IKBSAS Undergraduate Research Awards

The Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) and International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) program was established by the Irving K. Barber Endowment Fund Advisory Committee to provide exceptional learning experiences for undergraduate Arts and Sciences students at UBC’s Okanagan campus. The purpose of the program is to encourage undergraduate students enrolled in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts & Sciences to pursue innovative and original research as part of their learning experience while at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The awards are aimed primarily at students in their third year of study.

  • The URA offers an $8,000 salary plus a maximum of $1,500 for research expenses, for a total of up to $9,500 per student
  • The IURA offers a $9,000 salary plus a maximum of $1,500 for research expenses, for a total of up to $10,500 per student.

URA & IURA Information

Recent Recipients

Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)

Sydney Bosetti


The role of O-acetylated sialic acid on intestinal mucus in regulating host-microbe symbiosis in the gut

Kirk Bergstrom

Sakshi Khanna


Studying transcription factor genes regulating flower initiation in Cannabis sativa

Soheil Mahmoud

Taryn Murray


Extracellular cardiolipin regulates select immune functions of astrocytes

Andis Klegeris

Anusha Shivram


Co-operative Behaviours of Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Urban Singapore

Karen Hodges

Arantxa Da Fonseca


Electrophysical response to astrocytes exposed to kainic acid-based agonists of receptors in a2q pro

Frederic Menard

Destiny Ellenor


The Functionalization of Carbon Nitride for a Greater Understanding of its Photocatalytic Activity

Robert Godin

Ryland Todd Giebelhaus


Sifting Through the Weed:  Untargeted metabolomics to discover new terpenes in Cannabis sativa L.

Susan Murch

Kaede Hirabayashi


Melatonin and Serotonin Perceive Environmental Cues in Arctic Plants

Susan Murch

Kamal Narayana


Assessment of the digestion of milk oligosaccharides by human gut bacteria

Wesley Zandberg

Amir Sardari Romina


The Role of Quantum Effects in Stability of Ribonucleotide Reductase

Gino DiLabio

Darina Vekhova


Investigation of the NOX2 enzyme inhibitor (VAS2870) – via protein labeling

Frederic Menard

Matthew Currie

Computer Science

Matching People in Historical Metis Records

Ramon Lawrence

Meng Tian

Computer Science

Improving crowd counting accuracy for deep learning architectures

Mohamed Shehata

Sarah Wyse


Modeling the effect of stochasticity on a mathematical predator-prey system

Rebecca Tyson

Jasmine Lamoureux

Process Geomorphology

Spatial Analysis of the Effects of Forest Roads on Water Quality in Streams

Bernard Bauer

Luke Williams

Earth Science

Methane transport through floodplain trees

Ed Hornibrook

Delator Hini


Female and Homless:  Exploring the Barriers and Coping Strategies of Homeless Women in Kelowna

Carlos Teixeira

Hanna Paul


Unpacking Cultural Relativism of Menstruation and Moon Time for Women in the Okanagan

Fiona McDonald

Lydia Wood


A Canadian Update to Neuropsychological Normative Data

Maya Libben

Reagan Zinck


Shaping opinions:  An analysis of Canadian press coverage of climate change

Carolyn Szostak

Camille Morissette


Support Systems in Athletes that have Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries

Deana Simonetto

Jonathan Gilbert Romaniuk


Faith and Works:  A History of Canadian Community Service in the Diocese of Kootenay During WWI & WWII

