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
2019 Dr. Stojkov studied the management of vulnerable dairy cows. His findings improve our understanding of how dairy cows are managed once they leave the farm. This will help to guide future research, policy and development of better industry practices. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Daros studied some of the most common diseases of milk producing cows. Aiming to improve dairy cow's welfare he has revealed some of the factors associated with disease onset that will help guide future disease prevention protocols. Such protocols include better hoof care and nutritional management for indoor and outdoor housed cows. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2019 Dr. MacRae examined facial expression, vocalizations and changes in eye temperature as potential indicators of pain in harbour seals. This work represents some of the first research on pain and pain indicators of the harbour seal. Her research contributes to the welfare of seals by improving understanding of their pain responses. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Hu developed several novel analytical techniques to rapidly and accurately determine food adulteration. The methods developed in her studies can be applied by governmental laboratories and the food industry to better guarantee the authenticity of food products and protect consumers from economic loss and potential health risks. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2018 Dr. Levay explored the implementation of British Columbia's school food and beverage sales policy. This research provides insight into the complexity of implementing food systems-related public health policy. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2018 Drawing from national data, Dr. Tugault-Lafle characterised the determinants of diet quality among Canadian children on school days and how diet quality has changed from 2004 to 2015. These findings provide evidence to inform policy debates about the potential roles schools could play to influence the diet of Canadian children. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2018 Soils play a crucial, but often under-estimated, role in the water cycle. Dr. Roa-García analyzed the properties of common soils in the Colombian Andes, and found that nano-particle size minerals increase the ability of these soils to hold and release water. This knowledge informs management practices to optimize water for food and communities. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2018 Dr. Sumner demonstrated that promoting cooperation among dairy farmers and veterinarians can identify shared goals and improve communication across their diverse perspectives in improving calf welfare. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Hingston identified genetic elements associated with strains of the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes that possess enhanced tolerances to food-related stresses. This research has improved our understanding of stress tolerance in Listeria monocytogenes and may be used to assess the risks associated with strains found in foods. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2018 How does forest management affect the carbon and water balances of mountain pine beetle-attacked lodgepole pine stands in BC? Using measurements and modifying a model, Dr. Meyer found that not harvesting stands resulted in a positive carbon balance with relatively quick recovery and plateauing productivity during the second decade following attack. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)

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