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
2017 Dr. Hergesheimer examined small-scale farmer participation in international fair trade banana and mango supply chains in Haiti and Ecuador. His work explores practical mergers between market-based approaches, such as fair trade, and more radical approaches such as food sovereignty. His work informs policy for more equitable, sustainable and participatory international trading arrangements. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2017 Dr. Pankowska researched the role of terroir and VQA certification in pricing and sales of BC made wines. Her results show that terroir has limited importance in wine pricing. She also proved that VQA certification positively influences the volume of wine sales, but it doesn't impact wine pricing. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2017 Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for healthy growth and brain development, especially during pregnancy and infancy. Dr. Schroder developed a novel method for convenient and minimally invasive diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. This method has been clinically translated and used in newborns here in Vancouver as well as in field studies in Indonesia. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2017 Dr. Karakochuk examined whether iron deficiency was a major cause of anemia among women of reproductive age in Cambodia. This research is essential for the design and implementation of effective anemia reduction strategies. Her findings helped to reshape the current policy for iron supplementation among women of reproductive age in Cambodia. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2017 Dr. Lenhardt studied the factors involved in smallholder farmers' ability to bargain prices for their goods. She developed an interdisciplinary approach to explain the combined economic and social factors using original survey data from rubber farmers in Indonesia. Her research advances our understanding of social networks in economic decision-making. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2016 Dr. Janmohamed's research involved examining the nutritional effects of a prenatal dietary supplement among women in rural Cambodia. The product she investigated is commonly used in global food aid programs by the United Nations. Her study is the first to evaluate the product's ability to improve health outcomes for mothers and their newborns. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2016 Dr. Whitfield conducted her research in rural Cambodia, where infantile beriberi, a fatal disease in breastfed babies, is common. She showed that mothers consuming fish sauce with added vitamin B1 produced breast milk with higher B1 content, improving the status of their babies. This fish sauce could save babies lives throughout Southeast Asia. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2015 Dr. Mulder studied the role of dietary fats during early brain development. She identified that some women in Vancouver had omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, and that their babies were more likely to have slower development. Although the long-term effects are unclear, her work improves our understanding of nutritional needs in the developing brain. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2015 Dr. Lacroix examined the anti-diabetes properties of dietary proteins. She showed that dairy proteins are sources of peptides, able to inhibit DPP-IV, an enzyme involved in blood glucose regulation. Findings from her work suggest the potential of food proteins to complement existing treatments with pharmaceutical drugs, for managing type 2 diabetes. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2015 Dr. Tak studied plant-based insecticides, especially plant essential oils. He found that a synergy between the essential oil components was produced by increased penetration of the compounds through the insect's skin, which is called a cuticle layer. These studies may guide us to develop more efficient botanical insecticides for pest control. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)

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