Courses and Workshops


Botany 501: Seminar Studies in Botany (Term 1: 3 credits)
The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to the techniques involved in delivering scientific presentations. Students and professors provide feedback on presentations by means of written and oral evaluations. The course is designed to improve verbal presentation skills and ability to communicate with plant biologists in diverse fields of research.  For more info, view Botany 501 Course info.

Biology 535: Teaching and Learning in the Life Sciences (Contact the Botany Department for more details.)
Many MSc and PhD students in the life sciences will take up careers involving teaching. Appointment committees look favourably on applicants with a proven commitment to teaching. At some institutions, promotion and tenure committees look specifically for teaching evaluation ratings and for statements of sound teaching philosophy in teaching dossiers.   For more info, view Botany 535 Course info.

Graduate Student Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW) – Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTLT)
Required course for WoW trainees – The three-day Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW) are designed for graduate students interested in developing and enhancing their instructional skills. The ISW cater to individuals new at teaching as well as those who wish to refresh and enhance their skills. Due to the interactive nature of this workshop, participants must be comfortable communicating verbally in English. The ISW are very popular so registration well in advance is recommended. For more info, please review Instructional Skills Workshops for Grad Students.


March 27, 2015: Project Management:  Introduction to Project Management, Robyn Roscoe, BSc, PMP, Head, Strategic Planning and Project Management, BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver, BCA
A 1-day workshop to provide an introduction to project management and covers scope and time management concepts and tools, as well as communication and risk management basics.

Feb. 26 – 27, 2015: Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) & WoW Workshop
– Michael Smith Lab, UBC
The Working on Walls (WoW) Training Program and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) collaborated on a 2-day workshop.  NAIST is a Japanese national university located in Kansai Science City, a border region between Nara, Osaka, and Kyoto. Founded in 1991, NAIST consists solely of graduate schools in 3 integrated areas: information science, biological sciences, and materials science.

May 29, 2014, Curriculum Vitae /  Resume Building Workshop – Mathias Schuetz, Research Associate, Botany Dept., Martha Kertesz, MBA, WoW Administrator
This customized CV workshop provided an overview of the job application package, differences between a CV and Resume, the need for an up-to-date summary of all academic experiences, and an overview of the resources available on-line, and at UBC. See CV Workshop info on WoW Workshops > CV Building Resources Workshop.

May 21, 2014, Photo Imaging Workshop – 2nd Hands-on-Tutorial, Jamie Myers, Editorial & Graphic Design Coordinator, UBC Faculty of Forestry

March 3, 12, 2014, Photo Imaging Workshop, Jamie Myers, Editorial & Graphic Design Coordinator, UBC Faculty of Forestry
Two 1.5-hour workshops.  The purpose of these workshops was to provide a good overview of the potential of Photoshop software, when to use Photoshop or Illustrator, non-destructive image analysis and manipulation.  These 2 sessions will be followed by smaller hands-on workshops to cover such topics”Image Analysis and Manipulation of Specific Examples” and, “Vector Graphics using Illustrator”.

Feb. 03, 2014, Career Choices, Presenters Stefanie Butland, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT), UBC;  and Lesley Esford, NSERC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) described how their careers unfolded, as they took advantage of unplanned opportunities to move successfully into responsible and challenging positions far from their original professional and graduate training. Both emphasized the central importance of networking as a mechanism for generating those unanticipated opportunities.

Oct. 22-24, 2013, Chemical Analysis Workshop – Soluble Sugars and Starch Quantification, Melissa Roach, UBC PDF
1h lecture + 3 lab sessions (~2h each day)  The purpose of this workshop was to understand and compare various techniques for quantifying soluble sugars and starch content in plant tissues, and to gain practical experience with these techniques in the lab.  Lectures included “Techniques for Quantifying Soluble Sugars and Starch”; and “Data Analysis and Results Interpretation”. Lab sessions included sample preparation; soluble sugar extraction; starch degradation and detection by HPLC.

May 6-8, 2013, Confocal Microscopy Workshop and Advanced Fluorescence Imaging, Miki Fujita, UBC PDF
Four 1-hour lectures: “How Confocal Microscopy Works (Types and Principles)”; “Advanced Fluorescence Imaging (FRAP, FRET, TIRF)”; “How to Do Imaging – Practical Aspects”; “Image Processing and Analysis”. The lectures were followed by 3 hours of individual or small group sessions on Pascal (classical basic confocal). Preview sessions were held for those who missed the basics course.

April 30 – May 2, 2013, Chemical Analysis Workshop: Lignin: S:G Ratio by Thioacidolysis, Melissa Roach, UBC PDF
Two 1-hour lectures: “Techniques for Analyzing Lignin Composition”; “Analysis and Interpretation of Thioacidolysis Results”. Lab sessions spread over three days: Sample Preparation, Extraction; Sample Derivatization; Analysis by GC.

