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At UBC Science, outstanding scientists and students strive to unravel the principles that underlie our universe - from the subatomic to the macroscopic, from pure mathematics to biotechnology, from ecosystems to galactic systems. Through the breadth and depth of our academic endeavours and the calibre of the people who make up our community, we take pride in discovering new scientific knowledge and preparing Canada’s and the world’s next generation of scientists.

A diverse range of highly ranked programs

With access to master’s and doctoral degrees through nine departments and 350 research groups, our graduate students work with world-class faculty to explore the basic sciences, and to pursue interdisciplinary and applied research across departments and units. UBC’s research excellence in environmental science, math, physics, plant and animal science, computer science, geology and biology is consistently rated best in Canada by international and national ranking agencies.

Committed to outstanding graduate training

UBC Science houses a wide range of prestigious NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience and related industry programs: from atmospheric aerosols to high-throughput biology, from biodiversity research and ecosystems services to plant cell wall biosynthesis, from quantum science and new materials to applied geochemistry. The options for enriched graduate training in industry related fields are almost endless.

World-class research infrastructure

Our affiliated institutes and centres include UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, Biodiversity Research Centre, Life Sciences Institute, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Mineral Deposit Research Unit, and TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.

Top research talent

UBC Science boasts more than 50 Canada Research Chairs, 12 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. Our graduate students have won 15 prestigious Vanier Scholarships.

A diverse, supportive community of scholars

UBC Science is committed to excellence, collaboration and inclusion. Women account for 41 per cent of the Faculty's graduate enrollments, and the percentage of international students has increased to 50 per cent over the past decade.

To nurture an exceptional scientific learning and research environment for the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

Research Centres

Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology

Computational Sciences and Mathematics

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Genomics and Biological Sciences

Human-Computer Interaction

Life Sciences

Chemistry and Materials Science



Research Facilities

Designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines, the new Earth Sciences Building (ESB) lies at the heart of the science precinct on UBC’s Vancouver Campus. The $75 million facility is home to Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Statistics, the Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences, and the dean’s office of the Faculty of Science. ESB’s updated teaching facilities will help Canada meet the challenges of a transforming and growing resource sector. Just as importantly, the researchers and students working and learning in the new facility will offer a valuable flow of well-trained talent, new ideas, and fresh professional perspectives to industry.

Research Highlights

Receiving more than $120 million in annual research funding, UBC Science faculty members conduct top-tier research in the life, physical, earth and computational sciences. Their discoveries help build our understanding of natural laws—driving insights into sustainability, biodiversity, human health, nanoscience and new materials, probability, artificial intelligence, exoplanets and a wide range of other areas.

UBC Science boasts 50 Canada Research Chairs and 10 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. 

