Position: Department Chair and Instructor of Vascular and Non Vascular Botany (Biol 2340 and 2440)
Education and Research Interests:
I obtained my BSc (Biology) and MSc (Botany) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and my PhD (Plant Evolutionary Biology) at the University of California Santa Barbara. For my PhD thesis, I investigated mating patterns between two species of columbines with different pollination syndromes (Aquilegia formosa and A. pubescens). The photo was taken at my field site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. It is one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
I did my Postdoctoral fellowship at the UBC Biodiversity Research Center. I investigated a number of different research projects including the genetic diversity of cacao (Theobroma cacao), the population structure of the rare bird pollinated Canarian Island Lotus, and the evolution of mating systems in the native BC plant, the checker mallow (Sidalcea hendersonii).
At Langara, I am investigating the genetics of hops (Humulus lupulus) in order to come up with molecular markers to distinguish the different varietals of hops.
I’m interested in many different areas of biology including population genomics, evolutionary biology, mating system, pollination biology, conservation genetics and ethonobotany. I’m fascinated about how nature functions in its complex and intricate ways and I want to convey this knowledge to my students.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2322
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2033
Position: Lab Instructor
Courses taught: Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, as well as an assortment of first year classes including 1115, 1116, 1190, 1191.
I received my BSc, specializing in Cell and Molecular Biology, from Simon Fraser University in 2001. I also completed the Cooperative Education program (which I HIGHLY recommend) where I got the chance to work as a chemist in a canola seed quality control lab, a technician in a DNA extraction/PCR lab, a research technician at a pharmaceutical company and a research assistant in an academic research lab studying vaccine development. When I graduated from SFU in 2001, I worked briefly at the BC Cancer Agency in the Terry Fox Research Labs. I quickly moved on and spent a year working at UBC in an immunology lab, doing cell culture and many, many, many western blots. As my one year contract came up for renewal at UBC, I came across a job posting for microbiology lab instructor at Langara. On a whim, I applied and I was lucky enough to not only get an interview but to get the job. The lab instructor position is the perfect job for me because I love being in the lab and interacting with students but the research life was not for me.
I have been a lab instructor at Langara since 2002, though in total I have taken two years off to have two adorable, perfect babies (in my unbiased opinion).
Outside of work I spend most of my time commuting to and from Coquitlam, chasing my children around, and then recovering in exhaustion from those hours spent working, commuting, and child-wrangling. Things I would like to do if I actually had free-time, include hiking, biking, travelling, dancing, and of course, video games. I also spend too much time fixing up my fixer-upper with my husband and wishing my fixer-upper was more fixed up and less of a fixer-upper.
Education: BS in Biology (UNM), MSc in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (UBC). PhD in Pathology (UBC), joint PDFs in Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pediatrics (UBC).(Hon) Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC.
Teacher of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology & Pharmacology.
Special interest: Cancer medicine.
Janaina (Jana) Brusco received her Ph.D in Neuroscience from the University of São Paulo (Brazil), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (USA). Her research focused on the influence of sexual hormones on synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain. In addition to being an instructor at Langara, Jana is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UBC where she researches the role of mitochondrial molecular pathways on synaptic plasticity and neurodevelopment.
In addition to teaching, Jana loves the outdoors. Whenever possible she goes skiing, kayaking, hiking or camping.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2337
Education and thesis topic:
MSc Biology (Microbiology), Simon Fraser University (2008). Thesis title: Examining the early transcriptome of the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus in response to iron limitation imposed by human serum
BSc Biology (Cell/Molecular Biology), Cert. Lib. Arts, Simon Fraser University (2000)
Position/courses taught: Lab Demonstrator: Cell Biology, Intro to Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Anatomy & Physiology
Academic interests: Microbiology, Cell/Molecular Biology
Other things about Jay: Movie affectionado, pop culture expert, music lover, theatre thespian, tech guru, social media mogul, fashionista at heart.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2541
Katherine Cheung obtained her BSc in Animal Biology and BEd in Secondary Sciences from UBC. She spent 6 years teaching with the school board and previously worked as a lab instructor at Langara College covering for 2 separate maternity leaves.
She is currently back for a third time, all the while trying to complete her MSc which addresses the role of embryonic incubation temperature on growth, development, and thermal tolerance in white sturgeon throughout early ontogeny (with minimum success).
In her spare time (which at the moment is never), she likes to knit, crochet, and craft.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2024
Garyen Chong received his B.Sc. as well as his M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan, and completed his B.Ed. and M.Ed. there. He has worked in administrative positions in both the secondary and post-secondary systems. Garyen participated in the Rural Community Health Projects in Mwanza, Tanzania.
