e-mail: dweis@eos.ubc.ca
phone / tél.: 1-604-822.1697
mobile: 778-386.4466



Canada’s Minister of Defence Visits PCIGR

PCIGR was pleased to host the Canadian Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, for a tour of our nUBC facility on September 8, 2017. The Minister was on campus on behalf of the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, to announce more than $42 million in funding to support fundamental research at UBC through the NSERC 2017 competition for the Discovery Grants program, scholarships, and fellowships. CFI and BC-KDF grants supported the construction of the PCIGR laboratory facilities and a recent NSERC RTI grant contributes to its ongoing operations.

The Minister with the PCIGR team. Front row (left to right): M. Amini, E. Megyeri-Lawless, A. Fourny, H. Sajjan, D. Weis, G. Murphy, M. Li. Back row: K. Smith, B. Kieffer, R. McMillan, J. Cutts, K. Gordon, V. Lai (photo credit: Paul Joseph)

The nUBC laboratory is classified as a clean room, a very specialized environment designed to reduce contamination. Because contamination can be brought in by people and their clothing, everyone entering the lab was required follow a strict gowning protocol.

Professor Dominique Weis describes the instruments at nUBC (photo credit: Paul Joseph)

The tour was led by PCIGR Director, Professor Dominique Weis, with assistance from her unique team of research staff and graduate students. The Honourable Minister was accompanied by Professor Gail Murphy, UBC Vice-President Research, and Enikö Megyeri-Lawless, NSERC Director of Research Grants, Engineering and Life Sciences. Many of the features and instruments in the lab were showcased, with a focus on the Nu1700 high-resolution multi-collector ICP-MS. The first of its kind in Canada, this instrument is particularly special due to its large size and specialized components, including a >4-tonne magnet. Of particular interest to the Minister, it is the same type of instrument used in the military to analyze sources of uranium (depleted or enriched).

The Nu1700 high-resolution multi-collector ICP-MS (photo credit: Paul Joseph)

Another highlight of the tour was the RESOlution M-50-LR, operated by PCIGR research associate, Dr. Marghaleray Amini. The instrument is a laser ablation system, coupled to an ICP-MS, which can ablate a wide range of geological and environmental materials at high resolution and low absorbance. Near the end of the tour, PCIGR graduate students Rhy McMillan, Kate Smith, Jamie Cutts, and Anais Fourny, and postdoctoral fellow Miling Li, had the opportunity to briefly explain their research to the Minister. Their projects speak to the great diversity of research that is enabled by PCIGR’s instruments and staff.

In conclusion, the tour was a great opportunity to showcase why PCIGR is a world-class geochemical facility. Thank you to the Minister and to everyone who joined us! For a detailed photographic report of the event from UBC photographer Paul Joseph, see the UBC Public Affairs album.


Postdoctoral opportunity with MAGNET and Nu Instruments

I am seeking 1-2 postdoctoral fellows to join my research team in collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network (MAGNET) and Nu Instruments Ltd. (UK).

MAGNET is an NSERC-funded industrial stream Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program devoted to addressing global challenges in geochemistry. Nu Instruments is a high technology manufacturing company specializing in the design and manufacture of high precision mass spectrometers.

MAGNET Fellow sought for the following research project: The effect of organic matrices on the accuracy and precision of trace metal analyses by plasma source instruments

MAGNET-Nu Instruments Fellow sought for the following research project: Optimizing Fe isotope analyses by ICP-MS

The deadline to apply is March 22nd, 2017.  Please consult the MAGNET website for project descriptions and application instructions.


Dominique Weis Awarded 3rd Term as Canada Research Chair

Dominique was recently appointed to a 3rd term as Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in the Geochemistry of the Earth’s Mantle at the University of British Columbia.  Dominique has held this prestigious position since 2002, when she moved to Canada from Belgium.  During the past 14 years, her research has helped shape our understanding of the world’s large igneous provinces, mantle plumes, and volcanic arcs.  Over the next 7 years, Dominique will continue her innovative applications of isotopic and tracer geochemistry to quantify and constrain the geochemical evolution of our planet, from the deep mantle to the environment.


