All living things depend on the sustainability of the earth’s resources, and understanding how to protect and better manage those limited resources is crucial to our survival. Critical environmental issues like water pollution, food shortages and rising temperatures could have a catastrophic effect on our ability to meet basic human needs in the near future. Experts in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems are working on solutions to many of these challenges.

Our researchers are studying everything from climate change and storm water management to the relationship between food, nutrition, diet and health. The research discoveries being made here have the potential to reach across borders for world-wide applications.

We are also sharing what we’ve learned with the next generation of scientists - our students. They come to us with a strong sense of global responsibility, passionate about creating positive and lasting change on issues of importance. We believe that by providing them with the opportunity to learn outside the traditional classroom - taking part in a community-based experiential learning project or studying overseas - we can enhance their education and help them develop to their full potential.



Research Facilities

The Faculty of Land and Food Systems offers unique hands-on learning sites for graduate students, in addition to traditional labs where food science, food processing, and nutrition and health research take place.

UBC Farm is 24-hectare site on UBC Vancouver campus, which is a living laboratory that contains agricultural, forest, and transitional landscape areas for interdisciplinary field research. The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) located at UBC Farm is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future.

The Dairy Education and Research Centre, located a 2-hour drive from UBC Vancouver campus, is an internationally recognized dairy cattle research centre supporting the development and adaptation of new technologies for the dairy industry in British Columbia and beyond. The Centre has a large research herd that can provide sufficient numbers of experimental animals at a given physiological stage to meet most research requirements. These features support a vibrant critical mass of students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, visiting scientists, and faculty. A 10,800 square-foot student residence building opened in September 2015, which allows students and researchers to live on-site at the Agassiz, B.C. research station, and more closely monitor their research projects in dairy cattle welfare, animal reproduction, and resource recovery. 

The Wine Research Centre is located at UBC Vancouver campus and it has a modern and fully equipped mass spectrometry laboratory. Researchers in the Wine Research Centre also have access to the outstanding research facilities in the Michael Smith Laboratories (MSL) which is conveniently located adjacent to the Centre. The MSL has established itself as a force in the global biotechnology research community.

Research Highlights

In the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, our researchers are focused on finding viable solutions to pressing global crises and are known worldwide for their innovation and leadership in areas such as food science, dairy reproduction and animal welfare, sustainable agriculture, and community health and nutrition.

Our researchers have attracted millions of dollars in research funding from sources including Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Michael Smith Scholar, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Our experts are conducting groundbreaking research in many areas including:

  • animal biology, health, and welfare;
  • ecofriendly alternatives in pest management;
  • food technology, genomics, and safety;
  • food processing and food waste management;
  • plant and soil health;
  • watershed management;
  • food security and sovereignty;
  • community health and nutrition;
  • agricultural land use and impact.