He has taught courses in cell biology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology as well as pathology. His main interest has always been in the clinical area. He helped to establish the Health Sciences Department at Langara College and taught a number of courses with that department. His current research interest is in the study of medicinal mushrooms.
My career path has been, perhaps, a little different from those of most biologists (though I do know who went from being a professional body-builder to professional parasitologist). My first degree was a B.A. in psychology. After that I began a career selling cameras. I alternated between that and going to school – for nothing in particular – for a number of years, then decided to go to work on film crews for a while. At some point I read an article in Scientific American, by Dr. Janice Moore, describing the behavior-altering abilities of a parasite of starlings. The parasite has a larval stage that lives in wood-bugs, that relies on those wood-bugs getting eaten by starlings in order to complete its life cycle. Now, obviously, wood-bugs would prefer not to be eaten, but the parasite makes the wood-bugs behave in ways that make them easy targets for starlings. Well, the notion that a parasite could make zombie wood-bugs got me, and parasites were it, as far as I was concerned. So I signed up for a parasitology course at the University of British Columbia. Took it, then, years later, asked the professor who taught the course (Dr. Martin Adamson) if I could take a graduate degree under his supervision. He said yes, and the rest is (cheesy cliché alert) history.
Biology is about as much fun as a person can have without breaking multiple laws. The more you learn, the weirder it all gets, and the more fun. And this is the perfect time to be getting into the field (O.K., Anton van Leeuwenhoek would likely have said the same thing, but...). Genomes are being sequenced at a prodigious rate, revealing the machinery behind life’s great variety. And it’s becoming evident that genes aren’t the whole story. Genes are, and aren’t, controlling things. You get the idea. It’s unendingly complex, and who could ask for a better sandbox in which to play?
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2265
Anoush Dadgar has been an instructor at Langara College since 1991. He teaches first year university general biology courses and a second/third year university comparative vertebrate anatomy course.
Anoush is an Educational Travel Program Leader in Continuing Studies at Langara College. He taught part of the field school to Hawaii (1994), and has successfully run educational tours to Cuba (2002) and the Galapagos Islands (1999, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018) to study the flora and fauna of these unique places.
Anoush had been involved in the Rural Community Health Project in Mwanza, Tanzania, Africa in 2004. He created a HIV/AIDS module for the health educators in Mwanza to help prevent the spread of the disease in rural communities.
Melisa Hamilton received her PhD in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia. In addition to being an Instructor at Langara, she is also a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the BC Cancer Agency. Her research interests relate to the relationship between cancer and the immune system (Cancer Immunology). She is particularly interested in how tumours manipulate the immune system so that immune cells foster tumour growth and metastasis instead of doing their normal job of killing tumour cells. The goal of her research is to enable the development of novel cancer therapies that promote anti-tumour immunity.
Melisa thinks that being able to study life (in all its weird and wonderful forms!) is pretty amazing. Even more, she loves sharing her passion and knowledge with students!
In her spare time, Melisa enjoys travel, photography, good food and wine, and exploring beautiful Vancouver with her husband (unless it's raining - in which case she prefers curling up with a cup of tea and a good book).
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2266
Education: BSc Ecology (UBC)
Position: Lab Instructor/Lab Supervisor
Courses taught: Ecology and a variety of first year courses
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2523
PhD (UBC) Behavioural Ecology of Sockeye Salmon
MSc (University of Saskatchewan) Environmental Toxicology
Position and courses taught: Biology Instructor
BIOL 1115, BIOL 1116, BIOL 1190
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2539
Kyra Janot completed her BSc in Marine Biology at UBC in 2011, and followed it up with a PhD in Botany at UBC in 2018. Her graduate research focused on the cell wall chemistry and biomechanics of coralline algae, with an emphasis on convergent traits amongst articulated species. During this time, she also gained experience in algal identification and biodiversity through her involvement in annual surveys on Calvert Island through the Hakai Research Institute, and she assisted in teaching several field, lab, and lecture-based courses on seaweed diversity at both UBC and the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
Kyra started lecturing at Langara College in 2019, where she currently teaches BIOL 1111. While her passion is the marine world, she finds all biological topics fascinating, and she is excited to help students find the ones that interest them the most! When not teaching, Kyra spends her time performing science outreach through public presentations, playing whatever sport catches her interest at the moment, and highlighting the natural beauty of seaweed through pressings and jewelry.
