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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 has sites at both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses, with modern and fully equipped laboratories. 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 areas include grapes, vineyards, and soils; wine and fermentation; winery performance and sustainability; and wine territory competitiveness.


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 ground-breaking 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
Noack, Frederik Interaction of economic development and the environment
Pratap-Singh, Anubhav Environment and natural resources economics; Food sciences (including food engineering); Natural resource management; Agri-food Transformation Products; cold plasma; food engineering; food processing; Functional Foods; heat transfer; high pressure; mass transfer; novel non-thermal processing; Nutriceuticals and Functional Foods; pasteurization; pulsed light; sterilization
Proctor, Jonathan Environment
Protopopova, Alexandra Other biological sciences; Social structures; 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
Riseman, Andrew plant breeding; plant genetics; horticulture; roots; stress physiology, Plant breeding, intercrop interactions, nutrient use efficiency, root physiology, biotic/abtioic stressor
Sargent, Risa Plant biology; Biological control; community ecology; evolutionary ecology; Floral trait evolution; Flowering plants; Herbivory; Pollinator-mediated interactions
Smukler, Sean Natural sciences; Agricultural ecology; Soil health; Climate change adaptation and mitigation; Ecosystem services
Stefanska, Barbara Nutrition and Cancer; Breast Cancer; Hepatic Diseases; Gene Regulation and Expression; Epigenetics, Cancer epigenetics, Nutritional epigenomics
Vercammen, James Market Analysis; Marketing and Distribution; R&D and Innovation; Sustainable Development; Supply and Demand Dynamics; food prices; agri-environmental contracts; agri-risk and insurance; commodity futures markets
von Keyserlingk, Marina animal welfare,  ethics of animal use,  farm animals, dairy cattle welfare, Animal Welfare Behavior, housing and management and how these contribute to animal health and welfare of dairy cattle
Wang Kazun, Siyun Food sciences (including food engineering); Agri-food Transformation Products; Microbiology; Bioactive Molecules; Food microbiology; Food safety
Weary, Daniel Animal and dairy sciences; Animal welfare; Applied animal behaviour; Dairy cattle; Laboratory animals
Wittman, Hannah Sociology and related studies; Farming systems research; food sovereignty; Sustainable agriculture; socio-ecological systems; Agroecology
Xu, Zhaoming Nutrients, Zinc, growth, and growth regulation, Regulatory role of zinc in apoptosis, Zinc and breast cancer
Yada, Rickey Enzymes (including kinetics and mechanisms, and biocatalyst); Other biological sciences; Food science; Food protein chemistry; Structure-function relationships; Enzymes; aspartic proteases
Yang, Tianxi Food sciences (including food engineering); Analytical chemistry; Nano-technology; Chemical engineering; Develop novel Point-of-Care tools for food safety monitoring; Design smart nanomaterials for sustainable farming and precision agriculture; Create sustainable and multifunctional packaging materials to improve food safety and quality
Zulyniak, Michael Human nutrition and metabolism; Population health interventions; Systems biology; Nutritional epidemiology; Epidemiology (except nutritional and veterinary epidemiology); metabolic diseases; Pregnancy; gestational diabetes; type-2 diabetes; Metabolism; Genetics; health disparity; Nutrition; lifestyle; precision nutrition


Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.


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
2023 Dr. Ravani Cecato studied topics in environmental economics. Her research showed that information dissemination contributes to enforcing environmental regulations. She also showed that migration is an important adaptation strategy to climate change. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2023 Dr. Sahar showed how feeding and aggressive behvaiours during the pre-calving period are associated with disease during the post-calving period in diary cattle. Using such behaviours, Dr. Sahar built predictive models that successfully identify cows at high risk of disease before they are sick. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Cochrane studied natural vs synthetic folate supplementation during pregnancy. Her results showed that maternal folate status can be maintained by using either of the two supplements, but that human milk composition is affected. These findings will inform optimal folate supplementation practices during pregnancy for healthy starts in life. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2023 Dr. Solis-Becerra examined how indigenous cuisine can serve as an effective tool to achieve local Food sovereignty while preserving regional biocultural diversity. Both are key aspects in the development of sustainable food systems and food security strategies aligned with culturally respectful initiatives. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2023 Dr. Ratuski studied approaches to environmental enrichment for mice and rats living in laboratories. She tested the effects of various enrichment strategies on rodent behaviour and emotional states. Her work demonstrates how species-appropriate changes to conventional laboratory housing can promote natural behaviour and improve rodent welfare. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Brenner developed and characterized a bacteriophage treatment that can be safely ingested by chickens or sprayed directly onto their meat to target and kill dangerous Salmonella bacteria. He intends to connect this antimicrobial innovation to the poultry sector to benefit Canadian poultry producers, processors, and consumers. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2023 Dr. Guo demonstrated the flexibility and capability of using buccal tablets with nanotechnology to deliver insulin with fast onset of action as injection which can be administrated more conveniently and had a long duration of blood glucose reduction effect. His research provided a promising way to deliver insulin orally. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2023 Dr. Dring studied how municipal governance of agricultural systems in Southwestern British Columbia, Canada contributes to social justice. Through exploration of the politics of conflict and dissent over land use, Dr. Dring argues for the importance of municipal roles in planning just food futures. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2023 Dr. Leepile evaluated the prevalence of household insecurity, undernutrition, and anemia among the Indigenous San people in rural Botswana. She also documented the communities' lived experiences, perceptions, and recommendations. Her findings will inform and guide targeted and culturally responsive nutrition and health policies for the San people. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2022 Dr. Brunt studied the social licence to use animals for scientific purposes and the role of institutional transparency in this process. He identified several opportunities for institutions using animals to engage in activities to increase institutional openness with the public and help renegotiate the social licence to use animals in society. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)