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
2018 Studies have shown that chlorogenic acid (or CGA) found in plants may provide health benefits. Dr. Liang studied the effect of CGA isomers present in coffee. She discovered that these isomers mitigated oxidative stress and inflammation. Her findings are important for understanding the potential influence of CGA isomers on human intestinal health. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2018 Dr. Wiedeman focused on the essential dietary nutrient choline. She examined the association between choline intake and plasma levels at different stages of the life cycle. Her findings contribute to our knowledge about human choline nutrition and suggest that current dietary recommendations may be overestimated for infants. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2018 Dr. Feng showed how a leading foodborne pathogen called Campylobacter jejuni responds to environmental stress and survives in particular states. This study demonstrates the potential risk of fragile microorganism in the environment and food system. His work will contribute to food security. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2017 Dr. Biswas studied the molecular mechanisms by which virus particles escape infected cells. Utilizing insect viruses, he discovered novel methods by which virus particles interact with host proteins to enable the rapid escape from infected cells. This information is critical for understanding virus pathology and disease spread. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2017 Dr. Phasuk studied labor migration in Thailand. Her research found that while wages played a key role, raising the price of agricultural products to compensate for increased wages lured a surplus of workers that eventually reduced farm worker's wage rates. This research enriches our understanding of migration and informs labor market policy. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2017 Dr. Robbins examined attitudes towards contentious animal welfare issues. He also experimentally explored how ordinary people understand the concept of animal welfare. His research highlights the vital role social science and philosophy play in the debate about farm animal welfare. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2017 Dr. Kearney used field trials and remote sensing to evaluate environmental impacts of agriculture in El Salvador. He demonstrated that agroforestry provides multiple benefits at the field scale and stores large amounts of carbon across landscapes. He hopes his work will contribute to programs that reward farmers for their stewardship of the land. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2017 Dr. Alam studied the infection process of plant viruses. She examined and clarified the mechanism underlying two essential aspects of the viral infection cycle - virion assembly and disassembly. Her work furthers our understanding of how plant viruses establish infection, how new viruses form, and virus disease control. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2017 Dr. Ma investigated eco-physiology of effects of red/far-red light ratio on tomato and common weeds. Her research improves our understanding of how red/far-red ratio modifies plant growth, which affects plant-plant interactions. This understanding will help in management of agro-ecosystems to minimize crop losses due to weeds. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
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)

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