Dominique Weis elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Dominique’s election to the RSC’s Academy of Science honours her research on the chemistry and isotopic signature of Earth’s mantle that has shaped our understanding of the world’s large igneous provinces, mantle plumes, and volcanic arcs. Her work has revealed connections between terrestrial magmatism and mantle processes across many depths and scales. Dominique’s often interdisciplinary work has also pioneered the use of isotopes to trace the origin and fate of metals in the environment.  Dominique and 88 other Fellows were inducted on Friday, November 18, 2016 at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston, Ontario.


Spring Research Internships at PCIGR

PCIGR recently partnered with STEM Fellowship, a federal non-profit organization that connects and empowers young innovators in the sciences.  The Spring Research Internship Program is designed to facilitate passion for multidisciplinary scientific inquiry and help high school students interested in research develop the necessary skills to realize this goal. In this inaugural year, competition was strong, with over 45 motivated and enthusiastic students vying for a spot in the program.  PCIGR hosted 6 high school interns over two weeks during Spring Break (March 14-24, 2016).  The grade 11 and 12 students came from Gladstone, Lord Byng and Sir Winston Churchill secondary schools in Vancouver.  The interns were mentored by PCIGR graduate students and MAGNET trainees Catherine Armstrong, Rhy McMillan and Nichole Moerhuis.  Photos & Details


PCIGR student awarded AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award

PhD student Lauren Harrison recently received an Outstanding Student Paper Award for her talk on “The Hawaiian mantle plume from toe to head along the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge” presented at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs) are awarded to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. Each year, sections and focus groups recruit judges to assess and score student oral and poster presentations at meetings. Typically the top 3-5% of presenters in each section/focus group are awarded an OSPA.  Congratulations Lauren!


International Team of Scientists return from Atlantis Massif

An international team of scientists recently returned from 47-day research expedition to the Atlantis Massif in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists on Expedition 357, part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (http://www.iodpcanada.ca/) and conducted by the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (http://www.ecord.org/), collected an unprecedented sequence of rock samples from the shallow mantle of the ocean crust that bears signs of life. EOAS faculty member Dr. Dominique Weis has spent the past two weeks analyzing the returned rock samples on shore in Bremen, Germany. The 31 member strong team seeks answers to how mantle rocks are brought to the seafloor, how the reactions between them and seawater might fuel life in such harsh conditions, and the capacity of such reactions to impact climate through sequestration of carbon dioxide. Dominique and her post-doctoral student Laura Bilenker will follow up with more comprehensive analysis at PCIGR.




Dominique Weis elected Geochemical Society Board Member

Dominique has been elected as a member of the Geochemical Society Board of Directors.  Her term in office will begin on January 1, 2016.  Directors provide regional guidance and perspective to the Board.  The Geochemical Society is a nonprofit scientific society founded to encourage the application of geochemistry to improving our understanding of the Earth and solar system.  Congratulations Dominique!


Get Into Research – Lab Tours

On November 4th, PCIGR was pleased to participate in the Get Into Research event organized by SCI Team, a Peer Program within the UBC Faculty of Science.  This event is designed to present the multitude of research opportunities available to undergraduate students, personal experiences and inspirational accounts from student researchers, workshops outlining the preliminary steps of exploring research opportunities, as well as tours of different labs on campus.  Photos & Details


EOAS Award – Outstanding Teaching Assistant

Rhy McMillan, PhD student and MAGNET trainee at PCIGR, was recently presented with the Department’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for 2014-2015. This award is in recognition of his outstanding efforts and initiatives in EOSC 222: Geological Time and Stratigraphy.  The Department is grateful for his contribution to the quality of teaching in EOAS.  Congratulations Rhy!!


EOAS Award – Endeavour Silver Corporation Scholarship 2015

Catherine Armstrong, our MSc student has recently been awarded the Department’s Endeavour Silver Corporation Scholarship. The scholarship was awarded for her project entitled: “Isotopic fingerprinting of the enriched component of the Hawaiian mantle plume”. This high precision geochemical study of Hawaiian basalts will help unravel the processes governing the composition of numerous mantle plumes, with transformative implications for the composition and geodynamics of Earth’s mantle.
Congratulations Catherine!!