Education and thesis topic: BSc honors, Biology; University of Waterloo; MSc, Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario (cellular communication in cancer cells); PhD Pathology and Laboratory medicine University of British Columbia (molecular targeting strategies in the treatment of cancer) Position(s): Instructor in Biology and Health Science; Curriculum Consultant in TCDC Courses taught: BIOL1116,1216,1115, 1190,1191, 2415, 2290, 2291, HSCI 2211 2216 Academic interests: In addition to teaching at Langara, I also do research at the BC Cancer Research Center. The focus of this research is on identifying major signaling molecules that are unique to cancer cells and determining whether these unique molecular signatures can be used to create targeted drugs for the treatment of patients.
Originally from Fiji, I started my Bachelor’s degree (Hons Biochemistry) at Langara and completed it at UBC. My PhD work involves developing new antibiotics against ‘superbugs’ such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and also understanding the mechanism of action of these peptide drugs.
It is fascinating how mother Nnture functions and I love conveying this knowledge to my students which is very satisfying. I can easily relate to my students as I was a student at Langara few years ago. In my spare time I like to participate and watch many sporting activities such as rugby and soccer!
Courses taught currently at Langara: BIOL 1116 and 1115
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2597
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2543
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2329
For my master’s thesis, I investigated long-term population trends in several species of amphibian in Ontario, a project linked to broader concerns about global amphibian decline. After completing graduate work, I worked on a variety of conservation-based projects across the continent. These projects typically involved looking for population trends in a wide variety of species: fish, amphibians, turtles, small mammals, furbearers, and birds. I have taught at Langara since 2002. My writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight, the Vancouver Sun, and the Toronto Star. My first book, The Endangered Species Road Trip, was published by Greystone Books in June 2013. You can read the Publisher's Weekly Review here.
Current interests: Biologically, I am most interested in fisheries and conservation biology, particularly the plight of endangered species. I also enjoy writing about ecology for general audiences, wildlife photography, and bird watching.Courses taught: BIOL 1115, BIOL 1215, BIOL 1218, BIOL 2380, BIOL 2480 and ENVS 2470
PhD, Molecular Biology and Evolution. Biology Department, University of Ottawa, 1991-1995. Research topic: Molecular evolution of plant actin genes.
MSc, Molecular Genetics. Botany Department, University of British Columbia, 1989-91. Research topic: Molecular biology of plant-pathogen interactions.
BSc, Cell Biology. Biology Department, University of British Columbia, 1986-89. Honors thesis topic: Genetic analysis of senescence mutants in Neurospora crassa.
University-Transfer Program in Biology, Langara College. 1984-1986.
Postdoctoral fellow in the Biochemistry department, Faculty of Medicine, UBC: rRNA processing in Archaea.
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biotechnology Labs at UBC: Molecular biology of pathogenesis and dimorphism in smut fungus (Ustilago maydis).
Courses taught: First year biology for majors and nonmajors, Biochemistry, Genetics, Cell biology and Molecular biology. I also co-teach 2 courses in the department of Health Sciences: Drugs and Society, and Human Sexuality and Behavior.
I earned a PhD in insect ecology from Simon Fraser University and worked as a postdoc and researcher in private industry, mostly in the area of insect chemical ecology. I regularly teach invertebrate zoology and first year biology but have also taught courses in anatomy and physiology, ecology, environmental science, natural history, and health sciences.
My current research interests are in the ecology of social insects and medicinal uses of plant secondary compounds. Highlights of my time at Langara include seeing students get excited about nature, and participating in field schools in East Africa and Haida Gwaii. I have also been lucky enough to participate in public health projects in East Africa and help develop a number of courses in the Health Sciences Department.
I have a lifelong interest in paleontology and mineralogy and try to work that into my teaching.
Martha Nelson-Flower grew up here in Vancouver and received her BSc (Animal Biology, 1999) and her MSc (chloroplast genome of dinoflagellates, Department of Botany, 2003) from the University of British Columbia. She then volunteered as an intern at the Kalahari Meerkat Project for a year in 2004, and realized that her future lay in the field of behavioural ecology, and specifically in the intersection of behaviour with genetics. Martha completed her PhD on the influence of genetic relatedness on conflict and cooperation in southern pied babblers at the University of Cape Town (Percy FitzPatrick Institute) in 2010. Post-doctoral fellowships followed, in which she studied babblers (again) (UCT, 2012-2014) and the song sparrows of Mandarte Island (UBC, 2015-2017).
