Recipients 2017

Since its launch in 2011, the PDF Travel Awards have helped many UBC PDFs attend conferences to present their work, enriching their PDF experience and helping anchor them within the academic world. Please read below to find out more about past award recipients.


Department, Faculty

Conference - Date Attended


Quarter 1:      
Dr. Lenka Kuglerova Forest and Conservation Science, Forestry

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) - February 2017

Honolulu, HI

Dr. Amir Sharafian Mechanical Engineering, Applied Science Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) Global Conference 2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands
Quarter 2:      
Dr. Andrea Albonico Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine Vision Sciences Society St. Pete Beach, FL
Dr. Laura Cook Medicine, Medicine Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies 2017 Chicago, IL
Dr. Hélène Frohard-Dourlent School of Nursing, Applied Science Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association Toronto, ON
Dr. Eric Guiry Anthropology, Arts UK Archaeological Science Conference London, England
Dr. Stefanie Klampfl Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Medicine International Behavioral Neuroscience Society Hiroshima, Japan
Quarter 3:      
Dr. Aida Eslami Medicine, Medicine 2017 International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) Cambridge, UK
Dr. Logan Fletcher Philosophy, Arts Varieties of Knowing How Essen, Germany 
Dr. Sadana Karannagoda Gamage Civil Engineering, Applied Science 19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE) Seoul, South Korea
Dr. Renate Kahlke Medicine, Medicine Rogano Meeting 2017 Helsinki, Finland
Dr. Robert Macpherson School of Population and Public Health, Medicine 2017 International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health (EPICOH) Edinburgh, Scotland
Dr. Johannes Reiner Civil Engineering, Applied Science ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on the Mechanical Response of Composites Eindhoven, Netherlands
Quarter 4:      
Dr. Desiree Seib Psychology, Arts 16th Annual Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society Symposium and the 47th Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2017 Washington D.C., USA
Dr. Haifeng Zhang Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medicine The 16th Human Proteome Organisation World Congress Dublin, Ireland
2017 Q1

Dr. Lenka Kuglerova

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) - February 2017

The biennial ALSO (The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography) meeting is one of the largest meetings, addressing water issues and promoting scientific exchange across the freshwater and marine continuum. Many international researchers from around the world attended this meeting which gave me a great opportunity to interact and promote my own research as well as the research infrastructure (Malcolm Knapp research forest). In my research I address various aspects of freshwater ecology, hydrology and biogeochemistry and in my poster presentation I focused on invasive species ecology.

During the meeting, I attended many oral presentations with focus on invasive ecology (my poster) as well as other stream ecology and hydrology related issues. I interacted with the key senior researchers in the field as well as help in the mentor-mentee program to be a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students. During my poster presentation, I have received valuable feedback on my work and discuss the implications of the invasive species ecology with numerous professors, postdoctoral fellows and students. I consider the meeting very successful in my professional career because I established new connection and possibilities for future collaborations.

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Dr. Amir Sharafian 

Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) Global Conference 2017 - March 2017 

The NGV GLOBAL 2017 is the largest conference held annually to bring researchers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and stakeholders across the natural gas supply chain to discuss current trends, development, innovations and challenges for the industry. The main focus of the conference was on marine as a growing area for natural gas in transportation as well as small scale liquefied natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG), and the benefits of natural gas in transportation.

My research on LNG storage and distribution for Canadian heavy-duty vehicles received significant attentions from researchers, such as the GREET team in the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory, engine manufacturers, such as Westport fuel systems and Cummins Engines, and fuel suppliers, such as Chart Industries. Attending this conference gave me a unique opportunity to expand my professional network with researchers and manufacturers in Europe, East Asia, and North America. Other main outcomes were: i) exchanging information with the team involved in preparation of the first ISO standards for LNG and CNG refueling stations, ii) talking to International Gas Union’s rep (based in Toronto, Canada) on problems with methane emissions, and iii) being familiar with the European NGV association and its recent effort on quantifying well-to-wheel methane emissions in Europe for transportation.