Arrival of the New Wave Research NWR193UC laser ablation system

The ESI/New Wave Research NWR193UC laser ablation system was installed in May 2015 and represents the newest addition to PCIGR’s laser-based micro-sampling infrastructure. Read more about the instrument on theInstrumentation – Laser Ablation ICP-MS webpage.


2015 Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant

Congratulations!! The following two PCIGR students have just received the GSA Graduate Student Research Grant for 2015.

Catherine Armstrong (MSc Candidate)
Research Project: Isotopic and trace element fingerprinting of the enriched component in the Hawaiian mantle plume

Lauren Harrison (PhD Candidate)
Research Project: Fe-Mn Crusts on Northwest Hawaiian Ridge Basalts: A Potential Contaminant?


Dominique Weis – 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Nominee – Technology, Science & Research

The Director of PCIGR, Dominique Weis has been nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction 2015 Award in the category of Technology, Science and Research. The announcement was posted on the Vancouver Sun on March 11, 2015.

See full article.


Earthly Insights: PCIGR Featured in International Innovation

“The Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research in Vancouver, Canada, is a hotbed of research investigating the isotopic and geochemical compositions of a wide range of materials relevant to mechanisms governing the most important systems in the Earth and the environment…”

See the full 3-page publication here:

Courtesy of International Innovation – a leading scientific dissemination service.




Earthly Insights: PCIGR Featured in International Innovation

“The Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research in Vancouver, Canada, is a hotbed of research investigating the isotopic and geochemical compositions of a wide range of materials relevant to mechanisms governing the most important systems in the Earth and the environment…”

See the full 3-page publication here:

Courtesy of International Innovation – a leading scientific dissemination service.


Goldschmidt Workshops 2014: Teaching Outside the Box

MAGNET was the proud sponsor and organizer of two professional development workshops held in association with the Goldschmidt conference in Sacramento (June 8-13, 2014). Over 100 delegates attended and actively participated in the two workshops entitled “Teaching and Learning Activities in Geochemistry: Examples and Applications” and “How Learning Works: Useful Techniques for Future Teachers.” The workshops were centered on evidence-based instructional methods developed through the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, a multi-year project at the University of British Columbia aimed at dramatically improving science education.

Full report photos:http://www.magnet.eos.ubc.ca/goldschmidt-workshops-2014/


PCIGR welcomes new EOAS Assistant Professor and CRC in Applied Geochemistry 

In September 2014, Dr Matthijs Smit joins the Faculty in the Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences at UBC as Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair Tier II in Applied Geochemistry. Dr Smit obtained his PhD in 2010 from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany and spent a few years as Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA before becoming Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2013.


Arrival of the Nu TIMS!

PCIGR is pleased to have received the first commercially-available TIMS (thermal ionization mass spectrometer) produced by Nu Instruments. The TIMS has been developed using Nu’s field-proven variable dispersion multi-collector technology to improve the versatility and overall performance of this long established analytical technique.


MAGNET hits the road: 2nd annual workshop in California

MAGNET recently held a volcanology field workshop in California (June 14-21, 2014), with 25 participants from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level, plus staff and faculty from UBC, McGill, University of Toronto, and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. The group explored two spectacular field sites – the Long Valley caldera and the highlands of the Medicine Lake shield volcano – which provided an opportunity to compare two large volcanic systems with different tectonic settings, plumbing dynamics, eruptive histories and products. The field workshop was a huge success, both scientifically and personally for everyone involved, and was another important milestone for the MAGNET program.

Full report & photos –


Corey Wall: International Association of Geoanalysts Early Career Researcher 2014 Award

Corey is a PhD student with James Scoates and received his award at the Goldschmidt conference in Sacramento in recognition of his contribution:”Evaluation of the Stillwater Complex anorthosite (ANII) as an Archean U-Pb geochronology standard”.

Corey is working with James to establish a new U-Pb zircon standard for the Archean, 2710 million years ago. His talk was on Monday and the ceremony just before the plenary session on June 13 2014.

CONGRATULATIONS to Corey, and many thanks to the entire PCIGR Research and Technical team for the help they provided.


