Several UBC Okanagan researchers are looking at the heart in different ways. (File)

Several UBC Okanagan researchers are looking at the heart in different ways. (File)

UBCO researchers open their hearts for Valentines Day

Researchers weigh in on heart mechanics, mating, romance novels

For Valentines Day, UBC Okanagan faculty members are sharing their knowledge of the heart — in both the physical and emotional forms.

Engineering a new heart

A team of researchers from UBCO’s School of Engineering and the Faculty of Health and Social Development is on the cusp of improving heart function.

The Heart Valve Performance Lab is working to improve mechanical heart valves and researchers believe they’ve developed a way for them to closely match the real thing. The goal is to have the new valves perform consistently and seamlessly in place of normal valves.

“The way blood travels through the body is unique to a person’s physiology, so a ‘one-size-fits-all’ valve has been a real challenge,” said Dr. Hadi Mohammadi, an associate professor at the School of Engineering.

Such advances, Mohammadi said, can lead to new solutions for complex issues such as heart disease.

Evolutionary step backwards

Researchers from UBC, Harvard University and Cardiff Metropolitan University have discovered how the human heart has adapted to support endurance physical activities. For this, UBCO’s Dr. Rob Shave is comparing the human heart to that of the great apes, our closest ancestors. He hopes to contrast the differences in structure and function that developed along separate evolutionary trajectories.

“We hope our research will inform those at highest risk of developing hypertensive heart disease,” said Shave, director of UBCO’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences. “And ensure that moderate-intensity endurance-type activities are widely encouraged in order to ultimately prevent premature deaths.”

Shave said this research will further the understanding of how to improve the lives of those suffering from cardiovascular disease.

Romance in the wild

Animal courtship comes in many forms. Graduate students of Dr. Adam Ford, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science have observed some of the many mating strategies.

“Male cougars will spend three to 10 days with their prospective mate playing, as well as sharing meals and time together,” says Siobhan Darlington, an ecology doctoral student co-supervised by Ford and Dr. Karen Hodges. She explains that cougars can mate year-round, unlike many wild animals.

Doctoral student and deer specialist Chloe Wright said mule deer typically mate in the fall and the pregnant doe will gestate over the winter months.

“During the breeding season, male deer use their antlers to establish a hierarchy by fighting other male deer. The winner usually gets his pick of the females,” said Wright.

Such rituals, both researchers agree, are important in understanding several aspects of wildlife and their environments.

Love and literature

Dr. Marie Loughlin, associate professor of English, offered up her thoughts on great romance novels. Her heart lies with books about loving books themselves, such as 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

“Literature and the arts help us better appreciate the human experience,” says Dr. Marie Loughlin, associate professor of English in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

“Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to delve into one of the most important human emotions and reread foundational examples of literature, like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”

She also recommends A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel.

“This captures the long history of our love of books and reading from antiquity to the present,” she suggests.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

UBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
One of two Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreaks declared over

One outbreak declared over after two deaths, seven cases; another outbreak remains ongoing in the hospital

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna care home after 12 cases noted

Two staff members and 10 residents at Cottonwoods Care Centre have tested positive for COVID-19

The current B.C. Men’s curling champions, Rick Sawatsky (Vernon and now living and working in Kelowna, from left), Andrew Nerpin (Kelowna), Jim Cotter (Vernon) and Steve Laycock (Saskatoon), have yet to find the win column at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary. (Black Press - file photo)
B.C. looking for Brier victory

Team B.C. falls to 0-2 Sunday, March 7, with 10-7 loss to Wild Card 1 entry from Manitoba

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Kelowna’s Trinity Church will serve as one of the Central Okanagan’s three COVID-19 vaccination clinics. (Trinity Church Kelowna/Instagram)
Three COVID-19 vaccination clinics to open in the Central Okanagan

The first will open at Kelowna’s Trinity Church on March 15

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

There is no true picture of how many youth in Penticton are experiencing housing instability or true homelessness. The Foundry and the city of Penticton are trying to find that out.
How many youth are experiencing homelessness in Penticton?

Foundry Penticton and the City have partnered on a youth survey open until March 13

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chelsea Ishizuka was borned and raised in Penticton but has now moved to Japan. When she found out there was a popular restaurant there named after Penticton, she had to go check it out. Here she is with the owner (right). (Facebook)
Popular restaurant in Japan named after city of Penticton

A Pentictonite now living in Tokyo discovered the eatery and the history behind its name

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Most Read