In 2018 Martha taught second-year physiology and fourth-year evolutionary biology and conservation at UBC, and began teaching biology at Langara. Martha really enjoys helping the students understand new concepts and seeing them master new ideas. In addition, she continues her research investigating how kinship affects southern pied babbler society, and how immune genes affect song sparrow fitness. In between, she spends time with her family, which includes three kids each born on a different continent.
Geoff Nemeth is a former Langara biology program graduate and UBC Animal Welfare Program alumnus. He teaches labs for BIOL 1111, 1215, 1118 and 1218. His interest has always been in applied animal biology, specifically animal behaviour and welfare. He earned his B.Sc from UBC in 2012 where he investigated humane alternatives to CO2 for laboratory rodent euthanasia. He then earned his M.Sc from UBC in 2017 where he studied the effects of using experienced social models when introducing young dairy cattle to housing systems in an effort to improve welfare outcomes and reduce abnormal behaviours.
Although his degrees are in applied animal biology, he has a strong background and interest in ecology, botany, and molecular biology. When not teaching he enjoys playing loud music in various projects, volunteering as a scout leader, and keeping his fiancé and parrots out of as much trouble as possible.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2332
I really enjoy teaching and find it a very satisfying career. I started university as a mature student without any science background which helps me to relate to many of my students.
Interests: I enjoy cooking, eating and talking about food from around the world. My favourite cartoonist is Roz Chast and my favourite TV show is (still) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I listen to Village 900 global roots radio on my computer and an eclectic assortment of music at home. I read cookbooks, novels and anything to do with bacteria!
Education: Ph.D. (Experimental Medicine, UBC), B.Sc. (Hons. Cell Biology, U. of Ottawa), B.A. (Philosophy, U. of Ottawa).
I began my studies at the University of Ottawa, obsessed with discovering what constitutes life, and intending to write a grand novel based on what I had discovered. It was not as easy as I thought. I studied biochemistry, but after exposure to things like microtubules and metaphysics, shifted my focus to cell biology and philosophy (which turned out to be a fascinating mix of courses, by the way).
Areas of activity: Between 1997 and 2008 I led a federally-funded international development program in support of community health programs in the Mwanza district of Tanzania. Other international work has included public health work for the Canadian International Development Agency and International Development Research Centre focusing on the less developed regions in Africa and Asia over the last fifteen years.
I have a shady parallel life as a novelist. Still have not yet written the ultimate novel of life. My two published novels are The Lions (1994), and Red Dust, Red Sky (2008).
My current areas of academic interest are global health and health sciences.
Courses taught currently at Langara: Pathophysiology I and II, Global Perspectives on Health, Anatomy and Physiology I and II
Please see www.paulsunga.org for further details about my current directions.
A long time ago, Frank Williams completed a BSc (Biology) at the University of Victoria, a Masters of Pest Management, and a PhD (Biol) at Simon Fraser University, and a post-doctorate at the University of British Columbia. He also worked for the Ministry of Lands, Parks, and Forests for a year.
His current interests are in the general areas of ecology and environmental issues, with specific interest in streams, carbon capture and conservation. Highlights of his time at Langara include work in Tanzania, and field schools on the Fraser River, in Thailand, and in Haida Gwaii.
Frank currently serves as Coordinator for the Canadian Studies program.
Joanna Woltosz first became attracted to cancer research during studies in her home country, Poland, where she completed a combined five-year BS/MS program in Molecular Biology. During her master's degree studies, her research focused on the role of abnormal angiogenesis in cardiovascular disease and cancer. She received her PhD in Biochemistry studying defects in mitochondrial metabolism and its role in the process of transformation at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute (Cleveland, USA). Her Post-Doctoral Fellow position at the Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, USA) and Research Associate position at the Genome Sciences Centre in BC Cancer Agency expanded her extensive knowledge in the field of oncology into the roles of transcription factors in the transformation process and the role of stem cells in malignant hematological disorders.
She truly loves research and acknowledges the opportunities it provided her with. One of them being her other passion - teaching and mentoring students while in Langara.
And as her idol (Maria Sklodowska) once said she is “among those who think that science has great beauty.” And she hopes she can make her students think alike.
When not at work, she enjoys cooking and baking. Loves music, film and long walks…
Diana Wong graduated from Simon Fraser University with a B.Sc in Biological Sciences, in the cell and molecular stream with a minor in Psychology. She has had laboratory experiences in multiple industries, from quality control in food production and dairy to medical devices and years of field experience with hands on conservation. Langara College is providing an environment to allow the best balance of both. Her interests involves being in nature, and volunteering for the Lower Mainland Green Team.