Past Events:


Grand opening of the nUBC on December 16, 2013

This event celebrated the official opening of PCIGR’s most recent expansion: nUBC. The morning consisted of industry talks by Nu Instruments representatives on advances in mass spectrometry followed by lab tours. The afternoon featured a series of engaging speakers who addressed how chemical and isotopic measurements are being used to drive cosmochemical discoveries, unravel Earth formation, reconstruct past rainfall, and as biomarkers of disease. Each of the talks was very well attended, with likely up to 100 people participating throughout the day. The event concluded with a reception in the Pacific Museum of the Earth, with remarks by Greg Dipple, Department Head, and Dominique Weis, Director of PCIGR.

PCIGR prepares for delivery of Nu 1700

Staff at the PCIGR are busily preparing for the arrival of the Nu Plasma 1700, a large geometry high-resolution multi-collector mass spectrometer (1st in Canada, 5th worldwide). The instrument is currently en-route from the UK, via the Panama Canal, to the port of Vancouver, a journey that will take about 45 days. The delivery is expected the first week of July 2013, and will be followed by careful installation and rigorous testing by Nu Instruments engineers.

Victoria fieldtrip to tour the JOIDES Resolution

In May 2013, PCIGR staff and students had the unique opportunity to tour the scientific drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution in Victoria, BC. The tour started near the derrick on the “catwalk,” where the 9m cores are first received after being brought up from the seafloor. The group then viewed many of the scientific areas, including the petrophysics lab, core lab, microscopy/paleontology lab, and chemistry/microbiology lab. We also got to visit the galley, gym, lounge/movie room, and lastly the ship’s bridge.

Teacher training workshop: Geochemistry Made Fun!

PCIGR was pleased to offer two sessions on geochemistry at the Earth Sciences teacher training workshop for the October 2012 BC provincial professional development day. Over 40 teachers from Montessori, public and private elementary schools in the Lower Mainland attended.

PCIGR research featured in International Innovation

The August 2012 issue “Frontier of the Future” provides an insight into the most promising research being conducted in North America today, and includes a 4-page feature on the groundbreaking geochemical studies being carried out at the PCIGR.

View the full issue here:


Launch of the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network (MAGNET)

In June 2012, the funding of the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network, an industrial stream NSERC CREATE program to train students and young scientists in applied geochemistry, was formally announced. MAGNET integrates state-of-the-art analytical laboratories, leading geochemistry researchers and industry partners across Canada to address challenges in analytical, environmental and exploration geochemistry.

UBC press release: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/06/26/nserc-awards-ubc-4-9-million-to-train-young-researchers/


PCIGR Partners with Nu Instruments

PCIGR has developed a major collaboration with Nu instruments Ltd. (UK), a market-leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance mass spectrometers. In January 2012, PCIGR’s newly completed CFI facility was named “nUBC” to commemorate the partnership. The laboratories will house 4 Nu Instruments mass spectrometers and become an important testing facility and research & development centre.


New PCIGR-CFI Facility Completed

PCIGR’s new custom-built 2200 sq. ft. facility was completed in September 2011, at a total cost of ~$7.5 million, after 8 months of construction and almost 3 years of planning. This unique geochemical facility will house 6 new state-of-the-art instruments, allowing for new analytical developments, innovative research, and integration with teaching and outreach.

Construction updates/photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/115019112679720436601/albums/5615201479644525393?banner=pwa


Interviews of 2011 Geochemical Fellow Medallists

at Goldschmidt 2011

While at the Goldschmidt Conference 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic, interviews were conducted with some of the Geochemical Fellow Medallists. One of the Medallists is our own Dominique Weis who was selected as a 2011 Geochemical Fellow by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry. This honorary title is bestowed upon outstanding scientists who have, over some years, made a major contribution to the field of geochemistry.

click here for the interviews video:

http://www.eag.eu.com/about/video-interviews/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWC_0B6onhk&feature=player_embedded


Visit of Belgian Delegation

On June 1, 2011 the PCIGR received the visit of an official delegation from French speaking universities lead by the Minister of Higher Education and Economy, Jean-Claude Marcourt, the Ambassador of Belgium in Canada, Bruno van der Pluijm, the provost of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Pr. Didier Viviers, the first vice-provost of the Université de Liège, Pr. Albert Corhay, the provost of the Université de Louvain, Pr. Bruno Delvaux, as well as representatives responsible for research administration, industry interface, and international relations.