Research Supervisors in Faculty

Name Research Interests
Barichello, Richard Capitlization of Government program benefits , quota systems and markets, agricultural policy, trade,industrial and agricultural pocliy reform in South East Asian Countries, economics of raw material export
Black, Jennifer Community Health / Public Health, Nutrition, Public health, food environments, social determinants of health, food banks, school food environments
Black, Thomas Andrew Biometeorology, Soil physics, Microclimate modification
Brar, Gurcharn Cereal pathology (wheat and barley in particular), Genetics of host-pathogen interactions - disease resistance in crop plants, Resistance breeding, Plant imaging, Fungal biology, Population genetics and genomics, Functional pathogenomics
Carrillo, Juli Plant-insect interactions, Agroecology, Invasive species, Evolution, Ecology, Community Ecology, Environmental Change, Plant Evolution, Population Ecology
Castellarin, Simone viticulture and grapevine physiology; physiological and molecular aspects that underlay fruit ripening and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and how they are modulated by the environment and viticultural practices; molecular viticulture
Cerri, Ronaldo Animal Reproduction, Animal Production, Agricultural Machinery and Technology, Endocrine Regulation, Biotechnology and Activity monitors, Dairy cattle reproduction, Endometrium-conceptus cross communication, Production medicine in dairy cattle, Estrous cycle physiology in cattle, Inflammation and stress
Cohen, Tamara understanding the interplay between different lifestyle behaviours, how eating behaviours relate to weight management, Obesity
Dee, Derek Proteins, Enzymes and Proteins, Agri-food Transformation Products, Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Nanomaterials, Nutriceuticals and Functional Foods, Protein Folding, protein aggregation, Biophysics, food chemistry, protein engineering, funtional amyloid, protein nanofibrils, psychrophilic enzymes, aspartic proteases, prions, food proteins, meat analogues
Farrell, Anthony Angiogenesis
Fraser, David Welfare of animals on farms, animal ethics, animal behaviour, Animal welfare, innovations in animal housing and management, practical and cultural dimensions of applying ethics to animal issues
Gulati, Sumeet Economics of Urban Transportation, Effectiveness of Carbon Taxes, Effectiveness of Environmental Policy, Economics of Human Wildlife Conflict, Political Economy of Environmental and Trade Policy, International Trade and its Effect on the Environment
Jessri, Mahsa Community Health / Public Health, Epidemiology, Nutrition, Health Policies, Lifestyle Determinants and Health, Health Promotion, Health Prevention, Statistics and Probabilities, Preventive medicine, Nutritional Epidemiology, Public and Population Health, clinical epidemiology, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, predictive analytics, Chronic Disease Prevention, Dietary Pattern Modeling, Dietetics, Dietary Assessment, Simulation
Jovel, Eduardo Ethnobotany, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health
Karakochuk, Crystal Dawn Nutrition, Global Health and Emerging Diseases, Hematology, Maternal and child nutrition, Micronutrients (namely iron, folic acid, and zinc), Biochemical markers of iron status, Determinants and causes of anemia, Inherited blood disorders (sickle cell, thalassemia, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency), International nutrition, Clinical dietetics, Risk-benefit of micronutrient supplementation
Kitts, David Food chemistry and toxicology, cellular and molecular mechanism, oncology
Krzic, Maja Agriculture, Soil science, Soil science education, Integration of multimedia and soil science
Lamers, Yvonne Nutrition, Nutrients, Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Breast Feeding and Infant Nutrition, Nutritional Biochemistry, Micronutrients, Vitamins, Nutritional Biomarker, Pregnancy, Periconceptional folic acid supplementation, Prenatal Supplements, Newborn Screening, Toddler Nutrition, Clinical Chemistry, Maternal and child health
Lu, Xiaonan Sensors and Devices, Microbiology, Combinatorial Chemistry, Agriculture, Food safety, Food microbiology, Analytical Chemistry, Molecular microbiology, Nanotechnology, Advanced material, Microfluidic "lab-on-a-chip", Sensor, Gut microbiome, Food microbiome
McAusland, Carol Interactions between globalization and public good provision, impacts of trade liberalization on environmental politics, potential use of trade policy to stem damages from exotic species introductions and biological invasions Environmental impacts of international trade, implications of skilled labor migration for the global provision of public goods
Measday, Vivien Chromosome segregation in the budding yeast using molecular biology and genomic tools
Noack, Frederik Interaction of economic development and the environment
Pratap Singh, Anubhav Agri-food Transformation Products, Nutriceuticals and Functional Foods, food processing, novel non-thermal processing, Functional Foods, pulsed light, high pressure, cold plasma, pasteurization, sterilization, heat transfer, mass transfer, food engineering
Protopopova, Alexandra Animal, Community Health / Public Health, rabbit, dog, cat, animal shelter, Animal behaviour, Animal welfare, community initiatives, climate change and pet ownership, cultural differences in human-companion animal relationships, free-ranging dogs, one health
Riseman, Andrew plant breeding; plant genetics; horticulture; roots; stress physiology, Plant breeding, intercrop interactions, nutrient use efficiency, root physiology, biotic/abtioic stressor


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2020 Dr. Burnett studied the role of automated activity monitors in the reproductive management of dairy cows. Her findings show the correlation between increased estrous expression and improved fertility. This research demonstrates the importance of estrous expression in breeding decisions and provides alternatives for reducing hormonal interventions. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Fong worked on understanding Salmonella, a foodborne pathogen, and bacteriophages, the viruses that predate these bacteria. She identified several bacteriophages with high efficacy in controlling Salmonella that would be of high value to the food industry. Her research sheds insight into mitigation of this human pathogen in the food chain. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Stephens studied the climate trends, carbon, and water use of two forests in central Canada for the past two decades. This study helps to quantify the carbon uptake potential of these forests in the future under further climate change. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Jones studied how various plastic films impact soil and crop micro-climate when they are used as soil mulch covers or on greenhouses. Using data that he collected through field experiments, he developed models to help crop producers around the world make informed decisions when they use plastic films to extend a crop's growing season. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Modi investigated the effects of stumping and tree species composition on the soil microbial communities in the interior cedar-hemlock zone of British Columbia. She observed that stumping can have positive impacts on soil microbial communities when performed along with planting mixtures of tree species such as Douglas-fir with paper birch. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Beetch studied how natural compounds derived from diet, namely a class of polyphenols found in grapes and blueberries, can reverse aberrant DNA methylation patterns that underlie cancer. Her findings show that these compounds exert anti-cancer effects through epigenetic gene regulation, which can be used in cancer prevention and therapy. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2020 Dr. Amendola found that inhalation of CO2, commonly used to kill laboratory rats, induces negative emotional states. Her research shows that rats experience anxiety at low CO2 concentrations, and that the onset of these feelings varies between individuals. Her results indicate that CO2 compromises rat welfare even for the least sensitive of rats. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Hakeem developed innovative strategies for replacing antibiotics in agri-foods systems. He identified how synergistic combinations work collectively against Campylobacter jejuni. He also developed a nanoscale packaging system to inactivate this pathogenic bacterium in poultry meats to enhance food safety and public health. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Marin studied beneficial bacteria in cherry tree roots. These bacteria promote plant growth and can potentially be used as eco-friendly pesticides in organic agriculture. She also used genomic methodologies to study the microbial biodiversity of Okanagan cherry orchard soils, information critical to understanding cherry soil-borne diseases. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Smid showed that dairy cows have a partial preference to access various outdoor areas and that outdoor space allowance influences this preference. In addition, she showed a positive influence of an outdoor space on the expression of heat behaviour of dairy cows. These results show the importance of access to the outdoors for dairy cattle. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)