Ben Nilson

Shao Yuan Chong

Political Science

Evaluating Trauma from Protests in the Hong Kong Community Since 1997

Manfred Elfstrom

Paige Kinniburgh

Political Science

Analysis of the Relative Effectiveness of Mobile Versus Fixed Injection Sites

Adam Jones

 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)
Elinor Binson* Biology Study of transcription factor genes that control flower development in lavender Soheil Mahmoud
Athena Ranger Biology The role of histone deacetylases in brain glial cell signaling Andis Klegeris
Sophia Russo Biology Effects of Nicotine Transport on insect renal transcriptome profiles: qPCR validation of mRNA-mRNA Mark Rheault
Lucas Starchuk Biology Effects of SAMe in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids induced toxicity in the heart Sanjoy Ghosh
Taylor Gray Chemistry Investigating milk glycoprotein digestion in order to create more human-like infant formulas Wesley Zandberg
Yuen Yee Leung* Chemistry Oxidation of camptothecin (CPT) backbone through the use of oxidative enzymes Thuy Dang
Nina Mohtarundin* Chemistry Developing a screening tool for identifying methods to block the growth of gut pathogens Wesley Zandberg
Sydney Neumeier Chemistry A novel elctrophoresis assay to quantify single moelcule interactions Isaac Li
David, Theo Hallinen* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Student Response to Various Teaching Methods in Frist Year Physics at UBCO John Hopkinson
Matthew Saurette Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Modeling Urban Dispersal of Mountain Pine Beetles Influenced by Low-Level Wind Currents Rebecca Tyson
Tianhao Wang* Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Mobile-Based Solution for Senior Citizens to Improve Their Technological Skill Khalad Hasan
Marcus Savery Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Quantifying fugitive emission of methane from the Glenmore Landfill Edward Hornibrook
Nicholas Tochor Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Spatial-temporal sampling approaches for wildlife occupancy modeling Mathieu Bourbonnais
Shaniya Anand* Community, Culture and Global Studies Vile Biimo Le’shaha (We Share The Same Understanding): Inspiring Healing Through a Conlang Christine Schreyer
Eric Douglas Community, Culture and Global Studies North Okanagan Analysis of Consumer Food Behavior Mary Stockdale (Eric Li – MGMT)
Madelaine Lekei Community, Culture and Global Studies The Enabled Environment: Understanding Bathrooms as Sensory Inclusive Public Spaces in the Okanagan Fiona McDonald
Keeley Lainchbury Psychology Bias in the Legal System: How Race and Confessions Impact a Verdict Paul Davies
Ross St. George Psychology Utilizing Smartwatch Technology to Prevent Substance Use Disorder Relapses Marvin Krank
David Shifflett Psychology The Space-definedness of the Blind, Blindfolded, and Sighted Paul Gabias
Maxine Van Zyl Psychology Comparison of WCST and ToH in Assessing Executive Function and Predicting MPAI Scores Harry Miller
Joanne Scofield History and Sociology To Help or Harm: Optimizing International Support of Pro-Choice Activism in El Salvador Jasmin Hristov
Daniyal Mirza* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Decriminalization Model for Canada Carey Doberstein
Michaela Sullivan-Paul Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Are Canadian Provinces Drunk on Power? A Look into the Effects of the Interprovincial Trade Barrier Carey Doberstein
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Department Project Title Supervisor(s)
Mitchell Figura Biology How Specific Fatty Acids Impact the Inflammation and Disease Processes in the Mammalian Heart Sanjoy Ghosh
Clerissa Heck (Copeland) Biology Allopregnanolene’s effect on the progression of neurogensis Bruce Mathieson
Makoto Kishida* Biology The effects of organic cation transporter CRISPR gene knockdown on xenobiotic excretion in insects Mark Rheault
Emily Manzer Biology Detection of Reactive Oxygen Species in Sensory Neurons Undergoing Trophic Deprivation Philip Barker
Nora Melisa Perea Garcia* Biology Detection of Caspase Activity using Genetically Encoded Sensors Philip Barker
Gabriel Zavala* Biology Determining expression of lavender transcription factors through qPCR Soheil Mahmoud
Simon Edelmann Chemistry Synthesis of a fluorescent dye with application for Kainite Receptor Imaging Frederic Menard
Sydney Fearnley Chemistry Traction force microscopy and fluorescent live cell imaging to quantify cell adhesion forces Isaac Li
Alexander Garner Chemistry Development of chemical tools to sequence plant pectin to understand plant fungal reistance Wes Zandberg
Sylvain Gretchko Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics The Effects of Climate Change on Spatial Predator-Prey Dynamics Rebecca Tyson
Georgia Taylor McRae Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Influence of Flow Regulation on Stream Temperature: Mission Creek, BC Bernard Bauer
Amy Doricic Community, Culture and Global Studies Nesolat Kijinosi Tiholat (To Learn Thus to Understand:) Constructing Compassion through Dothraki Christine Schreyer