The visit was prefaced by a 15 minute presentation by Dominique Weis about the PCIGR and the funding opportunities in Canada.  After the presentation, three groups were formed so that visits of the clean labs and instrument labs could be organized.  An overview and brief look at the new CFI space was also arranged.

D. Weis – Daly Lecturer for 2010, Fall AGU

Webcast of Daly lecture Dec 16 2010:




New Instrumentation for PCIGR

The PCIGR proposal led by D. Weis was approved for full-funding from both the Leading Edge Fund (LEF) of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in 2009 and the BC-KDF this year. With the in-kind contributions, PCIGR will receive a total investment of ~$7.5 million to expand and update its geochemical analytical equipment. The

centrepiece of the new proposal is a Nu 1700, a large geometry high-resolution multi-collector plasma mass spectrometer, in addition to other cutting-edge instruments.

A research and development (R&D) project is also being developed with Nu Instruments Ltd. to establish a unique geochemical facility in North America that will allow for new analytical developments and integration with teaching and outreach into EOS and the ESSB. This is all exceptionally good news that will push EOS further to the forefront of research in geochemistry worldwide with applications to the earth and environmental sciences.

EGU 2009, Vienna:

TS9.2: Plate tectonics in the Indian Ocean: a tribute to Roland Schlich

J. Dyment, M. Schaming and D. Weis

AGU Fall Meeting, 2008, San Francisco:

T51b & T53G: Research Advances on the Geologic, Tectonic, and Geochemical Evolution of the Indian Ocean Seafloor and its Margins.

W.V. Sager, F.A. Frey, M. Pringle and D. Weis

Goldschmidt 2008 Conference: July 13 – 18, 2008 (UBC, Vancouver)

AGU Fall Meeting, 2007, San Francisco:

Changing Views on the Earth’s Mantle

D.Weis, W.M. White, R.D. van der Hilst

Visit of the Crown Prince at PCIGR: March 13, 2008

Signature of a MoU with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre

Visit of the ULB delegation to UBC:

Official collaboration, research and student exchange: May 14 2004. Warm welcome


Relocation of the PCIGR labs to the EOS main building, 2004

Official opening of UBC’s PCIGR and dedication of the lab to Dr. R. Armstrong – Dec 12, 2002.


Installation of the PCIGR instruments at UBC, the Triton (Finnigan) at UBC: Jan-June 2002.

Special sessions at meetings, selection:

AGU Fall Meeting, 2007, San Francisco:

V43F: Changing Views on the Earth’s Mantle

D. Weis, R. Van der Hilst and W.M. White

Goldschmidt 2007, Cologne, Germany:

S31: Hotspots and LIPs: Plumes or shallow-mantle sources

D. Weis & C. Farnetani

The origin of hotspots and large igneous processes appears to be as controversial as ever. Points of disagreement extend beyond the current plume debate to questions of the petrological nature of the source rocks (peridotite, eclogite, pyroxenite, and their hybrids), the source of geochemical enrichment (metasomatism, recycling of crust), and the “fixity” of hotspots. This symposium will bring together geochemists, petrologists and geophysicists to debate the issues.

AGU Spring Meeting: Washington DC: May 30 ­ June 3, 2000:

Special session V02: Origin and Evolution of a Large Oceanic Plateau, the Kerguelen Plateau, and Broken Ridge: Geological, Geochemical and Geophysical Results From the 1998/99 ODP Leg 183 and Related Research Projects (VGP, Joint with GS, T).

Arrival of the Nu-Instruments in the DSTE.

The departement together with the Department of Geology of the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren has acquired a multi-collector ICP-MS, Nu-Instruments through a combination of FRFC, ARC and Lotto funding. The instrument was delivered early February and was producing numbers very soon after. It is now being used routinely for Hf, Pb and Si analyses. The instrument was carried up the stairway – see pictures.