April 11, 2013 –  Career Choices Workshop: Speakers – Dr. Lacey Samuels, Dept. Botany, UBC, and Mark Pidkowich, Smart & Biggar Law Firm
Smart & Biggar is Canada’s largest law firm that practises exclusively in intellectual property and technology law. Mark Pidkowich discussed his law practice that focuses on patent and trade-mark prosecution and his technical background in plant science and agricultural biotechnology. Lacey Samuels talked about her career path in academia.

Feb 4-8 2013, Basic Chemical Analysis: Soluble sugars, Starch, Structural Carbohydrate and Lignin Quantification, Melissa Roach, UBC PDF
Four 1-hour lectures: “Techniques for Quantifying Soluble Sugars and Starch”; “Overview of Techniques for Lignin Quantification”; “Structural Carbohydrate Analysis Methods”; “Data Analysis and Results Interpretation”.
Lab sessions: Sample preparation and soluble sugar extraction; starch degradation and detection; Lignin and structural carbohydrate quantification by Klason analysis and HPLC.

Jan 22-23, 2013, Light/fluorescence Microscopy, Miki Fujita, UBC PDF
Four 1-hour lectures: “Introduction to Light and Fluorescence Microscopy”, “Sample Preparation and Techniques”, “Image Processing”, “How to Do Imaging”, “Image Processing and Analysis”. Two 2-hour hands-on sessions working with students’ own samples.

Oct 31, 2012, Career Choices, Joanne Fox and Kris Palma
WoW trainees met to discuss career choices for an opportunity to expose trainees to alternate careers.

Oct 26-27, 2012, Sustainable Food Urban Agriculture & Global Systems (Continuing Studies, Robson Square), Eleanor Boyle
This short course provided an overview of food sustainability locally and globally, positioning current issues in larger contexts. Interactive and participatory, the sessions included opportunities for discussion on how to actively get involved in food sustainability and an expert guided tour of the UBC Farm.

Sept 24–26, 2012, Scanning & Transmission Electron Microscopy, Miki Fujita, UBC PDF
Three 1-hour lectures: 1) Scanning electron microscopy; 2) Transmission electron microscopy; Advanced electron microscopy techniques and 3) a Demonstration.

Sept 18, 2012, Bioimaging Facility (BIF) Light Microscopy, Kevin Hodgson, Mathias Schuetz, Miki Fujita, Geoff Wasteneys
The workshop objective was to teach light microscopy basics including Kohler illumination.

Sept 14-16, 2012, Video Production, Randy Olson
This 3-day intensive video production workshop provided students who had absolutely no experience with filming or editing with an overview from initial concept to the finished video product. This provided an opportunity for students to develop their communication skills through creative outlets such as video.

June 11-15, 2012, Functional and Ecological Plant Anatomy, Jack Fisher, Shona Ellis, Jack Maze and Lacey Samuels
The objective of the workshop was to learn the relationship of plant structure to function in diverse plant taxa.

May 7-9, 2012, Confocal Microscopy and Advanced Fluorescence, Miki Fujita, UBC PDF
WoW Bioimaging Workshop

  1. Light/Fluorescence microscopy techniques for fixed materials
  2. Confocal microscopy and advanced fluorescence imaging
  3. Scanning electron microscopy
  4. Transmission electron microscopy

Jan-Feb 2012, Light and Fluorescence Microscopy, Miki Fujita, UBC PDF
Four 1-hour lectures: introduction to light and fluorescence microscopy, sample preparation and techniques, image processing, how you do imaging, image processing and analysis. Two 2-hour hands-on sessions working with students’ samples.

Dec 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 2011, Molecular Techniques, Peter Constabel, University of Victoria
A 5-day intensive workshop made up of lecture-style presentations in the mornings with practical exercises/tours/discussion in the afternoon.


  1. Basic cloning tools including gateway vectors
  2. Functional analysis of genes (recombinant proteins)
  3. PCR applications including qPCR
  4. Molecular tools in soil analysis (Richard Winder, PFC)
  5. Analytical tools for plants (including proteomics – Derek Smith, proteomics centre)

Nov 22, 2011, Career Choices – Mike Deyholos, University of Alberta
Mike Deyholos met with WoW trainees to talk about his career choices, his seminar, his lab or anything else of interest from the perspective of one of Canada’s pre-eminent young cell wall researchers.

Nov 8, 2011, Career Choices – Ellie Griffith, Genome BC, Christia Roberts, Agriculture/Horticulture venture capital consultant
WoW trainees met to discuss career choices.  Ellie Griffith works in Genome BC as a Research Program Manager.  Ellie received her PhD working on rare inherited disorders at the Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Christia Roberts, was trained as a horticulturist and ornamental plant breeder. She worked for several years as a Plant Biology Sector Specialist with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC-IRAP) before founding her own venture capital company specializing in the agriculture sector.

Aug 18, 2011, Career Choices – Malcolm Devine, Principal, bioQED Strategic Consultants Ltd
One of the WoW Program Committee members, Dr. Malcolm Devine led an informal discussion of his career choices – how they came about and how they have turned out for him.  Organized to allow trainees to meet with various career professionals who may have started with academic training but later changed direction to pursue other interests. These are often not easy decisions to take, and the factors that come into play can be quite diverse, so learning how specific factors impacted the choices these individuals made can be enlightening.