Graduate Degree Programs

Research Supervisors in Faculty

or browse the list of faculty members in various academic units. You may click each unit to view faculty members appointed in that unit. View the full faculty member directory for more search and filter options.
Name Academic Unit(s) Research Interests
Ryan, Katherine Department of Chemistry drug molecules in use today are organic compounds isolated from organisms such as bacteria, plants, and fungi; understand how natural products are made.
Sagan, Selena Department of Microbiology & Immunology role of RNA at the host-virus interface
Salibian-Barrera, Matias Department of Statistics S-regression estimationg, robust statistics, functional principal component analysis, bootstrap estimators, rgam, clustering algorithm
Sammis, Glenn Department of Chemistry Methods development, natural product synthesis, organic free radicals, radical fluorination
Samuels, Anne Lacey Department of Botany Plant biology; plant cell biology; plant cell walls
Satterfield, Theresa Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability Sustainable development, environmental health, First Nation & land management, social and cultural consequences of contamination
Saylor, Joel Edward Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Paleoaltimetry; Paleoclimatology; Tectonic Basin analysis; Quantitative sediment provenance analysis; Rivers; Tectonics; Sedimentary Basins; Structural Geology; Field Geology; Sedimentology; Stratigraphy; Sequence Stratigraphy; Sediments; Geology
Schafer, Laurel Department of Chemistry catalysis, chemical synthesis, heterocycles, titanium, zirconium, yttrium, tantalum, hydroamination, hydroaminoalkyltion, biodegraable polymers, sustainable synthesis, Green Chemistry, Organometallic and organic chemistry
Schiebinger, Geoffrey Department of Mathematics Genomics; Mathematics and statistics; Applied & Theoretical Statistics; Computational Genomics; data science; Genetics; Genome Sciences; Machine Learning; Measurement technologies; Models Inference and Algorithms; Single-cell RNA sequencing; Theory of Statistics
Schleich, Kristin Department of Physics & Astronomy Theoretical physics, general relativity
Schluter, Dolph Department of Zoology Biological adaptation; Speciation (evolutionary processes); Natural selection and sexual selection; evolution; Origin of species; evolutionary genetics; Adaptive radiation
Schmidt, Mark Department of Computer Science Machine learning; Numerical Optimizaiton; Probabilistic Graphical Models; Causality
Schoof, Christian Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Geophysics; Ice and Snow; Transformation and Evolution of the Earth Surface; Fluid mechanics; Hydraulic; Asymptotic and Classical Applied Analysis; Differential Equation; applied mathematics; glacier hydrology; Glaciology; ice sheet dynamics
Schulte, Patricia Department of Zoology Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, genomics, population genetics, and evolutionary biology to address the question, what are the physiological adaptations that allow animals to live in particular environments?
Scoates, James Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Igneous petrology; Geochronology; Economic geology; magmatic evolution; layered intrusions; flood basalts; large igneous provinces; Proterozoic anorthosites; magmatic ore deposits
Scott, Douglas Department of Physics & Astronomy Astronomical and space sciences; Physical sciences; Cosmology; Science and Knowledge
Seltzer, Margo Department of Computer Science Computer Systems; Data Quality; Storage; Machine Learning & Systems; Systems for capturing and accessing data provenance; File Systems; databases; Transaction processing systems; Storage and analysis of graph-structured data; New architectures for parallelizing execution; Systems that apply technology to problems in healthcare.; Artificial Intelligence; Decision-making & Action; Software Practices; Networks, Systems and Security
Semenoff, Gordon Walter Department of Physics & Astronomy Particle physics theory (including aspects of field theory and string theory); Physical sciences; Moedal experiment, Large Hadron Collider, CERN; String theory, quantum field theory, statistical mechanics; Theoretical and mathematical physics, the physics of elementary particles, condensed matter physics
Sheffer, Alla Department of Computer Science Computer graphics, shape modeling and geometry processing
Shepherd, Bruce Department of Computer Science algorithms, optimization, convex geometry, and graph theory
Sherman, John Department of Chemistry Molecular structure of protein
Shmerkin, Pablo Department of Mathematics
Shwartz, Vered Department of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Natural Language Processing
Sigal, Leonid Department of Computer Science Computer and information sciences; Artificial Intelligence; Computer Science and Statistics; Parametric and Non-Parametric Inference; Computer Vision; Machine Learning; Semantic Recognition; Vision + Natural Language Processing; Visual Recognition and Understanding
Sigurdson, Kris Department of Physics & Astronomy The Universe, Cosmology, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Cosmic Microwave Background, Cosmic 21-cm Fluctuations, Radio Astronomy, CHIME


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 Science.


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
2023 Dr. Huang's research studies the region of the Solar System beyond Neptune. He explored how the plausible brief existence of an extra "rogue" planet in our early Solar System provides possible answers to some long-standing puzzles in the orbital structure of the distant Kuiper Belt of comets beyond Neptune. Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy (PhD)
2023 Dr. Rogalla developed ocean models of the concentrations of the micronutrient manganese and the pollutant lead in Inuit Nunangat. These simulations highlight the importance of dirty sea ice for manganese in the Canada Basin, the extent of glacial and continental river water in this region, and the impact of lead pollution. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2023 Dr. Munk studied scientific simulators, probabilistic models, and their stochastic inversion via probabilistic programming. His research has led to novel contributions to the field of probabilistic programming. These contributions may impact diverse disciplines, ranging from physics to finance. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2023 Dr. Kellett examined how small changes to the chemical structure of molecules impact the rate of electron transfer reactions. These results help us understand how transient attractions between adjacent molecules can act as a conduit for electric charge and demonstrate how careful molecular design can control the electronic properties of a material. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2023 Dr. Flynn developed statistical methods of using structured networks of data to estimate the size of hidden or hard-to-reach populations, and created corresponding software for these techniques to readily be used by researchers across diverse fields. These methods were used to illuminate the true scope of the opioid epidemic in British Columbia. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Bolduc investigated and developed new synthetic applications for two sulfur-fluorine gases as reagents in synthetic organic chemistry. His work surveyed these two reagents in the context of four chemically distinct applications and has enabled the expedited synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant fluorinated organic motifs. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2023 Artists often start creation by sketching digitally. Dr. Liu studied how humans mentally see sketches without being confused by busy, inaccurate lines and built computational methods to automate this process. These methods benefit various sketch-related computer applications, from colourizing 2D animation frames to lifting design sketches into 3D. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2023 Dr. Lin's work focused on developing the theory and practice of geometric methods in machine learning. His research opens a new direction for exploiting hidden mathematical structures in real-world applications. His methodology was used to win the Bayesian Deep Learning Challenge in Neural Information Processing Systems 2021. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2023 Dr. López de la Lama explored the deep bonds Peruvian landowners share with nature through privately protected areas (PPAs). She unveiled diverse intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values driving their commitment to conservation. Amid structural challenges and tenure insecurities, these relationships underscore the importance of citizen-led conservation. Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
2023 Dr. Liu explored how plant-associated bacteria influence plant immunity and shield plants from pathogens. She discovered that bacteria dampen immunity through root acidification and protect plants via biofilm formation. Her work advances our grasp of plant-microbe interactions, offering insights into agricultural microbiome engineering. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)