VPRI Leadership

The Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation provides strategic direction and oversight to UBC Okanagan’s expansive research enterprise.

Dr. Philip Barker

Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation

Dr. Philip Barker is Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. He also serves as Associate Vice-President, Research for both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses.

Prior to joining UBC in 2015, Dr. Barker was the Scientific Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Montreal, held a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neuroscience (Tier 1), and was Chair of the McGill University Innovation Steering Committee.

Dr. Barker is a molecular biologist and biochemist. His research program examines how extracellular cues translate into intracellular signaling pathways that regulate life and death decisions in neurons and cancer cells.

The Barker Lab uses a variety of models systems to discern specific cellular pathways that regulate these key events with the goal of identifying therapeutic targets. Dr. Barker has published more than 100 scientific papers, has co-founded a successful biotechnology company, holds several patents, and has developed and licensed several technologies.

“I’d like to see UBC viewed as the most innovative and entrepreneurial university in North America, if not the world.”

One-on-One with Phil Barker

One-on-One is a Q&A series aimed at getting ‘behind the scenes’ with senior leadership at UBC.

Dr. Karis Shearer

Associate Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation pro tem

Dr. Karis Shearer is a white, queer settler-scholar of Scottish and Finnish descent raised partly in Geraldton, ON (James Bay Treaty 9 Territory) and partly in Pembroke, ON (Treaty 27 Territory) and is a first-generation university graduate. An Associate Professor of English and Principal’s Research Chair, Dr. Shearer holds a B.A. (Great Distinction) in English and Canadian Studies from McGill University (2003), an M.A. from Western University (2004), and a PhD in Canadian Literature from Western University (2008). She completed a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University (2008-10) and held the 2010-11 Canada-U.S. Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at Vanderbilt University before joining UBC in 2011. She now lives and works on the unceded territory of the syilx Okanagan people.

Dr. Shearer is the PI of the AMP Lab, a CFI-funded digital humanities lab that explores digitized cultural heritage, and is the UBCO lead researcher on the SpokenWeb SSHRC Partnership Grant. Her research brings a feminist lens to the study of literary audio, the literary event, the digital archive, humanities data, book history and women’s labour within poetry communities. The SoundBox Collection digital archive, which she directs, was officially launched in 2024. She is the editor of All These Roads: The Poetry of Louis Dudek (WLUP 2008) and co-editor with Deanna Fong of Wanting Everything: The Collected Works of Gladys Hindmarch (Talonbooks, 2020). With Felicity Tayler, Marjorie Mitchell, Chantal Ripp and Pascale Dangoisse et al, she is co-author of the SSHRC-funded, peer-reviewed OER Data Primer: Making Digital Humanities Research Data Public (Press Books, 2022).

Before beginning her term as Associate Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation pro tem on September 1, 2023, Dr. Shearer served as interim co-Director of the Public Humanities Hub (Okanagan), two terms as coordinator for the “Digital Arts & Humanities Theme” in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (2018-20; 2022-23), served on the Modern Language Association (MLA) Canadian Literature Forum Executive, including as 2017 Executive Chair (2013-2018) and has served a combined nine years on governing boards of two SSHRC partnership grants.