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
2015 Dr. Zobel's work focused on forced cessation of lactation in dairy cows and goats. This routine practice can increase illness and other welfare concerns. She provided the first evidence that stopping milking causes frustration in cows. Her novel goat work identified behavioral indicators that may help farmers identify animals at risk of becoming ill. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2014 Dr. Kovacevic studied Listeria mono-cyto-gen-es, a foodborne bacterium that causes disease in humans. She found some bacteria are more likely to cause disease, and they possess genetic elements that improve their survival in the food chain. This research highlights the need for better control and detection of high-risk Listeria strains. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2014 Dr. Chapagain compared two food production systems: growing one crop alone versus growing multiple crops together. He demonstrated that together, multiple crops improve land and ecosystem productivity and water use efficiency. These studies will assist farmers in transitioning from chemical intensive production to eco-friendly production systems. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2014 Dr. Baker examined how individual animals respond to stressors of conservation management programs. Her research shows that an animal's personality affects its ability to cope with stress and its ultimate survival. Her work can help increase survival and improve the success of endangered species recovery programs. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
2014 Dr. Wiseman studied the use of food product claims by consumers and food manufacturers. The results from her study help to explain how a strategic use of product claims on processed food product by food manufacturers cause markets to fail. Her research contributes to our understanding of food claims as a communication and public health tool. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2014 Dr. Mundel studied two provincial health programs that intersect with BC's food movement. She demonstrated different strengths and limitations in the collaboration between provincial health institutions and grassroots actors in service of this movement's social, health and ecological goals. She also suggested ways to improve such collaboration. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2014 Dr. Sipos investigated food system study at the intersection of sustainability education and community-based experiential learning. She found community-based experiential learning is effective in large food system courses that integrate diverse knowledge and experiences. This study emphasizes that universities and associated communities need each other. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2013 Dr. Magzul examined and compared the adaptation to climate change by two Indigenous communities: the Blood Tribe (Blackfoot) in Canada and Patzun (Maya) in Guatemala. This research shows that traditional livelihoods and economic independence lead to stronger social support systems, which in turn lead to greater adaptability and adaptive capacity. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
2013 Dr. Saenz-Garza developed a Vacuum Microwave technique for protecting natural antimicrobials that are capable of preventing the growth of destructive microorganisms in food. She subsequently tested controlled release of the encapsulated antimicrobial for the preservation of fresh apple slices, as a model for increasing the shelf life of fresh cut fruit. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2013 Dr. Rideout asked why some people resist the highly processed and unhealthy food products that are ubiquitous in western society. She found that those people are motivated by a deep sense that food is sacred. She argues that fostering recognition of food's intrinsic value through meaningful connections could lead to a healthier food system overall. Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)

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