Cassandra Elphinstone

2022 Weston Family Awards in Northern Research recipient

Picture of Cassandra Elphinstone

PhD candidate
The University of British Columbia

Cassandra’s first trip to the Artic in 2011 was life-changing—and it proved not to be her last. The PhD candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Botany is now studying tundra plant genomics at four International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) sites where international researchers examine the effects of climate change on the Arctic’s ecosystem.

Specifically, Cassandra is studying the genomes of white mountain avens plants from artificially warmed and controlled plots. She aims to determine if artificial warming consistently affects DNA sequence, methylation or expression patterns. Using seeds from the same plants to generate a second generation, she is investigating if these environmentally induced differences can be inherited.

She enjoys hiking, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and working on alpine huts and trails. A member and past president of the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club, Cassandra enjoys teaching backcountry skiing and introducing students to glacier travel and basic mountaineering. She is also the student representative
for ITEX and is helping set up a new alpine research site in British Columbia to compare the effects of warming on arctic versus alpine plants.

Learn more about the Weston Family Awards in Northern Research.

Universities Canada