Sept 14, 2011, Mentor Development Workshop – Joseph Topornycky, Isabeau Iqbal, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), UBC
This full-day workshop was meant for senior TAs who would be serving, formally or informally, as mentors for other TAs in their department. During the workshop, there was a focus on developing specific mentoring skills. The early part of the day focused on setting up the mentoring relationship, and the latter part of the day focused on three core mentoring skills – feedback, reflection, and skill modeling. The workshop was an interactive, peer-based model which gave the mentors opportunities to learn about and practice these skills. The training was highly intensive, and to take part, participants needed to commit to being present for the entire workshop.

May 10, 2011, Forest Product Innovation Colloquium
This workshop consisted of a tour of the Forest Product Innovation (FPI) facilities and presentations by FPI employees and provided an opportunity to discuss the industrial significance of cell walls in the forest bio-economy, and opportunities for collaboration.

Jan 27, 2011, Adobe Photoshop Digital Imaging – Continuing Studies Course
The goals of this UBC Continuing Studies Workshop were to teach how to transform images, starting with the basics of creating a multi-layered file, scaling and cropping. Various tools and palettes, including type, drawing, shapes, fills and gradients, were demonstrated and used to create special effects. Participants could find out how to optimize file size and graphic quality for the web, apply colour modes, and outline colours for web page design.

Oct 28, 2010, Entrepreneurship – UBC’s UILO (University-Industry Liaison Office)
The workshop focused on intellectual property rights and entrepreneurship for CREATE trainees.  The aim of this session was to provide attendees with an overview and understanding of entrepreneurship, opportunities that exist, and what is involved in starting a company, whether it is based on thesis research or unrelated business ideas.  Intellectual Property: What it is and How to Manage it; The different forms that intellectual property can take, how it can be protected, how it can be managed and the role of intellectual property in starting and developing  a company.  Entrepreneurship: What’s involved in starting a Company – What it takes to be an entrepreneur, different types of companies, the elements and processes in setting up companies through entrepreneurship@UBC and other external sources.  Being There, Seeing It, Doing It:  Startup case studies.

Sept. 28 & 30, Oct 4, 2012, Project Management:  Introduction and Scope Management, Time Management, Communications and Risk Management – Robyn Roscoe, BSc, PMP, Head, Strategic Planning and Project Management, BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver, BCA
A 3-day workshop provided an introduction to project management elements.  Participants learned to understand basic project management definitions, to put project management principles into practice in day-to-day work and to understand principles such as scope management and risk assessment.

July 12 – July 16, 2010, Bioinformatics – Basics of Genome/Transcriptome Mining Workshop – Jüergen Ehlting, Centre for Forest Biology, Department of Biology, University of Victoria
This one-week workshop provided an introduction to hands-on, mainly online tools available to mine genome and transcriptome information.  The objectives of the practical part were to characterize gene families in an organism with a complete genome and to collect available annotations for each participant’s gene family of interest (GFI). This included genome mining for the GFI, the basics of creating phylogenetic reconstructions for the GFI, predicting structural features and sub-cellular localizations, analyzing expression profiles of the GFI members (digital Northerns), and the identification of the transcriptional regulon in which the GFI members are embedded (co-expression tools). Lectures covered the theory behind the online-tools used.  In addition, the principles of genome and transcriptome sequencing and assembly, genome annotations, and large-scale expression-profiling techniques were discussed.

March 26, 2010, Fundamentals of Journalism Forms: Writing news stories, opinion pieces, editorials, and publishing on the Web – UBC Graduate School of Journalism:  Mary Lynn Young, Alfred Hermida, Eric Jandciu
This 3-hour session provided participants with a general understanding of various journalism formats such as news articles, opinion pieces, and editorials. It explored the definition of relevance in the media (for example, what makes a good news story?) in order to help students write and pitch their own ideas to media outlets. The workshop also discussed how to write a good blog post, provided examples of scientists who are blogging about their work, highlighted some social media tools, and examined some new initiatives at media outlets such as Nature.

2009, Academic Integrity and Plagiarism, Lacey Samuels, UBC Head of Botany Department
The workshop outlined UBC’s policy on academic misconduct with respect to plagiarism and instructed students where to find this policy.  Students analyzed the role that the scientific literature plays in the process of science.  Participants identified an individual scientist whose professional identity in the literature is strong and linked their prominence to their writing/behaviour. Students critiqued examples of alleged plagiarism in the literature.

Presentation Skills Workshop Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), UBC
This 2-day interactive workshop enabled graduate students to increase confidence and try new approaches in any presentation setting.

Workshop Goals:

  • Plan and organize an effective presentation
  • Become aware of elements that contribute to effective presentation delivery
  • Efficiently structure a short presentation with a limited amount of time.