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
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 welfare, dairy cow, acoustic communication and vocal behavior in wild birds and mammals how vocal and other behaviors can provide us with information about an animal
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 Develop novel Point-of-Care tools for food safety monitoring; Design smart nano-enabled agrichemicals for precision agriculture; Create sustainable and multifunctional packaging materials to improve food safety and quality

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Graduate Student Stories

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.

 

Publication: Clinical Epigenetics
UBC Author(s): Katja Yvonne Lamers (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 18687075
Volume: 14
Publication Date: December 2022

View Publication
Publication: PLoS ONE
UBC Author(s): Andrew Riseman (Applied Biology / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
Volume: 17
Publication Date: November 2022

View Publication
Publication: Journal of Dairy Science
UBC Author(s): Daniel Weary (Applied Biology / Faculty of Land and Food Systems), Marina von Keyserlingk (Applied Biology / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 00220302
Volume: 105
Page Range: 9119-9136
Publication Date: November 2022

View Publication
Publication: Preventive Medicine
UBC Author(s): Tamara Cohen (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 00917435
Volume: 164
Publication Date: November 2022

View Publication
Publication: Journal of Nutrition
UBC Author(s): Katja Yvonne Lamers (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 00223166
Volume: 152
Page Range: 2317-2318
Publication Date: 1 November 2022

View Publication
Publication: Coatings
UBC Author(s): Anubhav Pratap-Singh (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
Volume: 12
Publication Date: November 2022

View Publication
Publication: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
UBC Author(s): David Kitts (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 00218561
Volume: 70
Page Range: 13637-13650
Publication Date: 26 October 2022

View Publication
Publication: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
UBC Author(s): Crystal Dawn Karakochuk (Food, Nutrition & Health / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
ISSN: 14651858
Volume: 2022
Publication Date: 18 October 2022

View Publication
Publication: Frontiers in Agronomy
UBC Author(s): Andrew Riseman (Applied Biology / Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
Volume: 4
Publication Date: 12 October 2022

View Publication

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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
2021 Dr. Lecorps investigated the effects of some common stressful and painful procedures on dairy cattle welfare. He found that some procedures likely induce negative mood and that some personality traits (e.g. pessimism) may render calves more vulnerable to stressors. His work shows that more research is needed to improve the welfare of dairy cattle. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Mills studied farmer decision-making and the role of their advisors to improve the welfare of dairy cows. The goal of this work is to help farmers better manage their businesses and improve the lives of the animals under their care. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Mujica Coopman investigated the relationship of combined B vitamin and related nutrients with offspring birth size and fetal growth programming. Her findings suggest that vitamin B12 characterized maternal B vitamin and nutrient-related patterns and may play a key role in fetal growth and development. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2020 Dr. Grenz showed how reclaiming an Indigenous Ecology redefines how we approach land and water healing. She has created a values-based decision-making tool that will help lead us toward ecological reconciliation. Her work provides a path forward for scientists to unleash the potential of an Indigenous worldview to illuminate new paths of inquiry. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2020 Dr. Padda explored the role of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in supporting the regeneration of lodgepole pine trees at abandoned gravel mining pits. Her research showed that pine trees associate with these beneficial bacteria as a survival strategy to thrive on such degraded sites, offering the potential to be used as a sustainable reclamation tool. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Puri studied plant-beneficial bacteria living inside the tissues of boreal forest trees growing on disturbed, nutrient-poor soils. His work indicated that these bacteria can enhance tree growth via nutrient acquisition, plant hormone modulation and pathogen regulation, thereby suggesting their use as biofertilizers for boreal forest trees. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Dupuis used computer simulations to better understand how an antimicrobial potato protein interacts with model cell membranes, and the role of its disulfide bonds. His research highlighted regions of the protein most likely to mediate membrane interactions, and that the disulfide bonds may aid in membrane targeting specificity. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
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)

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