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2017 Q2

Dr. Andrea Albonico

Vision Sciences Society – May 2017

The annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS) is one of the prominent conferences for scientists that are interested in the functional aspects of vision. The goal of the conference is to progress in understanding the relation between vision and cognition, as well as action and brain. For these reasons, the VSS conference represents always a rich and important opportunity for scientists to learn about the current researches in the field and, personally, it allowed me to share my results, receive feedbacks, and develop professional collaborations with other researchers.

The PDF Travel Award allowed me the opportunity to present our recent research on face recognition in alexic patients to many international researchers from around the world, expert in the field. I have received extremely valuable feedbacks on my results and discussed possible future directions for my work. During the conference, I also had the opportunity to attend many other oral and poster presentations on face recognition and to interact with other researchers in my field, while expanding my research network and discussing future collaborations.

Overall, I consider this experience at the VSS conference a very fruitful experience that will have both immediate and long-term benefits on my career.

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Dr. Laura Cook

Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies – June 2017

The 2017 FOCIS (Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies) meeting was an outstanding conference. The attendees comprised the top researchers in the clinical and translational immunology field. The data presented was cutting edge, exciting and has triggered lots of new avenues of investigation and different interpretations of existing data. My work was presented at an evening poster session and was well attended and well received, with lots of useful feedback received. I was also invited to attend a discussion on how to ensure trainees can become more involved in the society and its affiliated institutes.

The conference also provided an excellent networking opportunity and nearly every break was spent in meetings with existing and potential new collaborations. This will have the effect of allowing us to expand our research questions and increase our available experimental platforms. In particular, as most of the research focused on human immunology, this allows for direct discussions about gaining access to unique patient cohort sample repositories. I am currently compiling all the key messages from the conference and will be presenting these to my fellow lab members at the next lab meeting. I am extremely grateful that through this funding from UBC I was again able to attend this valuable conference/networking event.

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Dr. Hélène Frohard-Dourlent

Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association - May 2017

I feel forunate to have been able to attend and present my work at the Annual meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association as part of Congress. Congress is an energizing conference to attend because it features multi-disciplinary events and it is an opportunity to meet people who come from the same disciplinary background as well as people from a variety of other fields of study. As someone who has always worked across disciplines, I appreciated the opportunity to speak about my paper to people who also do research with and about transgender youth and come from sociology but also education or public health. The paper was well-received and I am already working on revisions based on conversations and thoughts sparked by the conference. I also got to attend a variety of events, such as a lecture on environmental sustainability, a roundtable on Indigenous/settler relations, and a panel on transgender children. Regardless of whether they are closely connected to my current research or not, all these events are pushing me to think in more complex ways about the world that we live in, and will impact the way I approach my work and my research.

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 Dr. Eric Guiry

UK Archaeological Science Conference - April 2017

The 2017 UK Archaeological Science Conference (UKAS) at the University College London attracted over 190 delegates from 25 countries and wide range of archaeological science disciplines including archaeobotany, archaeozoology, radiocarbon dating, ancient DNA and other bimolecular sciences. As such, the UKAS provided an exceptional venue to showcase some of the innovative ongoing research at the Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory in UBC’s Department of Anthropology. I presented a poster on how we can use chemical analyses of archaeological fish bones to better understand the historical ecology of the North American Great Lakes. This presentation sought to highlight some of the immense potential for stable isotope applications in archaeology to help inform modern ecosystem conservation management and restoration practices through developing a more nuanced baseline for how environments respond to long term human impacts such as pollution and climate change. My presentation was very well received and provided several excellent opportunities to engage in conversation with top researchers in adjacent fields, some of which are expected to lead to productive new collaborations with scholars in Europe and North America.      

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Dr. Stefanie Klampfl

International Behavioral Neuroscience Society – June 2017

The International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) has chosen Hiroshima in beautiful Japan to host its 2017 annual meeting. Even though this conference is one of the smaller meetings in the Neuroscience field, it is indeed one of the most interesting meetings for me as a behavioral neuroscientist due to its strong focus on the behavioral aspects of neuroscience. Researchers from all over the world attended the meeting and presented their data in a variety of talks and posters, hence giving me the chance to hear about the newest research in the field, and talking to PIs and trainees about the latest methods. As all participants stayed in the same hotel, networking and socializing was very easy and allowed for intense and intriguing conversations as well as discussing potential collaborations.