Karen Coppock Psychology Investigating Gender Bias with Relation to the Sentencing Gap in Homicidal Sentencing Michael Woodworth
Timothy Nemet Psychology Relationship between intimate partner violence and cannabis use Zachery Walsh
Victoria Scotney Psychology Creative Influences and Smile Diffusion Liane Gabora
Diya Wala* Psychology Gratitude and Well-Being: A Mediator Analysis Derrick Wirtz
Zoe Howell History and Sociology The Social Experience of Low Income Single Mother’s in Kelowna’s Changing Economic Market Luis Aguiar
Danielle Tataryn History and Sociology Impact of Technological Changes on the Canning Industry in BC’s Southern Interior James Hull
An-Noura-Zen-Nab Compaore Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Do you prefer foreign aid or direct foreign investment for tomorrow Madame? Ross Hickey
Shamarthi Ghosh* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Night Lights and First Nation’s Governance Ross Hickey
Daniel Kandie* Economics, Philosophy and Political Science Municipal Amalgamation in the Okanagan: Greater Vernon Carey Doberstein
Adam Newton-Blows Economics, Philosophy and Political Science The Period That Time Forgot: Exploring Consumer Demand In The Very Short Run Julien Picault
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Major Project Title Supervisor(s)
Morgan Ashley Alford Biology Cathepsin B as a regulator of microglial immune responses Andis Klegeris
Megan Amy Buers Biology How the use of biosolids affect American kestrel nest site selection and foraging behavior Karen Hodges
Mackenzie Campbell Biology Modeling wildlife habitat in the Canadian environmental assessment process Adam Ford
Norbert Eke Statistics What a customers really saying? A modern approach to feature-based customer review mining Jeff Andrews
Michael Gauld Sociology An oral history of organized labour & activism in the Okanagan Valley Luis Aguiar
An Goto* Chemistry Making beets blue: A multi-disciplinary approach to the chemical modification of betanin Gino DiLabio
Anton Hsu* Biology Mycorrhizal fungi species involved in nitrogen distribution in lodgepole pine germinants Melanie Jones
Margaret Kate Ingram Psychology Assessment of psychopathy expression by gender Brian O’Connor
Hogun Kang Biology The expression of an insect organic cation transporter in an Sf9 insect cell line Mark Rheault
Brianne Newman Microbiology Evaluation of wine yeast viability in chemically defined grape juice medium Dan Durall
Adriane Peak Anthropology The Royal Canadian Legion: A community and organization at a crossroads David Geary
Jaclyn Salter History Voluntary organisations, municipal governments, and their relationship to the provincial government James Hull
Shaharyar Syed Statistics Novel statistical approaches in the analysis of environmental impacts Jeff Andrews
Adam Bryce Yasunaga Chemistry The effects of molecular tension on integrins and cell spreading Isaac Li
Sara Vicaretti Chemistry Improving infant formula through addition of complex carbohydrates found in human milk Wesley Zandberg
 * Indicates winners of the International Undergraduate Research Awards (IURA) 
Student Name Major Project Title Supervisor(s)
Louise Araujo Chemistry Synthesis of a compound to identify the binding site of calcium channels in the brain Fred Menard
Guiseppe (Jesse) Crescenzo Chemistry Green chromium catalysts: Using bipyridine to stabilize mixed-aryl complexes Kevin Smith
Anthony Culos Computer Science/Math Data mining a large health database Jeff Andrews
Brody James Geoghegen Biochemistry Characterization of a novel enzyme from an opportunistic pathogen Kirstin Wolthers
Lauren Hotchkiss Psychology Predictors of Hope: An experimental study of the relationship between gratitude and hope  F
Tracy Marie Janzen Psychology Investigating mental health care services for rural older adults Carolyn Szostak
Andrew Kennedy Chemistry Development of mass spectrometry techniques for the relative quantification of mucin-type glycans Wesley Zandberg
Justin King Biochemistry How do neurosteroids control the “birth” of new neurons in the adult brain? Bruce Mathieson
Trina Kushnerik Psychology Impact of directional implicit theories on well-being and intervention efficacy
Carolyn Lee Biology Analyzing the neuroprotective properties of oleamide on astrocytes Andis Klegeris
Tiah Lee Chemistry Comparison of chemical compounds in a medicinal plant and its loose-leaf commercial tea Susan Murch
Heather Joanne McIntyre Anthropology Expression of social identity through grave and tombstone analysis at the Vernon Municipal Cemetery Diana French
Benjamin Drew Noyovitz Biochemistry Breadfruit latex biopolymer as a replacement of petroleum-based polymers Susan Murch
Ashleigh Parker Psychology The New Normal: Developing an updated corpus of normative data for five neuropschological measures Maya Libben
Christopher John Paterson Chemistry Synthesis of sugar-bearing cobalt complexes for use as anti-tumor agents Stephen McNeil
Dakshitha Ranatunga Biochemistry Regulation of monoterpene synthesis in lavender through RNA interference Soheil Mahmoud


Robin Young
URA Advisor
Assistant Professor, Biology