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.

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
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)
2019 Dr. Neave investigated how dairy calves and dairy goats cope with common stressful feeding practices on commercial farms. She found that personality traits impact feeding behaviour, feed intake and growth. Her work proposes alternative feeding practices that improve animal welfare by attending to individual needs and promoting natural behaviour. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Heckelman evaluated different agricultural development approaches underway in the Philippine rice sector and examined the resilience outcomes of conventional and organic rice systems in the country. This research illuminates the necessary conditions and factors for building farmer capacities to enhance climate resilience. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2019 Dr. Eriksson studied how standing behaviour around calving relates to hoof lesions in dairy cows. She found that both long daily standing time, and long standing bouts were related to a higher risk of these lesions. This knowledge will help farmers to evaluate what management practices can affect the claw health of their animals. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)

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