I was selected to give an oral presentation at the meeting, which was a valuable opportunity for me; not only because I could speak about my newest research at UBC, but I also had the chance to get more confidence and routine in presenting data to a greater audience. I received very positive feedback, intriguing questions and a lot to think about when continuing my research back at UBC. All in all a successful conference and a great experience.

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2017 Q3

Dr. Aida Eslami

The International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) 2017 meeting – September 2017

The International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) 2017 meeting consisted of great lectures and presentation of results from international experts in the fields “human genetics” and “statistical genetics”. I presented my research focusing on identifying genomic imprinting (parent-of-origin effects) in asthma in four GWAS family based studies (three from Canada and one from the Netherlands) as a poster presentation, entitled, “Genome wide meta-analysis of parent-of-origin effects of asthma in four cohorts.” The primary results showed some significant parent-of-origin effects with p<1.4910-5. Notably, I identified a parent of-origin effect at a known imprinted gene, CTNNA3. This gene was previously identified in a GWAS study of occupational asthma. Meta-analysis resulted in five SNPs with significant parent-of-origin effects with p<1.4910-5. The interest of the audience in my poster, which was bolstered by the many follow up questions, was a great motivational factor and helped in obtaining some valuable feedback. This can also potentially lead to some very valuable collaboration. I received the second-place for the Best Poster awards at the IGES 2017 which was sponsored by the CIHR STAGE. In addition, I attended “Young Investigator Luncheon” which was a great occasion for me to network with my peers.

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 Dr. Logan Fletcher 

Varieties of Knowing How - July 2017

Thanks to the funding provided by the PDF Travel Award, I was able to travel to Essen, Germany to attend and present at the conference Varieties of Knowing How, organized by Insa Lawler and Raphael van Riel of the University of Duisberg-Essen. This two-day workshop brought together philosophers approaching the related phenomena of ‘knowing how’ and ‘knowing why’ from a variety of perspectives. I found the conference to be very successful at striking a healthy balance between having a focused topic (so that participants were genuinely interested in engaging each other’s ideas) while at the same time incorporating a diverse range of theoretical orientations (thereby avoiding redundancy). The atmosphere was collegial and friendly. In short it exemplified what such a ‘special topic’ workshop can be in the best case. I received a number of helpful comments on my own presentation, both in the question-and-answer period, as well as informally, at the lunches and dinners. I am sure this feedback will be useful in preparing this work for publication. I found the other presentations to be engaging and relevant to my own work. In addition, I had the opportunity to make contact with a number of established and early-career scholars.

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Dr. Sadana Karannagoda Gamage

19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE) - September 2017

The 19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering  (ICSMGE) was held in Seoul, South Korea from 16th to 22nd September 2017. The conference comprised with ISSMGE (International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering) honors lectures, discussion sessions and workshops under several technical topics followed by a technical visit.

The conference brought together more than 1000 leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. It provided a premier interdisciplinary platform for participants to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Therefore, the participation to the conference provided me a valuable opportunity to enhance my knowledge and widen the perception on the latest research findings and development in the field of soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering. This led me gaining a valuable learning experience.

Also, it turned out to be an excellent opportunity to gather together, interact and exchange their findings and views during discussion sessions, workshops, coffee breaks and conference dinner. Consequently, it became an opportunity for me to meet number of leading academics and highly qualified professionals from different countries who have similar research interests to further exploration of interested research problems and shearing of research experiences.

The paper I submitted to the conference had been allocated to the technical discussion session (oral presentation) “Earthquake and related matters”.  It was received successfully by more than 100 attendees of academic researchers and experts, providing me a good opportunity to disseminate our research findings at UBC Pipeline Integrity Institute (PII)   with researchers all around the world to increase the visibility of research and also to provide interested individuals with more information. 

