In September 2010, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development kicked off the Year of Science initiative, a school year long program to inspire young minds across the province and foster a culture of research and innovation. Year of Science showcased how science works, who scientists are, the kinds of work they do, and why science matters in the everyday lives of British Columbians and the communities they live in.
Two of our researchers – Dr. Alejandro Rojas and Dr. Hennie van Vuuren – were profiled as leading scientists on the Year of Science website.
Dr. Alejandro Rojas’s work with the Think&EatGreen@School Project was featured in September 2010. Rojas is leading a team of researchers who are exploring innovative ways to teach students at 39 Vancouver public schools about where food comes from, how to produce it and how to lessen their impact on the environment.
“Our hope is that kids will receive the tools they need to make better choices about the food they eat because healthy food is ultimately better for our planet as a whole,” said Rojas.
Dr. Hennie van Vuuren, profiled on the Year of Science website in June 2011, developed the first genetically engineered yeast approved by regulatory bodies worldwide. Van Vuuren and his team took an innovative approach to their research and created wine yeast that prevent the formation of neurotoxins before the technology to genetically alter the yeast was even available.
Van Vuuren juggles numerous titles including Professor, Eagles Chair in Food Biotechnology, and Director of the Wine Research Centre. He advised aspiring scientists to “Follow your interests and be passionate and committed to what you are doing.”