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
2011 Dr. Brown studied the influence of the mountain pine beetle on the carbon, water, and energy balances of lodgepole pine stands. He showed these stands are recovering relatively quickly due to increased photosynthetic capacity of surviving trees and understory vegetation. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2011 Dr. Foroud studied a fungal disease of wheat known as Fusarium Head Blight. She contributed to the understanding of mechanisms of disease resistance by oserving that different molecular mechanisms of resistance are conferred in different genetic backgrounds. This knowledge will help breeders to select better resistance for wheat farmers. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2010 Dr. Hammond's research engaged lay women and dietitians in a collaborative participatory process to develop nutrition education resources. The research identified multiple benefits and specific challenges in applying community-based participatory processes to professional dietetic practice-based activities. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2010 Dr. Machial investigated the comparative toxicity of selected plant essential oils to four agricultural insect pests, and assessed the effects of the most toxic oil, patchouli oil, on the detoxicative abilities of these insects. Development of reduced risk plant essential oil-based pesticides is warranted despite technical and practical challenges. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2010 Dr. Moreau explored manipulation of insect behaviour as an alternative to pesticides for management of greenhouse whiteflies on sweet pepper crops. She found that whiteflies can be diverted away from the crop using combinations of traps and reduced risk sprays. Her work provides greenhouse growers with whitefly management options that have lower environmental impacts and greater compatibility with biological control programs. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2010 Using various chemical and cell-based methods, Dr. Samaranayaka studied the potential of fish protein-derived peptides to act as antioxidative agents and their structure activity relationships. Findings from this work will aid development of functional foods that target reducing oxidative stress and various free radical-induced diseases in the human body. Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)
2010 Dr. Bedford explored whether negative eating/body attitudes are associated with detrimental health outcomes in young women. She examined relationships between eating/body attitudes, the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure, menstrual cycle disturbances and bone density over two years. She also validated a method for long-term monitoring of menstrual cycle characteristics. Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)
2010 Dr. Padmavathiamma developed a cost effective and environmentally friendly technology to limit the dispersal of metal contaminants from highway traffic in the soil to the surrounding natural environment. The best management practices (BMP) developed from the study have direct applicability to the environment of BC as a risk management activity, reducing long-term associated risks. Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science (PhD)
2010 Dr. Nie investigated protein-protein interactions of the major regulatory proteins, IE0 and IE1, of the baculovirus AcMNPV. She identified a domain required for binding viral proteins that were shown to play a critical role in the production of virus particles by enabling the rapid start of viral gene expression. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
2009 Dr. Hui showed that specific regions of a plant virus coat protein are essential for virus transmission to its host. The protein was also found to be localized at specific sites within plant cells, suggesting a possible role in virus particle disassembly. These findings will aid in the development of new strategies for plant virus disease control. Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)

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