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Dr. Renate Kahlke

The International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) 2017 meeting – Date

Rogano is a small, invitation-only conference for educators and researchers doing work in health professions education. It offers an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to present their work and their current dilemmas to each other, and to experts in the field. I presented on the conceptual and methodological issues involved in trying to research counter-normative behaviour in the health professions. These behaviours are difficult to define conceptually, given that counter-normative behaviour is always relative to perceived norms within a specific context. They are also difficult to capture methodologically, given that they are difficult to define conceptually and are, in practice, few and far between. The presentation led to lively conversation and excellent feedback, which I will apply to my current and future projects.

I also benefited from excellent conversations on diverse issues brought forward by other presenters, including a variety of theoretical and methodological issues on topics from motivation to identity formation. Conference registration included a group dinner, which offered opportunity to build relationships with international colleagues in a less formal setting than the conference itself. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with lead researchers in the field and to have theoretically-oriented conversations with peers.

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Dr. Johannes Reiner

ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on the Mechanical Response of Composites - September 2017

The ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on the Mechanical Response of Composites is held every two years and brings together internationally leading researchers in the field of computational modelling of composites.

I felt honored to present first results of the currently established collaboration between the UBC Composites Research Network and the German Aerospace Center. We are aiming to provide a robust methodology and practical guidelines in order to numerically predict the structural response of fibre reinforced composites used in automotive or aerospace applications.

The oral presentation was well received and let to a number of interesting follow-up discussions and exchange of ideas with highly regarded researchers. With some of the attendees, we are currently discussing how new partnerships can be initiated with the UBC Composites Research Network. In addition, the collaborative work with the German Aerospace Center will continue and we are planning to publish an extension of the conference talk in a high-impact journal.

More importantly, the conference helped to expand my professional network and to collect new ideas for future research directions.

Knowing the current trends in the field and research interests of leading academic institutions will certainly help in my development as early-career postdoctoral fellow at UBC.

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2017 Q4

Dr. Desiree Seib 

16th Annual Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society Symposium and the 47th Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2017 - November 2017

I presented my work at the 2017 MCCS and SfN conferences, seeking exchange with the scientific community in order to publicize my work, get feedback from peers and become known by fellow scientists. Additionally, I was able to get an update on the latest unpublished findings in my filed. Both conferences were very successful from my point of view. I was able to expand my scientific network, first, by getting introduced to leading scientists, second, by meeting colleagues during my poster presentation, getting positive feedback on my data from experts in the field, and third, by visiting posters from peers and being able to implement their findings on my own projects in the future. In addition, I had the opportunity to connect with collaborators in person and discuss methods we use in the lab and expand my knowledge on our models. Furthermore, I spoke to scientific journalists, who plan to report on our findings online, which will increase knowledge transfer to and engagement with the public. All in all, the conference actively promoted broadening the scope of my research, increased my scientific network, and helped to guide towards publishing my work.

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Dr. Haifeng Zhang

16th Human Proteome Organization World Congress – September 2017

The conference I attended was the 16th Human Proteome Organization World Congress, which took place in Dublin, Ireland between Sep 17-21, 2017. It was a truly great experience, over 1300 scientists around the globe took part in the meeting. This international conference covers a wide spectrum of research themes that aim to address various questions in health, disease and ageing using both traditional and cutting edge proteomic approaches. Although the past decades’ research has revealed the significance of genomic abnormalities or variations in virtually all diseases , this conference highlighted the increasing role of proteomics in medicine development and the biopharmaceutical industry. A number of sessions specifically focused on the application of proteomics in clinical trials, therapeutic protein production and disease diagnosis. This conference also presented various novel proteomic methodologies for addressing important questions in both basic biological/health research and clinical diagnostic applications. Besides, my poster presentation entitled “Reprogramming of the acute translatome and total proteome underlies oncogene-induced stress adaptability” promoted a close interaction and idea exchanges with a big number of researchers. Taken together, I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge on proteome research, which will be highly beneficiary to my research in cancer biology.

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