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2020-2021 Welcome to the BRC

September 8, 2020

Welcome to the Biodiversity Research Centre.  We very much wish that we could welcome you in person, but due to COVID-19 the building is in stage 2 of return to on-campus research at UBC.  UBC's position is that “on-campus research and scholarship is limited to those who require on-site resources.”  As a consequence, there is no access to shared offices, except with permission from the Director of the BRC (Loren Rieseberg) and your Department Head. Likewise, no in-person meetings are allowed.  However, labs and shared kitchens are accessible, as long as relevant guidelines are followed. All of the relevant COVID-19 building safety plans can be found on our Resources page. Weekday hours are 7 AM-6 PM, with card access only until further notice.  Weekend work in labs is permissible so long as work-alone procedures are followed.

Join our Listservs

For new grads and postdocs that are joining us, please make sure to add yourself to the main BRC mail groups by following the instructions posted here listservs. The two main BRC mail groups are Research and Building. 

BIPOC mentoring and support

This summer we had a BRC-wide discussion of how we could support BIOPC diversity in ecology and evolution (E&E).  The consensus that arose from these discussions was to focus the BRC’s resources on the mentoring of undergraduate students from under-represented groups in E&E.  Jeannette Whitton has graciously agreed to spearhead this effort, and in a separate email she will propose several initiatives to get things started.  Please reach out to her if you’d like to be involved.

New BRC Faculty members

Brian Hunt (Assistant Professor, UBC Hakai Professor in Oceanography, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Duncan Leitch (Assistant Professor, Zoology)

Jeff Sayer (Professor, Tropical Forest Conservation, Forest & Conservation Sciences) 

New BRC Postdocs

We’re pleased to welcome Tess Grainger (starting January 2021) as the new Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow, joining Lindsay Davidson. They will be coordinating some of the internal seminars and EcoEvo Retreat (postponed until Spring 2021). A search for the next Biodiversity Research Centre post-doc will open in November 2021. 

Likewise, we are happy to announce that Tom Booker (starting October 2020) and Julia Kreiner (starting May 2021) are the new Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Fellows, and they will be co-teaching (along with Kay Hodgins) the bioinformatics workshop (BIOL 525D) this fall.  


The BRC hosts a variety of seminars and discussion groups, including:

The Biodiversity Research Seminar (BRS) series is our flagship seminar series and has a great line-up of speakers for the upcoming year.  This is meant to be a broadly aimed seminar series that should appeal to the diversity of members of the BRC, regardless of Departmental affiliation. This seminar series is held Wednesday at noon, and we will be presenting these as a Zoom webinar this term. The schedule is posted on the our events page: Thanks to the BRS seminar Committee members Judith Mank, John Richardson, and Diane Srivastava for putting together an impressive line-up this year. And to Isabela Jeronimo who is patiently dealing with all of the AV and Zoom webinar setup. Thank you, Isa!

We also have an internal seminar series, the Biodiversity Legendary Internal Seminar Series (BLISS), held on Fridays at 4 and will be online this fall. This series lets us showcase all the great work happening here. Fall schedule posted here: Thanks to Lindsay Davidson for coordinating and planning this series. 

The Biodiversity Public Lecture has been postponed this year and is rescheduled for November 2021. Next year’s speaker is Dr. Peter Marra. 

BRITE Internships (Biodiversity Research:  Integrative Training and Education)

Through funding from the BRC and an endowment (donations always accepted!!), we will continue to support many BRITE Graduate internships in governmental, industrial, and non-profit sectors (approximately six per year). Thanks to Sally Otto, Kai Chan, and Kathy Martin for serving on the BRITE Internship committee.


Is there a topic or skill-set that you really want to see explored at the BRC?  Apply for funding support from BRC (see form at ) or email Loren with suggestions.


Housed in the BRC, the Zoology Computing Unit manages the network and computing infrastructure for Zoology and Biodiversity.  People in those groups can get free accounts or member accounts for access to enhanced services such as: our server cluster, automatic backups, custom web blogs/sites, etc.  Please contact Alistair ( for more information.

Shared Equipment

Autoclaves, 2 environment chambers, bioanalyzer, water filtration systems, and much more. We’ll be updating a shared equipment list and posting to our Resources page. Stay tuned. 

Important dates

Sunday, October 4th there will be a building-wide electrical shutdown from 8am-6pm. You will not be able to access the building during this time. Please pay attention to the emails Katie has and will continue to send out about this shutdown. 

Building Expansion update

The BRC and BBM are considering an expansion of the Beaty Biodiversity Centre Building.  Over the summer, user groups including faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff from the BRC and BBM met with an outside firm, Resource Planning Group (RPG) to describe what should be included in such an expansion, as well as the requirements of the space. We expect to receive a draft Functional Program from RPG soon, which will be shared with the BRC community for consultation.  RPG will then revise and re-consult with BRC iteratively. 

Building information

For building related issues, including access and deficiencies, please contact the Administrator, Katie Beall . Her office is room 115, but it is best to email her since most staff are working remotely.

Thank you

We wish to thank everyone for their patience as we try to function effectively during the pandemic.  Special thanks to the Patrick Keeling and Mary O’Connor who have served as Associate Directors since 2013.

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