marginalized people. She considers myself to be an interdisciplinary legal scholar with deep community ties, and a law reform mandate. She is a frequent contributor to popular media, including CBC, TEDx, and the Globe and Mail.

  • Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire
    Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire, Assistant Professor (French), French, Hispanic and Italian
    email: vincent.gelinas-lemaire@ubc.ca

    Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire specializes in French literature from 1945 to the present, with a particular focus on the representation of space in narratives. After studies in architecture, he has obtained an M.A. in French literature from the Université de Montréal, as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. His first book, Le Récit architecte : cinq aspects de l’espace, was published by Classiques Garnier, Paris, in March 2019. It offers new tools to describe and contrast the creation of fictional environments, large and small, through the particular means of storytelling.

  • Sarah Hedtrich
    Sarah Hedtrich, Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
    email: sarah.hedtrich@ubc.ca

    After finishing her studies of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Leipzig, Germany, Sarah Hedtrich completed her PhD in pharmacology & toxicology at the Freie Universität Berlin. During her postdoc she moved to the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and the Tufts University in Boston, USA. After returning to Berlin, she headed a junior research group from 2013-2015 before she was appointed as an assistant professor in April 2015. Since January 2019, she is an assistant professor with tenure track at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her lab combines research expertise in pharmacology, biomedical engineering & drug delivery. They focus on the establishment of Next Generation Therapies, Nanomedicine, Tissue Engineering & Tissue Regeneration. They are particularly interested in healthy and diseased states of human epithelia with a current focus on inflammatory and genetic diseases of the human skin and lung. Their research is highly interdisciplinary and requires close collaborations with experts in the field of chemistry, medicine and genetics.

  • Elizabeh Lagresa-González
    Elizabeth Lagresa-González, Assistant Professor (Spanish), French, Hispanic and Italian
    email: elizabeth.lagresa@ubc.ca

    Elizabeth Lagresa-González obtained her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. Her area of specialization is early modern Hispanic literature and culture, which she addresses at the intersection of gender, visual and material studies. In addition to peer-reviewed articles published on the subject of masculine women and representations of power in the comedia, she has co-authored a book chapter on collaborative approaches to the Digital Humanities, as well as a critical edition and English translation of Bernat Metge’s Lo Somni / The Dream. Dr. Lagresa-González has taught at UCSB, Harvard and Penn State, and has been a Research Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Renaissance Study, the Villa Itatti (Florence), as well as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Free University in Berlin. Her forthcoming monograph, tentatively titled, The Business of Romance: Reappraising Cross-Cultural Transactions in Early Modern Spanish Novellas, builds on her interest in the transculturation of objects and subjects across national and disciplinary borders.

  • Katie Marshall
    Katie Marshall, Assistant Professor, Zoology
    email: kmarshall@zoology.ubc.ca

    Katie Marshall is from a small Mennonite community in Southern Ontario. She completed her PhD in Biology at the University of Western Ontario, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Her interests are in modelling the complexity of insect stress responses, overwintering physiological ecology, and macrophysiology in the context of climate change.

  • Tamara Mitchell
    Tamara Mitchell, Assistant Professor (Spanish), French, Hispanic and Italian
    email: tamara.mitchell@ubc.ca

    Tamara specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Mexican and Central American narrative fiction, particularly as relates to border and diaspora studies. Her research examines the evolving role of politics and aesthetics in the present epoch of neoliberal globalization. One of the central questions that her work addresses is how “national literatures” (Mexican literature, Guatemalan literature, etc.) respond to the transnational exchanges of globalization. To that end, her book manuscript, tentatively titled Unbounded: Latin American Literature in the Age of Technological Globalization, considers how globalization is being leveraged by Latin American thinkers and artists to critique and shape world relations.

  • Lorien Nesbitt
    Lorien Nesbitt, Assistant Professor, Forestry
    email: lorien.nesbitt@ubc.ca

    Lorien Nesbitt's research focuses on urban forestry and socio-ecological interactions in urban environments, with an emphasis on environmental justice, human health, well-being, and climate change. She employs mixed methods approaches, as appropriate to the research project, and has expertise ranging from spatial analysis and machine learning to qualitative interview analysis and survey design. She is currently examining three interrelated topics (1) the relationship between greenness exposure and public health outcomes in urban environments, with a focus on spatio-temporal metrics and climate change; 2) urban forest governance and resilience to social and ecological stresses; and 3) urban green equity in multicultural cities. In the realm of urban green equity, her current research is particularly concerned with understanding the nature and dynamics of green gentrification, i.e., the physical or psychological displacement of residents due to local greening activities.

  • Patrick Rizzotti
    Patrick Rizzotti, Assistant Professor (Design and Production), Theatre and Film
    email: patrick.rizzotti@ubc.ca

    Patrick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film and has a history of practice base research in design for live performance, television, and virtual/augmented/mixed reality. The focus of his work is visual storytelling and investigating how theatre can be made more immediate, urgent and immersive for an audience. Previous Television projects include: America’s Got Talent (NBC),The Today Show (NBC), The Mysteries of Laura (NBC), The Dr. Oz Show (ZoCo), Sneaky Pete (Amazon), and The Americans (FX). I maintain an active design studio in NYC and have designed over 100 theatrical productions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Patrick has received the USITT Scenic Design Award, is a winner of the OPERA America Director-Designer Showcase, and is an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. Patrick has presented his work internationally and his designs appear in several notable theatrical design books. He sits on the USITT International Committee and has chaired or been a panelist on sessions including: green model building, collaboration between designers/shops, the challenges of creating sight specific theatre, careers beyond the theatre. M.F.A: Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Memberships: Wingspace Theatrical Design Collective, Associated Designers of Canada, and USA 829. www.patrickrizzotti.com

  • Sharon Stein
    Sharon Stein, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies
    email: sharon.stein@ubc.ca

    Sharon Stein’s research brings critical and decolonial perspectives to the role of education in society, with a particular emphasis on how universities engage the issues of decolonization, internationalization, and climate change. She works with different communities to denaturalize the attachments and desires that keep us invested in harmful and unsustainable modes of existence, and to ethically encounter and engage other horizons of possibility.


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