This October 31st 2019 marks the retirement of Dr. Hugh Brock from the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Brock has been a critical member of the department and a core member of the Cell Biology group. Dr. Brock holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia. He was an EMBO Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Paris and a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at the University of Washington. Dr. Brock first joined the Department of Zoology in 1982 as an Assistant Professor and progressed through the ranks to Full Professor in 1994.
Dr. Brock’s highly successful research program was centered on understanding the epigenetic control of gene regulation. His research covered a broad range of epigenetic research including highly influential papers on the role on non-coding RNAs on gene regulation and the function of the polycomb group of gene regulators in gene silencing. Dr. Brock has published in the best journals in the field including Nature, Science, Cell and Molecular Cell. The impact of his work is reflected in the 5532 citations of his 43 publications.
Through out his career Dr. Brock has been deeply involved in undergraduate and graduate education. A major accomplishment was the revision of the Biology curriculum in the mid 1980s where Botany and Zoology courses were integrated into a uniform Biology Program. He was also involved in the re-design of a number of key upper level Genetics and Development courses in the Biology Program. Dr. Brock also served as the Director of the Genetics Graduate program. In recognition of his dedication and teaching accomplishments, Dr. Brock was nominated 5 times, and awarded a Killam Teaching Award in 2002, UBC’s highest award for teaching. Dr. Brock made significant contributions to the training and mentoring of an impressive number of undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have advanced onto careers in the academy and industry. Dr. Brock was interested in the mentoring of new faculty, and was instrumental in the establishment and implementation of the current mentoring practices that the department employs today.
Dr. Brock was also deeply involved in important strategic initiatives for UBC including as the Principal for the College of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Co-Director for the design and implementation of the Life Sciences Center, and the Life Sciences Institute. Dr. Brock later became the Associate-Provost of Academic Innovation where he oversaw the evolution of UBC Continuing Studies into UBC Extended Learning along with numerous other initiatives centered on teaching and learning strategy and innovation, policy, and change management.
Dr. Brock’s contributions within the university have been significant and the impact will be felt within the Biology program, the Department of Zoology and UBC for years to come. Similarly his contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms gene regulation will continue to direct future research into cancer and cell biology. The Department of Zoology wishes Dr. Brock all the best and heartfelt thanks for his dedication to teaching, mentoring and support for his students and colleagues.
Image: HUGH BROCK – flute, high and low whistles, uillean (Irish) bagpipes, vocals. Source: Crooked Road Band site