Executive Biographies

Dr. Gail MurphyDr. Gail Murphy

Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Dr. Gail Murphy assumed the role of Vice-President, Research & Innovation on August 14, 2017.

Dr. Murphy is a professor in UBC’s Department of Computer Science and was formerly Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Science. After completing her B.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 1987, she worked for five years as a software engineer in the Lower Mainland. She later pursued graduate studies in computer science at the University of Washington, earning first an M.Sc. (1994) and then a Ph.D (1996).

Dr. Murphy joined UBC in 1996 and was a key driver of the new Master of Data Science, a professional graduate program launching this fall — and has been instrumental in championing the creation of a Data Science Institute at the university. She also maintains an active research group with post-doctoral and graduate students.

Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage and coordinate the information that matters most for their work. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), as well as co-founder, board member and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop Technologies Incorporated.

Dr. Murphy also serves on the editorial boards for Communications of the ACM, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Software Engineering. She is also the general chair for the ACM conference on Systems, Programming, Languages and Education: Software for Humanity (SPLASH), which took place in Vancouver in 2017.

Read a one-on-one with Gail Murphy

Dr. Helen Burt


Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Dr. Burt was born in Manchester, England and obtained her B. Pharm. (Hons) from the University of Bath and her Ph.D in Pharmaceutics from UBC. She is the Angiotech Professor of Drug Delivery in the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and began her term as Associate Vice President, Research & Innnovation in 2011.

Dr. Burt's major research efforts are supported by grants from CIHR and NSERC and involve the development of polymer-based drug delivery systems for controlled and localized drug delivery. She has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and holds eight patents.

She has been the recipient of several teaching prizes and research awards, including the UBC Killam Teaching Prize and Killam Faculty Research Prize, NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, CSPS Award of Leadership in Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences and YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Science, Research and Technology. 

She is a founding scientist in the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has served on the Board of Directors of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

Dr. Matthew Evenden


Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Matthew Evenden is a Professor of Geography and began his term as Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation on October 1, 2019.

Raised on Vancouver’s North Shore, Evenden earned his BA (Hons) (First Class) at Queen’s University (1993) followed by an MA (1994) and PhD (2000) at York University. A specialist in environmental history and historical geography, he is the author of several books on hydro-electricity, fisheries and rivers, including the prize-winning Fish versus Power (Cambridge 2004), The River Returns (co-authored with Chris Armstrong and Viv Nelles) (MQUP 2009) and Allied Power (UTP 2015) on the growth of hydro-electricity in Canada during the Second World War.  For his scholarship and teaching, he has received the Rachel Carson Prize, the Clio Prize and the UBC Killam Teaching Prize. 

Evenden served as Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Arts (2015-2019), and Chair of Canadian Studies (2011-2015). He was also a founding executive member of the SSHRC-funded Network in Canadian History and Environment/ Nouvelle initiative candienne en histoire de l’environnement (NICHE).


Dr. Phil Barker


DR. philip Barker

Associate Vice-President, Research & Vice-Principal, Research, UBCO

Raised in the Okanagan and a graduate of Kelowna Secondary School, Dr. Barker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University, completed his PhD in anatomy and cell biology at the University of Alberta, and performed postdoctoral studies in neurobiology at Stanford University. He is Associate Vice-President, Research at the University of British Columbia and Vice-Principal, Research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus effective August 1, 2015.

A molecular biologist and biochemist, Barker's research lab has published more than 100 scientific papers on signals that regulate life and death decisions in neurons and cancer cells. He co-founded a biotechnology company, holds several patents, and has developed and licensed several technologies.

From 2007 to 2011, Barker was the Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and Chair of the MNI Centre for Commercialization and Research, a $15 million fund designed to facilitate rapid translation of research into commercial ventures and clinical practice.